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November 03, 2006 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-03

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6B - Saturday, November 4, 2006


The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


Saturday, November 4, 2006 - 3B


Ball State ?2
Miehilan 6 O
Before every football game
this season, two of the Daily's
football writers will take the
weekend's matchup to the
PlayStation 2 and then let you
know what happened.
- Play of the game - With
Michigan holding onto a four-
jint ead and under a minute
eft, Ball State's attempt to score
during fourth-and-goal fell short
as the pass was caught out of the
back of the end zone.
" Player of the game -
Michigan QB # 7: He posted an
amazing 419.2 passer rating, as
he hurled seven touchdowns
with 617 yards through the air.
Michigan coach Scott Bell:
"Things looked a little dire when
T -- Amr _ (1 irae ~n4ro

quarter, but the standard stop-
scoring-on-a-huge-play strategy
worked out, and I was able to win
... against Ball State ... by four."
"Wow, I kind of hate my life."
"Still think I have the best defense
in the nation?"
Ball State coach Kevin Wright:
"I wantto startoff with an apology
to coach Bell and the Ball State
program for my actions in the
third quarter. My tantrum was
not representative of a Michigan
"I'm thinking of putting my name
in the running or the Michigan
State coaching job. I think I'm
well qualified after blowing a
28-point lead. That's what I call
padding your resume."
"My prevent defense really let me
,4 ir 4ii.:nc.tb -carnnil mi n

BELL - From page 3B
times and you bail in the second
Herbstreit 1, Michigan 0.
Don't care what a Buckeye
thinks about our crowd? Let's see
what Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
thought about last Saturday.
"We had some students that
didn't show up.... Too cold,
they're not tough enough," Carr
said during his post-game press
conference on Saturday.
But the Great Fan Exodus of
2006 isn't even the key concern of
mine. It just plays into my larger
Where is the support for this
team in general?
Now, don't take this as a wide-
spread scolding. I know some of
the fans are diehard. Seeing the
students celebrate at Notre Dame
and Penn State and rewatching
it on YouTube gives me chills.
Those of you that cheered and
danced around in the rain during
the Central Michigan game need
not read anymore, this doesn't
apply to you.
But for a good chunk of campus,
the team's run this season doesn't
mean anything to you. How do
people dare complain about a 7-5
season, and then hardly lift a fin-
ger to cheer the next year when
~ the team is awesome?
I don't believe the people who

. w . ,Wake up: 'Al'
deserves better

argue that it's expected for the
Wolverines to do this and that
students shouldn't get bent out of
shape for what's going on. Michi-
gan has won one national title
in 58 years. I'm sorry, but that's
hardly a dynasty, folks.
There are no pep rallies planned
for Ohio State weekend. None.
This could be the biggest regular-
season game in the school's histo-
ry, and the buzz on campus doesn't
even come close to matching the
magnitude of the situation.
So there's your guilt trip. Now,
if you haven't already sold your
Ball State ticket for five bucks,
grab a maize shirt and head out to
Saturday's last home game of the
year and make up for lost time.

And when game's end comes
rolling around, I don't care if
Michigan is up by 50 and you
don't recognize a player left on
the field - the stadium better be
full, and this season's team better
get a standing ovation.
You owe it to the players, you
owe it to your school and you owe
it to yourself.
- Bell thinks the people who
don't go to games deserve a lifetime
of Michigan 7-5 seasons, and
those who stood there dancing in
the rain against Central Michigan
should get nothing but National
Championship teams to follow. Let
him know how you feel by e-mailing
him at scotteb@umich.edu.
S. Breaston

he sight last Saturday
made me cringe.
No, I'm not talking
about the offense's performance
(though an argument could be
made that my
grandma could j
complete 10
passes against r
in the span on
60 minutes).
No, I'm I
not talking scoyI
about what I
saw when I BELL
stepped out-
side to walk to Too Soon?
the Big House
(though seeing nothing but wind
and rain in between the stadium
and me is a tad bit depressing).
I'm talking about seeing the top
of Michigan Stadium almost com-
pletely empty.
The Big House crowd looked
more like the one from the Bash
at the Big House two years ago,
when Division II Grand Valley
State squared off against North-
ern Michigan. For those of you
freshmen and sophomores out
there who have no idea what I'm
talking about, that's not a compli-
As it got closer and closer to
game time last Saturday, I kept
watching the student section,
waiting for it to fill up. But alas,
by kickoff, there were still more
empty seats than I'd ever seen at

