4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 25, 2006
MICHIGAN 27 - WISCONSIN 13
Special teams shift momentum for'M'
Time of Poss
ASNG M I C H I G A N
Player C-A Yds TD
Henne 18-25 211 2
*otals 1825 211 2
By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Editor
That's all it took to change the momentum of Satur-
After Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and the
Wolverine offense walked off the field following
another three-and-out late in -the second quarter,
punter Zoltan Mesko looked to pin Wisconsin deep
in its zone.
He did more than he could have hoped.
The redshirt freshman boomed a 56-yard punt that
forced Wisconsin's Zach Hamilton to retreat.
Losing control of the ball, the vulnerable Hamil-
ton stood no chance of recovering it when Michigan
gunner Darnell Hood hit him. Long snapper Turner
Booth fell on the fumble, and the Michigan offense
had new life.
"It was crazy," backup kicker Jason Olesnavage
said. "It was a great punt by Zoltan, and that guy tried
to catch it over his shoulder and muffed it. Darnell
came down and laid a hit on him, and the ball was
down. I didn't even see Turner got it until after he got
back to the sideline because everyone was jumping
around. I knew we had it, and it was an awesome play
Said Hamilton: "I just took my eyes off it at the last
second, and, basically, that's what happened. I should
have probably just fell on it, but I tried picking it up
because I knew there was a double team on the other
side, but I guess the guy broke the double team, hit me
and the ball came loose and they recovered."
Even though Michigan got just a field goal off the
turnover, special teams played a crucial role in the
In the first three games of the season, the Michi-
gan kickoff coverage was suspect. With Mike DeBord
switching from special teams to offensive coordinator
during the offseason, his previous duties were split
among numerous coaches because no new coach was
hired. And it took a while for the unit to gel.
Senior Ross Ryan didn't drive the ball as deep on
his kickoffs, mainly because of the shortened tee, and
the gunners couldn't contain the return man, which
allowed opposing teams to average a starting field
position at their 28-yard line.
That changed on Saturday, when the kickoff team
didn't allow Wisconsin's Josh Nettles to return kick-
offs past the 20-yard line.
The Wolverines had given up an average 24 yards
per kickoff return in their first three contests, but
Player No. Yds Avg Lg
Ryan 3 90 30.0 39
Totals 6 231 38.5 56
Player No. Yds Avg Lg TD
Sears 1 17 17.0 17 0
Totals 1 17 17.0 17 O
Player No. Yds Avg Lg TD
Bre on 9 216 .9 23
Player Solo Asst Tot
Burgess 4 3 7
Trent 5 O 5
Barringer 4 1 5
Englon 3 2 5
Mundy 1 3 4
Branch 3 O 3
Logan 2 1 3
Hood 2 0 2
Tayor 1 1 2
Woodley 1 0 1
Savoy 1 0 1
Arrington 1 0 1
Br1own22 1 2 1
Stewart 0 1 1
Booth 0 O0 0
Biggs 9 9 O
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team Big Ten Overall
Michigan long snapper Turner Booth recovered Wisconsin punt returner Zach Hamilton's fumble to set up a Wolverine
against the Badgers, they surrendered just 16 yards
"I think we got our minds right now as far as the
kickoff team," Hood said. "At the beginning of the sea-
son, we had a new kickoff team, but now we're on the
same page. We're about to keep on making plays."
Ryan forced two touchbacks and would have had a
few more, but Nettles questionably took the ball out of
the end zone on several occasions.
"I don't have the greatest view of how deep the ball's
actually going, but a couple of them I was surprised
(he took them out)," Ryan said.
While Wisconsin's average starting field position
hovered around its own 20, Michigan return man Steve
Breaston helped the Wolverines spend most of the
afternoon in the Badgers' territory. Michigan's aver-
age starting field position was its own 41.
Breaston, who holds the Big Ten record for career
return yards, almost returned a few Wisconsin punts
for touchdowns. The senior wide receiver finished withI
116 yards on nine punt returns.
"I always say, 'Get the ball in Steve's hands, give
him a lane, and he's going to go,' " Hood said.
Senior placekicker Garrett Rivas also continued his,
solid kicking this season. On Saturday, he went 2-for-2 4
with a long of 32 yards.
This season, Rivas has connected on all but one of
his field-goal attempts. The lone miss came when Van-
derbilt blocked a 42-yarder.
