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October 10, 2005 - Image 14

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 10, 2005
Minnesota 23, Michigan 20

0

Third downs and
red zone haunt M'

GAME STATISTICS

Team Stats
First Downs
Rush/Yds
Passing Yards
Offensive Plays
Total Offense
Return Yards
Comp/Att/Int
Punts/Avg
Fumbles/Lost
Penalties/Yards
Time of Poss

MINN
23
57/264
139
80
403
112
11/23/0
5/195
2/1
9/95
32:50

MICH
19
34/94
155
63
249
263
14/29/0
6/212
0/0
4/51
27:10

By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Editor

On Saturday, Michigan was outplayed in
almost every statistical category. The Gophers
had more first downs, more yards and a lot more
rushing yards - 264 to 94. They ran more plays
and gained more per play than the Wolverines.
The Gophers even out-punted Michigan.
But at the end of Minnesota's 23-20 vic-
tory - after the Gophers had found the Little
Brown Jug on Michigan's sideline for the first
time in 19 years - two statistics stood out. The
Michigan offense will probably be haunted by
its horrible third-down conversion percentage
and its performance in the red zone.
Minnesota on third-down conversions: nine
of 17.
Michigan on third-down conversions: three
of 14.
Minnesota was five-for-five in the red zone.
Michigan's problem was not necessarily its rate
of success, but rather its number of trips. The
Wolverines were just two-for-three from inside
the 20.
"It's just that, when we got down to the 30-
yard line, we didn't finish," sophomore run-
ning back Mike Hart said. "That's what it
came down to."
The Wolverines picked up 19 first downs, but
couldn't sustain long drives. They didn't score
a single offensive point in the second half -
despite making it into Gophers' territory three
times in that span.
Sophomore quarterback Chad Henne, who
until Saturday had thrown a touchdown pass in
every game he had played in at Michigan, could
not get the offense going and finished the day
14-for-29 for just 155 yards. Henne had oppor-
tunities to make some plays, but he couldn't
convert. Battling the biting wind, he threw a
few erratic passes either high or off-target. But
his receivers also dropped five balls, including
a couple on third down.

"We just had a lot of opportunities that we
didn't take advantage of," Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr said. "We didn't block them well up front.
I don't think we protected the quarterback very
well. I think we dropped too many passes. I
think we had some open people that we missed.
Of course, we missed two field goals."
This isn't a new problem, either. Michigan is
second-to-last in the Big Ten in red-zone scor-
ing percentage. On the season, Michigan is 20-
for-29 with 14 touchdowns.
Near the end of the third quarter of Saturday's
contest - just after Minnesota had scored to
tie the game at 20 - Michigan was moving the
ball. Thanks to a Steve Breaston kickoff return
that went 95 yards for a touchdown, the offense
hadn't been on the field since before halftime
- Minnesota was out on the turf for 10:23 in the
third quarter, more than twice as long as Michi-
gan's time of possession. But at first the offense
didn't seem to miss a beat. Hart ran for four yards
and then Henne found Breaston for a nine-yard
gain. Michigan was down to the Minnesota 40-
yard line. Then the drive stalled five plays later,
placekicker Garrett Rivas lined up for a 42-yard
field goal and pulled it just left of the uprights.
Michigan left the field with no points.
"I don't know what it is," Avant said about
the team's struggles in the red zone. "We
haven't been able to run the ball particularly
well. We just let opportunities slip through our
hands. We need to realize a little more urgen-
cy down there."
Even Michigan's first touchdown can only
partially be credited to the offense. After all,
Michigan got the ball on Gophers' 23-yard
line thanks to a Minnesota fumble forced by
Michigan safety Willis Barringer. One pass to
Breaston and four Hart runs were enough to get
the Michigan offense into the end zone for the
first and only time of the game. The offense was
even stopped on that drive but went for it on
fourth-and-goal from the one, and Hart willed
the ball across the goal line.

M I C H I G A N

PASSING
Player
Henne
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Hart
Manningham
Henne
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Avant
Breaston
Manningham
Thompson
Tabb
Hart
Totals

C-A
14-29
14-29

Yds TD
155 0
155 0

Att
28
2
4
34
No.
6
3
2
14
14

Yds
109
5
-17
94
Yds
73
45
15
11
7
4
155

Avg
3.9
1.0
-4.3
2.8
Avg
12.2
15.0
7.5
11.0
7.0
4.0
9.8

Lg
20
7
2
20
Lg
18
18
11
11
7
4
18

Int
0
TO
TD-
1
0
1
TO
TD
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

PUNTING
Playert
Ryan
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No.
Breaston 5
Massey, M. 1
Totals 6
PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
Breaston 2
Totals 2
DEFENSE
Player
Harris
Woodley
Hall
Mason
Burgess
Massey, P.
Watson
Graham
Barringer
Branch
Harrison
Adams
Jambson
Logan
Englemon
Thompson
Taylor
Hood
Tabb
Campbell
Trent
Totals

