4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 21, 2005
5, Michigan 21
Loss merely a microcost
Start with extremely high expectations,
immediately get put in place, then make
everyone believe something great can hap-
pen, only to fall short.
I'm not just talking about the pat-
tern over a period of a three-month
season. I'm talking about the pattern
over a 60-minute game. This game.
The Wolverines have a knack for
stringing their fans along, allowing
them to believe just long enough.
The preseason hype: I don't know
if everyone remembers, but Michigan
was supposed to be one of the nation's
elite this year - up there with South-
ern Cal and Texas State. It was a team
with all the tools. A national title con- L
tender with an unstoppable offense. HE
But that was just the hype. A loss to The Spo
Notre Dame quickly put everyone in Co
their places and lowered the goals of
the Michigan faithful to a "reason-
able" level - a Big Ten Championship.
The pregame hype: Coming into Saturday's
game, the aura around the Michigan program was
pretty much as high as it had been all year. The
way Michigan had stormed through big games over
the last four games - games against undefeateds
Penn State and Michigan State and on the road at
Iowa and Northwestern - and the way teams such
as Wisconsin so predictably blew it had fans think-
ing about a Big Ten Championship.
After coming out of the gates fast - I'd call a
defensive stop for negative-four yards
and an incomplete pass fast - the
Wolverines gave up their first big play.
It was a 15-yard pass to Santonio Hol-
mes that gave Ohio State a first down
on third-and-14. When the Buckeyes
scored six minutes later, the 111,000
fans at Michigan Stadium seemed to
let out a collective gasp, and they low-
ered their standards to a more reason-
able goal of not getting embarrassed
by the Buckeyes.
N The game starts to slip away:
BERT On Saturday, things only got worse
sWonday for Michigan after the offense's first
o drive. The Wolverines were stopped
cmn on fourth-and-one from Ohio State's
28-yard line after a bullet from Chad
Henne zoomed by wideout Jason Avant. Then
Ohio State got the ball back. Troy Smith marched
his team 42 yards on 11 plays and Josh Huston
nailed the 47-yard field goal to go up 9-0. Because
of Michigan's inability to run the ball and help-
lessness against Troy Smith a win seemed almost
m of disappointing year
The season starts to slip away: Things only got Ohio State's mobile quarterback, Troy Smith. Even
worse for Michigan's season two weeks after Notre though Michigan was out-played all day, it looked
Dame, when the Wolverines journeyed to Wiscon- as if it might pull out a win.
sin. Another loss - on a final-minute drive by the The game's collapse: Reverting back to a
Badgers - put Michigan behind in the Big Ten familiar trend, the Michigan defense gave up a
race, and a loss to Minnesota two weeks later made game-winning drive in the final minute - it was
-it seem almost impossible. the fifth time this year the Wolverines collapsed to
The season's comeback: It was the string of finish the game. Smith walked all over them, mak-
four wins in the middle of the Big Ten season that ing big play after big play. He ran for 14 yards on
really had hopes high heading into "The Game." third-and-10 and threw two 26-yard passes to break
It was the come-from-behind wins against Penn Michigan's back. The hopes of a third straight Big
State and Iowa and the defense's new uncanny abil- Ten championship disappeared and the student sec-
ity to stop good offenses, combined with missteps tion stood in disbelief.
from preseason favorites Purdue and Iowa that The season's collapse: Back to one more trend:
revived fans' spirits. Even without Mike Hart, the Michigan lost another big game. The team is now 3-
offense won games on last-second drives against 9 in the last four years in bowl games and in games
Penn State and Iowa, and it looked as if everything against Notre Dame and Ohio State. It broke the
was finally clicking; it looked as if Henne was in a hearts of everyone in the Big House, not to mention
groove; it looked as if, with a little help, Michigan the millions of fans watching across the country.
might win the Big Ten after all. I've had chest pains all day, but I can't figure
The game's takeover: It was a string of care- out if it's just heartburn from the spaghetti I ate
less turnovers and stupid penalties by Ohio State for lunch or if my heart is actually breaking. And
that gave Michigan some hope heading into half- I don't know if my heart is breaking because of
time down just 12-7. It was three offensive drives in Saturday's loss or because of another disappointing
the second half that gave Michigan the nine-point Michigan season. I guess the two are really just
lead heading into the final seven minutes of the starting to blend together.
game. Even with Mike Hart stuck on the sideline,
the offense moved the ball and found ways to score. - an -ebertnran he reached a,
More importantly, the defense found ways to stop email@example.com.
