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November 24, 2003 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-24

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.Navemer 24, 2003

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MICHIGAN 35, 0 tat2

Michigan senior running back Chris Perry, surrounded by media and fans, proudly holds a rose in the air. Perry and the Michigan seniors clinched their first outright Big Ten title with a 35.21 win over Ohio State Saturday.
nVarsity overcomes early-season woes to capture Bik.


By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Editor
Sitting in the visiting lockerroom at Kinnick Stadium after
their 30-27 loss to Iowa Oct. 4, the Michigan football team's
seniors were in the midst of some major soul searching.
The Wolverines were 4-2 and had lost their chance at a
national championship. With one more loss in their remain-
ing six games, the seniors wouldlikely leave Michigan
without playing in a Rose Bowl.
"We never thought we'd be 4-2 at that point in the sea-
son," Michigan fifth-year senior captain Carl Diggs
recalled. "I never imagined that."
But celebrating their 35-21 win over Ohio State Saturday
on a rose-covered field with an emotional student body, the

Wolverines were a long way from their somber lockerroom
in Iowa. With six straight wins, three over top-10 teams,
Michigan rewrote the script of its season, clinching its first
outright Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth since 1997.
"It's like a storybook (ending)," senior tailback Chris
Perry said "It feels surreal right now, but after I get home
and sit down and think about it, it'll feel even better."
Perry better have gotten some ice before he sat down.
Struggling with pain in his right hamstring throughout the
100th meeting between Michigan and Ohio State, Perry ran
for 154 yards and two scores on 31 carries. The Heisman
Trophy candidate also caught five passes for 55 yards, giv-
ing him his fifth game this season with more than 200 total
yards (209).
Perry and quarterback John Navarre benefited from a

determined offensive line, which shut down one of the
nation's most dominating defensive fronts. The Buckeyes,
previously leading the country allowing just 50.5 rushing
yards per game, gave up 170 to the Wolverines. The Michi-
gan line also gave Navarre ample time to throw, holding the
Buckeyes without a sack.
"It's a great feeling" Michigan offensive tackle Tony Pape
said. "That was the number-1 defense in the nation. They're
the defending national champions, and they were a great
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had to resort to trickery to
get the Wolverines on the board with 39 seconds left in the
first quarter. To the delight of the 112,118 strong at the Big
House (a new NCAA record), Michigan receiver Steve
Breaston lined up behind center, and Navarre spread out

wide with the Wolverines facing 3rd-and-goal from the 3-
yard line. Breaston sprinted to his right and followed the
right side of the line into the endzone, giving Michigan an
all-important 7-0 lead.
Two minutes after Breaston's score, Navarre hit Edwards
on a slant. Edwards shed safeties Will Allen and Nate Salley
on his way to a 64yard touchdown reception, the longest of
his career. Edwards later put the Wolverines up by 21 with a
23-yard reception that capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive.
With less than six minutes left in the half, quarterback
Craig Krenzel led the Buckeyes on an 81-yard drive to cut
Michigan's lead to 21-7 - the first points given up by the
Michigan defense at home in the first half all season.
The Wolverines began the second half with a five-play,
See VICTORY, Page 7A

Michigan fans jump wall, flood
field to join celebrating team

By Emily Kraack
Daily Staff Reporter
The student section seemed to hold its breath after
the final second of the Michigan-Ohio State game
ticked off the clock.
It took a full 20 seconds before students began their
pilgrimage to the field. The stadium bled blue; streams
of students in Blue-Out shirts and navy sweatshirts
made their way down the bleachers, into the aisles and
through the open gates at the bottom of the stands.
Within minutes, the first students had jumped from
the wall to the playing surface eight feet below and
were rushing toward the celebrating players on the
field. Thousands flooded the field, yet nobody was
injured and no arrests were made during the rush.
Recent Michigan alum Andy Vilardo summed up
nany students' emotions as he stood on the field, sur-
veying the exhilarated crowd.
"I've wanted to do this since I started school here.

looking forward to a Michigan Big Ten championship.
"I rushed because we're going to the Rose Bowl," he
said, adding that he hoped to have a reason to rush
again next year.
Michigan fan Mike Raney, wearing the obligatory
maize and blue, stood in the safety of the alumni sec-
tion as he watched the students flood the field. He said
he preferred to stay in the stands instead of rushing.
"We're too old for that stuff," he said.
Students who reached the field gave high fives to
players, posed for the TV cameras and hugged each
other on the Michigan "M" at midfield.
After about 15 minutes, the stadium announcer
requested that students leave the field so the post-game
band show could start.
The student celebration was not lost on the football
players. Tight end Andy Mignery, a fifth-year senior,
said seeing Michigan students rush the field was pow-
erful."How much pride was with those students? Just
that look in their eyes, to see how much emotion was

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