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November 24, 2003 - Image 9

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

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SIw Atirbigauaii
PORTSS

November 24, 2003

SECTION B

Field

of

dreams

MICHIGAN 35, Ohio State 21

Michigan senior offensive tackle Tony Pape (left) and junior offensive guard Matt Lentz (right) embrace following Michigan's 35-21 win over the Buckeyes. The win guarantees the Wolverines a spot in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

With 157 yards,
Perry gives a
show-stopper
By Kyle O'NIH
Daily Sports Editor
It's difficult to define toughness on a football field - as there
are many moments that come close to the meaning - but Chris
Perry gave an explanation worthy of Webster's.
Fighting off a hamstring injury in the first quarter, Perry pro-
duced 157 yards on the ground and caught five balls for 55 -
which is almost unheard of against Ohio State's defense. Before
this game, only Wisconsin's Booker Stanley had managed more
than 100 yards rushing. Seven times this year, Ohio State has
held its opponents under 50 yards rushing.
But Perry wasn't about to be another statistic for the Buck-
eyes' accomplishment board.
Even when Michigan opened up passing on its first two
downs, coach Lloyd Carr showed faith in his senior tailback on
3rd-and-2 of the first drive. Perry responded with a five-yard
gain against an Ohio State defensive line that boasts future early-
round NFL draft picks in Darrion Scott and Will Smith.
"Chris Perry ran absolutely sensational," Carr said. "There
have been people who have written that Chris is an average back.
Chris Perry is a first-team All-American."
Perry almost didn't get the chance to show the record crowd
of 112,118 that he was that good of a back. During Michigan's
second drive, he injured his right hamstring off a screen pass to
Ohio State's side of the field.
"I was worried I wouldn't be able to perform well," Perry said.
"I was worried I wouldn't be able to help my team out in my
final game. I was very worried, but it's Michigan-Ohio State -
the best rivalry in college football, one of the best in the world.
There was no way I was going to miss this game."
Always upset when pulled from a drive, Perry would prefer
games like Michigan State (51 carries) to anything else. In a
game like the Ohio State contest, the coaches weren't the ones
calling the shots in what to do with a hurt running back.
"They asked me if I was alright, but I wasn't coming out,"
Perry said. "It's football, you're gonna get hurt - but you've got
to get up ... there's always another play to play. Until the clock
says zero, you've got to keep playing."
And Perry got up, even when injured after the whistle had
See PERRY, Page 5B

Who is Navarre? Only
father could ever know

arry Navarre couldn't hold back
any longer. Following his son's
emotional performance in the
biggest game of his life, Larry was
asked about John's development as a
player at Michigan.
"In a short sentence," said Larry, "I
told Coach (Lloyd) Carr two days ago
on the phone, 'I
sent you a boy
and he came
back a man."'
At this point,
tears of pride and
joy began to rollk
down his face as
he spoke about NAWEED
his son's heavily SIKORA
scrutinized
career as quar- Blowing Smoke
terback.
John had just told the media that the
idea of this one game defining his
career "was B.S."
Larry shared his son's belief.
"I agree with him. It is B.S.'" Larry
said. "I don't think one game defines
any player or his legacy. I understand
that this is Michigan - this is Big Ten
football. I understand the pressures,
and, fair or unfair, it doesn't make a dif-
ference. But I know who my son is."
In some ways, Mr. Navarre's emo-
tional outpouring represented exactly
what every supporter of John Navarre
was feeling. But how many people actu-
ally know who he truly is?
Nobody ever wanted Navarre to fail,
but his inability to get the job done in
critical situations made most people
want to pull their hair out. It was diffi-
cult to look past the overthrows, sacks
and fumbles when the Wolverines really
needed him. But most importantly, it

was difficult to deal with losing to the
Buckeyes for two straight seasons when
the Wolverines were clearly the more
talented team.
To finally see him overcome that
obstacle, which began with Michigan's
comeback win at Minnesota, was an
emotional release for people. The one
player everyone always wanted to suc-
ceed, finally got it done. So is he a hero?
Navarre has faced more abuse and
criticism over his career at Michigan
than most athletes face in their entire
lifetime - but he has fought through it.
He has taken the boos in stride -
never stopping to worry about his
image, the mistakes or the critics saying
he has no business playing quarterback
for Michigan.
"The reality was that I was going to
be defined by this game;'Navarre said.
"So, I worked harder and prepared
harder and so did this team, and we all
rallied around each other and showed
what we're capable of."
The 2003 calendar year has been
truly a roller-coaster ride for Navarre.
After a convincing performance against
Florida on Jan. 1, big things were
expected from him - especially given
his supporting cast and the talented
Michigan defense.
But six games and two losses into the
season, Navarre was back in the hotseat
as people began questioning his ability
to step up and lead the team to the
championship everyone knew it was tal-
ented enough to win. So is he an under-
achiever?
But this time, Navarre responded,
and Michigan hasn't lost since.
So who is John Navarre, and how
should he be defined in Michigan lore?
See SIKORA, Page 5B

TONY DING/Daily
John Navarre answered his critics Saturday by leading his team to its first win over the Buckeyes in
three years.

Horton quieted, but Blue overpowers Grizzlies

FIEDDAY
See pictures from D
yesterday's postgame,

By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer

When Michigan guard Daniel Horton checked
out of Friday's season-opener with 9:39 to go in
the second half, he had as OAKLAND 58
many fouls as points (4).
Whistle nlagued the nnh-

with his rhythm," coach Tommy Amaker said.
But the Wolverines didn't miss a beat. Four
other players scored in double figures, led by
Bernard Robinson's 21 points, in an 84-58 rout
of the Golden Grizzlies (2-2).
"For us to be able to have this type of game
without him even playing his best, I think that
says a lot about the notential of our team right

the night. Freshman Courtney Sims was Dikem-
be Mutombo without the finger waggle, blocking
six shots in 22 minutes of action.
The team's best defensive effort came against
guard Mike Helms, the Mid-Continent Player of
the Year last year. Helms finished third in the
nation in scoring last season at 26.9 points per
game and had led the Golden Grizzlies in scor-

celebration on the field, including
some of the memorable moments
of the 100th meeting between
Michigan and Ohio State that

for

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