4B - October 22, 2007 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Brown shines in Hart's absence
First Downs 15
Passing Yards 116
Offensive Plays 57
Total Offense 253
Return Yards 86
Punts Avg 5/36.8
Tire of Poss 25:11
Yds Avg Lg TD
116 4.5 30 o0
4 20 3.2 13
1 4 4.0 4
5 1 -5.8 0
44 168 2.5 30
By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily Sports Editor
CHAMPAIGN - Carlos Brown fin-
ished his interview session, but he wasn't
finished soaking in the moment. Instead,
he sat in the back of a small side room and
listened to teammate Jamar Adams at the
Even with his breakout performance,
Brown receded into the background of
the room just like he took a back seat to
quarterback Chad Henne.
Brown, who finished with 113 rush-
ing yards on 25 carries, recorded his first
career 100-yard rushing game and was
the first running back to gain more than
100 yards this season against a stingy Illi-
nois defense. Not to mention he had to fill
the Heisman-sized hole in the Michigan
offense with senior captain Mike Hart
pacing the sidelines in street clothes.
But Brown would only play the foil to
Henne's mid-game injury and late-game
Brown didn't do anything flashy. He
waited patiently waited for the Wolverine
offensive line to open holes in their zone-
blocking scheme. Still, while he moved
Michigan down the field three yards at a
time, Henne captured the big moments.
Does that overshadowing take away
from Brown's performance?
With the up-and-down season Brown's
had up to this point, he's just happy to
"I just want to play," Brown said. "I
want to be anywhere I can, any position I
can be to get on the field and play."
Last week against Purdue, Brown was
an afterthought in the blowout win. He
scored two touchdowns in mop-up duty
in the second half, but the focus was on
the two backs ahead of him on the depth
chart. Hart was listed as day-to-day after
an ankle injury, and second-stringer
Brandon Minor left the field sitting on the
back of a cart.
Sophomore running back Carlos Brown had his best day as a Wolverine Saturday, rushing for 113 yards on 25 carries in his first career start.
4 176 44.0
4 176 44.(0
Brown said he didn't know he would and see what we could do. Then we were
start Sunday but prepared in practice like going to adjust from there."
he would. And when Hart appeared on the And Brown started out slowly. He had
sidelines in street clothes, Brown had to just 36 yards at halftime, but by the end of
step up. the game, he showed the flashes everyone
Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord expected when he arrived on campus.
wasn't sure what to expect from the He didn't reach the end zone, but on
Michigan ground attack minus Hart, but consecutive plays late in the third quarter,
after Brown's explosiveness in the second Brown broke 12- and 30-yard rushes and
half of the Purdue game, DeBord hoped almost broke the latter for a touchdown.
the sophomore could play a bigger role. "He stayed with his reads," running
"We didn't know what we were going backs coach Fred Jackson said. "He
to be able to do, if we were going to be able talked about them after each series. He
to run the ball effectively or not," DeBord talked about what's happening to him.
said. "We really decided to go at it and And I thought that's what made him bet-
kind of go through the course of the game ter today."
Considering how Brown started the
season, DeBord said he was glad to see him
bounce back from an early-season wrist
injury and fumbling problems and become
the assertive back who found the seams in
the Wolverine zone-blockingischeme.
"You got to give Carlos a lot of credit,
because a lot of people were down on
him a little bit when he fumbled the ball
earlyin the season," DeBord said. "He just
stayed the course, kept working and now
he's getting his carries."
With the issues Brown has had during
his time at Michigan, relaxing in the back
of a press conference might be enough of a
reward for the emerging running back.
