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October 26, 2004 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-26

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October 26, 2004
sports. michigandaily.com

eRSdan atg


steps up in
By Gennaro Filice
Daily Sports Editor
With the bevy of talent Michigan boasts at wide-
out, it is almost unfathomable that a non-receiver
would lead the Wolverines' aerial assault for even
one game. On Saturday, junior tight end Tim Mas-
saquoi did just that - grabbing five balls for 60
yards (both career bests). But Massaquoi was as
surprised by his accomplishment as everyone else.
When asked if he expected to lead the Wolverines
in receptions against Purdue, Massaquoi's answer
was blunt.
"Honestly, no," Massaquoi said. "Because of the
receivers we have, you wouldn't expect a tight end
to lead the team in receptions and yards. But for the
type of game it was, and for what Purdue's defense
wants to do, it was an opportunity for the tight ends
- me and Tyler (Ecker) - to make some big plays
and I think we went out there and did that."
Of Massaquoi's five catches, two converted third
downs for the Wolverines, including a 24-yard grab
during Michigan's second-quarter field goal drive.
Massaquoi credits Michigan's receiving corps for
giving the tight ends a chance to shine.
"(Ecker and I) tell them thank you because those
guys attract a lot of attention, and sometimes we get
matchups that we really think we can take advan-
tage of," Massaquoi said. "I'd rather see Braylon
(Edwards) or Steve (Breaston) or Jason (Avant)
have a two-touchdown, 100-and-something-yard
game, but if it comes down to it, and the defense is
taking them away, then we have to do our job and
step up and make big plays.
"If they leave Braylon Edwards one-on-one,
we're gonna go for it, or if they leave Jason Avant,
we're gonna go for it. But if they're going to decide
to put double coverage on those guys and put a
linebacker on me and Tyler, we've gotta go out and
make plays."
Massaquoi's role as a pass-catcher has vastly
expanded as the season has unfolded. In the first
four games of 2004, Massaquoi had just three
catches for 30 yards. But in Michigan's last four
games, he's grabbed 11 balls for 116 yards. Massa-
quoi acknowledges true freshman quarterback Chad
Henne's quick maturation process as being directly
responsible for his increased production.

Hart playing like a
Heisman candidate

Garden State of Mind
Mike Hart for Heisman? Is
it becoming a possibility?
Before you get your hopes
up, it's probably not going to hap-
pen. There's a better chance of Chris
Webber showing up for Michigan
basketball's home opener than Hart
taking home the coveted college
football hardware.
But the fact that Hart's recent per-
formance could make you actually
consider that Heisman statement for a
second means something.
Entering the season, Mike Hart
was an unknown - a question mark,
at best. Coming from Syracuse,
N.Y., people were skeptical about
his ability to play in a big, physical
conference like the Big Ten. Hart
wasn't supposed to be rushing for
200 yards total this season, let alone
be doing it in consecutive games (a
feat which only one other Wolverine
in history - Jon Vaughn - has
Lately, Hart has been turning
heads. He was honored yesterday
as both the Big Ten co-offensive
player of the week (along with Min-
nesota's Marion Barber) and the
Cingular/ABC Sports All-America
Player of the Week (as voted by
fans nationwide).
Sure, Hart deserves this praise.
He's been playing as well as any
other running back around. But

have his numbers been Heisman-
This got me thinking: How does
the 5-foot-9, 194-pound true fresh-
man stack up against the nation's
best in terms of yardage and pro-
I decided to take a look at two
true Heisman contenders - Okla-
homa freshman sensation Adrian
Peterson, and Texas senior Ced-
ric Benson, both of whom are on
ESPN's Heisman watch - to see
how Hart stacks up.
Right off the bat, Hart's at a
significant disadvantage here. The
freshman saw limited action in
Michigan's first two games - a
victim of the Michigan running
back carousel. This put him in a
big hole compared to Peterson and
Benson, who have both been get-
ting the majority of their team's
carries all season long.
While Hart has been able to
make up the difference in total
rushing attempts - he has carried
the ball 187 times this year, the
exact same amount as Benson and
10 more than Peterson - he was
able to amass just 37 total yards in
Michigan's win over Miami (Ohio)
and loss at Notre Dame in the first
two games of the season.
But once Hart broke out for 121
yards against San Diego State, he
never looked back.
So, to level the playing field
among the three backs, I just
looked at their last six games. For
Hart, that meant starting with San
Diego State and continuing through
Saturday's win over Purdue.
Looking at just their last six
contests, (and I emphasize, their
last six games) Hart's numbers
See BREMMER, Page 13

Tim Massaquol makes a catch during Michigan's 38-0 rout of Notre Dame last year. The junior tight end
had his best game of the 2004 season on Saturday against Purdue, catching five passes for 60 yards.

