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January 04, 2007 - Image 13

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

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

* The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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
Carr's demeanor following the game and the hypemeter measures the fans' game performance.

Thursday, January 4, 2007 - 5B

1 No matter how many times the defense says they play ass
single unit, the secondary has almost always been the weak
+ link. The Rose Bowl proved no different as Southern Cal spread
the ball through the air when the Trojans proved unable to run.

14 After his team's embarrassing 14-point loss, Carr seemed
downright sad. He didn't even snap when a reporter hound-
ed him about Southern Cal's blitzes. Guess that's how a
coach responds when he loses his fourth straight bowl game.

Pregame, the 27,000 Michigan section drowned out the
Southern Cal fans. The Wolverine faithful fell silent as the
1 Trojans dominated the second half and won the game, but
who could blame them after four straight bowl losses?

From page lB
But another letdown on New
Year's Day proved that this team
deserved neither accolade.
It exposed another Wolverine
squad that flashed brilliance at
times but failed to put the pieces
together under the bright post-
season spotlight.
For the third time in four years,
Pasadena's gorgeous stadium
proved a house of horrors for
Lloyd Carr's Wolverines have
now lost four consecutive bowls.
Decorated seniors LaMarr Wood-
ley and Leon Hall, among others,
will never know what it's like to
hoist a bowl championship trophy.
Three seasons ago, against a
national champion Trojan team, a
Rose Bowl lossuwas expected. Two
seasons ago, you had to tip your
hat to Vince Young's incredible
individual effort. Last season, the
team was in shambles long before
it collapsed against Nebraska in
San Antoio.
But there were plenty of rea-
sons - from Michigan's gutsy
performance against Ohio State to
Southern Cal's ugly losses to Ore-
gon State and UCLA - to believe
this game would be different.
That's before Michigan fans' great
expectations were blindsided,
like so many Trojan hits on Chad
It's not shocking that Michi-
gan lost to Southern Cal - most
expected a neck-and-neck battle.
It's how the Wolverines fell that
raises disturbing questions.
How was the offensive line so
unprepared for a Trojan front
notorious for its complicated blitz
How was the secondary so
How did the running game,
so strong all season, become so
The coaching staff can't escape
blame. Prior to the Rose Bowl,
Carr praised the Trojans' aggres-
sive blitzing. But he still didn't
effectively prepare the Wolverine
On game day, Michigan's
offensive line looked completely
stunned by the unusual blitzes
Trojan defensive coordinator Nick
Hol threw its way. Before long, the
Wolverines were so flustered that
it didn't matter how many people
Southern Cal brought - Henne
was even getting hit when the Tro-
jans rushed three defenders.
Similarly, the coaches failed
to make any significant halftime
adjustments after Michigan was
thoroughly outplayed in a3-3 first
half. Carr and offensive coordina-
tor Mike DeBord seemed strange-

ly content with the Wolverines'
pathetic first-half offensive show-
ing and stubbornly continued
their hopeless gameplan, attempt-
ing to establish the run against a
vicious Trojan front seven.w
Meanwhile, Southern Cal
coach Pete Carroll threw his bal-
anced gameplan out the window,"
unleashed his fiber-talented wide'
receivers and reaped the benefits ' 6 y
of a little flexibility.
Michigan was definitely out-
coached. But the scary thing isA
this: Even if Carr made every cor-
rect decision, the Wolverines still
didn't have a chance. That's how
thoroughly outclassed they were.r
On Monday, I saw two teams on
different levels. I saw a Southern
Cal team with speed - especially
in the linebacking corps - that
Michigan couldn't handle. I sawa
Southern Cal team with offensive , <
weapons that Michigan couldn't
hope to stop. I saw a Wolverine t
secondary that would (did) have
trouble slowing a Mid-Ameri-
can Conference passing game, let F
alone the Trojans' world-class
aerial attack.
I saw a Michigan team not near-
ly as good as its opponent.
The Men of Troy versus the x
Boys of Ann Arbor.
Before the Rose Bowl, ESPN.
commentator Kirk Herbstreit4
claimed that, win or lose, Michi-
gan had a good chance to start4
next season ranked No. 1. But afterv
witnessing the beat-down South-r
ern Cal laid on the Wolverines, I}
find that hard to believe. This is a
team that, despite its 11-win sea-
son and returning offensive stars,
enters next season with a whole fax
host of question marks. r
Maybe the offensive line will
learn how to deal with blazing"
speed. Maybe the secondary will
learn how to cover. Maybe thea
coaching staff will learn how to x r
adjust on the fly.,
But next season is a long way
away. And until then, Michigan
fans are left in a familiar position:
trying to wash away the bitter taste
of another postseason defeat.
- After four years at Michigan
sans a bowl victory, Singer is a bit
disappointed. He can be reached ALEX DZIADOSZ AND FOREST CASEY/Da
at mattsing@umich.edu. TOP: Trojan defenders fip Mario Manningham. BOTTOM: Southern Cal celebrates a touchdown.
.. ... ...... ... . . . . . . .
Total for all 4 years
after 12* grade in
China in English
Eligible for USMLE
Residency Double your MCA
In U.S.

