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September 07, 2004 - Image 59

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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SPORTS

The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004 - 3E

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run

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA 28, MICHIGAN 14

Trojans too much for Blue

January 6, 2004
By Naweod Sikora
Daily Staff Writer

PASADENA, Calif. - The Wolverines knew the
Trojans would be blitzing left and right against them.
The problem was, even with the knowledge, they still
had no answer.
John Navarre barely had enough time to drop back
before one of Southern Cal.'s linemen was breathing down
his neck. Michigan's quarterback was sacked nine times,
but as Southern Cal. coach Pete Carroll said, the Trojans
"could have sacked him 12 times."
"We couldn't handle the pressure," Lloyd Carr said.
"We gave up way too many sacks, and that was the differ-
ence in the game."
Southern Cal.'s dominance on the line was a combination of
timely blitzing and winning the one-on-one battles at the line.
The Wolverines admitted that they were anticipating the cor-
ner blitz, but they didn't expect to see it so much.
"There was more pressure than we expected," Navarre said.
"They've shown (the corner blitz) before, but they brought it a
little more than they've shown on film."
This became evident early on in the second quarter when
Southern Cal.'s Will Poole ran from across the field to sack
Navarre from behind. The play took ages to develop, as
Navarre went through his progressions, but found nobody
open and was forced to take the sack. The Wolverines could
do nothing to stop it.
The sacks were only the beginning. There were several
plays where Navarre was able to escape from near sacks or
was hit hard immediately after releasing the ball.
"It took us out of our rhythm and we were never able to
get in sync," Carr said.
As if the blitzing wasn't enough to handle, the Wolver-

ines' offensive line couldn't contain Southern Cal.'s defen-
sive line - better known as "Wild Bunch II." The men up
front were faster and more physical than anything the
Wolverines had ever seen before.
"This was my greatest fear going into this game," Carr said.
"They have an extremely quick and athletic front four."
The Wolverines had allowed just 15 sacks the entire sea-
son before coming face-to-face with Southern Cal. Even
though Michigan had dealt with blitzing teams and heavy
defensive fronts against the likes of Purdue and Michigan
State, nothing could have prepared them for the onslaught
Southern Cal. brought.
Carroll's defensive game plan seemed flawless.
Although the Wolverines were able to move the ball at
times, they had difficulty breaking into the endzone.
Michigan's opening drive and its drive at the end of the
third quarter both fizzled out just outside of the red zone.
Southern Cal. made key stops whenever it was necessary,
and its constant pressure didn't allow the Wolverines to do
anything creative offensively.
The Trojans had Michigan's offense read so perfectly that,
at times, it seemed as though they knew what play was com-
ing before it was run.
"They kept us on our heels and they kept us guessing,"
senior offensive linemen Tony Pape said. "They changed it
up on a lot of plays. They had great speed around the
edge. They have four great players up front, and I have a
lot of respect for them."
The Wolverines also saw some brand new defensive
schemes that seemed to catch them completely off
guard. Carroll said he tried to do some different things
with his defense to get to Navarre but would not say
exactly what he did or why he knew it would work.
"I was a little surprised that it worked so well," said Carroll
of his team's blitz packages.

TONY DING/Daily
Southern Cal.'s defensive line smothers senior Chris Perry during the Wolverines' 28-14 loss on Jan. 1, 2004 at the Rose Bowl
in Pasadena, Calif. It was Michigan's 18th appearance in the Rose Bowl.

Michigan Football: the girl you just can't kick to the curb

t was 2 a.m. on
the morning of
last year's gradua-
tion, and for three of
my best friends, it
felt like the last
chance to sit by a
bonfire with your
J. BRADY boys, sip an ice cold
MCCOLLOUGH brew and talk Michi-
gan football. It was
All About the Cause one of those
SEPTEMBER 4, 2003 moments in which
everything was so clear.
Some things I didn't want to see, like the
fact that I wouldn't see those guys in the
fall. But then, there were other things that
rang so true and made such sense. Things
so perfect that they could never have been
discovered in any other situation.
Things like this.
You know that girl who you just can't get
rid of? No matter how many times she
breaks your heart, you just can't kick her to
the curb? Yeah, you know her. If you think
you don't, you either haven't gone out with
enough girls here at Michigan, or you must
not have a very good relationship with
Michigan football. Because that is what
Michigan football is.
I know. You're a little confused. "Michi-
gan football is like a girl? Huh?" Just bear
with me for a few minutes, and don't take
things literally. We all know the Wolverines
tackled like girls on Saturday against Cen-
tral, but I'm not talking about that.
I'm talking about how every single year,
no matter what happened the past year or
which players are coming back, we believe
that Michigan can win the national champi-
onship. We believe she's changed.
She won't nag at you because you never
take her to any nice places to eat. She won't
come out totally flat at home against Iowa
in the biggest game of the season. No way,
not this year. This relationship will be dif-
ferent, that's for sure.
She won't bitch at you for leaving the toi-
let seat up. If she falls in the toilet this
time, you won't hear a word about it. She
won't fumble away a rivalry game on the
road against the Irish. Won't pass interfere
or hit someone out of bounds to extend a

