The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Friday, September 7, 2007 - 9
test for Blue
Senior defensive tackle Will Johnson will help anchor the defensive line against Oregon tomorrow, The Ducks run a similar spread offense to Appalachian State.v
I'M' looks to bounce back
By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Editor
Tomorrow can't come soon
enough for Michigan defensive
tackle Will Johnson.
The senior didn't have a chance
to watch the national reaction
to Appalachian State's upset vic-
tory last weekend - but it wasn't
because he refused to turn on the
Cable wasn't installed in his
apartment until Tuesday.
If Johnson had watched TV, he
would've seen replays and analysis
of last Saturday's 34-32 loss, Michi-
gan's fall from the Associated Press
Top 25 poll and calls for Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr's head.
He fielded questions on some of
those topics Monday, but the quiet
guy from Oakland would rather
talk about the next opponent: Ore-
"Sure, we had a loss," Johnson
said. "But we have to go forward,
we have to get ready for Oregon,
and that's what we're concentrat-
Michigan may be the team
with a clear motive heading into
Saturday's game, but the Ducks
come into Ann Arbor looking to
prove a point of their own. Last
season, Oregon lost its final four
games, including a 38-3 Las Vegas
Bowl thrashing at the hands of
In this year's season opener, the
Ducks took care of Houston, 48-27.
Oregon and the Wolverines last
met in 2003 in Eugene, Ore., with
the Ducks pulling out a 31-27 win.
The good news for the Wolver-
ines is Oregon runs the spread
offense, just like Appalachian
The bad news is Michigan strug-
gled to stop the Mountaineers and
their five-wide offensive sets.
"Because of the formations you
get (with the spread offense), you're
spread out," Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr said. "And if you don't spread
out, if you don't line up over those
receivers, then you create serious
mismatches on the perimeter."
Similar to Appalachian State,
Oregon's offense startswith the legs
of quarterback - Dennis Dixon. The
senior has 625 career yards on the
ground and complements his speed
by completing around 60 percent of
Against Houston, Dixon ran for
141 yards - highlighted by an 80-
yard touchdown scramble - and
threw for 134 yards and two touch-
"He's a great athlete and he's
a guy that it starts, I think, with
his mobility," Carr said. "He has,
I think, excellent vision. He has a
knack for finding the open receiver.
But when you look at what he did on
Saturday against Houston in terms
of the yards that he produced either
throwing or running, he can do
Even though Michigan's defense
struggled in the first half against
to settle down in the second frame,
limiting the Mountaineers to two
And linebacker Chris Graham
knows the defense needs a good
showing for the Wolverines to reach
a few of their remaining season
"You just pick yourself up,
because it is the first game," Gra-
ham said. "We have plenty of
games to go, so how are you going
to adjust from there? You get your
team together and get guys moti-
vated, get guys to be more leaders
out there, get guys to really buy in
and work together."
By DANIEL BROMWICH
and JACK HERMAN
Daily Sports Editors
For everyone still complaining
about the scheduling of Appala-
chian State, or teams like Eastern
Michigan and Toledo (next year),
this game is what you want. A Pac-
10 tea, comes to the Big House to
give Michigan a stern test just one
week after the Wolverines suf-
fered a mortifying defeat to the
Mountaineers. Will Michigan
bounce back? Or will the Ducks be
too much? We'll break it down the
matchups for you here:
Michigan running offense vs.
Oregon running defense:
It's a shame we even have to
waste the space and ink to break
this one down. Last week, Michi-
gan running back Mike Hart car-
ried the ball 23 times for 188 yards
- all while battling an injury to his
thigh. Oregon, on the other hand,
allowed 315 yards on the ground ...
at home ... to Houston.
The Ducks struggled to stop
Houston's Anthony Alridge in the
backfield, and he compiled 205
yards. As the Oregonian pointed
out, it's probably not a good sign
when your free safety - in this
case, Matt Harper - records 15
This might as well be Michigan
run offense vs. thin air.
Michigan passing offense vs.
Oregon passing defense:
Chad Henne. Mario Manning-
ham. Adrian Arrington.
On paper, few teams have the
ability to stop the Wolverines
potent passing attack. But on Sat-
urday, we discovered one of them:
On a number of plays, Manning-
ham beat his receiver by multiple
steps on a deep route. Fourth-year
starter Henne over- or underthrew
the ball on each of them.
Worse, Henne made a number
of (high school) freshman mis-
takes. Throwing across his body,
he tossed a crucial interception as
Michigan drove in the fourth quar-
ter. He also took a delay of game,
instead of calling a timeout, with
about two minutes remaining in
And Oregon's pass defense
proved passable last weekend, fort-
ing two interceptions.
Still, if Henne regains his con-
trol, it shouldn't be an issue.
Oregon run offense vs. Michi-
Oregon runs a very similar
offensive scheme to Appalachian
State, which should worry Wolver-
Quarterback Dennis Dixon
rushed for 141 yards - including
an 80-yard touchdown - against
Houston last week. He's the leader
ran for 339 yards against the Cou-
gars, so Dixon isn't the only threat.
Running backs Jeremiah Johnson
and Jonathan Stewart combined
for 137 yards and two touchdowns
But the news isn't all bad -
Michigan made some key adjust-
ments against Appalachian State
in the second half and appeared to
improve significantly. The problem
is, Oregon has much better athletes
than the Mountaineers, and that
starts with Dixon. Expect tons
of quarterback draws and tons of
seven, eight- and nine-yard gains.