Somehow, Southern Cal was ranked No. lin both polls followingthe regular
season. With a young Matt Leinart at quarterback, the Trojans rolled over
their oppositionlosing just one game. But there wasjust no room for
Southern Cal in the championship game, which featured Louisiana State and
Oklahoma. That left the Trojans to face a Big Ten Champion Michigan team in
the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines appeared to stand a chance when they drove
down the field ontheir opening drive, but the first of what would become nine
sacks by a fast Southern Cal defense forced Michigan kicker Garrett Rivas
to attempt a 47-yard field goal, which was blocked. Following that game-
changing play, the Trojans used that momentum to take it to thesair, using
the combination of wide receiver Mike Williams and Keary Colbert to stretch
the Wolverine defense. The duo combined for 237 receiving yardsand two
touchdowns. The play of the game came when Lein art lateralled the ball out
to Williams whofthrew it back to the sophomore signal caller, who walked in
for the score. Southern Cal won 28-14, and the Trojans walked off the field as
the hands-down better team. And it showed in the final Associated Press Poll,
as the writers voted Southern Cal No.1, and the Trojans shared the National
Championship with Louisiana State.
Michigan returned to Pasadena after the bitter defeat Southern Cal handed
the Wolverines the previous year. But the 2005 matchup pitted the storied
Michigan and Texas programs against each other for the first time in his-
tory. The Rose Bowl provided Longhorn quarterback Vince Young a chance
to showcase himself on a national stageagainst a slow Wolverine defense.
While Young paced the Texas attack, Michigan wide receiverSteve Breaston
had his best overall game as a Wolverine. He finished with 315 all-purpose
yards, 221 of them coming off 6 kickoff returns. Beside Breaston, wide receiv-
er Braylon Edwards caught 10 passes for109 yards and three touchdowns.
But in the end, the scramblingability of Young proved too much for the
Wolverines to combat. The sophomore quarterback ran for192 yards and four
touchdowns on 21 attempts. The game went back and forth ina classic Rose
Bowl battle. Michigan took a late fourth-quarter lead when kicker Garrett
Rivas connected from 42 yards out. Unfortunately, Young wanted the victory
too much, as he led the Longhorn offense downthe field on a10-play, 47-yard
drive. Texas kicker Dusty Mangumftook it from there. As time expired, he
knocked a 37-yard field goal through the uprights giving Texas the win, 38-37.
It was to be the game that would determine who was really the1997 National
Champion. Michigan limped into theAlamo Bowl after ahumbling defeat in
the Big Houseat the hands of Ohio State. Meanwhile, Nebraska came into San
Antonio asa team on the rise. Just like many its games throughout the sea-
son, the Wolverinesjumped out to the lead and appeared poised to finally win
a bowl game. Michigan, behind a solid effort from quarterback Chad Henne,
climbed into the lead. But the Cornhuskers had other plans, as coach Bill Cal-
lahan turned to running back Cory Ross. Ross ranfor165 yards, and Nebraska
fought back from a 28-17 fourth quarter deficit to take a 32-28 lead withjust
underfive minutes left in the game. Cornhusker quarterback Zac Taylor hit
wide receiver Terrence Nunn for a l3-yard touchdown strike. Michigan made
one last attempt to change the outcome.of the game when the Wolverines
continued to lateral the ball back until tight end Tyler Ecker found some run-
ning room. As Ecker chugged down the field, it appeared the Michigan play
would go downwith the likes of the band on the field in the Stanford-Califor-
nia game. But theftight end didn't pitch the ball backfto wide receiver Steve
Breaston and ran out of bounds at the Nebraska13 yard line.

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