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January 04, 2007 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-01-04

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4B - Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 40

BreaS on
Team Stats USC MICH
First Downs 21 19
Rush/Yds 23/61 27/58
Passing Yards 391 309
Offensive Plays 68 68
Total Offense 439 321
Return Yards 63 52
Comp/Att/Int 27/45/S 26/41/1
Punts/Avg 4/352 6/418 lflercoSt er
T Imbes/Lo st oss 31: 29:1
Pnaltie/Yar 3/27 2/20 r J W L . a L U
Tme ofPoss 30:02 2958

'M' career

C-A Yds
26-41 309
26-41 309

TD Int


Att Yds
17 47
2 3
1 2
7 -40

No. Yds
7 115
6 79
6 78
4 34
2 -2
1 5
26 309


Daily Sports Editor
Avg Lg TD
2.81 0 PASADENA, Calif. - It was a different year with a
2.0 2 0 different opponent and different expectations. But for
-5.7 4 o senior Steve Breaston, Monday's Rose Bowl was deja vu
0.4 11 all over again.
Two years removed from his previous Rose Bowl, a
Avg Lg TD game where he delivered an all-time record in all-pur-
164 41 1 pose yards (315), Breaston returned to Pasadena in hopes
13.2 17 o of putting a positive end to his roll-
13 36 0 er-coaster career at Michigan. NOTEBOOK
8,5 16 1 His stats didn't rival those of his
0 2standout performance as a sopho-
119 41 2 more, but Breaston once again saved one of his best
games of the year for The Granddaddy of Them All. He
grabbed seven passes for 115 yards and a score.
s Avg Lg Yet the fifth-year senior's favorable numbers weren't
1 418 54 enough for him to look over the one stat he really cared
"I think the biggest disappointment is that we didn't
Avg Lg TD win," Breaston said. "I just wanted to win. I really can't
look at anything else after that."
The outgoing senior class leaves with a 0-4 record in
bowl games during their tenure as Wolverines.
Avg Lg TD Breaston wasn't the lone outgoing senior going out
0 0 0 with a solid game. Tight end Tyler Ecker, who was
hounded by a nagging ankle injury for the majority of
Asst Tot the season, had his best game of the season.
2 8 The California native corralled six balls for 78 yards,
2 8 almost all of which came in the second half. His final
1 6 catch was a 36-yarder, a season-long amount.
Ecker and Breaston's game highlighted Chad Henne's
passing stats, which were quietly very solid.
0 3 Though overshadowed by John David Booty's 391-
0 3 yard performance, Henne's game was hard to ignore.
1 3 His 309-yard performance Monday trumped his previ-
0 2 ous career-high of 270 yards in last year's Alamo Bowl.
Bye Bye Branch?: Monday may have been junior Alan
0 2 Branch's final game as a Wolverine.
1 2 Juniors Shawn Crable, Mike Hart, Chad Henne and
1 2 Jake Long all announced in between the Ohio State
0 1 game and Monday's Rose Bowl that they'd be back for
their senior years. Branch, however, did not give Michi-
gan fans the same reassurance.
1 1 The 6-foot-6, 331-pound defensive tackle is projected
S 1 to be a top-10 pick in this year's NFL Draft.
Following Monday's game, in which he recovered a
fumble, Branch refused to talk to the media.
At game's end, though, he did talk to Southern Cal
defensive end Lawrence Jackson.
Jackson said their discussion was more a sign of
NDINGS mutual admiration than anything else.
"I was just telling him that he's a great player, and
en Overall I watched him on film," Jackson said. "First, I'm a fan
of college football, and I love seeing players like that.
0 12 0 He played a great game today, and I just wished him
1 12 1 the best of luck if he decides to turn pro or return next
1 11 2 year."

