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6- The Michigan Daily - Football Saturday- November 13, 2004
Blue eyes perfect season in the Big House
The Michigan Daily - Foc
The next big thing?
High school phenom Kevin Grady is bringing his act to Ann Arbor
By Chris Burke * Daily Sports Editor
Marvin Ward (5-foot-il) - are under-
sized,so the Wildcats may give 6-foot-
3 Herschel Henderson a chance to stop
Edwards. But, this shouldn't have much
of an effect on No. 1.
ore, who's grabbed 54 balls for 633 yards
and two touchdowns. But Philmore won't
play because of a right knee strain, so
Basenez will look to Jonathan Fields, who
has recorded 33 catches for 475 yards and
three scores. Michigan ranks third in the
nation with 15 interceptions, so it won't
be much of a surprise if Basenez adds on
to his season total of seven picks.
INTANGIBLES: One week away from
what is arguably the biggest rivalry game
in college football, Michigan could eas-
ily overlook a better-than-average North-
western team. The Wildcats have nothing
to lose, as nobody expects them to come
into the Big House and snap Michigan's
14-game home winning streak.
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE vS. NORTH-
WESTERN RUSHING DEFENSE: Michigan's
Mike Hart has posted three straight 200-
yard rushing efforts entering this contest.
The true freshman paces the Big Ten in
rushing yards per game (129.8) and all-
purpose yards per game (148.2) - and
these gaudy numbers include Michigan's
first two games, in which Hart played
sparingly. The Wildcats boast a bulky
front four, but the defense is paced by
middle linebacker Tim McGarigle, who
leads the nation with 113 tackles.
It would appear that freshman Mike Hart has
solidified his spot in Michigan's backfield for the
But Hart might want to save some room at running
back for Kevin Grady.
Because Grady, a senior at East Grand Rapids
High School, has spent the last four years rewriting
the record books for the state of Michigan, and will
soon be wearing the Maize and Blue.
The 5-foot-Il, 225-pound bruiser has used his senior
season to set the Michigan state marks for career rush-
ing attempts (1,118), points scored (918), touchdowns
(150), consecutive games over 100 yards (24) and
rushing yards. That last record stands as Grady's most
impressive - through the district final playoff game
on Nov. 5, Grady has 8,287 yards in his career, good
enough to blow by the prior record of 7,813 yards.
Still not impressed?
In that district final - an East Grand Rapids win
- Grady ran for 384 yards and four touchdowns,
while also playing linebacker and returning kicks.
"We've said if we're going to go down, we're going
to go down swinging and giving it to the big horse,"
East Grand Rapids coach Peter Stuursma said. "He's
the best player I've ever been around, absolutely."
Michigan started heavily recruiting Grady while
he was a freshman at East Grand Rapids, and he
committed in his junior season - a season in which
he was named the EA Sports National Junior Player
of the Year. In 2003, he posted eye-popping numbers
that included 2,507 yards and 43 touchdowns.
Grady has kept on rolling this year, cruising over
2,000 yards - with 2,221 yards so far- for the third
straight season to set the career rushing record.
Chad Henne will look to air it out against a suspect Northwestern secondary.
By Gennaro Filice
Daily Sports Writer
With a win over Northwestern (4-2 Big
Ten, 5-4 overall), Michigan would fin-
ish off its second consecutive undefeated
season in the Big House. But the Michigan
Stadium experience this year has been
vastly different than it was a year ago. In
2003, the Wolverines won at home by an
average of nearly 32 points. Not including
a 43-10 drubbing of Miami (Ohio) in the
season opener, the Wolverines (6-0, 8-1)
are winning by just under seven points per
game at home this season, and two of those
victories - over Minnesota and Michigan
State - required 1th-hour comebacks.
The last time Northwestern left Ann
Arbor with a win was in 1995, when the
Wildcats beat Michigan 19-13 and went
on to win the Big Ten title, playing in their
first Rose Bowl (or bowl game, for that
matter) since 1949.
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE vS. NORTH-
WESTERN PASSING DEFENSE: Braylon
Edwards is the only Big Ten player and
the only wide receiver named as a final-
ist for the Walter Camp Football Founda-
tion Player of the Year award. Edwards
is probably the best pass-catcher in the
college game today and may be the best
receiver ever to put on a winged helmet.
He should enjoy another big day against
a lackluster Wildcat secondary that's giv-
ing up 253 passing yards per game (102nd
nationally). Northwestern's top two cor-
nerbacks - Jeff Backes (5-foot-9) and
NORTHWESTERN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE: Entering
Michigan's last game two weeks ago
against Michigan State, the Wolver-
ines boasted the No. 3 rushing defense
in the country. But DeAndra Cobb and
the Spartans ran wild in the Big House,
totaling 368 yards on the ground. This
poor outing dropped Michigan to No. 18
against the run. Northwestern's running
attack in the spread offense is extremely
similar to Michigan State's. Running
back Noah Herron has produced four
100-yard games in his last five outings
and is the only runner to surpass 100
yards this season against the tough Wis-
consin defense. Herron ranks second in
the Big Ten in rushing yards per game
(115.3) and paces the conference in rush-
ing touchdowns (11).