"(The way Henne goes through his progressions)
just shows his level of intelligence of how to play
football," Massaquoi said. "It just shows, I think,
his growth over the whole season. At first, it seemed
like a lot of times he was just looking for Braylon,
but as the season went on, you see Chad looking for
more of the other guys because he got comfortable
with the offense."
Massaquoi's personal development has been nota-
ble, as well. The 6-foot-4, 247-pounder left Allen-
town, Pa., for Ann Arbor in 2001 as a highly-touted
wide receiver. But in 2002, Massaquoi switched to
tight end.
"I think Tim Massaquoi is really a solid guy,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "He has a work
ethic, a passion for the game. I think he's made dra-
matic improvements since the day two years ago,
just two years ago over spring practice, he decided
to move to tight end. I think this fall he's playing
his best football.

"It's a different world when you move from out-
side the hash mark to down inside the tackle box,
because you're going to find some nasty people in
there and you'd better want to fight and compete and
block people, and Tim has done a good job of that."
In becoming the steady target that he's proven to
be this year, Massaquoi has immensely improved
his once-suspect hands.
"For me, it's just the hard work I put in in the off-
season and the level of confidence I think I'm play-
ing with right now," Massaquoi said. "Last year, I
didn't have as much confidence as I have this year.
This offseason, I really worked hard on catching the
football with my hands and it's just paying off."
But the junior admits that he's still got a lot to
learn in his remaining time at Michigan.
"I think I can block a lot better and I can run
better routes," Massaquoi said. "I think I can be a
smarter football player - recognizing things at the
line of scrimmage and being able to adjust."

Utes in line for BCS bowl appearance

The Associated Press
. Oklahoma and Utah moved into
premium positions in the Bowl
Championship Series standings that
were released yesterday.
The Sooners are in second place,
jumping ahead of Miami after the
BCS standings debuted last week
with Oklahoma surprisingly in third.
Southern Cal. remains in first
place with a grade of .9843. Oklaho-
ma's grade is .9325 and Miami is now
third at .9239.
The top two teams in the final BCS
standings will meet in the Orange
Bowl on Jan. 4.
Utah is now sixth, a position that
would guarantee the Utes a spot in
one of the other three big-money
bowls if they can hold on to it.
"I think it's great," Utes coach
Urban Meyer said.
He found out about his team's small
but important jump from seventh to

sixth from his wife, who left him a
phone message.
"Her comment on this message - I
didn't get to talk to her - was 'Hey
you're No. 6. Make sure you stay there.
That's really great coaching,' " he said.
"I'm glad she's cleared that up.
"Honestly, if we were eight or nine,
it's, let's go. Let's go play."
A top-six finish in the BCS stand-
ings guarantees a spot in either the
Orange, Fiesta, Rose or Sugar bowls,
each with payouts of over $14 mil-
lion. To even be considered for a BCS
bid, a top-12 finish is required.
Utah is trying to become the first
team to play in a BCS game from a con-
ference outside the six leagues - Atlan-
tic Coast Conference, Big East, Big Ten,
Big 12, Pac-14, Southeastern Confer-
ence - that have automatic berths.
The Utes (7-0) are one of seven Divi-
sion I-A teams with perfect records.
They beat Mountain West Conference
rival UNLV 63-28 on Saturday.

Boise State, the other unbeaten
from a mid-major conference, moved
up a spot from last week to 13th.
The BCS is using a new formula
that relies more on The Associated
Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today
coaches poll than ever before. The
Sooners have been No. 2 in both polls
all season but trailed close behind
Miami last week in the BCS stand-
ings because of their relatively weak
computer ranking.
A compilation of six computers
are used to determine one-third of
a team's BCS grade, with a team's
highest and lowest computer rank-
ings thrown out.
Oklahoma beat Kansas 41-10 last Sat-
urday, which helped improve its ranking
in the computers from fifth to fourth.
Miami has the top computer ranking,
just ahead of Southern Cal., which is No.
1 in both polls by a large margin. The
Hurricanes are No. 4 in the AP media
poll and No. 3 in the coaches poll.
"There's a lot of football left. We
do not have a lot of control over it,
other than winning, and we feel the
BCS formula will take care of itself,"
Miami coach Larry Coker said. "We
will continue to play as hard as we
can to win our games, and that's all

we can really do."
Auburn (.8983) is
BCS standings and
(.7759) is fifth.

fourth in the
Florida State


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Freshman running back Mike Hart ran for 206 yards against Purdue.


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