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September 10, 2004 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-10

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01

Friday
September 10, 2004
sports. michigandaily.com
sports@michigandaily.com

he lId~icgan lu1g
SPORTS

10

South Bender?
No. 8 Michigan at Notre Dame . Tomorrow, 3:30 p.m. Notre Dame Stadium NBC

Blue success rare
at Notre Dame
By Gennaro Filce
Daily Sports Editor
After a convincing 43-10 win over Miami (Ohio), the
Wolverines will pack their bags and try to stop a disturbing
trend: In each of the last four years, Michigan has dropped
its first road game.
One year ago, the Wolverines embarrassed Notre Dame
38-0 in Ann Arbor. But the last time Michigan traveled
down to South Bend in 2002, the Wolverines gave the ball
up four times and committed 10 penalties en route to an ugly
25-23 loss to the Irish. In that game, Michigan was a 4 1/2
point favorite, but this year the Wolverines are giving up a
gargantuan 13 1/2 points.
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE vS. NOTRE DAME PASSING
DEFENSE: This is the biggest question mark for the Wolver-
ines. Nineteen-year-old true freshman Chad Henne played
well in his first college start against Miami - 142 yards on
14-for-24 passing with two touchdowns and a pick - but
he's never played outside the friendly confines of Michigan
Stadium. How will Henne manage the hostile crowd of Notre
Dame Stadium? Braylon Edwards, Jason Avant and Steve
Breaston - arguably the best receiving corps in America
- should make Henne's day much easier by giving a medio-
cre Irish secondary fits. Notre Dame's back four gave up a
slew of big pass plays to Brigham Young during last week's
20-17 loss. Also, the Irish may not have anyone capable of
covering the pro-sized Edwards. The Michigan offensive
line must contain senior defensive end Justin Tuck, who led
Notre Dame with 13 1/2 sacks last year.
Edge: Michigan

NOTRE DAME RUSHING OFFENSE VS. MICHIGAN RUSHING
DEFENSE: Notre Dame's offensive line had loads of trouble
opening up holes against BYU, as the Irish rushed just 21
times for 11 yards. Marcus Wilson led Notre Dame on the
ground with nine carries for 21 yards. Senior tailback Ryan
Grant missed last week with a sore hamstring and his status
is questionable for tomorrow. Grant torched the Wolverines
at home two years ago, rushing 28 times for 132 yards and
two touchdowns.
Six-foot-4, 333-pound junior Gabe Watson headlines the
biggest defensive line ever at Michigan. The Wolverines held
Miami to 60 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
Edge: Michigan
SPECIAL TEAMS: Last season, Steve Breaston burst onto
the national scene with a huge day against the Irish return-
ing punts. But Michigan continues to struggle in many other
areas of special teams. The Wolverines missed two extra
points and heartily struggled to contain Miami punt returner
Ryne Robinson.
Against BYU, Notre Dame punter/kicker D.J. Fitzpatrick
made his lone field goal attempt and was very effective punt-
ing the ball. McKnight looked indecisive returning punts last
week.
Edge: Push
INTANGIBLES: Michigan will face many challenges this
weekend. The Wolverines have to travel to South Bend, a
place that hasn't been too friendly to the Maize and Blue
in the past (1-6-1 in their last eight trips to South Bend).
They're giving the start to a true freshman who has never
taken a snap in an away stadium. And they have to face a
team that's been preparing all summer to erase the embar-
rassment of last year's debacle. Also, it's never easy to beat
God's team two years straight.
Edge: Notre Dame

0
I

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan's David Underwood looked timid against Miami and will need a solid effort against the Irish.

Both Jerome Jackson and Mike Hart looked promising late
in Michigan's win and will probably see some time against
Notre Dame. A successful running attack would take some
pressure off Henne and prove huge for the Wolverines. The
Irish shut down BYU on the ground last week, but the Cou-
gars have never been known for their ground game.
Edge: Michigan

- who garnered plenty of interest from Lloyd Carr in high
school - started nine games last year, but he's still very
rough around the edges. Quinn had a prolific day against
BYU, going 26-for-46 with 265 yards and a touchdown.
But BYU's defense is less than imposing. Quinn's main
target is Rhema McKnight, who caught eight balls for 92
yards and a touchdown against the Cougars.
Last week, Miami tried to pick on senior Markus Curry,
but Curry came down with two of the secondary's five inter-
ceptions. Marlin Jackson banged up his shoulder last week,
but is expected to play. Ryan Mundy excelled at free safety
next to strong safety Ernest "Ambulance" Shazor, grabbing
a pick of his own. Michigan's defensive line must apply more
pressure than it did last week.
Edge: Michigan

MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS. NOTRE DAME RUSH-
ING DEFENSE: Last year, Chris Perry ran for 133 yards and
three touchdowns against the Irish, but 2004 is a new year.
The Wolverines struggled on the ground against Miami,
amassing just 132 yards on 40 carries for a lowly 2.9-yard
average. David Underwood took the bulk of Michigan's car-
ries, but looked tentative and had trouble finding the hole.