"Garrett's a great kicker," Olesnavage said. "He's
really got a ton of experience, and he's doing great
D recovers from first drive
The top of the rankings changed little as the nation's best teams
avoided upsets to lesser opponents. Rutgers moved into the top
25 for the first time in 30 years.
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
MICHIGAN 27, Wisconsin 13
NEVADA 31, Northwestern 21
Iowa 24, ILLINOIS 7
PURDUE 27, Minnesota 21
Connecticut 14, INDIANA 7
OsIo STATE 28, Penn State 6
Notre Dame 40, MICHIGAN STATE 37
AROUND THE NCAA
IRISH IRE DOOMS SPARTANS: No.
12 Notre Dame scored 19 unanswered
fourth-quarter points to erase a 16-point
deficit and escape East Lansing with a vic-
tory, 40-37. Once-Heisman hopeful Brady
Quinn threw five touchdown passes in the
victory, but struggled for much of the first
three quarters of the game. Michigan State
dominated early play, jumping out to a 17-
0 lead after the first quarter. But Spartan
quarterback Drew Stanton's struggles down
the stretch doomed Michigan State's previ-
ously unblemished record. Even John L.
Smith's kiss of Matt Trannon couldn't erase
the sting for the Spartans.
BULLDOGS AVOID BUFFALO EXTINC-
TION: No. 9 Georgia needed late-game
heroics to remain undefeated and knock off
Colorado, 14-13, in front its home crowd.
Trailing 13-7, Bulldogs' freshman quarter-
back Joe Cox threw a 20-yard touchdown
pass with just 46 seconds remaining in the
game to avoid the upset. Colorado has lost
eight straight games.
BUCKEYES BATTER SICKLY
NITTANY LIONS: No. 1 Ohio State
remained undefeated, beating No. 24 Penn
State, 28-6. Both offenses were inept in
the first half, with Penn State entering
the intermission with a 3-0 lead. Adding
insult to injury, Nittany Lions coach Joe
Paterno ran off the field for a bathroom
break during a play. Penn State had a
chance to tie the game late in the fourth
quarter, trailing 14-6. But Malcolm Jen-
kins intercepted an Anthony Morelli pass
and returned it for a touchdown, sealing
the victory for Ohio State.
By Matt Singer
Daily Sports Editor
For one drive during Saturday's
game against Wisconsin, Michi-
gan's defense returned to last sea-
And that's not a NOTEBOOK
On Wisconsin's first two plays
from scrimmage, running back
P.J. Hill cut through Michigan's
defense like a hot knife through
butter, gaining 23 yards on two
carries. Two plays later, Wisconsin
quarterback John Stocco found Hill
completely uncovered in the left
flat. The Wolverines were caught
badly out of position, and the 242-
pounder rumbled 29 yards down
the left sideline to give Wisconsin
an early 7-0 lead.
"We probably weren't as focused
as we could have been (on the first
drive)," Michigan safety Ryan
Mundy said. "We weren't really
wired in like we normally are into
the game. ... So we knew we had
to saddle up and get back out there
and do what we gotta do"
After the early wake-up call
from Hill, the Wolverine defense
stiffened. Hill - who came into
the game as the Big Ten's leading
rusher - ran 18 more times for
just 31 yards. Through four games,
Michigan's defense has given up
just 74 yards on the ground, the
best in the nation.
With Wisconsin's vaunted rush-
ing attack struggling to gain trac-
tion, the Badgers' offense ground
to a halt. The Wolverine defense
forced six straight three-and-outs
to open the second half, including
every third-quarter drive. By the
time Wisconsin started moving
the chains again late in the fourth
quarter, Michigan had opened up
a 17-point lead and started playing
"I don't think it was really an
adjustment (after the first series);'
said defensive tackle Alan Branch,
who finished with three tackles and
a sack. "It was just the mental mind-
set of the guys. I think we just saw
what they had. I think we were just
feeling them out, and from there,
we were just playing some ball."
Middle linebacker David Harris
led the Wolverines' defense with
10 tackles, including two for a loss.