Player No. Yds Avg (g TD
Mathews 1 -1 -1.0 -1 0
Toas 1 -1 -1.0 -1
Engemon 5 6 1
Crable 4 2 6
Graham, C. 4 2 6
Trent 5 0 5
aylor 1 4 5
Waren 3 1 4
amison B 3 3
Johnson 0 3 3
Thompson 0 2 2
Rogers 1 0 1
Graham,B. 0 1 1
Team Big Ten Overall
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
OHIO STATE 24, Michigan State 17
PENN STATE 36, Indiana 31
Purdue 31, lowA 6
Wisconsin 44, NoRTHERNILLINOIs 3
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 27, Minnesota 21
NORTHWESTERN 26, Eastern Michigan 14
KANSAS: NOT JUST A BASKETBALL
The Jayhawks, led by sophomore
quarterback Todd Reesing's 153 yards
through the air and 84 on the ground,
notched their first win at Colorado
since 1995. Adding to the chaos that is
this season in college football, the Jay-
hawks, perennially a Big Twelve North
Division doormat, is 7-0 and in the
driver's seat to compete in the confer-
ence championship game. Kansas has
yet to get any love from the pollsters
though. Despite their unblemished
record, it still barely cracked the BCS
top 10 this week, landing at No. 9.
TIGERS HOLD ON IN SEC BATTLE
Louisiana State has had a brutal
three-week stretch. A punishing con-
test against Florida, a shocking three
overtime loss to Kentucky and a last-
second victory against Auburn later,
and the Tigers are more than grateful
to have a bye this coming Saturday.
Quarterback Matt Flynn tossed a
touchdown pass with just one second
left on the clock to give Louisiana
State a 30-24 win.
The victory reasserts the Tigers
into position to make a run not only at
the Southeastern Conference title, but
also the National Championship.
MISSOURI STIFLES POTENT RED
Coming in with the highest scor-
ing offense in the nation, Texas Tech
couldn't move the ball against the
Tigers' stout defense in a 41-10 blow-
out. Red Raider quarterback Graham
Harrell threw four interceptions to
just one touchdown pass. Texas Tech
was also held to -9 rushing yards.
Missouri's win puts them in second
place in the Big Twelve North, with
a showdown at undefeated Kansas
on Nov. 24. The winner of that game
will most likely play in the Big Twelve
Running back Mike Hart missed Saturday's game with injury and hopes to return next weekend.
predicion, Hart sits out,
By DANIEL BROMWICH
Daily Sports Editor
CHAMPAIGN - His teammates said he
would play. Defensive end Tim Jamison basi-
cally guaranteed it, and cap-
tain Jake Long said he had "no NOTEBOOK
doubt." Michigan coach Lloyd -
Carr was more evasive, but no more than usual
So Wolverine fans, by and large, expected
their Heisman Trophy candidate to take the field
Saturday against Illinois.
Throughout the week, however, rumors
cropped up that running back Mike Hart's
injury was worse than his teammates had pre-
viously thought. Nerves rose rapidly, and when
No. 20 wasn't dressed during pre-game warm-
ups, whispers started racing. And Hart's appear-
ance in street clothes finally confirmed the fans'
At least one of the Michigan coaches knew
this was coming.
"(I knew) Monday," running backs coach Fred
But Hart didn't know until Thursday.
"I know him probably better than he knows
himself," Jackson said. "I knew he would not
want to perform unless he could give everything
he had. I think he realized he couldn't do it. He
couldn't cut the way he wanted to yet."
Carr maintained he didn't know Hart
wouldn't play until Thursday, saying the injury
was day-to-day throughout the week.
Backup running back Brandon Minor suf-
fered a sprained ankle against Purdue as well,
and many thought he was less likely to play Sat-
urday than Hart. He didn't practice on Tuesday,
and Carr was pessimistic that he would be avail-
able against Illinois.
