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October 11, 2004 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-11

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PAGE 3B
The SportsMonday Column
GENNARO FILICE:
The search for the real Brown
Jug, accepting no imitations.

lB

wWom Batt

Henne's poise leads
offense to big victory

With less than five minutes to go in
the fourth quarter, Michigan trailed
t Minnesota 24-20. While the Wolver-
ine defenders ostentatiously demanded noise
from 100,000-plus Maize and Blue faithful,
true freshman quarterback Chad Henne sat on
Michigan's bench with his helmet positioned
between his feet. Jer-
maine Gonzales and
Mike Hart rested to
Henne's immediate
right, and Braylon
Edwards was perched
on a separate bench
to Henne's left. Each
player seemed to be GENNARO
fully engaged in deep FILICE
thought. Nuthin' but a
No phone hugged 'G' Thang
Henne's ear provid-
ing advice from the eye in the sky, no coach
stood over the players drilling two-minute
offense strategy into their heads and no emo-
tion released from either bench.
About seven yards in front of the benches,
the scenario was quite the contrary. A wall of
Wolverines lining the sideline whooped and
fist-pumped before, during and - besides one
first-down pass to Minnesota's Jared Ellerson
- after each play.
But the bench quartet remained stoic and
speechless. The players craned their necks to
one of the scoreboard screens because all view
the field was blocked by the maize and blue
11. Each seated Wolverine exuded a quiet
nfidence while mentally preparing himself
r one final drive to retain the Little Brown
g.'
"We know that our defense, when they're out
ere, it's a good chance they're gonna get the
1il back," Gonzalez said. "We knew we just
ad to be ready to go when that happens."
W, 4heGolden Gophers facing a third-
Md-sixteen, Henne picked up his helmet and
ok wrfew paces before settling in a seat next
Edwards. The duo shared a few casual
"s the gname came to a screeching halt
ks to two Minnesota timeouts and a Gold-
Gopher false start.
There was never any doubt that we couldn't
t it done," Edwards said. "There was never
y panic. It was always just, 'It's time to go.' "
Grant Mason interrupted the silence that
ensued by giving Edwards and Henne five,
along with some words of encouragement.
After Michigan's defense stuffed Minnesota,
the duo strapped up the winged helmets and
scurried over to the edge of the sideline. Henne
shared some quick words with injured quarter-
back Matt Gutierrez and - following an ille-
gal block in the back by Darnell Hood during
the punt return - dashed into the spotlight.
With 3:04 left in the game, Henne - who
earned his high school diploma less than a year
ago - faced 87 yards of real estate without the
luxury of a time out.
It was the final examination on a day when
Henne was fully tested by Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr, who drastically opened up the
playbook for the 19-year-old signal caller.
Henne had enjoyed a relatively solid day
thus far, going 28-for-43 for 241 yards and a
touchdown. But, two third-quarter intercep-
tions inside the Minnesota 35-yard line had
ended promising Michigan scoring drives and
let the Gophers back into the game.

