SportsWednesday - October 18, 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 5B
The Michigan Daily football writers break down the weekend's stats that don't show up in the box-
score. The defense-o-meter measures the intensity of the defense, the Carr-o-meter judges Lloyd
b Carr's demeanor following the game and the hypemeter measures the fans' game performance.
4 If we had room for more Woodleys, they'd go up -the
defense was simply ballin'. Michigan's 'D' picked up seven
/4 sacks and held Penn State to negative rushing yards. Plus,
LaMarr the Wolverines knocked out two Nittany Lion quarterbacks.
4/ Entering the press conference room, Lloyd Carr could
4 hardly hide the smile creeping onto his face. Through-
out the press conference, Carr was downright giddy,
Lloyd especially since his team is still undefeated.
/4 What an incredible atmosphere for a football game. The
/ weather was cool and crisp, the bright lights were on and
/ Penn State's students were there hyping it up two hours
Student before game time. At times, the press box was shaking.
Predictions against the
spread for Oct. 16
University alum, lecturer,
radio host and author John
Bacon takes on the Daily
football writers in this
week's edition of staff picks.
No. 4 Michigan (-7) at Penn State Penn State Michigan Penn State Michigan Michigan
No. 1Ohio State (-15) at Michigan State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State Ohio State
No. 2 Florida (Even) at No. 11Auburn Auburn Florida Florida Florida Auburn
Arizona State (+19) at No. 3 Southern Cal Arizona State Arizona State Arizona State Southern Cal Arizona State
Syracuse (+25) at N. 5 WestVirginia Syracuse WestVirginia West Virginia Syracuse Syracuse
Baylor (+29) at No. 6Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas Texas
Cincinnati (+27) at No. 7 Louisville Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati Louisville
No. 10 California (-8.5) at Washington State California California California California California
Temple (+44.5) at No. 12 Clemson Temple Clemson Clemson Temple Temple
Kentucky (+26) at No. 14 Louisiana State Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky Louisiana State
No. 15Iowa (-18) at Indiana Iowa uwa owa Iowa lowa
Vanderbilt (+14.5) at No. 16 Georgia Vanderbilt Georgia Georgia Georgia Georgia
SEMissouriState (+35) atNo.17 Arkansas Arkansas Arkansas Arkansas Arkansas Arkansas
UCLA (+10.5) at No. 18 Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
No. 19 Missouri(-2.5) at Texas A&M Missouri Texas A&M Missouri Missouri Texas A&M
No. 20 Boise State (-26) at New Mexico State New Mexico State Boise State Boise State New Mexico State Boise State
No. 22 Nebraska (-10.5) atKansasState Nebraska Kansas State Nebraska Kansas State Nebraska
No. 22 Virginia Tech (-3) at Boston College Virginia Tech Virginia Tech VirginiaTech Virginia Tech Virginia Tech
Iowa State (+19.5) at No. 23 Oklahoma Oklahoma Iowa State Iowa State Iowa State Oklahoma
No. 24 Rutgers (+1) at Navy Rutgers Rutgers Rutgers Rutgers Rutgers
Minnesota (+8.5) at No. 25 Wisconsin Minnesota Wisconsin Minnesota Wisconsin Wisconsin
Purdue (-7) at Northwestern Purdue Purdue Purdue Purdue Purdue
Ohio (+6.5) at Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois Illinois
Best Bet Penn State Arizona State California owa Ohio State
Record 14-8-1 (0-0-1) 11-11- (1-0) 10-12-1I1-0) 102- 1(0-1) 14-8-1 (1-0)
Overall Record 63-53-6 (2-3-1) 57-59-6 (2-4) 56-60-6 (5-1) 56-60-6 (3-3) 71-45-6 (3-2-1)
Bacon's bite matches his
bark as celebs continue to
show up football beat.
While teaching his history
of college athletics course
last week, lecturer John
Bacon claimed that "even a
blind monkey could go .500
in Staff Picks." The Michigan
alum and author backed up
his claim this week, going
14-8-1 while most of the rest
of the writers hovered around
the .500 mark once again.
