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September 11, 2006 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-11

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 11, 2006

THE BLITZ Football

4

GAME STATISTICS

MICHIGAN 41.- CENTRAL MICHIGAN 17

Team Stats
First Dowsns
Rush/Yds
Passing Yards
Offensive Plays
Total Offense
Return Yards
Comp/Att/Int
Punts/Avg
Fumbles/Lost
Penalties/Yads
Time ofPoss

CMU
2 1/16
166
60
204
165
18/39/1
6/279
2/2
2/43
23:15

MICH
23
50/252
134
71
386
60
13/21/0
5/206
2/0
6/73
36:5
TD Int
0 0
0 0
0 0

Put passing worries on hold, for now

ASNG M I C H I G A N
Player C-A Yds
Henne 11-19 113
Forcier 2-2 21
Totals 13-21 134

RUSyHIN
Grady
MinIDo
Braon,
Jaon~~hl
MSimson
Brown~o

Att
19
12
7
1
3
2
3
1
2
50
No.
3
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
13

Yds
116
46
30
26
19
11
4
2
_2
252
Yds
26
27
25
11
20
12
8
5
134

4.3
26.
1.3
2.0
Avg
13.5
'2.5
20.0
12.0
103

18
2
148
13
12
26

TD
3
1
0
0
0
O
0
O
0
4
TD
0
0
0
0
0
0
O
0
0

PUNTING
Player No. Yd A2 Lg
Ryan 3 109 36.3 42
Mesko 2 97 48.5 54
Totals 5 206 41.2 54
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No. Yds Avg Lg TD
Breaston 2 44 22.0 29
Sears 1 22 22.0 22 0
Totals366 22.020 2O
PUNT RETURNS
6404 1e0No. Yds Av g gTD
BrethonpS1, 14 40 1 1
Totals 1 14 14.0 14 O
DEFENSE
Player Solo Asst Tot
Harris 6 0 6
Trent 5 0 5
Wo*dley 4 0 4
Englemon 3 O 3
Stewart 2 1 3
Hal 1
Adams 2 0 2
Mundy 2 0 2
TamBl e n Ovea2
Biggs 2 0 2
Campbell
Butler 1 0 1
Grffn 1 O 1
Tabb 1 O 1
Logan 0 1 1
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team Big Ten Overall

t isn't a good sign for the Wolverines'
passing game when tight end Carson
Butler is their leading receiver.
Nothing against Butler - the redshirt
freshman has performed well enough to
share playing time with more experienced
tight ends Tyler Ecker and Mike Massey in
Michigan's first two games. But Butler fin-
ished Saturday's
contest with
three receptions
for 26 yards.
(Sophomore
Mario Man-
ningham had 27
receiving yards
but just two
catches.) When
that stat line
leads the team,
it makes youS STEPHANIE
wonder whether WRIGHT
the Wolverines
have what it takes Wright on Target
to launch a suc-
cessful aerial attack this season.
Even so, don't make any "Chad Henne
sucks" T-shirts just yet. Even though Mich-
igan's passing game has been unimpressive
thus far, it isn't as bad as it looks. It hasn't
had a chance to be.
In the Wolverines' first two games a
year ago, Henne attempted 75 passes,
completing 39 of them for 450 yards and
three touchdowns. This season, the junior's
production has been cut more or less in
half. Henne has connected on 21 of 41 pass
attempts for 248 yards and two scores.
The difference this year is that Michi-
gan established a dominant rushing attack
right off the bat. Through two games, the
Wolverines have amassed 498 yards on
the ground, compared to just 322 yards at
the same point last season. Neither Van-
derbilt nor Central Michigan could figure
out how to slow down Mike Hart and the
rest of Michigan's deep, talented backfield.
Why would offensive coordinator Mike
DeBord decide to throw the ball and risk
an injury to Henne when the Wolverines
could pound it on the ground, control the
clock and still score 41 points like they did
on Saturday?
When Henne has been given an
opportunity to pass, he's shown flashes
of improvement from last season. One of
the few bright spots in Michigan's Alamo
Bowl loss was Henne's newfound willing-
ness to run with the ball when his receiv-
ers were covered. Henne will never be a
scrambler, but he has continued to get out
of the pocket and gain positive yardage
when needed. In the Wolverines' win over
Vanderbilt, Henne finished with 20 yards
on eight carries.
Michigan's signal caller has also gotten
better at throwing on the run. Saturday
was the first time I saw Henne look com-
fortable moving out of the pocket and

Central Michigan defensive end Daniel Bazuin takes down Michigan quarterback Chad Henne In the Wolverines' victory on Saturday.