I

drive with the game on the line. Not this
year, not this relationship.
Won't tell you that she loves you and
then, two days later, tell you that she wants
to see other people. Won't play with your
emotions by leading Ohio State 9-7 in
Columbus, only to make no offensive
adjustments and lose 14-9. Won't tell you
that Valentine's Day isn't very important to
her, and then jump on a broom on V-Day
when all you do is buy her a biggie meal at
Wendy's. Won't call three running plays to
begin a New Year's Day bowl game. Not
this year, not this relationship.
Won't cheat on you with another guy
while abroad in Costa Rica, then come back
and tell you that she wants to be "independ-
ent." Won't jump ahead 28-10 in the second
quarter and end up losing the game twice in
one season. Won't beat you in beer pong,
no matter how much better she is than you,
because she knows it crushes you. Not this
year, not this relationship.
We just can't let her go. Part of the rea-
son is that even though she can be so
annoying and harsh, she's so damn gor-
geous. Those deep blue eyes. Those succu-
lent lips. Those winged helmets. Those
winged helmets. Those winged helmets.
Those maize-and-blue uniforms. The way
she walks into the door and the room lights
up. The way she runs through the tunnel
and the crowd goes wild. The aesthetic
value is enough by itself to keep us coming
back for more.
You may be wondering what is different
about being in a relationship with Michigan
than any other college or a pro team. As a
guy who's been in a lifetime relationship
with the Boston Red Sox and the Buffalo
Bills, trust me, there's a big difference.
They're the teams who you never believe
can win the championship because of all
the inhuman things they've done to you.
Michigan does just enough to keep you
coming back for more.
She'll drop anything for you if you really
need help. She'll win games she shouldn't
win like Penn State and Washington last
year, and then she'll give you some love in
the middle of the crowd. And here's the big-
gie - we know that she's capable of being
perfect. Hell, she did it in 1997! That's a

THE CLAWWW W!!!!!
Encyclopaedia Britannica describes the Wolverine as "the
meanest animal on the planet." The Wolverine is known in the
animal kingdom for its ferocity, toughness and sheer will-
power. So why fight it any longer? It's time to embrace this
mascot and start doing ... The Claw! After third down
defensive stops, the chop has been the traditional action for
Michigan students. But that's a thing of the past. It's time for a
change. The Claw is the future!

I

The Chop:
The true meaning
of this motion is not
really important
here. The point is,
it's a thing of the
past!

The one-hand-
ed Claw: Make
sure to keep
your elbow up,
your wrist
ocked and your
mouth open.

The two-handed Claw:
This is mainly reserved for
big stops, but just like when
you're playing sports, it's
always good to use two
hands. Really getyour
shoulders into this one.

The Ohio State Claw:
That's right. When the Buckeyes
come to town, Michigan must
play at a hi her leve . And as
such, the Claw must go to the
next level. There are no rules
here; just go crazy!

whole year without a mistake! Just the
chance of her pulling that off again is
enough to keep your car parked in the same
garage.
A friend gave a classic Michigan fan
analysis of Saturday's game against Central
Michigan. "There were some bad things,
but I think there were a lot more good
things."
OK. I'll give you that. But how long are
we going to put up with the bad things?
Will we ever look Michigan in the eye after

she breaks our hearts and say for one last
time, "It's over?"
No. Not if we really love Michigan. The
sick thing is that we love Michigan more
and more every time she breaks our heart.
And that is really the only major difference
between Michigan football and that girl we
all know and love: When she breaks our
heart time and time again, we'll eventually
get the hint that she's not good for us. But
Michigan can continue to send us into car-
diac arrest each fall, and we'll always come

back for more.
And that, as one friend said back in
April, "is why Michigan football will
always be the best."
Valentine's Day at the Big House anyone?
-J Brady McCollough is looking for the
perfect woman and the perfect football
team. He 'd rather have the perfect football
team. He can be reached at
bradymcc@umich.edu.

OHIO STATE
Continued from Page 1E
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 Michi-
gan 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 64-yard
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

down of the game, this one coming
on a 13-yard fade route over corner-
back Leon Hall.
Two drives later, Ohio State backup
quarterback Scott McMullen, filling
in for Krenzel who left with an
injured left shoulder, led the Buck-
eyes on a 10-play, 93-yard drive.
Lydell Ross quieted the Big House
crowd with a 2-yard touchdown run to
bring Ohio State within seven.
On the Wolverines' ensuing posses-
sion, Navarre underthrew Edwards,
and Ohio State cornerback Chris
Gamble intercepted the ball at the
Ohio State 36.
"We love sudden changes,"
Michigan linebacker Scott McClin-
tock said. "We thrive on it. We like
getting on the field with as much
on the line as possible."
With its season on the line, the Michi-
gan defense held strong, giving the ball
back to the Michigan offense at its 12.
Eight plays and 88 yards later, Michigan
tnn n _?I Mar nnn Prrv 51nr

formerly the Florida Citrus Bowl,
unless they are offered an at-large
berth to a BCS bowl.
No matter where the Wolverines
spend New Year's, they can look back
to Iowa. The Michigan seniors
addressed the whole team after that
game, letting their teammates know
that their season was far from over.
"We didn't really know what this
team was made of yet," Diggs
recalled.

The next week at Minnesota, trail-
ing 28-7, Diggs and the seniors got
their answer. The Wolverines showed
that they were made of championship
fabric, scoring 31 points in that fate-
ful fourth quarter to win 38-35.
"I'd be a fool to say it wasn't a
turning point," Perry said. "It showed
how much heart and pride we had
within ourselves.

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"A lot changed that
second half."

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