NOTRE DAME PASSING OFFENSE VS. MICHIGAN PASSING
DEFENSE: Like Michigan, Notre Dame starts a quarterback
that cannot yet enjoy a Thursday night at Scorekeepers ...
at least legally. Nineteen-year-old sophomore Brady Quinn

9

Michigan 27, Notre Dame 10

Foreign £lavor brings
hope for stickers
By Amanda Shapin
For the Daily Uruguay, and freshman Lauren Con

Irish longing to take
revenge on Varsity

i-

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Editor

The Michigan field hockey team has
always been extremely unified, and this
year it is also a particularly diverse team.
Senior Jessica Blake from Perth, Western
Australia, leads the Wolverines with a
unique style of play that she acquired from
age 8 back in Australia.
"Learning to play in Australia showed
me a different pace of play, especially
with much more forward attacking,"
Blake said.
The team has players hailing from
around the United States and from
around the globe, including Blake,
freshman Lucia Belassi from Paysandu,

forzi from Mississauga, Ontario. Each
player brings something special to the
team. Although these athletes come
from different backgrounds, unity is a
component that seniors focus on to keep
the team strong. Respect, on and off the
field, is a key element the players hope
to keep intact.
"As seniors, we work with the fresh-
men so they can trust and respect what we
have to say," Blake said. "We also make
sure we can accept and give constructive
criticism."
Along with team bonding, Blake, as
well as the other team leaders, have put
a great deal of effort into making every

JOEL FRIEDMAN/Daily
Senior Kate Dillon and the Wolverines pride themselves on their diversity.

THE TRUTH IS...T
UD H S
SN~~i DNEVE

player realize her love for the game. These
seniors rave that they have never seen a
team quite like this year's. With their time
at Michigan rapidly dwindling, these dedi-
cated players hope to shape the program
before they leave, working hard to help
athletes bring all they have to each prac-
tice and game.
Even with the variety of playing styles
and strong unification among players,
Michigan (2-2) has not had an easy start to
its season. After losing seven seniors from
last year's squad, the Wolverines quickly
realized through two losses against North
Carolina and Wake Forest that they have a
tough job ahead of them to turn the season
around. Senior captain and Grand Rapids
native Kate Dillon had no problem mov-

ing into a leadership role at defense to help
correct mistakes, and was able to lead the
Wolverines to their two victories against
Maine and New Hampshire.
"The best way to gauge our teams abil-
ity was playing against the harder teams,"
Dillon said. "After North Carolina, we
saw that our game speed was something
we would have to focus on and we quickly
fixed that for our following two games. We
realized we had to set the tempo and can
no longer allow ourselves to play below
our level."
With a range of playing styles from
each athlete, the Michigan field hockey
team looks forward to coming together for
a rewarding season and will take the next
step when it plays Syracuse today.

For Notre Dame, the number is
38.
During the off-season, each
Notre Dame player did 38 of every
practice maneuver. 38 of each
practice drill. 38 of each lift in the
weight room.
It was all a reminder of one of
the worst losses in program histo-
ry. The Fighting Irish had not been
shutout by the Wolverines since
1902, and they had never lost three
straight at Michigan Stadium.
"Personally, it was a complete
embarrassment," Notre Dame tight
end Anthony Fassano said.
Tomorrow's game serves as an
opportunity for revenge. But it also
signifies a crucial point in the his-
tory of the Notre Dame program.
After briefly "returning to
glory" upon the arrival of former
Stanford coach Tyrone Willing-
ham, the Fighting Irish have hit
one of the biggest lulls in the his-
tory of one of college football's
great programs.
Notre Dame thought it had hit
rock bottom when it finished last
season with a 5-7 record, with
additional losses to Florida State
and Southern Cal by more than 30
points. But then came last week.
At this point last year, the Fight-

ing Irish were scheduled to open
their season this week against the
Wolverines. But with the number
38 hanging over its head, it sched-
uled a supposed tune-up against
Brigham Young, a historically
powerful mid-major program that
managed to finish just 4-8 last sea-
son.
Notre Dame left with a loss. The
Fighting Irish performed horribly
on offense in the first half, and
the Cougars jumped out to a 13-0
lead and held on for a 20-17 vic-
tory. A traditional running team
before Willingham instituted the
West Coast offense, Notre Dame
ended with a dismal 11 net rush-
ing yards.
Numerous alumni have e-mailed
the school asking for Willingham
to be fired. One Florida man was
indicted on a charge of threatening
the head coach.
Notre Dame's fall in national
prestige has also led to speculation
that it could lose its exclusive tele-
vision contract with NBC, some-
thing crucial as a member of the
dying breed of Division I football
independents. On Monday, Michi-
gan coach Lloyd Carr said that the
Big Ten would eventually add a 12th
team and that Notre Dame would
be a good fit. At Tuesday's Notre
Dame press conference, however,
See IRISH, Page 12

i

BE

SEeRET.

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,vtVI

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