attempting a pass. In the second quarter,
Henne rolled right and threw to Massey
for a 20-yard gain. Late in the third quar-
ter, Henne rolled left and completed a pass
to Butler for five yards.
That said, the passing game will have
to improve if the Wolverines hope to hang
with teams like No. 1 Ohio State or No.
2 Notre Dame. As Lloyd Carr said after
Saturday's win, "Do I like where we are? I
think we have to get better."
The improvement needs to start up front.
Michigan's offensive line has looked great
in running situations; the new zone-block-
ing scheme seems to be a perfect fit for the
Wolverines' slimmer, stronger linemen. But
the o-line's pass protection has been incon-
sistent at best. Michigan has given up just
two sacks in two games, but both of them
resulted from poor protection rather than
Henne holding onto the ball too long.
The right side of the line needs the most
work. Right after the Wolverines scored
their second touchdown of the game, one
of Michigan's-offensive coaches talked to
right tackle Rueben Riley and right guard
Alex Mitchell on the field near the 30-yard
line. I don't know what he told them, but it
looked like Riley and Mitchell were being
instructed on how to correct their mistakes.

Of course, it doesn't matter how well
Michigan's offensive linemen protect
Henne if his receivers can't catch the ball.
Against the Commodores, the Wolverines
dropped a half dozen passes that hit them
in the hands or the numbers and should
have been easy grabs. Michigan's receiv-
ers looked better this week, but there
were still a handful of mishandled passes,
with Steve Breaston once again the worst
offender. Receivers aren't going to catch
every ball, but the Wolverines won't be
able to afford so many drops in the tough
matchups they have coming up.
Perhaps the most glaring problem in
Michigan's passing game is the absence of
the deep ball. Against Central Michigan,
the Wolverines' longest completion was 20
yards, and Michigan didn't seem to even
consider airing it out.:In truth, the Wol-
verines haven't had a consistent downfield
threat since Braylon Edwards in 2004.
Manningham showed promise last season;
against Wisconsin he caught four passes
for 106 yards, including a career best of 49
yards. But the sophomore has struggled
to duplicate his impressive debut so far.
Breaston has proven better at catching short
passes that give him room to run than run-
ning deep routes.

"The deep ball will come," Henne
said. "But if we're seeing the secondary
drop back in coverage, we're going to
take the under routes. If they try to go
man-to-man, we're going to definitely
take advantage of that"
The Wolverines don't seem worried
about their struggling deep game, but I
think they should be. Michigan might be
able to run all over the Fighting Irish, just
like it did against Vanderbilt and Central
Michigan. More likely, this weekend is
going to be the first time the Wolverines
will have to throw the ball well in order to
have a chance to win the game.
Michigan doesn't have to turn into Texas
Tech overnight. The Wolverines have a
long tradition of riding a first-rate rushing
attack and stout defense to the top, and
I like that they've returned to that so far
this year. But at least one of this season's
opponents will undoubtedly slow down
Michigan's running game. When that hap-
pens, a reliable vertical passing attack will
be invaluable for the Wolverines.
If they can't get one going, let the criti-
cism begin.
- Wright can be reached
at smwr@umich.edu

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

0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0
0 0

2 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
2 0
1 1
1 1
1 1
1 1

Ryan
jacks
return
man
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor

A IAD P
Week two was a mix of blowouts and close calls. No. 9 Florida
State barely eked out a victory over lowly Troy. No. 23 Boston
College's 34-33 win over Clemson was the game of the week,
trumping the much-hyped Ohio State-Texas matchup..

THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
MIcHIGAN 41, Central Michigan 17
NOTRE DAME 41, Penn State 17
Ohio State 24, TEXAS 7
Iowa 20, SYRACUSE 13
CALIFORNIA 42, Minnesota 17
RUTGERs 33, Illinois 0
MICHIGAN STATE 52, Eastern Michigan 20
WISCONSIN 34, Western Illinois 10
PURDUE 38, Miami (Ohio) 31
New Hampshire 34, NORTHWESTERN 17
Indiana 24, BALL STATE 23
AROUND THE NCAA
LONGHORNS, LONG FACES: No.
2 Texas dropped its marquee matchup
with No. 1 Ohio State on its home
field. In the process, the Buckeyes
ended their 21-game winning streak.
The experience of Ohio State quarter-
back Troy Smith appeared to be too
much for Texas youngster Colt McCoy
to handle as the Longhorns trailed
early and never could catch up, even-
tually succumbing to the Buckeyes by
a 24-7 margin.
NITTANY LIONS REDUCED TO A
ROAR: No. 4 Notre Dame pus any
talk of it being overrated following
a close battle with Georgia Tech last
weekend to rest after dismantling
Penn State. The host Fighting Irish
overpowered and basically embar-
rassed the 19th-ranked Nittany Lions
in every facet of the game. Notre
Dame coach Charlie Weis even added
insult to injury by going for a fake
punt late in the game. Next week,
Notre Dame will once again host a
ranked opponent - No. 11 Michigan.