Michigan also sacked Stocco four
times, bringing its season total to
16. Four games into the season,
the Wolverines are already nearing
their season-long total of 24 from
Yo, ADRIAN: Sophomore wide
receiver Mario Manningham is a
master of the deep route. Fifth-year
senior Steve Breaston loves quick
1. Ohio State
3. Southern Cal
4. West Virginia
9. Louisiana Sate
11. Virginia Tech
12. Notre Dame
19. Florida State
22. Boise State
24. Georgia Tech
beat Arizona 20-3 at Washington State
beat East Caro- Idle
beat Kentucky 26-7 Alabama
beatWisconsin27-13 at Minnesota
beat Iowa State 37-14 Sam Houston State
beat Kansas Idle
beat Tulane 49-7 Mississippi
beat Colorado 14-13 at Missouri
beat Cincinnati 29-13 Georgia Tech
beat Michigan Purdue
beat Illinois 24-7 Ohio State
Idle at Arizona State
beat Marshall 33-7 at Memphis
beat Middle Ten- Idle
nessee State 59-0
Idle Brigham Young
beat North Louisiana Tech
beat Rice 55-7 Idle
beat Arizona at Oregon State
beat Troy 56-0 Kansas
beat Hawaii 41-34 at Utah
beat Howard 56-7 at South Florida
beat Virginia 24-7 at Virginia Tech
beat Ohio 31-6 Colorado
Games updated through Sept. 24.
LAST WEEK THIS WEEK
beat Penn State 28-6 at Iowa
beat Buffalo 38-7 at South Carolina
Linebacker David Harris led the Wolverines with 10 tackles on Saturday.
screens and swing passes. But until
Saturday, Michigan didn't appear
to have a replacement for former
captain Jason Avant in the inter-
mediate passing game.
Enter junior Adrian Arrington.
After catching just four passes
in Michigan's first three games, the
6-foot-3 wide receiver nabbed four
passes for 79 yards against Wis-
consin, both career highs. On short
and intermediate routes, Arrington
used his big body to provide a com-
fortable target for Michigan quar-
terback Chad Henne.
"I said last week, 'I think he's a
possession receiver,' " Henne said.
"He runs great routes, and, with
his size, if you put the ball in his
body, he'll make that catch. I think
he understands his role and under-
stands, if they're going to double
Mario, we have a chance with Steve
(Breaston) and him."
WHO CAUGHT IT?: Late in the
second quarter, Michigan had the
ball in its own territory, preparing
to run its two-minute drill. It's safe
to say the Wolverines' plans didn't
include getting offensive tackle
Rueben Riley the ball.
But on Michigan's first play of
the drive, the 305-pounder ended
up with the pigskin in his hands.
On first-and-10, Henne's pass
was tipped into the air, and the
ball floated in Riley's direction.
The lifelong offensive lineman
snatched the ball and fell straight to
the ground, rather than risk advanc-
ing the ball. Riley's grab went into
the books as a negative-nine-yard
reception - and the first catch
of the fifth-year senior's football
career at any level.
"Nothing went through my
mind," Riley said. " ... It fell in my
hands and I fell to the ground."
Falling on the ball may have
been the smartest play under the
circumstances, but Riley knows he
may have wasted his only oppor-
tunity to show off his ball-carry-
"If I could rewind it, I'd try to go
get the first down," Riley joked.
MAIZE OUT: For the last few
weeks, the Athletic Department
has bombarded Michigan students
and ticketholders with messages
imploring them to wear maize
to the Wisconsin and Michigan
State games. For the most part, the
experiment appeared to work.
The Michigan student section
turned into a virtually uniform
sea of maize, creating a stunning
visual effect in the Michigan Sta-
dium bowl. The rest of the Big
House had a decidedly yellowish
tint, compared to the even mix of
maize and blue usually displayed in
the alumni sections.
The cheerleaders' uniforms
might have put the only real
damper on an otherwise-success-
ful "Maize Out." In place of their
usual white outfits, the Wolver-
ines' cheerleaders wore pastel-yel-
low collared shirts that would be
better suited for a round of golf
than a football game.
BiLL MARTIN WANTS LUXURY
BOXES, BUT MICHIGANS TADIUM
ISN'T A COUNTRY CLUB ... YET.
SO WHY WERE MICHIGAN'S
CHO DS WEARING
PAS'T-EL YELLOW GOLF SHIRTS
ON MIZE OUT DAY?
WE DON'T KNOW, SO SEND
US YOUR IDEAS AT SPORTS
MICHIGANDAILY.COM, AND WE'LL
POST THEM ON OUR BLOG.