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September 09, 2005 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-09

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* Friday
September 9, 2005
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

e TdSgat Bailg

11

The

wait is over

No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 20 Notre Dame Tomorrow, 12 noon Michigan Stadium ABC

High-flying
offenses face
" Off tomorrow
With last year's 28-20 upset loss to Notre
Dame in South Bend fresh in the minds of
Michigan's football players, the No. 3 Wol-
verines prepare to host the No. 20 Irish
S tomorrow in a highly anticipated matchup.
Some things have changed since the teams
last met. Chad Henne has transformed him-
self from a fresh-faced rookie into a sea-
soned winner with big-game experience.
Mike Hart has emerged as a star runner who
can churn out yards with the nation's best.
But most of the national media attention
has been focused on Notre Dame's new head
coach Charlie Weis. In his debut last week
against then-No. 23 Pittsburgh, Weis steered
his formerly unranked team to a 42-21 upset
victory and garnered even more hype for his
resurgent squad.
Meanwhile, Michigan defeated Northern
Illinois at the Big House, 33-17, in the Wol-
verines' first action of the year. Now the two
longtime rivals square off in a game with
far-reaching national implications. Here's a
breakdown of the opposing units:
* Michigan passing offense vs. Notre
Dame passing defense:
Chad Henne looked extremely sharp in
the first half against Northern Illinois, com-
pleting 17 of 25 passes for 198 yards and two
touchdowns while spreading the ball around
to five different receivers. Jason Avant was
a star, hauling in nine throws for 127 yards
and a score in the win.
The Notre Dame secondary limited Pitts-
burgh stud quarterback Tyler Palko to just
220 yards and a touchdown and intercepted
him once in their defeat of the Panthers last
week. Considering Palko tossed the rock 35
times, that's quite an accomplishment. Still,
the Wolverines have so many weapons in
the passing game that it's hard not to like
Henne's chances for success this time.

Carr knows what he's doing. But it will still be
hard for the Wolverines to contain Notre Dame's
rushing attack.
Edge: Notre Dame'
e
Special teams: '
Michigan punter Ross Ryan has been a media
favorite since he recovered a fumbled punt return
on one of his own punts. The redshirt junior con-
sistently blasted kickoffs through the endzone,
notching five touchbacks.
Notre Dame's kicking game is anything but
suspect: D.J. Fitzpatrick was named to preseason
watch list for the Lou Groza Award and was a
perfect 6-for-6 in PATs last weekend. If the game
comes down to a late-second field goal, the Irish
have the edge. But look for Ryan to have another
standout game.
Edge: Push
Intangibles:
The Irish are riding high with a top-25 rank-
ing and booming confidence in a new coach.
It's hard to overestimate the effect that a morale
boost can have on a team's performance.
At the same time, the Wolverines and coach
FILE PHOTO Lloyd Carrare trying to answer questions about
a defense that surrendered an embarrassing 411
yards to a mid-major school. Any real or per-
way, the ceived lack of trust in the defense to stop the big
d to com- play, especially in an important game such as
ttack. this one, might be enough to shake this team's
mentally make up.
Edge: Notre Dame
Michigan
Pick: It's almost always a classic when these two
s starting historic rivals meet. With two high-powered offens-
promised es, tomorrow's matchup figures to be a shoot-out.
k. And the In the past few years, the Michigan-Notre
i had a lot Dame rivalry has been as competitive as ever.
ards on 17 The Irish won in 2002, the Wolverines embar-
s chipped rassed Notre Dame in 2003, and the Irish came
back to win at the last second in 2004. Look for
a strong Michigan to continue that trend tomorrow.
times for
Michigan 39, Notre Dame 34

The Wolverines will look to erase their mistakes from last year's Notre Dame game and defeat the Fighting Irish in emphatic fashion tomorrow.

Edge: Michigan
Michigan rushing offense vs. Notre Dame
rushing defense:
Behind Hart - who picked up 117 yards and
a ground score against the Huskies - stands
Kevin Grady, the tank-like freshman who bull-
dozed his way to 42 yards and a touchdown on
nine carries in his Michigan debut.
Notre Dame totaled eight tackles for loss last
week, but their play against the Pittsburgh run-
ning backs wasn't exactly impressive. Tailbacks
Raymond Kirkley Jr., Rashad Jennings and
LaRod Stephens picked up 110 yards on just 14
carries against the Irish.
In this matchup, it's hard to believe Notre
Dame's front seven will be able to contain Mich-

igan's ground game.
Edge: Michigan
Notre Dame passing offense vs. Michigan
passing defense:
Notre Dame's Brady Quinn had a breakout
game against Pittsburgh last Saturday, amassing
227 yards on 18-of-27 passing. Quinn completed
passes to seven different receivers, five of which
finished with at least three catches apiece.
Notre Dame's air attack should expose a
questionable Wolverines' secondary. Last week
Grant Mason was caught way out of position
and allowed Northern Illinois tailback Garrett
Wolfe to cut to the outside and run 76 yards for
the score.
With the hype machine whirling, Notre Dame