Only Scott Bell, the target
of his criticism in class last
week, was able to put up a
respectable record. He, too,
Bell's week puts him six
games above his closest com-
petitors within the Daily, but
he still trails the impressive
mark set by the celebrities
this year by eight games.
Kevin Wright continues
to ride California as his best
bet, with noticeable success.
Someone should tell him it
would be a good idea to get
other games right, too.
Besides teaching his
popular class, Bacon is also
currently writing a book with
legendary Michigan football
coach Bo Schembechler, which
is due out in August 2007. He
also hosts a radio show Sun-
day mornings on WTKA.
Continued from page 1B
And the Michigan offense,
sans speedy wide receiver
Mario Manningham, bounced
back from a shaky first quar-
ter to silence the second-largest
crowd in Beaver Stadium his-
tory for much of the game.
After a disappointing five-
loss season, the Wolverines (4-
0, 7-0) have already matched
last season's win total with five
games remaining. And Sun-
day, Michigan, fresh off the
road victory, sits in third place
behind Ohio State and South-
ern Cal in the first edition of
the BCS rankings, a feat which
last year's squad never imag-
"Right now, we've had an
incredible stretch of games,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said. "I don't remember a sea-
son with the schedule like
the one that we've just come
through, with still Iowa going
in here next week. We've been
through the gauntlet."
The failures of last year
seem to resonate the most with
the defense. Many of the cur-
rent players suffered through
the embarrassments and took it
upon themselves to prove that
this Wolverine team was back.
They demonstrated it at Notre
Dame and cemented it Satur-
With 1:53 left in the game,
the Michigan offense stalled
and had to punt it away to a
Penn State team brimming with
momentum. The crowd took it
to another noise level.
And the defense, unlike to so
many times last season, made a
Starting at the Nittany Lions'
24-yard line, third-string quar-
terback Paul Cianciolo could
muster just one completion
as Penn State gained a mea-
sly four yards on four plays to
effectively end the game.
"I have confidence in my
defense," senior wide receiver
Steve Breaston said. "There's
nothing in the back of your
mind that says they're not
going to get it done. You just
kind of feel that they're going
to go out there, and it's going to
In a much-anticipated home-
coming, quarterback Chad
Henne calmly managed the
Wolverine offense and the
hatred from a riled-up Beaver
He started in the second quar-
ter with a seam pass between
two Penn State defenders to
wide receiver Adrian Arrington
on a 25-yard touchdown pass
for Michigan's first score.
Even though that was the
Wyomissing, Pa., native's lone
touchdown, Henne, who fin-
ished the day 15-for-30 for 196
yards, showed why he's been
such a solid play caller for the
Wolverines during their seven-
game winning streak.
"He showed tremendous
poise," said Breaston, who also
enjoyed playing in his home
state for the first time in his
Michigan career. "You're not
always going to get a blowout,
and he just was out there mak-
ing great calls and checks, and
he did a great job getting the
ball to our receivers."
back Mike Hart took the ball
26 times and racked up 112
yards, his sixth 100-yard rush-
ing game of the season.
None of the yards were more
important than the 23 he had
in the waning moments of the
Against a stingy Penn State
front seven, right guard Alex
Mitchell didn't think Michigan
reached the century mark until
after the game when he called
some people from home.
"It was really satisfying,"
Mitchell said Monday. "I didn't
know until after the game that
we'd rush for over 100 yards. I
didn't think we'd had that much
during the game."
The Wolverines have enjoyed
the national spotlight ever
since their win at Notre Dame,
but they remain undeterred by
rankings and hype. A ranking
of second in the nation and
third in the BCS hasn't changed
the motivation that drives
Arrington didn't even know
the Wolverines moved up in the
poll until reporters told him on
"I honestly don't care,"
Arrington said. "Our ultimate
goal is just to win, so if we win
every game, everything has to
fall into place. There's no way
that it can't, really."
THE MICHIGAN DAILY TOP 10 POLL
T6. Louisville: Starting quarterback Brian Brohm returned from
injury, but the Cardinals didn't impress anybody last week. Lowly
Cincinnati came within 16 yards of ending Louisville's perfect sea-
son, but the Cardinal defense held firm when it mattered the most.
s. sunorn s..ar iseems teerojans love maiug mtngs
difficult for themselves. Southern Cal once again barely fought
off a strong challenge from a subpar opponent. It's unclear how
long this squad can keep playing with fire withoutgetting burned.
