4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 15, 2004
MICHIGAN 42, NORTHWESTERN 20
Breaston 'back' after
Time of Poss
By Gennaro Filice
Daily Sports Editor
All season, one question has constantly sur-
rounded the Michigan football program: What hap-
pened to Steve Breaston?
Breaston - who thrilled Michigan Stadium with
his big-play ability as a redshirt freshman in 2003
- had relatively disappeared from the Wolverine
attack. But on Saturday, the sophomore wide receiver
refreshed every fan's memory in the fourth quarter
with a 10-yard touchdown catch and a 67-yard punt
return score in the span of just 35 seconds.
"Stevie B, he's back," freshman running back
Mike Hart said. "He's been a little hurt, but he's
In his finest game of the season, Breaston com-
piled 54 yards on five catches, 32 yards on two
rushes, 112 yards on four punt returns and 79 yards
on three kick returns.
"He's a playmaker," senior receiver Jermaine
Gonzales said following Michigan's 42-20 win.
"(When) Steve has the ball in his hands, you know
something special's going to happen. Today, he just
displayed a lot of different ways what he can do
when he has the ball."
Prior to Saturday, Breaston - who earned a bevy
of preseason accolades from multiple publications
- had put together unexpectedly average numbers
in 2004. In eight of Michigan's first nine games
(Breaston did not play against Indiana because of a
broken finger), No. 15 had 22 catches for 148 yards
and a touchdown. Breaston's average of 6.7 yards
per catch was very uncharacteristic of the shifty
North Braddock, Pa., native. On punt return, where
Breaston won over the hearts of Maize and Blue
faithful last year, Breaston looked indecisive and
averaged just 9.6 yards a pop.
A lot of the blame for Breaston's lack of produc-
tion was placed on his multiple injuries. Breaston
had foot surgery in the offseason and suffered a
broken finger in his left hand against Iowa.
"(Steve's been) playing through injury all year,
fighting through it," Gonzales said.
Junior tight end Tim Massaquoi applauded
Breaston for just staying on the field and maintain-
ing a positive outlook.
"It's amazing how he worked through (injury)
and just kept on playing and kept on coming every
day to practice," Massaquoi said. "He never really
was down. He was irritated by injury - he said it to
me once. But he never really was down."
Entering Saturday, Breaston felt as healthy as he
has in a long time.
"I think going into the bye week and all last week
during practice, I felt real good," Breaston said. "I
felt like I was getting back in shape and I felt that
my foot was a whole lot better.
"I felt that I was getting my speed back."
This renewed vigor really began to show in the
third quarter. On Michigan's first drive of the sec-
ond half, Breaston took a reverse and scampered 20
yards to the Northwestern nine-yard line, setting up
Hart's second touchdown.
Breaston started Michigan's next drive with a 39-
yard punt return and helped end it by drawing atten-
tion from the Wildcats' secondary. The Wolverines
faced a third-and-four from the Northwestern 14-
yard line. Breaston initially lined up at tailback,
but then went in motion and stopped next to Jason
Avant. The motion seemed to disturb Northwest-
ern's coverage scheme, and Michigan quarterback
Chad Henne found Avant wide open in the corner
of the endzone to put Michigan up 21-13.
"Right now, I'm just living through Jason and
Braylon (Edwards), getting open and getting plays,"
Breaston said. "I'm just doing my part."
With just under nine minutes left in the fourth
quarter, Henne hit Breaston on a corner route for a
10-yard touchdown. After Michigan stopped North-
western, Breaston received Brian Huffman's punt at
the 33-yard line, burst through two defenders, headed
to the Northwestern sideline and outran Huffman for
his first special teams touchdown of 2004.
"It takes a while to get yourself back and get into
the groove," sophomore receiver Carl Tabb said.
"And he certainly got himself into a zone. Once
Steve's into the zone, he's hard to stop."
M I C H I G A N
No. Yds Avg Lg
4 142 35.5 42
4 142 35.6 42
Steve Breaston ran back a punt 67 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
defense pays again for being overaggressive
By Bob Hunt
daily Sports Editor
Some of the moments that have
the most this sea-
son have been
vhen safety Ernest
Shazor has flown
to the ball. Even
comes in from the
backer mentality and stop the ball
carrier near the line of scrimmage.
But in the Wolverines' last two
games, the aggression of the defense
has been as much of a hindrance as
asset. Michigan State and Northwest-
ern each have used Michigan's quick
pursuit to the ball to its advantage,
taking counters and delayed screens
for big plays.
On Saturday, Northwestern run-
ning back Noah Herron took a shot-
gun counter draw and found himself
all alone on the near sideline after he
ran past Michigan's pursuit.
The play turned into a 68-yard
touchdown scamper. At the end of the
day, the Wolverines' defense, which
used to rank No. 1 in the nation in
rushing defense, had given up 405
"We're definitely disappointed
with the amount of yards that we
gave up," Michigan defensive end Pat
Northwestern's significant drives
in the first half also included plays
that involved either a screen or coun-
always seems to be able to use a line-
ter play going for a big gain. The
Wildcats' first field goal was set up
by Herron's 29-yard counter draw on
a play similar to his touchdown run.
Their 61-yard drive in the second
quarter, which eventually resulted in
a blocked field goal, included a 30-
yard pass on a misdirection play to
tight end Taylor Jones.