Time of Poss
MI I C H I G A N
up clutch to'
By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Editor
The Buckeyes were down nine points with 7:49 left in the game. But
that didn't worry quarterback Troy Smith, who quickly led his team
down the field for two quick scores.
"Troy Smith took over the last couple drives to give us a chance,"
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "Troy gives you that will to win and
that command of his team."
It took Smith just five plays to get Ohio State within two, but, like
so many times before, Michigan's defense almost had him contained.
It was third-and-10, and the secondary had Ohio State's receivers blan-
keted. With nowhere to throw, Smith rolled to his left. He sidestepped
Michigan defender after Michigan defender and somehow managed to
pick up 14 yards and a first down. On the next play, Smith found Holmes
for a 26-yard touchdown grab.
"In the end, Troy Smith made too many plays," Carr said. "He scram-
bled out of there when we thought we had him sacked and he made the
pass. Prior to that, he made a big play on third down."
They were supposed to be able to contain mobile quarterbacks. They
were supposed to have figured out how to stop a spread offense. But
Smith made everyone think otherwise.
Much like last year, when the Buckeyes' quarterback torched the Wol-
verines' defense for 390 all-purpose yards, Smith had all the answers on
After the game, it seemed everyone wanted to sing Smith's praises.
Senior co-captain Pat Massey, who has started at defensive tackle every
game this year, said that Smith was the best quarterback the defense has
faced all season.
"We've seen some good ones at Michigan State and Penn State, but
I think Troy was the difference-maker out there, and we just didn't do a
good enough job stopping him," Massey said.
But it wasn't just one of those tales of late-game heroics. It had that
too, but Smith's story started right from the beginning. Michigan came
Avg Lg TD
0.0 0 0
sYsTN WIy. ' y /haidy
Defensive lineman Tim Jamison (90) rushes Troy Smith during Saturday's game. Smith's mobility enabled him-to elude Michigan's pass rush.
out of the tunnel for the final time of the year fired up. Alan Branch
stuffed running back Antonio Pittman on first down for a four-yards
loss, and, after an incomplete pass on second down, it was third-and-14.
Smith sat patiently back in the pocket and waited for wide receiver San-
tonio Holmes to break free - 15-yard catch and a first down.
That play was a back-breaker for the Wolverines, who then watched
as Smith finished a 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive. The trip downfield
ate up more than six minutes and got Ohio State on board first.
"He was just a little more patient back there, scrambling around a
little bit and waiting for the receivers to get open," rush end LaMarr
Woodley said of Smith.
Last year, Smith burned Michigan with his legs, rushing for 150 yards
on 18 carries. This year, he had just 48 yards on the ground but was con-
tent to beat the Wolverines with his arm. Like he did on that first drive,
Smith converted third-and-long after third-and-long to keep drives alive,
and he finished with 300 passing yards - a career-best.
For almost two quarters in the middle of the game, it looked as if the
defense might have figured Smith out. After allowing the Buckeyes to
score on the first two drives of the game, Michigan gave up just one field
goal on the next six Ohio State possessions - forcing two punts and two
fumbles (one of which was by Smith) in that time.
Last year, Michigan appeared almost helpless against mobile quar-
terbacks. The Wolverines ended the year with games against Ohio State
See SMITH, page 58
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Big Ten Overall
ww v g
Buckeyes dismantle 'M'
round attack in Blues loss
By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Editor
There's a reason it's called running out the clock.
