4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsThursday - January 5, 2006
Nebraska 32, Michigan 28
Not just an arm: Henne's mobility on display
By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO - He may not be
Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb,
but sophomore quarterback Chad
Henne did his best impression in
Michigan's 32-28 loss to Nebraska in
the Alamo Bowl.
Throughout Henne's first two
seasons as the Wolverines' signal
caller, critics said that he took too
many sacks and did not show enough
mobility. But against the Cornhusk-
ers, Henne exhibited a set of wheels
even a scrambling quarterback could
"(Running with the football) is
something we've tried to get him to
do since he's been here ... it takes
time to develop the knack," Michi-
gan coach Lloyd Carr said. "He has
some mobility and has the ability to
make plays with his feet."
Although his rushing stats are not
incredibly impressive - 13 attempts
for 38 yards and a touchdown -
they include 20 yards lost from four
Early on, it became evident that
Henne would do more running than
he had in any other game this season.
On the Wolverines' first offensive
play, Henne couldn't find anyone
open down the field and decided to
just tuck the ball and get as many
yards as possible - on this play,
zero. But that wasn't the case for the
Right after the Cornhuskers took
a 7-0 lead, junior receiver Steve
Breaston's 60-yard kickoff return set
Michigan up with great field position.
On the ensuing possession, Nebraska
bottled up the Wolverines on their
first two plays, but on third-and-12
from the Cornhuskers' 32-yard line,
Henne dropped back and took off
up the middle. Fourteen yards later,
Michigan had a key first down that
helped it even the score at seven.
"Their defensive front four broke
up a lot of plays," Henne said. "They
made it hard to run or pass. They
did a great job, and I was stepping
and combo-ing guys, and he took
advantage of that. He really can run
pretty well. It's not like he can't run.
So hopefully, that's a sign of some-
thing to come in the future."
No play showed that maturity better
than Michigan's last touchdown. On
second-and-goal from the Cornhusk-
ers seven-yard line, Henne executed
a play-action fake to running back
Mike Hart. Seeing no open players,
Henne made Nebraska pay with his
legs, scoring a touchdown and giving
the Wolverines a 28-17 lead.
But it was here that everything fell
apart for Michigan, including a key
fumble by Henne at the Wolverines'
24-yard line. Henne looked for a pass
to the flat, and his arm was hit as he
threw. It looked like an incomplete
. pass but was ruled a fumble. The
officials reviewed the play but it was
"My body was definitely towards
the flat," Henne said. "It was coming
out as clean as possible. He clipped
my arm. Some things just don't go
your way. I followed through, just
like a regular pass. I don't know what
they're looking at."
Despite the fumble, Carr said he
believes that Henne gave his team
a chance to win all the way to the
end. Henne's play echoes those
sentiments. He finished the game
21-for-43 with 270 yards and three
touchdowns through the air.
On Michigan's final drive, Henne
completed four of seven passes and
had the Wolverines in position to win.
On third-and-eight, Henne fired a long
out, right onto the hands of freshman
Mario Manningham, but the usually
sure-handed wideout couldn't hold
on. Then on fourth-and-eight, Henne
put the ball on Manningham's num-
bers, but the pass fell incomplete. But
ALEX DZIADOSZ/Daily it looked as if Nebraska cornerback
Zackary Bowman may have pulled
Manningham's arm back before the
aturing and see- ball arrived.
not forcing the "This is a great year to learn from.
ordinator Terry You learn from experience - you
were playing a learn from defeat, you don't give up,"
in the red zone Henne said.
Time of Poss.
I C H I G A N
Yds Avg Lg
244 34.9 44
244 34.9 44
Quarterback Chad Henne rushed 13 times for 38 yards and a touchdown in Michigan's 32-28 Alamo Bowl loss.
up into the pocket hard to avoid their
pass rush. So at times, it was better
to run it than to throw an incomple-
Henne's willingness to take what
Nebraska's defense was giving him
slowed the pass rush in the sec-
ond half and allowed Michigan to
take advantage instead of trying to
squeeze the ball into coverage.