"We felt like his injury might be a little worse
than (Hart's)," Carr said. "He came back and
practiced on Wednesday, he called me at home
I think Monday night, and he said, 'Coach, I'm
going to play.' I never believed he would play
until I saw him Wednesday, and he came out and
practiced well, and on Thursday he looked even
Minor was still hampered by his injury come
game time, though, and sophomore running
back Carlos Brown received most of the car-
ries. Brown recorded the first 100-yard game
of his career against the Illini, which hadn't let
a runner top the century mark against them all
And with quarterback Chad Henne in and
out of the game because of a shoulder injury,
Hart missing and Minor limited, the Wolverines
needed some replacements to take on a bigger
"It's tough having those guys down," Long
said. "ButI was really proud of the backups, and
the guys behind them really stepped up ... Every-
body just really was accountable today, and it
was a great team effort and a team win."
Michigan did see some players return Sat-
urday. Jeremy Ciulla made his first start of the
season at right guard after missing time from an
injury suffered against Appalachian State. Line-
backer John Thompson played in limited duty
after missing the previous two games.
And the Wolverines could see an important
cog return next week as well. After the game,
Jackson gave a prognosis on Hart's injury.
"I'm thinking he'll be back this week," Jack-
Carr said Hart's status remained at day-to-
"We'll see next week how it's going to go,"
Hart said. "Hopefully, I'll be back, but if not,
then I won't."
Here we go again.
SPECIAL Z: Punter Zoltan Mesko had his best
game of the season Saturday. He boomed a 67-
yard punt to the Illinois 4-yard line on his first
kick of the game. He landed three of his four
punts inside the 20-yard line and two of them
inside the five, averaging 44 net yards on his
But it was his shortest punt of the day that
made the real difference.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Illinois
returner Kyle Hudson muffed the kick at his
own 12-yard line, and long snapper Sean Grif-
fin recovered the ball for the Wolverines. Two
plays later, wide receiver Adrian Arrington
found fellow receiver Mario Manningham in
the corner of the end zone for a touchdown and
a 24-17 lead that Michigan didn't relinquish.
"That was a great punt," Carr said. "We were
punting with the wind. A lot of times in those
situations, you're going to kick the ball into the
end zone ... That was simply a great punt, a very
difficult punt to handle down in there ... it was
awful high and it had a good spin on it."
ERRORS IN JUDGMENT: Illinois coach Ron
Zook couldn't have been pleased with the dis-
cipline his team showed Saturday. The Illini
racked up 10 penalties in the game, costing
them 107 yards. They were called for four dif-
ferent personal fouls, two of which gave the
Wolverines first downs on plays after they
would've otherwise had to give the ball back
"You don't teach facemask and holding penal-
ties, but when you teach guys to be aggressive, it
is going to happen," Zook said. "Playing aggres-
sive and playing hard is good, buf up against
good football teams, you can't do some of the
things we did and get away with it."
From page 1B
ing to understatement.
"I've been coaching college foot-
ball since 1980, and I've never seen
a guy who went through what he
went through for his team," Jack-
son said. "He's the ultimate war-
rior in my mind."
At 16-for-28 for 201 yards,
Henne's performance wasn't one
for the record books. And the
stat sheet will note it was wide
receiver Adrian Arrington who
hit Mario Manningham midway
through the fourth quarter on an
end-around pass for the game-
winning score. But the presence
Henne brought after sitting out
the third quarter could be one
destined for Wolverine lore.
Henne restored order to a Mich-
igan offense spiraling out of con-
trol under freshman Ryan Mallett,
who looked much less composed
under the lights of Memorial Sta-
dium than he did in the Big House
earlier this season.
Up 17-14 coming out of the half,
Mallett took a third-down sack in
a spot where he seemingly would
have gunned a pass down the field
one month ago, earning a sternlec-
ture from Carr. And as Michigan
looked to pull away later in the
quarter, he fumbled away a snap
and tossed an interception to kill
two near-scoring drives.
Henne didn't necessarily win
the game for the Wolverines when
he returned (they have a botched
punt return by Illinois on its own
13-yard line to thank for that), but
he minimized the mistakes that
could have cost them. With slop-
py' play and 10 penalties, Illinois
did its best to hand Michigan the
game. Without Henne, Michigan
might have returned itcto sender.