The Wolverines strongly believed in their
quarterback, though, as he was very familiar
with the situation at hand.
"It's more like repetition now," tight end
Tim Massaquoi said. "We do (the two-minute
drill) every Thursday, sometimes on Wednes-
day. So it's like, when he gets in the game, he's
comfortable now just from playing, so it's just
like practice."
With his peers in the student section at his
back, Henne showed poise well beyond his
years.
Minnesota employed a conservative cover-
two defense with its linebackers dropping back
into coverage. Although this scheme makes
it difficult to throw the ball way downfield, it
leaves a defense vulnerable to short passes.
So, instead of panicking and trying to force
a big play, Henne just took what was given to
him, and went 5-for-6 on the drive. He hit Hart
out of the backfield for a first down. He went
through all his progressions and found Avant
over the middle twice for a combined 37 yards.
He put the ball in Edwards' hands on a quick
hitch. Then, he hit Tyler Ecker on a five-yard
crossing route and Ecker rumbled 31 yards for
his first career touchdown.
In just 67 seconds, Henne pioneered Mich-
igan's second-longest drive of the season. In
just 67 seconds, Henne etched his name into
Michigan folklore. And in just 67 seconds,
Henne showed that over the last six weeks, he's
aged about three years.
"It's hard for any freshman to play at this
level," Mason said. "Then you add the mental
part of it and the responsibility and the scru-
tiny that's put on a quarterback, especially at
Michigan - if you didn't know he was a fresh-
man, you wouldn't know he was a freshman."
One of the biggest knocks on Henne's
predecessor, John Navarre, was that Navarre
couldn't excel in high-strain situations. Henne
proved superb under such pressure a month-
and-a-half into his college career.
While Edwards celebrated the game's final
snap with a back flip that probably took a few
years off of Carr's life, Henne remained very
even-keeled, much like he was just a short time
before, when Michigan was trailing.
Following the game, Henne spoke with
quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler, who mir-
rored the freshman's calm demeanor.
"Win, lose or draw we're going to talk, and
we talked about a lot of the things that we need
to work on," Loeffler said. "He's a freshman
still. We've still got a long ways to go, and
every week we're going to try to get better."
Loeffler's probably right. Henne's still is
a true freshman. And he still makes some
freshman mistakes, like his two interceptions,
which were both horrible decisions.
But, on Saturday, the Wyomissing, Pa.,
native showed the savvy of a Super Bowl Tom
Brady. And it all started on the sideline right
before Michigan embarked on its final scoring
drive of the day. Henne didn't need last-min-
ute tutelage from offensive coordinator Terry
Malone. He didn't need words of support from
Michigan's backup quarterbacks. All he need-
ed was four words from Edwards:
"It's time to go."
And, according to Loeffler, this kid's
nowhere near realizing his potential ...
Gennaro Filice can be reached at
gfilice@umich.edu.

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Michigan tight end Tyler Ecker caught a pass and ran past two Gophers into the endzone, completing an 87-yard drive to defeat Minnesota.

SIx PLAYS, 87 YARDS, 67 SECONDS - ONE WIN

Down 24-20 with 3:04 left in the game,
the Michigan offense quickly moved
down the field to secure the win.
1. Ball on Mich. 13: Chad Henne pass
complete to Mike Hart for 10 yards.
2. Ball on Mich. 23: Henne pass complete
to Jason Avant for 20 yards.
3. Ball on Mich. 43: Henne pass incom-
plete, intended for Tim Massaquoi.
4. Ball on Mich. 43: Henne pass complete
to Avant for 17 yards.
5. Ball on Minn. 40: Henne pass complete
to Braylon Edwards for nine yards.
6. Ball on Minn. 31: Henne pass complete
to Tyler Ecker for 31-yard touchdown.

Graphic by BRIAN SCHICK/Daily

'M' shakes
off loss to
prol Boston
.By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
DAYTON, Ohio - After an unenthusiastic
performance in Friday's 4-2 loss to Northeast-
ern to open the Lefty McFadden Tournament,
No. I Michigan met up with
No. 17 Boston University - a
team that was coming off a
disappointing loss to Miami GA 7
(Ohio) - to decide who would . 2 g
go home at the bottom of the TNN
four-team tournament.
"I knew both teams would be really upset about

0 MEN'S SOCCER
Indiana proves too
physical for Blue

By Anne Ulble
Daily Sports Writer

While goals and offensive tactics
were lacking throughout yesterday's
game for the Mich-
igan men's soccer
team, emotions
were not. After being dealt 18 fouls,
four yellow cards, one red card and a
season-ending injury to a pivotal mem-
ber of the team, how could it not be an
emotional 90 minutes?
No. 19 Michigan traveled to Bloom-
ington yesterday to square off against
the reigning NCAA Champions in the
most anticipated game of Michigan's
season. The Wolverines entered the

al champions."
The Hoosiers converted their com-
petitive offensive attacks into a scoring
situation at 53:39 in the second half.
Indiana defender Jed Zanyer drove
the ball towards Michigan's goal and
passed it to an open Brian Plotkin, who
was left alone on the far side of the net.
With a left-footed shot, Plotkin netted
the first goal of the game.
"Plotkin's goal was well planned out
by Indiana," Burns said. "One of the
team's central defenders left their posi-
tion and threw the shape of our defense
out of balance, giving him an open spot
near the net."
Just minutes after Indiana's goal,
Michigan was faced with a serious

COURTESY OF Phoebe Sexton/Daily Free Press
Bnton UinivArsitv cantain Brian McConnell (9) is tied un by Michigan netminder Al Montova.

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