No. Yds Avg Lg
6 212 35.3 45
6 212 35.3 45

Yds
185
-3
172
Yds
25
26
Solo
15
7
7
5
6
4
4
4
3
2
3
2
0
1
19

Avg
37.0
-3
28.7

Lg
95
0
95

MIKE HULSESUS/Daily
Running back Mike Hart (20) ran for 109 yards and Michigan's lone offensive touchdown. The Wolverines were
just 3-for-14 on third-down conversions and managed to make it into Minnesota's red zone a mere three times.

Avg Lg
12.5 13
12.5 13
Asst
3
2
1
3
3
3
2
2
2
0
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
26

TD
1
0
O
TD
0
0
Tot
18
9
8
8
7
7
7
6
5
4
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
~1
94

Penalty-filled effort mars Michigan loss

By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Editor
The most talked about miscue of
Saturday's loss came on Minneso-
ta's final drive when the Michigan
defense was caught out of position
and Gophers tailback Gary Russell
broke a 61-yard run to the outside to
set up the game-winning field goal.
ButIt 6 rtainly,
wasn't the first
mistake of the day
for the Wolverines.
After making it 80
to halftime without
a single penalty,
Michigan commit-
ted four for 51 yards in the second
half, three of which were on Minne-
sota scoring drives. All four penal-
ties were called against the defense.
On the Gophers' first posses-
sion of the third quarter, Michi-
gan defensive end Alan Branch
sacked quarterback Bryan. Cupito,
but Branch grabbed his facemask
while bringing him to the ground
and Michigan was penalized 15
yards. Minnesota placekicker Jason
Giannini connected on a 26-yard
field goal at the end of that drive to
tie the game at 13.
With Michigan leading 20-13,
cornerback Leon Hall was called
for pass interference while defend-
ing Minnesota receiver Logan
Payne on the first play of the drive.
Four plays later, Mason was cover-
ing receiver Ernie Wheelwright on
a deep route down the left sideline
when he was whistled for interfer-
ence. The drive ended with Gophers
running back Laurence Maroney
scoring on a pitch from Cupito.
Mason was charged with a second
pass interference penalty on Wheel-
wright early in the fourth quarter.

"The call is on the official,"
Mason said. "On the deep ball, I hit
(Wheelwright), and I guess the ball
was in the air ... On the short play,
I got there a little early. I was trying
to get to the ball, and I guess I went
through him to get to the ball."
Heading into the game, Michi-
gan was the Big Ten's second-least
penalized team in terms of yardage,
having committed 23 penalties for
154 yards in five games.
But too often, those mistakes
have come at inopportune moments
for the Wolverines.
"I think that's been our issue,"
defensive line coach Steve Strip-
ling said. "Critical downs we have
not performed, whether it's offense,
defense or in the kicking game."
RETURN MAN: One of the few
bright spots in Michigan's loss was
the return of wide receiver Steve
Breaston. In his first two seasons,
Breaston scored three touchdowns
off punt returns and averaged more
than 24 yards per kickoff return.
But the redshirt junior has strug-
gled for much of this season and
missed the Michigan State game
due to injury. He looked to recap-
ture some of last year's form on Sat-
urday. Breaston caught three passes
for 45 yards - doubling the total
number of receiving yards he has
gained this season.
But his 95-yard kickoff return put an
exclamation point on his comeback.
Following Giannini's 26-yard
field goal that tied the game at 13
early in the third quarter, Breaston
took the kickoff at the five and
sliced through Minnesota defend-
ers up the middle of the field.
Near midfield, Breaston cut to the
right and tiptoed along the sideline
before cutting back into the middle
and running into the end zone.