From page 1B
ity morphing into stupidity.
But by game's end, DeBord's
gameplan had a creative feel to it
rarely seen by Michigan fans.
Trailing 14-3, the Wolverines
marched down the field with
ease, albeit on a road less traveled.
Straying from the usual ground
route, Chad Henne and the Michi-
gan offense traveled through the
air. The courageous senior, play-
ing through the pain of a shoulder
injury, went 4-of-5 for 80 yards
and a touchdown, with the lone
miscuea dropped pass.
Simply choosing to pass more is
far from innovative, though. More
than the plays, the formations in
DeBord's gameplan were espe-
With an all-everything like
Mike Hart out, DeBord knew
he needed to adjust to give his
quarterback more time to pass.
He threw out formations nobody
in Michigan had seen, putting
multiple blockers in the backfield
in some shotgun situations and
overloading sides he expected
blitzes to come from. Even though
his quarterbacks took some hits, it
could have been much worse for a
But the pinnacle of Saturday's
game came midway through the
fourth quarter. Inside Illinois' red
zone, DeBord called for an end-
around pass. The play worked per-
fectly and gave Michigan a lead it
DeBord's play call was a great
in that stadium that anybody who
was a member of this team will
never forget," Carr said.
Henne's performance saved a
number of his teammate's own
redeeming showings from going
Filling in for Hart, third-string
running back Carlos Brown proved
he's better than the back who strug-
gled with a wrist injury and holding
on to the ball earlier this season.
With injured backup Brandon
Minorseeinglimited action, Brown
back this spring and nearly trans-
ferred from Michigan - ran for
113 yards on 25 carries, becoming
the first back to break triple digits
against Illinois this year.
And the defense that has strug-
gled to stop running quarter-
backs time and again finally came
Illinois scored an early pass-
ing touchdown when cornerback
Donovan Warren bit on a fake, and
the defense's trouble with reads
allowed quarterback Juice Wil-
liams to engineer a 90-yard drive
early in the second quarter.
But Michigan stuck to its
gameplan and limited the two
Illini quarterbacks to just 29
yards on the ground and 116 in
the air. The Illini managed just a
field goal after halftime.
"Anything can happen in the
running game, and we shut that
down and forced them to pass and
that helps us out a lot," Michigan
linebacker Chris Graham said.
With 1-6 Minnesota up next on
the schedule, Michigan should get
some much-needed rest before its
grueling end-of-season stretch.
Carr says Hart's status is still day-
to-day, and Henne's availability for
the game is unknown.
What's not, though, is this: His
performance Saturday will remain
one for the scenario, but chalk an
assist up to dumb luck.
DeBord called the playunder
the assumptionthatGreg Mathews
- the receiver who had practiced
the play all week long - would be
in the game. He wasn't, and when
the play was relayed to the huddle,
an unprepared Arringtonknew
he'd have to step up.
"When itogot called, I was just
thinking, 'I'm going to run it,' in
my head," Arrington said. "And
then I saw Mario come out wide
open, soI had to throw it to him."
The night's biggest playcall may
have been a mistake, but I'll take
a blind squirrel finding a nut over
status quo any day. After an 0-2
start, the team feels the same way.
In a game where Michigan's
Heisman Trophy candidate
watched from the sidelines and its
quarterback left the locker room
with his arm in a sling, players
like Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor
and Ryan Mallett were praised as
But the most unexpectedboost
came from DeBord, the guy who
wrote the script for those support-
ing actors to steal the show.
Is this script going to be
renewed, or was it a one-night
show while Hart sat on the side-
lines? That's yetoto be seen. But
Saturday night showed if the
Wolverines ever want to perma-
nently ditch its black-and-white
programming to get in line with
the color TV world, it can be done,
and it can work.
- Bell can be reached at