BIG HOUSE, BIG LOSSES
It's been a while, but Saturday wasn't the first time
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr suffered a loss at home.
The luck of the Irish or the suck of
Michigan? It deserves another look.
The SportsMonday Column
FIELD HOCKEY BEGINS TO CLIMB
After three consecutive los
Michigan evened its recorc
September 12, 2005
sses to start the season,
d with a pair of victories.
- - --- --- -- ------------- -
NOTRE DAME 17, MICHIGAN 10
" Did M's loss
ruin the day?
It shouldn't i
What can you say? It sucks.
could try to put it poetically; but I think that's
the perfect way to describe Saturday's game. The
hype leading up the game was pretty ridiculous - it was
even able to keep people's minds off Ohio State and Texas's
battle. The Big House was supposed to host a shootout of
epic proportions, but like so many times, the prognosticators
Before the game had even begun, I had a little talk with
my dad. I had heard through the grapevine that Mike Hart
may have hurt his hamstring, that
Tim Massaquoi was out with an
injury and that Mike Kolodziej was
also out. I had a feeling that the
injuries could really hurt Michigan's
chances for a victory, and then my
Dad made a good point.
"Don't let a potential loss ruin the
day for you, Matt."
He was right, but at the same
time, no one wants to lose that early
in the season - especially to a rival MATT
like Notre Dame. VENEGONI
So when the Irish marched down The Balls
the field on their opening drive and
made the Wolverines' defense look like a high school team,
I was a little worried. When the Michigan offense came out
and didn't pick up a first down, I was even more worried.
Lloyd's boys just didn't look sharp early on, or ever.
The crowd, hyped up early, was already out of the game.
Chad Henne and the rest of the offense were out of sync and
definitely were not looking like the offensive juggernaut that
everyone thought we would be. By the time the bottles had
been thrown, everyone knew the game was over. After the
game, it was like every one of my friends had become an
"Drowning my sorrows."
"Out, suppressing the feeling of utter disappointment that
comes from a loss in the Big House."
"I still need cheering up."
To me, even though the loss was a big, sad letdown, it was
hardly shocking. Our expectations are so high at Michigan
that any time we lose (Yeah, I'm using "we" even though I
don't suit up for the Wolverines.), the winds are taken out of
our collective sails.
It got me thinking - being a Michigan fan is like owning a
bus. This may seem like a stretch of a comparison but hear me
out. My buddy Rick owns a city bus, the size of one of those
blue buses here in Ann Arbor. My friends and I dedicated a
good portion of a summer to making it street legal and ready
for road trips. All the friends chipped in money, time, sweat
and all that good stuff. It was a glorious day when we finally
took it out for a little trip; we gassed it up and were gone. It was
fun, but the expectations were too high. The bus had such high
prospects, when people hear about it, they are sometimes let
down because we don't take it to too many places. (Kind of like
Michigan - it tends to let people down, too.)
You see, gas is expensive, buses are difficult to drive and
are people magnets. And people includes the police. So many
times, it just sits at Rick's house. Even though it's now nothing
more than a glorified trailer at times, I still love it. I wouldn't
change any part of it. It can aggravate, but it's the best, even if
See VENEGONI, page 5B
Michigan linebacker John Thompson blocks Northern Illinois placekicker Chris Nendick's 35-yard field goal attempt early In the third quarter of the Wolverines' 33-17 win Saturday.
ostly turnovers sin Wolverines at home
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
It was a stark contrast, if you had the stomach to look.
Debris rained down on the northwest corner of the Michi-
gan Stadium end zone with just over five minutes left on the
clock Saturday, the student section upset about referee. Bill
LeMonnier's replay ruling that quarterback Chad Henne had
fumbled the football at the goal line on a sneak attempt. Notre
Dame's Chinedum Ndukwe emerged from the pile with pos-
session, meaning the Fighting Irish would take over on their
own 20 yard line with a 17-3 lead over the Wolverines.
When time expired, quite a different scene presented itself
in the southwest corner of the Big House. Oblivious to the
downtrodden Michigan followers mourning their team's 17-10
loss, the Notre Dame players trotted to the green-hued swatch
of revelers who had traveled to Ann Arbor to support them.
Golden helmets raised, the victorious visitors saluted their
fans to raucous applause and cheers.