Breaston's touchdown gave Mich-
igan a 20-13 lead with more than
12 minutes remaining in the third
quarter. But the Wolverines were
unable to capitalize on Breaston's
spark and failed to score for the rest
of the contest.
"It came right after Minnesota
tied the game up," coach Lloyd
Carr said of the return. "A play like
that would normally give you some
momentum and get the crowd into
it. We just weren't able to do that."
It was Michigan's first kickoff
return for a touchdown since 1994,
when Seth Smith ran a kickoff back
100 yards against Wisconsin on
Oct. 29. Breaston also tied Des-
mond Howard for the fourth-longest
return in Michigan history. In all,
Breaston returned five kickoffs for
185 yards in the losing effort.
INJURY UPDATE: Michigan lost one
of its top defenders when safety
Willis Barringer suffered an appar-
ent knee injury on the first series
of the third quarter. He was later
carted off the field just more than
two minutes into the fourth quarter
and did not return.
Before suffering the injury, the
senior had recorded five tackles
and had forced a fumble. Freshman
safety Brandon Harrison replaced
Barringer and notched three tackles
in the game.
"It always hurts to lose a player
like Willis because he brings so
much energy and experience to the
position," Mason said. "But we've
got some guys that can come in and
make plays, and I think Brandon
did a good job."
Barringer was seen leaving the
stadium with a brace on his left
knee. Carr didn't comment on Bar-
ringer's status, but Mason said he
believes Barringer is "just banged

BIG TEN STANDINGS

Team

Big Ten Overall

Penn State
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Iowa
Indiana
Michigan State
Ohio State
Northwestern
Michigan
Purdue
Illinois

v 5 v " v:ar ww

3
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
0
0

0
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2
3

6.
5
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
2
2

0
1
1
2
1
1
2
2
3
3
4

THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
Minnesota 23, MICHIGAN 20
NORTHWESTERN 51, Wisconsin 48
INDIANA 36, Illinois 13
Iowa 34, PURDUE 17
PENN STATE 17, Ohio State 10
'M' SCHEDULE

d r$Y >clr.
h..
. .:.Y.a .L..,. .r: .{:fit.., ...:. 't .0

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Cornerback Grant Mason (13) was whistled for two pass-interference penalties on
Saturday. Michigan was plagued by flags at inopportune moments against Minnesota.

up a little bit."
Junior safety Brandent Engle-
mon also left the game in the fourth
quarter with an injury.
The injury news was more posi-
tive for the offense. In addition to

Breaston, right tackle Mike Kolodziej
and wide receiver Doug Dutch
returned to action after missing time
with undisclosed injuries. Neither
Kolodziej nor Dutch had played since
Notre Dame on Sept. 10.

Date
Sept. 3
Sept. 10
Sept. 17
Sept. 24
Oct. 1
Oct. 8
Oct. 15
Oct. 22
Oct. 29
Nov. 12
Nov. 29

opponent Time/Result
Northern Illinois W, 33-17
Notre Dame L, 10-17
Eastern Michigan W, 55-0
at Wisconsin L, 20-23
at Michigan State W, 34-31
Minnesota L, 20-23
Penn State TBA
at Iowa TBA
at Northwestern TBA
Indiana TBA
Ohio State noon

0

I

WEEKEND'S BEST
VINCE'S REVENGE: One year removed
from being shutout by the Sooners,
quarterback Vince Young put on a
dominating performance in the Red
River Shootout to give the Longhorns
their first win against Oklahoma in
five years. In the 45-12 victory, Young
threw three touchdown passes and ran
for 45 yards as he continued to solidify
his Heisman candidacy. The Texas
defense held the Sooners, who lost
running back Adrian Peterson to injury
early in the game, to just 171 yards.
The win continues Texas's 12-game
winning streak that it has held since

HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED

NEW AP
TOP 25

Associated Press Poll for the week of Oct. 2
Games updated through Oct. 8

(first-place votes in parentheses)

Team:
1. Southern Cal
2. Texas
3. Virginia Tech
4. Florida State
5. Georgia
6. Ohio State
7. Alabama
8. Tennessee
9. Miami
10. California
11. Louisiana State

Last week:
beat Arizona 42-21
beat Oklahoma 45-12
beat Marshall 41-14
beat Wake Forest 41-24
beat Tennessee 27-14
lost to Penn State 17-10
DNP
lost to Georgia 27-14
beat Duke 52-7
lost to UCLA 47-40
beat Vanderbilt 34-6
nni 0

This week:
at Notre Dame
Colorado
DNP
at Virginia
at Vanderbilt
Michigan State
at Mississippi
DNP
at Temple
Oregon State
Florida

TEAM
1. Southern Cal (58)
2. Texas (7)
3. Virginia Tech
4. Florida State
5. Georgia
6. Alabama
7. Miami
8. Penn State
9. Notre Dame
10. Louisiana State
11. Florida
12. UCLA
13. Texas Tech
14. Boston College

REC
5-0
5-0
6-0
5-0
5-0
5-0
4-1
6-0
4-1
3-1
5-1
5-0
5-0
5-1

PTS
1,618
1,565
1,493
1,393
1,389
1,244
1,205
1,096
1,058
1,057
935
889
794
656

PYS
1
2
3
4
5
7
9
16
12
11
13
20
15
18

I

I

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