"I think it's him m
ing some things and
ball," offensive co(
Malone said. "They
lot of coverage down
se puts hurt
on Huskers quarterback
BIG TEN STANDINGS
By Stephanie Wright
Daily Sports Editor
SAN ANTONIO - Michigan couldn't
find a way to finish the game, but its defense
almost finished Nebraska quarterback Zac
On the Cornhuskers' first drive of the fourth
quarter, Michigan defensive linemen Rondell
Biggs and Alan Branch combined to slam
Taylor into the turf. Branch had been in the
quarterback's face a number of times already;
he knew how hard his teammates had pounded
Taylor all night.
But from what he could tell, that hit seemed
to hurt the most. Branch said he saw Taylor's
eyes roll back in his head after he and Biggs
had "popped" Taylor.
"I don't know how the hell that guy kept
getting up," Branch said.
The Wolverines never consistently pressured
quarterbacks during the season and recorded
just 19 sacks in 11 games - the fourth-low-
est total in the Big Ten this year. Ohio State
led the conference with 39. But the front seven
made everyone forget that futility for much
of the Alamo Bowl, hitting Taylor early and
often en route to five sacks.
One of the more surprising parts of Michi-
gan's defensive performance may have been the
fact that most of the pressure came from the
line. The Wolverines' leading sacker on the sea-
son was rush linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who
notched six. But the rest of Michigan's start-
ing defensive linemen managed just five sacks.
Against Nebraska, linebacker David Harris was
the only non-lineman to sack Taylor.
"I think that was by far the best pressure
I've seen since I've been here," Woodley said.
If Taylor had stayed on the turf after one
of the Wolverines' monstrous hits, few fans
would have blamed him. But Taylor has found
a way to bounce back all season. The junior
left Nebraska's win over Kansas State with a
concussion in the fourth quarter but returned
to action a week later to lead the Cornhuskers
to a blowout win over Colorado.
"He stays right there in the pocket - he's like
the eye in the hurricane," Nebraska coach Bill
Callahan said. "There's flurry all around, and
he stays calm and as poised as any quarterback
I've ever coached," a list that includes former
Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon.
Likely a result of the Wolverines' relentless
pressure, Taylor completed just 14 of 31 pass
attempts for 167 yards, almost 60 yards fewer
than his season average. But the junior con-
nected on three touchdown passes - includ-
ing the game-winner with fewer than five
Michigan administered a number of hits but
couldn't deliver the knockout punch.
"I think that we played well as a defense,
but we didn't step on their neck and give them
no hope at the end of the game," Branch said.
"We could've stopped them from scoring a
couple times, and they wouldn't have even
The game's finish fit the character of both
teams. It was the fourth time this season that
Michigan lost a game after it was ahead or tied
in the fourth quarter. It was also the fourth
time that Nebraska won a game when it trailed
in the fourth quarter.
"We played this season as all-day fighters all
year long," Nebraska running back Cory Ross
said. "We played a fourth-quarter game; we're
a fourth-quarter team. And we showed that."
Big Ten Overall
BOWL GAME RESULTS
Nebraska 32, Michigan 28
Penn State 26, Florida State223
Ohio State 34, Notre Dame 20
Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10
Florida 31, Iowa 24
UCLA 50, Northwestern 38
Virginia 34, Minnesota 31
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
Nebraska L, 32-28
Rush linebacker LaMarr Woodley and the rest of Michigan's defensive line pressured Nebraska quarterback
Zac Taylor throughout the game. Woodley recorded three tackles, including one for loss.
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for the week of Nov. 27
Games updated through Jan. 4
1. Southern Cal
3. Penn State
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame
11. West Virginia
12. Virginia Tech
lost to Texas, 41-38
beat Southern Cal, 41-38
beat Florida State, 26-23
beat Notre Dame, 34-20
lost to Ohio State, 34-20
lost to Oklahoma, 17-14
lost to Wisconsin, 24-10
lost to West Virginia, 38-35
lost to LSU, 40-3
beat Miami, 40-3
beat Georgia, 38-35
beat Louisville. 35-24