The gesture was more than a thank you for showing up,
though. It might have also had something to do with helping
the Irish create an invisible yet impregnable barrier across
the south goal line. The Wolverines were unable to put the
ball over that stripe in the second or third quarter. The closest
threat came during the first series of the third, when Henne
was intercepted by Notre Dame strong safety Tom Zbikowski
on the one yard line on a throw intended for tight end Tyler
Ecker. The pick seemed to knock the wind out of the already
struggling Michigan offense, which didn't mount another via-
ble drive until the closing minutes of the contest.
"Offensively, we just made too many mistakes in the red
zone," coach Lloyd Carr said. "You can't get the football down
there and give it away like we did and expect to win a game
The Wolverines' defense held Notre Dame to a respectable
244 total yards - especially impressive considering the unit's
much-publicized struggles last weekend against Northern Illi-
nois. This time, the finger-pointing was directed at the offense
and its numerous miscues throughout the second half. While
most fans were disappointed with Michigan's low first-half
totals of 51 rushing yards and 62 passing yards, the most frus-
trating events had yet to unfold.
"We lost a football game, but I think we found a defense,
Carr said. "I liked the way we played, from a standpoint of
effort and aggressiveness. I thought we were very physical. I
thought we took the fight to Notre Dame. They're a very tal-
ented offensive football team. (But) there's nothing good about
The Wolverines emerged from the locker room after half
time in a 14-3 hole, thanks to an effective, methodical opening
drive by Notre Dame that culminated with Brady Quinn toss-
ing a five-yard touchdown pass to Rhema McKnight. Fight-
ing Irish coach Charlie Weis used a no-huddle offense for
See IRISH, page SB
M' storms back to
cap weekend sweep
N MEN'S SOCCER
Blanks and reserves
lift Blue to late win
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
There was a buzz in the air on Satur-
day night as fans filed into Cliff Keen
Arena: the beats of pop hits new and
old reverberated off the arena walls,
children ran back and forth around
the court collecting stray volleyballs
,and the Michigan women's volleyball
team was relaxed, smiling and danc-
ing during pre-game warm-ups.
The team just needed one more win
to secure its second straight Pepsi/
,Nike Invitational championship. in as
many years but it wouldn't be easy.
After back-to-back wins against sub-
par competition, Michigan matched-
up against Illinois State: a team that
hits and blocks as well as the Wolver-
But Michigan put an exclamation
point to the end of the tournament
"They hit a lot of balls into our
blockers' hands, and they were just
swinging for broke," Rosen said.
"They were blowing our hands back
and getting balls to ricochet off our
block.' If we take care of those balls
that game is over a lot quicker."
The Wolverines (3-2) started out
well in the first game and took a 3-
1 lead after senior Megan Bowman's
kill. Soon, Illinois State (5-2) came
back and the game became a back-
and-forth matchup with long and
exciting rallies and thunderous kills -
from both sides of the net. Michigan
took the first game 30-28 after the
Redbirds committed an attack error, "
and blocking error for the Wolver-
ines' last two points.
In the match's second frame, they
Redbirds jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but
Michigan quickly fought back. Dur-
ing a particularly long rally, the Wol-
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer
With the score even and the sun beat-
ing down fifteen minutes into the sec-
ond half, the Michigan men's soccer
team decided to call in some reinforce-
The Wolverines (4-1) had just given
up a goal to Long Island (0-2), tying
the score at one. With just over 22 min-
utes remaining, Michigan coach Steve
Burns sent in four substitutes, includ-
ing senior forward Trai Blanks. Blanks
proceeded to convert the game-winning
goal, which led Michigan to a 3-1 vic-
tory over the Blackbirds in yesterday's
second game of the Michigan Invita-
tional at the U-M Soccer Field.
"Trai has been working extremely
hard with his finishing in those type
About 13 minutes beforehand, Long
Island's Jukka Lehto led a breakaway
down the left side of the field. He was
able to beat Michigan defenders Kevin
Savitskie and Michael O'Reilly on a
counterattack and take away the Wol-
verines' lead with a single kick.
Burns then decided to bring in some
fresh legs off the bench in order to
regain the momentum.
"Long Island had a nice goal, but it
was great to see us respond to that,"
Burns said. "It was a mature team that
went after it and said, 'OK, they got
their chance. Now let's see if we can
pull it out."'
Eight minutes after Blanks recap-
tured the lead for Michigan, the senior
added insult to injury by knocking in
an insurance goal at 80:37..Off a corner
kick from senior Ryan Sterba, Blanks