Prediction: Michigan is the much
better team, and as long as the Wolver-
ines haven't began to anticipate the show-
down in Columbus, the game should be
relatively boring for the national audience
watching on ABC. The only way North-
western can keep folks from changing the
channel in the first half is if it can dupli-
cate the Spartans' ground dominance,
which, against a speedy Wolverine D', is
much easier said than done.
MICHIGAN 34, NORTHWESTERN 14
"It wasn't really my biggest thing to go into the
season thinking that I had to get the record," Grady
said. "Winning is more important to me."
What's most important for Michigan is that Grady
has proven to be virtually unstoppable during his
career, making undersized defender after undersized
defender look like a deer in the headlights.
In fact, Grady has a hard time remembering a sin-
gle play - not one - in his four years of high school
ball where a defender drove him back on a tackle.
"Maybe my freshman year against Catholic (Cen-
tral)," Grady said. "I try to run forward, leaning for-
ward, so when I do get hit, I fall forward. That's a
good quality for any back to have, being able to fall
forward and get that extra yard that you need."
That particular trait is something that Michigan
fans have come to love in Hart. And in light of
Hart's spectacular - and unexpected - year run-
ning the ball for Michigan, one might expect Grady
to redshirt. But the top-10 national recruit has no
such thoughts. As a matter of fact, Grady is gradu-
ating from East Grand Rapids in December, so he
can begin classes at Michigan and practice with the
Wolverines in the spring - something former Ohio
State running back Maurice Clarett did prior to a
huge freshman season, but an activity that's excep-
"It was something that I wanted to do, and the
coaches thought it was a good idea that I come down
and get the early jump," said Grady of his premature
graduation. "I'd like to come in and play, but if it works
out that I have to sit behind Mike, then so be it."
Stuursma, for one, believes that Grady has so
NORTHWESTERN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: Quarterback
Brett Basenez is erratic in running North-
western's spread offense. When Basenez
is on top of his game, as he was in his 513-
yard, four-touchdown performance in the
season opener against TCU, he looks like
one of the Big Ten's best signal-callers.
But he's inconsistent. Two weeks ago,
Basenez struggled mightily in a 13-10
win over Purdue, going 1l-for-30 for 148
yards. His pass efficiency of 110.5 ranks
10th in the Big Ten. Basenez's favorite
target this season has been Mark Philm-
SPECIAL TEAMS: Backes is an explosive
kick returner, as his 30.3-yards per return
indicates, but that's the only bright spot
in the Wildcats' special teams. North-
western's kicking is horrendous - kicker
Brian Huffman has hit just seven field
goals in 17 tries.
Maize and Blue faithful are still chomp-
ing at the bit to see Steve Breaston's first
special teams touchdown of 2004. Michi-
gan placekicker Garrett Rivas has ice in
his veins when the game's on the line.
much working in his favor that he has a chance to
play - and not just because of Grady's obvious abili-
ties on the gridiron.
"What do they want at the University of Michi-
gan? They want a kid that's a team player - done,"
Stuursma said. "They want a kid that's going to work
extremely hard - done. They want a kid that's going
to compete - done. They've got those things. They
AP PHOTO want an intelligent football player - they have that.
Running back Kevin Grady drags defenders during East Grand Rapids's state championship victory over "What Kevin has to do is worry about things that
Allen Park last year. he can control because (Michigan brings) in Kevin
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THE 2005 RECRUTS
Kevin Grady is unanimously ranked as
one of the top recruits in the country.
Besides Grady, Ii other high school
players have verbally committed to
Michigan's program. They are:
Carson Buder DE 6-6/235
Mario Manningham WR 6-0/174
TirnMcAvoy OL 6-6/270
Chris McLaurin DE 6-4/217
Zoltan Mesko K 6-4/230
Chris Richards ATH 6-0/155
LaTerryal Savoy WR 6-2/195
Justin Schifano OL 6-5/300
Johnny Sears DB 6-1/175
Mister Simpson R B 5-10/195
Terrance Taylor DT 6-1/285
Another five-star recruit, cornerback
Justin King from Pittsburgh is expected
to announce his college choice on Mon-
day according to The Patriot News of
Harrisburg, Pa., which lists Michigan
and Penn State as two of King's favor-
ites. Michigan could use King with cor-
ners Marlin Jackson and Markus Curry
graduating ft r this 'ear.