Fifth-year senior Steve Breaston closed out his Michigan career with another impressive Rose Bowl performance. The reevernabbed
seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

At the Rose Bowl Media Day on Dec. 30, Branch said
he was focusing on the Rose Bowl before making a deci-
sion about next year.
"I haven't really thought about it yet," Branch told
reporters at the team's practice facilities in Carson,
Hanging it up: While Branch may be leaving volun-
tarily following the Rose Bowl, many other Wolverines
weren't given that choice.
Three offensive starters (Rueben Riley, Mark Bihl
and Steve Breaston) and five defensive starters (Rondell
Biggs, LaMarr Woodley, David Harris, Leon Hall and
Willis Barringer) played in their final game for Michi-
Their end result wasn't what they had hoped it would
be, and their individual success varied, but most left
Monday's game with fond memories of their time at

"I was an offensive lineman at the University of
Michigan," Riley said. "I have no regrets about any-
thing. I got my degree and, hopefully, am on to bigger
and better things."
Said Hall: "It's kind of unfortunate. j never won a
bowl game here, but I still had a great experience here.
All my friends I made and the coaches and everything,
I like to look at the positives."
Positives aside, it was a tough way for any of the
seniors to go out, as they were the first Wolverine
class in 31 years to go winless in four consecutive bowl
"This is going to be something that sticks with you
the rest of your life because it's your last college game,"
Woodley said. "But you've got to learn from it. I can't
change it now."



Ohio S
Penn S

_ Big T
late 8
nsin 7
>i 7

an i
tate 5 3 9 4
e 5 3 8 6
sota 3 5 6 7
a 3 5 5 7
2 6 6 7
western 2 6 4 8
an State 1 7 4 8
1 7 2 10
Southern Cal 32, MICHIGAN 18
WisCONSIN17, Arkansas 14
PENNSTATE20, Tennessee 10
TEXAs TEcH 44, Minnesota 41 OT
MARYLAND 24, Purdue 7
Texas 26, loWA 24

the most exciting college bowl games
in recent memory, Boise State upended
Oklahoma 43-42 in overtime in the
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on New Year's
Day. After falling behind early, Okla-
homa made a late comeback and took a
seven-point lead following an intercep-
tion returned for a touchdown. Then,
the Broncos dusted off the trick plays
in the playbook. Boise State used a
hook-and-ladder to send the game to
overtime. There, the Broncos proved
that mid-major conferences can com-
pete and defeat major powerhouses
like Oklahoma. Boise State employed
the classic Statue of Liberty play on a
two-point conversion in overtime to
send the Sooners home empty-handed.
faced a 31-point deficit late in the third
quarter, and Minnesota coach Glen
Mason must have felt comfortable
enough with a 38-7 lead. Oh, how15
minutes can change things. The Red
Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell
orchestrated the biggest comeback in
Division I-A bowl history. The Red
Raiders Alex Trlica hit a 52-yard field
goal as time expired to send the game
into overtime. Texas Tech finished the
furious comeback and Mason's coach-
ing career at Minnesota. Shannon
Woods ran the ball from three yards
out to give the Red Raiders a 44-41
sophomore quarterback Taylor Ben-
nett did something only former
Southern Cal quarterback Matt Lein-
art has done: throw a touchdown
pass on his first ever collegiate pass-
ing attempt. Bennett, filling in for
ineligible senior quarterback Reggie
Ball, finished with three touchdowns
and 326 yards. Even though the Yel-
low Jackets jumped out to a 28-10
lead in the third quarter, West Vir-
ginia rallied with a three-touchdown
fourth quarter to win the Gator Bowl
38-35. Quarterback Pat White scored
the winning score on a 15-yard
scramble with 5:57 left in the game.