Holding onto a two-point lead, Michigan's offense
took the field with more than six minutes left in the
game. But the Wolverines attempt-
ed two passes before freshman.
Kevin Grady took a handoff up
the middle for a loss of one yard $0
- the only time Michigan ran on 8
Unable to gain any yards on the
ground, the Wolverines gave the
ball back to Ohio State with 4:17 remaining.
"The game was still in our hands," tailback Mike
Hart said. "But down at the end of the game, when
you want to work the clock, we didn't have the running
game to do it. So we had to throw the ball."
Michigan knew before the game began that it would
have a hard time establishing the run against Ohio
State. After all, the Buckeyes possess the second-stin-
giest run defense in the nation and have allowed just
one running back to gain more than 100 yards this
But the Wolverines didn't expect its ground game to
be completely shut down.
Ohio State's front seven dominated Michigan at the
line of scrimmage from the start, allowing the Wol-
verines to gain more than two yards on just seven of
their 24 rushing attempts. Even Hart - who briefly
returned to the lineup after missing almost three
games due to injury - couldn't find a way to churn
out yards against the Buckeyes.
Michigan started the contest with five straight pass-
es before Hart notched a four-yard draw, but the Wol-
verines didn't run again until their first drive' of the
second quarter. On that series, Hart carried the ball
four times with little success, gaining just six yards.
Throughout the first half, most of the Wolverines'
runs went up the middle, where Ohio State lineback-
See RUSHING, page 58
Ohio State 25, MICHIGAN 21
IOWA 52, Minnesota 38
Northwestern 38, ILLINOIS 21
Penn State 31, MICHIGAN STATE 22
Purdue 41, INDIANA 14
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 W, 27-25
at Iowa W, 23-20
at Northwestern W, 33-17
Indiana W, 41-14
Ohio State L, 21-25
Freshman taliback Kevin Grady (3) gained just 11 yards against Ohio State's stiff run defense. The
Buckeyes stopped the Wolverines' rushing game despite losing linebacker Bobby Carpenter early.
WHAT'S NEXT: A BOWL GAME
Even though it's hard for the Maize and Blue faithful to think
about anything other than the loss to Ohio State right now,
the Wolverines' seven wins mean they're bowl eligible once
again. But it's still unclear which bowl game Michigan will
play in. The Wolverines' most likely destinations are San
Antonio for the Alamo Bowl, Tampa for the Outback Bowl
and Orlando for the CapitalOne Bowl. At least there's no
chance Michigan will be celebrating the holidays in Detroit.
TROJANS PROTECT HOME FIELD:
Southern Cal running back Reggie Bush
strengthened his Heisman Trophy can-
didacy in the No. 1 Trojans' 5042 win
over No. 16 Fresno State on Saturday
night in Los Angeles. The junior broke a
Pac-10 record by rolling up 513 all-pur-
pose yards, including 294 yards and two
touchdowns on the ground. The Bulldogs
gave the undefeated Trojans a scare,
scoring twice in 12 seconds to take a 42-
41 lead with under 10 minutes remain-
ing. LenDale White's rushing touchdown
and Mario Danelo's field goal composed
Southern Cal's comeback. The Trojans
have won 33 games in a row.
CREW' SINKS THIE':' No . Miami
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for the week of Nov. 20
Games updated through Nov. 19
(first-place votes in parentheses)
1. Southern Cal
4. Louisiana State
5. Penn State
6. Nofre Dame
7. Virginia Tech
9. Ohio State
'1 W -,*tVi.gini
beat Fresno State 50-42
lost to Georgia Tech 14-10
beat Mississippi 40-7
beat Michigan State 31-22
beat Syracuse 34-10
beat Virginia 52-14
lost to Auburn 28-18
beat Michigan 25-21
beat Oregon State 56-14
beat Alabama 28-18
1. Southern Cal (50)
2. Texas (14)
3. Louisiana State
4. Penn State
5. Virginia Tech
6. Notre Dame
7. Ohio State
12. West Virginia
16. Fresno State