Oregon passing offense vs.
Michigan pass defense:
The similarities continue here.
Oregon doesn't appear to throw
any more than Mountaineers did
- Dixon attempted just 15 passes
against Houston. But he complet-
ed nine of those and two were for
Michigan struggled some in cov-
erage lastweek,givingtoo muchof a
cushion to the Mountaineer receiv-
ers and allowing them to turn short
passes into long gains via missed
tackles and bad angles. But with
the key substitutions of cornerback
Donovan Warren for Johnny Sears
and safety Brandent Englemon for
Stevie Brown, the coverage and
tackling should improve, as it did in
the second half on Saturday.
Both teams had questions about
their special teams heading into
the season. Probably just one is
happy with the answers.
Michigan fans need no remind-
ers of the Wolverines' problems
this weekend. Dropped returns,
missed blocking assignments and
even forgetting to go onto the field
were all problems that plagued
Michigan. The ultimate proof: the
game's final play.
But Oregon impressed with its
special teams. It blocked a punt and
made both of its field goals - can't
ask for much more.
Pretty easy to figure this one
Michigan is coming off the big-
gest upset in college football his-
tory and wants to prove itself.
Oregon is probably wary of that,
verines aren't as good as they were
expected to be before the season.
The crowd might not be enthused
after last week, and the Big House's
slight home-field advantage should
be pretty negligible. But, the team
will want to come back strong after
last week and prove it's still a con-
tender. After all, there's no motiva-
tion like humiliation.
Prediction: Michigan 31,
After historic upset,
AP adjusts Top 25 rules
Before every football game tunately for coach Scott Bell,
this season, two of the Daily's TE #83 dropped the sure touch-
football writers will take the down pass and Oregon held on
weekend's matchup to the Play- for a 28-23 win.
Station 2 and then let you know " Player of the game - QB
what happened. #10 did it with his arm and not
his legs. Coach Bell held QB
" Play of the game - It looked #10 to negative rushing yards
like Michigan would come back but couldn't stop him for torch-
despite losing QB #7 and WR ing the Wolverines through the
#86 when QB #15 lofted the air with 284 yards and two
ball to an open TE #83. Unfor- touchdowns.
(AP) - After pulling off one of
the greatest upsets in college foot-
ball history, Appalachian State is
still shaking things up.
The Associated Press said yes-
terday that lower-division schools
- that means you, Mountaineers
- are now eligible for its 71-year-
"It's great they opened the
door," Appalachian State coach
Jerry Moore said from his office
in Boone, N.C. "Certainly we're
not going to be the No. 1 team in
the country. We know that. We're
not even going to be in the top 10.
But if you have a win over a nice
football team, I like that it's not
out of the realm of possibility for
a school like us tobe one of the top
20 or 25 teams in the country."
Several AP voters expressed
interest in putting Appalachian
State on their ballots after a
shocking 34-32 upset at then-No.
5 Michigan last weekend. But the
poll guidelines, which mirrored
the coaches' rankings conducted
by USA Today, limited eligibility
to teams competing in the former
NCAA Division I-A, now known
as the Football Bowl Subdivision.
The Mountaineers compete in
the Football Championship Sub-
division, known before this season
as Division I-AA.
The Daily football
writers battle each other
and against the year's
first guest picker - LSA
senior Todd Karazim -
with their picks against
Michigan (-8) vs. Oregon
No. 2 LSU (-12.5) vs. No. 9 Virginia Tech
No. 3 West Virginia (-24) vs. MARSHALLI
No. 4 FLORIDA (-26.5) vs. Troy
No. 5 OKLAHOMA (-0.5) vs. Miami
No. 6 Wisconsin (-25.5) vs. UNLV
No. 7 TEXAS (-9) vs. No.19 Texas Christian
No. 8 LOUISVILLE (-41) vs. Mid. Tenn. St.
No._10 California (-t4) vs. COLORADO ST.
No. 11 GEORGIA (-4.5) vs. South Carolina
No.12 OHIO STATE (-29) vs. Akron
No.13 UCLA (-7.5) vs. Brigham Young
No.14 PENN STATE (-t7.5) vs. Notre Dame
No. 1S RUTGtRS (-7) on. Navp
No. t6 Nebraska (-8) vs.WAKE FOREST
No. 17 AUBURN (-7) vs. South Florida
No. 20 Hawaii (-27.5) vs. LOUISIANA TECH}
No. 21 GEORGIA TECH vs. Samford
No. 22 Boise St. (-3) vs. WASHINGTON
No. 23 TEXAS A&M (-7.5) vs. Fresno St.__
No. 24 TENNESSEE (-10.5) vs. Southern Miss
No. 25 CLEMSON (-27) vs. Louisiana-Monroe
NORTHWESTERN (-10) vs. Nevada
MINNESOTA (-8.5) vs. Miami (OH)
MICHIGAN STATE 18) on. Bowling Green
IOWA (-22) vs. Syracuse
Indiana (0) vs. WESTERN MICHIGAN
ILLINOIS (-22) vs. Western Illinois
PURDUE (-29.5) vs. Eastern Illinois
Middle Tennessee State
Middle Tennessee St