may be in store for a letdown. Either
Wolverines are just too inexperienced
pete with Weis's NFL-style offensive a
Edge: Notre Dame
Notre Dame rushing offense vs. N
rushing defense:
Clearly unhappy with the play of hi
front seven against the Huskies, Carr1
personnel changes on defense this week
Wolverines' difficulty stopping the run
to do with it. Wolfe finished with 148 ya
carries, and reserve tailback A.J. Harri
in another 54 yards.
Notre Dame's Darius Walker had
start to the season, carrying the ball 20
100 yards and a score.

MEpoS GOLF
Competition on golf course fuels future success

6)- X
5,

NOTES

By Alison Roberts
For the Daily

In a game so based on individual play,
Michigan golf coach Andrew Sapp and
his team have managed to make the
game of golf a team effort.
After all, it would be easy for such
a small group to be close especially
because they spend so much time on the
road together. This closeness can also be
a great help, with the players getting to
know their teammates games and help-

ing each other to strategize. This year,
Sapp has also been using challenges
within the team to help motivate the
golfers. The players are divided into a
Maize and a Blue team. They compete
every day in practice, offseason training
and even a mini Ryder Cup.
According to Sapp, a good start this
year is crucial, and it should be no prob-
lem considering the team's abilities.
"I think this year our team is much
deeper," Sapp said. "We have much
more experience; instead of one senior,

we have four."
Seniors like Christian Vozza and
Brandon Duff have proved to be great
leaders, both on and off the course.
Vozza ended the 2004-05 season as a
2005 Men's Big Ten Golf Sportsman-
ship nominee and Duff averaged 75.67
strokes per round. '
"They really lead the younger guys,"
Sapp said. "The freshmen and sopho-
mores need good guidance."
That's not to say the freshmen this
year can't hold their own. In fact, fresh-

man Bill Rankin qualified for this sea-
son's very first tournament. His career
at Michigan follows an impressive high
school career, including a spot on the
Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches
Association (MIGCA) Golf Super Team
in 2004 and the 2003 MIGCA Division
I All -State Team.
This fierce competition from the under-
classmen benefits the whole team. With
new additions to the team working hard
to win spots, the older players are golfing
better than ever to keep their spots.

But Sapp has more in mind for his
players than just the game of golf. It's
this competition and drive that no doubt
will propel the men's golf team to suc-
cess in their lives, whether in golf or in
their careers.
"Forty years from now, they'll
remember their time here at the Uni-
versity of Michigan," Sapp said. "They
will always be Michigan men and take
pride in that. They'll look back with fond
memories and look at it as a time of great
personal growth."

Cagers hold open
practice at Crisler
With all the excitement that Saturday's
Michigan-Notre Dame football game entails, it
might be easy to overlook the first open prac-
tice 'for the Michigan men's basketball team.
The team will begin the scrimmage at 9 a.m.
Michigan fans will be able to catch their first
glimpse of a team that returns all five starters
and 12 players altogether. Also, a free Michi-
gan T-shirt awaits the first 50 Maize Rage
members, as long as they are wearing a Maize
Rage T-shirt and at the practice by 10 a.m.
- Kevin Wright

Harriers hope balance will
pace another championship
By Kevin Wright
Daily SportsWriter

K.

' t'
~. ' -

After winning three consecutive Big Ten Chanpionships,
the Michigan women's cross country team is eager to con-
tinue the streak.
"We want to win the Big Ten, first and foremost," McGuire
said. "We feel that we are capable of doing that. Our focus
right now is on working on getting better."
With six starters returning from last year's championship
squad - including All-America senior Rebecca Walter -
the Wolverines seem well on their way.
Still, with every new season come new challenges,
and McGuire has already had to face a few, with Wal-
ter and senior Theresa Feldkamp still recovering from
minor injuries.
"I've had to be a little more patient," McGuire said. "We're
balancing the boat on the water right now (with some of our
injuries). What's made it a little more bearable is that some of
our other runners have really done their homework and are run-
ning well."
Also, with eight freshman runners seeing their first colle-
giate action, McGuire knows that there will be an adjustment
period. For that reason, he is just looking for the freshmen to
show steady improvement in these first few meets.
On the other side of the spectrum, the team has seven
seniors, including co-captains Walter and Feldkamp, to bal-
ance the inexperience of the young Wolverines. McGuire
believes that the winning attitude and strong leadership from
the proven seniors will allow the freshmen to find their role
on the team and run their best races without additional pres-
sure.

FILE PHOTO
Junior Katie Erdman - returning from an off-season injury
- will look to run a strong race tomorrow.

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