From page 1B
season with a rush to its left - the defense's
right - to running back Mike Hart behind
the strength of its line: guard Adam Kraus
and tackle Jake Long.
But Southern Cal knew what was com-
ing, and quarterback Chad Henne had
to audible to the other side on the game's
opening play. Even though Hart gained 11
yards (just one less than the team's total for
the game) on that carry, the Trojans' open-
ing formation foreshadowed what was in
store for the rest of the game.
Outside of that initial rush, the Wol-
verines struggled mightily to establish a
ground game. Hart rushed for a season-
low 47 yards, but it wasn't due to a lack of
While Southern Cal had completely
abandoned the ground game, executing
29 consecutive second-half plays without
handing the ball off to a tailback, Michigan
continued trying to remain balanced, rush-
ing a total of 27 times.
But in this case, repetition didn't trans-
late into success.
Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord
maintained it was the right decision fol-
lowing the game, and said he'd continue
running if he had the chance to change
"I'd run the ball again," he said. "When
you're getting sacked, tell me how you're
going to keep throwing the ball if you're
going to make improvements. So no, I'd run
The Wolverines were sacked a total of
six times, including five sacks in the game's
opening half.
Michigan's failure and Southern Cal's
willingness to make adjustments may have
been the game's determining factor, con-
sidering it was deadlocked at halftime. But
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr echoed senti-
ments similar to DeBord's.
"We felt like we had to have good bal-
ance," Carr said. "We had to be able to run
the football some to be successful against
(Southern Cal), and to be able to run the
ball effectively, we've got to have a quarter-
back under center."
Carr defended his decision to opt out
of calling many plays from the shotgun,
claiming the team's shotgun packages are
designed almost exclusively for two-min-
ute drill situations.
Michigan had many possible ways to
adapt to Southern Cal. Whether it was
going to shotgun more often, turning to
more three-step drop plays or giving up on
the run altogether, there were many alter-
natives to staying the course with its origi-
nal strategy.
Although there was no consensus on
how the Trojan defense should've been
countered, if Michigan's fatal flaw wasn't
its predictable playcalling, it could very

Southern Cal linebacker Dallas Sartz notched one sack in the Trojans' 32-18 Rose Bowl victory. Southern Cal's imposing front seevn sacked Michigan quar-
terback Chad Henne six times in Monday's game.

well have been the Wolverines' failure to
abandon the game plan early enough.
But those in the Wolverine camp didn't
share thatthought following the game.
"We had a really good plan going into
the game," DeBord said. "I still believe that
coming out of it. We tried to make adjust-
ments throughout the course of the game.
Some helped us and some didn't."
sive. After givingup 32 points to a teamthat
scored just nine in its regular-season finale
against UCLA, Michigan's defense brought
on a lot of questions as well.
Two days prior to the Rose Bowl, South-
ern Cal coach Pete Carroll hinted that his
team knew it could exploit a predictable
Michigan defensive squad, just as the Tro-
jans' front seven did to the Maize and Blue
"Michigan doesn't have (Leon) Hall
shadow receivers like a lot of the other top
corners in the nation do," Carroll said dur-
ing the Rose Bowl's Media Day on Dec. 30.

Southern Cal quarterback John David
Booty, who threw for 391 yards and four
touchdowns, took advantage of favorable
matchups all day long in his Rose Bowl
"We thought with the coverage they
were playing, we could get some quick
routes and get the ball in the hands of our
playmakers," Booty said.
That's exactly what the Trojans did in
the second half. After an uneventful first
half, one that Offensive Player of the Game
Dwayne Jarrett admitted was "too conser-
vative" for his team, Southern Cal came
firing out of the blocks following halftime
"We really felt like we could throw the
ball on them," Booty said. "We weren't
running the ball extremely well, or the
way we wanted to, so we just felt like we
had to put the game in the hands of me,
Dwayne and Steve (Smith) and make
plays, and we did."
Southern Cal tallied foue touchdowns

and a field goal in a span of 29 plays, 27 of
which were passes. The only two runs were
both quarterback sneaks by Booty in short
yardage situations.
Most of the time, the Trojans went
right after sophomore cornerback Morgan
As Carroll expected in the days leading
up to the game, Michigan didn't match its
All-American cornerback against Jarrett,
and Jarrett made the Wolverines pay for
He exploited the overmatched second-
ary for atotal of 205yards on11 catches and
two scores.
But Jarrett's final touchdown came
on a 62-yard pass where he burned Hall,
proving the Wolverines' secondary woes
weren't limited to Trent.
"Sure it's frustrating, of course it is,"
Trent said of the Trojans' repeated passing
attempts in the second half. "But it's our
fault. If we stop the pass, they'll stop pass-
ing on us, but we didn't. It's on us."



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