T1. West Virginia: Yawn. The Mountaineers rolled over a
hapless Syracuset eam,racking up aninsane 457 yardsan the
ground. Qurarterback Patrick W hite rshed for four touichdmwns.
But we're waiting for the showdmown with Louisville.
5. Texas: Hook 'em Horns are back in styleafter Texas rattled
off its fifth-straight victory, a dominating win over Baylor. If
they keep it up, the Longhorns look to be a prime candidate to
sneak up in the BCS standings if winless teams keep faltering.
F . Forida: Only a great team could possibly survivethe rigors of
this year's SECundefeated. Last Saturday proved thatlthe Gators
are notthat team. Chris Leak had fits withthe Tigers' D,passing
for just 108 yards. Cue the Tim Tebow hype in Gainesville.
Also receiving votes: Notre Dame, Clemson,
Arkansas, Florida International.
Continued from page 1B
Saturday night, with the bright lights on
at Beaver Stadium, in front of 110,000-
plus fans screaming their lungs out, the
front four delivered its most emphatic
Michigan's defensive front wasn't picking
apart measly opponents like Vanderbilt and
Central Michigan. It was taking on the big,
bad Penn State line - a unit that had given
up just six sacks all season coming into
The Wolverines finished with seven.
Plus countless quarterback hurries.
Plus two apparent quarterback concussions.
From the press box,I couldn't actually
see the Wolverines' eyes light up as they
closed in for free shots at Nittany Lion
quarterbacks. But from the looks of things,
triple-sevens were lining up in the minds of
Michigan's defensive linemen as they closed
in for vicious hit after vicious hit.
Taylor's first career sack started the
Wolverines' hit parade. Early in the second
quarter, backup defensive end Tim Jamison
appeared to have Morelli - who was look-
ing downfield after faking a handoff - in
his sights. But then Taylor, a portly 305-
pounder, came barreling through the line and
zipped toward Morelli at light speed, drilling
the quarterback and stealing the sack from
And the Wolverines kept coming.
On the very next play, senior captain
LaMarr Woodley jumped the snap, ran right
past Penn State's tackle and literally threw
Morelli to the turf for a 14-yard loss.
And the Wolverines kept coming.
After Michigan marched down the field
for a field goal, Morelli dropped back
again on first-and-10. And, again, Woodley
slaughtered him in the backfield, forcing
Morelli to fumble momentarily at his own
And the Wolverines kept coming.
When it was all said and done, Woodley
and fellow defensive end Rondell Biggs tal-
lied two sacks a piece, while Taylor, Jamison
and linebacker Shawn Crable (who often
lines up as a defensive end) notched one sack
And, oh yeah, the defensive front domi-
nated against the running game, too. Star
Nittany Lion running back Tony Hunt gained
just 33 yards on 13 carries.
So far, the Wolverines have given up just
32.6 yards a game on the ground. That's
more than 15 yards better than Texas, the
second-best team against the run in the
So, Michigan's front four is good. How
good, you ask?
Here's a little tidbit for those on the com-
pare-this-team-to-1997 bandwagon: This
year, Michigan has 24 sacks - 17 of which
have come from the defensive line. Seven
games into the 1997 season, the Wolverines
had 16 sacks ... total.
Even though Michigan fans can't help but
compare this year's squad to the famed 1997
team, the Wolverines' rock-solid defensive
front knows there's plenty of football to be
played before that comparison holds water.
Asked how it feels to be 7-0, Branch turns
"It feels great,but we're not done yet"
Branch said. "We don't want to take it too
much, because we know what we came here
for, and that's for that crystal ball (awarded
to the BCS national champion). We gotta
keep winning, do what we do"
I'm not much of a fortune teller, but my
crystal ball shows this: Branch and the rest
of the Michigan front four crushing helpless
quarterbacks all season long.
And maybe, just maybe, that's what the
Wolverines need to finally nab that precious
- Singer is grateful that the IM team
he quarterbacks doesn't have to face
Michigan's defensive line. He can be
reached at email@example.com.