"Michigan State hit us with it,
so we knew that Northwestern was
going to do it because they have a
similar type of offense," sophomore
free safety Ryan Mundy said. "It's
just a missed assignment. All it takes
is one person, and we just got to
clean those things up."
Michigan State first exploited
Michigan's aggressiveness two
weeks ago when it used a number of
counter draws to gain 368 yards on
the ground. DeAndra Cobb ran for
two long touchdowns of 72 and 64
yards on counter plays, which helped
the Spartans amass a 27-10 lead.
The Wolverines are conscious of
what is happening to them, but face
a catch-22 when they go to Colum-
If they are not as aggressive, then
they can more easily stop the coun-
ters and draws that have been used
against them. But if they do, they
would also risk hindering what has
symbolized the defense as a unit in
"You can't take away our aggres-
siveness," Mundy said. "Even though
we may miss a few tackles here and
there, we've always got guys flying
to the ball. If everyone flies to the
ball, and keeps the ball in the frame-
work of the defense, those plays are
not going to happen."
BLOCKING MACHINE: Defensive
tackle Pat Massey has been tough to
handle this season, as his 6-foot-7
frame has blocked two crucial field
goals. In the first quarter of Satur-
day's game, Massey broke through
the middle on the line and blocked
a field goal attempt with his right
Despite the runaway Michigan
victory, Massey's block had sig-
nificance at the time. Northwestern
would have taken a lead into half-
Massey also blocked the kick
without the advantage of a full
rush, as Michigan used a "one safe"
blocking scheme, which protects
against a fake.
Earlier this season, Massey
blocked a kick against Purdue as
time expired in the first half, pre-
serving a 10-7 Michigan lead. The
Brecksville, Ohio, native says that
taking three points away from the
opposition is simple: Just get a good
push on the ball.
"We got a good push upfront,
and any time you got a good push
upfront, your chances are a whole lot
better of blocking the kick," Massey
said. "Once I got some penetration, I
put my hands up, and I happened to
block the kick.
INJURY UPDATES: Senior inside line-
backer Scott McClintock didn't play
on Saturday, as Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr said that he had the flu.
Senior Joey Sarantos took his place
in Michigan's 3-4 formation. Carr
added that he believed McClintock
would be available for Saturday's
game in Columbus.
Junior safety Willis Barringer was
carted off in the third quarter after
being injured on kickoff coverage.
Carr said that Barringer told him
that he thinks he will also be fine for
Sophomore free safety Ryan Mundy
had a stinger in the second half, but
said that he should be in good condi-
tion for the trip to Ohio State.
NOTES: Michigan finished the sea-
son with an average home attendance
of 111,025, which is the largest in
Michigan history ... Mike Hart's 34-
yard touchdown run in the first quar-
ter was the longest of his career and
Michigan's longest of the season.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Big Ten Overall
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS:
MICHIGAN 42, Northwestern 20
MICHIGAN STATE 49, Wisconsin 14
Iowa 29, MINNESOTA 27
Penn State 22, INDIANA 18
PURDUE 24, Ohio State 17
NEXT WEEKEND'S GAMES
Michigan at Ohio State, 1 p.m.
Michigan State at Penn State, Noon
Indiana at Purdue, Noon
Illinois at Northwestern, Noon
Wisconsin at Iowa, 4:30 p.m.
Sophomore LaMarr Woodley bats down a pass attempt by Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for the week of Nov. 9
NEW AP TOP 25
Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk
CONSPIRACY THEORY: After his
Kansas team lost to Texas 27-23,
coach Mark Mangino accused
Big 12 officials of favoring Texas
so that the Big 12 can have a
second BCS team and, of course,
more money. A controversial
offensive pass interference call
on Kansas cost the Jayhawks
control of the ball and, eventu-
ally, the game. Mangino later
released a statement retracting
his comments and adding that he
I l ar... - ... aA h n o
help Auburn's chance to make a
trip to the Orange Bowl.
GIVING 'DARK HORSE' NEW
to spoil the BCS - and the Utes
appear ready to let nothing stand
in their way. Not even playing in
the dark. A power outage delayed
Utah's game at Wyoming for 99
minutes before the game began
under minimal lighting. Still, the
Utes showed no sign of being
-n~j H +hu rhIoe m rr fina nut
(first-place votes in parentheses)
Games updated through Nov. 14
1. Southern cal.
11. Florida St.
beat Arizona 49-9
beat Nebraska 30-3
beat Georgia 24-6
lost to Michigan St. 49-14
beat Washington 42-12
beat Kansas 27-23
beat Utah 45-28
lost to Auburn 24-6
beat Northwestern 42-20
lost to Miami 31-21
beat N.C. State 17-10
at Ohio State
at Georgia Tech
1. Southern Cal. (51)
2. Auburn (6)
2. Oklahoma (8)
10. Florida State
13. Boise State
1 g Tnnace
No game in college football is as highly
anticipated as the annual battle between
Michigan and Ohio State. This year brings
even more excitment with Maurice Clarett's
accusations against Tressel and the Ohio
State administration and SBC's attempt to
sponsor the .classic. While Ohio State has
struggled this season and has four losses,
it has plenty of motivation: The Buckeyes
can prevent Michigan from clinching an