TEAM
1. Ohio State
2. Notre Dame
3. Auburn
4. Southern Cal
5. West Virginia
6. Loulslana State
7. Florida

Over the past three seasons, the 8. Texas
student section at the Big House has
chanted just two players' names: Fid Stae
former wide
receiver Braylon NOTEBOOK
Edwards and for- 10. Georgia
mer running back Chris Perry. EMM -NL A N
Yesterday the doubled that EMMA NOLAN-ABRAHAM IAN/ Daily
es ay, ey Punter Ross Ryan's hit sent the student section into a frenzy on Saturday. 11. Michigan
number when the remaining stu- S
dents serenaded punter Ross Ryan Ryan wasn't unfamiliar with MAJoR IMPACT: It was one of
and running back Mister Simpson making that kind of play. When he those hits you can feel from the 12, Lnalsvlille
by chanting their names. played at Brother Rice High School, sideline. 13. Tennessee
Ryan earned the honor during a the fifth-year senior doubled as a Well, at least Michigan running 14.Virginia Tech
Michigan kickoff with 11:41 left in safety alongside his kicking duties. backs coach Fred Jackson could
the fourth quarter. The Wolverines "He knows he has to get in there feel it.
had just scored to extend their lead and make a hit," back-up quarter- On his first run of the day, fresh- 15. Oklahoma
to 41-10. For much of the game, the backJason Forcier said. "I think we man running back Brandon Minor
Wolverines had struggled to contain all expect that from him, but it was took the ball to the right. Then, 16. Iowa
Central Michigan's kick return man a damn good hit." after picking up six yards, Central
Eric Fraser from giving the Chip- The student section immediately Michigan's Curtis Cutts met him 17. Miami (FL)
pewas good field position (155 yards reacted to the hit. After seeing the and sent him toppling backward
on five returns). replay on the big screen, fans gave with a bone-crushing hit. 18. Oregon
It appeared Fraser had broken Ryan an ovation and proceeded to "I left him in because I wanted
free again - until he ran into chant "Ross Ryan" as the defense to see how he would react from the
Ryan. When Fraser reached the 40- took the field. hit;' Jackson said. "I febt the hit.... 19. Nebraska
yard line, Ryan did his best defen- "I didn't even know it was going I don't think he saw the guy. Be got
sive back impersonation, standing on until after it ended:" Ryan said. the crap knocked out of him. He 20. TCU
up the Chippewa return man and "One of my buddies came up to me lined up, buckled up and went back
driving him back a few yards. The and told me they were chanting my for the next down. That's where I 21.
hit had Frazier clutching his stom- name." was trying to see if that kid had that 22. Arizona State
ach as he left the field. The crowd also applauded Simp- in him." 23. Boston colle
"I just ran down the field and son when he entered the game late Minor not only showed his
saw him coming right at me," Ryan in the fourth quarter. The Cincin- resolve in bouncing right back
said. "I had a little defense experi- nati native - who carried the ball up but also reinforced his spot in 25. Penn State
ence in high school. I'm not one of twice to the tune of 11 yards - has the playing rotation. The fresh-
those kickers who go out there and been a favorite in his time as a Wol- man finished with seven carries
aims blindly." verine. See MINOR, page 5B

r1

LAST WEEK
beat Texas 24-7
beat Penn State
41-17
beat Mississippi
State 34-0
Idle
beat Eastern
Washington 52-3
beat Arizona 45-3
beat UCF 42-0
lost to Ohio
State 24-7
beat Troy 24-17
beat South
Carolina 18-0
beat Central
Michigan 41-17
beat Temple 62-0
beat Air Force 31-30
beat North
Carolina 35-10
beat Washington
37-20
beat Syracuse 20-13
beat Florida
A&M .51-10
beat Fresno
State 31-24
beat Nicholls
State 56-7
beat UC-Davis 46-13
beat Minnesota
beat Nevada 52-21
beat Clemson 34-33
beat UTEP 38-35
lost to Notre
Dame 41-17

THIS WEEK
Cincinnati
Michigan
Louisiana State
Nebraska
Maryland
at Auburn
at Tennessee
at Rice
Clemson
UAB
at Notre Dame

a
I

V

7

Miami (FL)
Florida
Duke

at Oregon
Iowa State
at Louisville

o
ge

Oklahoma
at Southern Cal
Texas Tech
Portland State
at Colorado
BrighamYoung
at TCU
Youngstown State

6
I

Games updated through Sept. 10.

I

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