a home game in my three years at
On top of that, I would say
about 25 percent of the student
section left before or at halftime.
The same goes for those in the
rest of the stadium, too.
I don't care if Michigan was
playing Northwestern, it's still the
last conference home game of the
year for a team that's now 9-0.
I don't care if the weather was
less than perfect. I'll tell you one
thing: It was much colder at field
level for the players than it was in
the crowd, and the players sure
weren't complaining.
The fact is, when you let noted
Ohio State homer Kirk Herbst-
reit diss you - and rightfully so
- then you know something can't
be right.
"It was amazing to see that on
TV. The whole student section
was almost gone in the second
quarter. That was embarrassing,"
Herbstreit said during his radio
show on Columbus's 1460 WBNS-
AM this past Monday. "You would
never see that at a school like
Ohio State or Wisconsin or Penn
State. I don't know if that was lack
of respect for Northwestern or
that early kick or just being bored
or what it was.
"If you're a Michigan fan, hon-
estly, help me to understand, you
have a team that is No. 2 in the
country, you only geta chance to
see them play at home six or seven
See BELL, 6B

Junior quarterback chad Henne will look to pick apart the outmatched Ball State secondary on Saturday.
Big House welcomes
unfamiliar MAC foe


R. Mundy
B. Englemon


J. Adams
W. Barringer

P. Burgess D. Harris S. Crable
C. Graham J. Thompson B. Logan

J. Sears
S. Breaston
L. Hall
M. Trent
J. Sears

L. Hall
B. Harrison

R. Biggs T. Taylor A. Branch
T. Jamison W. Johnson M. Walton

L. Woodley
J. Van Alstyne

C. Butler J. Long A. Kraus
B. Thompson M. Ortmann J. Ciulla
A. Arrington
G. Mathews

M. Bihl A. Mitchell R. Riley
D. Moosman J. Boren C. Zirbel

Daily Sports Editor
When students are selling their
tickets for face value and over-
joyed with the sale, you know
there's probably a Mid-American
Conference team coming to the
Big House.
Tomorrow's no different. Ball
State rolls into Ann Arbor, hoping
to play the spoiler in the Wolver-
ines' quest for an undefeated sea-
So far, Michigan has overcome
all obstacles. It defeated Notre
Dame in South Bend for the first
time since 1994 and overcame
potential let-down games against
Wisconsin and Iowa. Now, the
Wolverines appear headed full
steam for an end-of-the-season
showdown with No. 1 Ohio State.
But as of now, they say they're
focused solely on the Cardinals
- if you can believe it.
Michigan rushing offense vs.
Ball State rushing defense
Every week, there are at least
110,000 people that know Mich-
igan's first play of the game - on
the ground. Running back Mike
Hart carries it either to the left
or the right and sets the offen-
sive tone for the Wolverines. Even
though Michigan's ground attack

sputtered when Hart sat out in the
second half against Northwestern,
the Wolverines scored on the drive
he returned to the field. Hart has
complied an impressive stat line,
rushing for 1,127 yards and nine
touchdowns in nine contests. In
the past few games, Michigan has
struggled early to find an offen-
sive rhythm because opposing
defenses have started stacking the
box. But the Wolverines should
be able to roll from the beginning
against a Ball State defense that
gives up 160.7 yards per game on
the ground.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan passing offense vs.
Ball State passing defense
During his weekly press confer-
ence on Monday, Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr hinted at the possibil-
ity of the return of Mario Man-
ningham to the Wolverine starting
lineup. He started running last
week, and his return would be a
big boost to an anemic Michigan
aerial attack. Against Northwest-
ern, quarterback Chad Henne
completed just 10 passes for 116
yards. Granted, the weather didn't
cooperate for an explosive passing
attack, but the Wolverines haven't
clicked recently in that catego-
ry. But with Ball State's defense
allowing13 yards per catch, tomor-

row might just be the warm-up the
Wolverines need for future games.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan rushing defense vs.
Ball State rushing offense
This one's no question. The Wol-
verines boast one of the nation's
best front sevens with at least two
potential first-round draft picks
(defensive end LaMarr Woodley
and defensive tackle Alan Branch).
Already this season, Michigan has
held two opponents (Penn State
and Northwestern) to negative
rushing yards. The Wolverines
are approaching the record for
fewest rushing yards allowed in a
season. Don't look for many com-
ing from the Cardinals. Ball State
averages just 86.1 yards per game,
and the Cardinals's leading rush-
er, MiQuale Lewis, leads the team
with a whopping 280 yards. Mich-
igan's defense is too good and too
focused to let Ball State find any
daylight on the ground.
Edge: Michigan
Michigan passing defense vs.
Ball State passing offense
With Ball State's inabilityto run
the ball effectively, the Cardinals
should turn to the air just as they
have to this point in the season.
Already, the Michigan secondary
See BREAKDOWN, page 7B

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C. Henne
J. Forcier

S. Breaston
C. Tabb

0. Oluigbo
W. Paul

G. Rivas
Z. Mesko
R. Ryan

M. Hart
K. Grady

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