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September 18, 2008 - Image 5

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0 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, September 18, 2008 - 5A

. M' falls to Wildcats for first time ever

Late goal not
enough for visiting
Wolverines
By JOE STAPLETON
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's soccer team
lost to Kentucky last night, 2-1, but
the Wolverines' coach says it wasn't
because Michigan (4-2-1) was the
worse team.
"We had a large track of posses-
sions where it was clear we were
the superior team," Michigan coach
Steve Burns said. "But when you go
on the road, you have got to bring a
killer instinct with you, and we left
that at home."
But it was the Wildcats who came
up big in key moments. Kentucky
(4-2-0) had never beaten the Wol-
verines in the history of its program.
The three previous times the teams
have played, the Wildcats lost in
overtime.
Both teams had a slow first half
offensively, combining for just five
shots on goal. Burns said the lack
of scoring by the Wildcats was
mostly due to Michigan's solid team
defense.
"We were all over them, to be
honest," he said. "What I had to try
and do with the team's attitude was
make sure they realized that the
game was far from over."
But though the Wolverines domi-
nated the first half on defense, their
offense couldn't capitalize, and the
score remained 0-0.
"(Kentucky's) defense was pretty
good - they were athletic," senior
forward Jake Stacy said. "But we

just could not catch a break."
Ten minutes into the second half,
Kentucky opened the scoring when
a ball dropped in front of Michigan's
goalie box. The Wolverine defense
couldn't clear it out, and Kentucky
forward Marco Dos Santos booted
it in.
"It's a classic college soccer goal,"
Burns said. "You could call it an ugly
goal, but moms love their ugly kids
just as much as the pretty ones."
The Wildcats' second goal came
on a free kick from junior All-Amer-
ican defender Barry Rice from 22
yards out in the 74th minute.
With under four minutes remain-
ing, Stacy tallied the lone Wolverine
score when he took a pass from red-
shirt sophomore Cam Cameron and
found the netfrom 15 yards out. The
Wolverines drew a corner kick with
a minute left, but could not convert
to tie the game.
Burns hesitated to place the
blame on any specific player, but
said his team's game plan was the
right one.
"It was really on our outside mid-
fielders to bring that energy to the
game and help us win it," he said.
"We didn't really get what we need-
ed to from the wide positions on the
field."
Coach Burns said he told his play-
ers after the game how close they
are to being a team with a killer
instinct that can dominate, even on
the road.
"It's about not worrying about
your own aches and pains andtrying
to inflict them more on the oppo-
nent," he said. "It's putting your-
self in harm's way. Right now, it's
that final piece right there that's
missing for this team."

Senior forward Jake Stacy, seen herein a game against Akron last October, scored Michigan's only goal in its loss at Kentucky last night.

FILE PHOTO

Don'tpanic yet

Big Ten in for week of fluff
after primetimematchups

Iwas walking through the
Diag three days ago, 30 min-
utes late for my marketing
class, my head down as I thought
about how I
could slip into
my assigned
seat in the
middleofarow
unnoticed.
That's why I
didn't see the
four or five COURTNEY
guys huddled RATKOwIA.K
together near
the UGLi until
one of them jumped in front of me
and shoved a piece of paper in my
face.
35-17.
. The score of Saturday's Mich-
igan-Notre Dame game was
scribbled in black pen. It was the
only thing on the paper. I was so
surprised that I started laughing,
even though I didn't break my
stride. I heard them holler after
me, "She knew what that meant!
She knew what that meant!" And
then, louder, "Michigan football
SUCKS!"
Yes, I knew what that meant.
But I also know what it doesn't
mean, and it doesn't mean that
Michigan football sucks.
I'm not saying that as a fan, or
even as an optimist - because,
really, I'm neither. I reacted pret-
ty predictably. when junior safety
Stevie Brown told the media after
the game, "In our hearts, we know
S that we're the better team." Are
you kidding me? I thought.
But now that everyone has had
a few days to cool off, it's a little
easier to believe that Brown may
have possibly had a point - the
Wolverines are going to be better
the rest of this season than they
looked Saturday.
Michigan coach Rich Rodri-
guez also stuck up for his team at
Monday's press conference.
"The sky's not falling," he said.
"I can tell you this: There's a lot of
positive things going on, too, that
maybe the outside people, people
that are outside our building,
don't see."
He's the coach - he's supposed
to say that. But apparently, he
didn't do a good job of calming
people down. Some of the articles
that have come out after Satur-
day's loss have headlines like,
"Rodriguez a terrible fit for Mich-
igan's program" and "UM sold out
by hiring Rich Rodriguez."
The talk is a good reminder that
people love to panic - and fast.
That second headline is from
the Wisconsin student newspa-
per. It's a column that sounds off
on how Rodriguez's lack of char-
acter has led to the Wolverines'
1-2 record and includes gems like
these:
"(Rodriguez) gave up a good
thing in West Virginia to try and
be the next great thing in the his-
tory of Michigan football. He got
greedy."

Yes, that's exactly right. Rodri-
guez was offered the opportunity
to coach at the winningest college
football program in history and
implement his system in a place
where outsiders haven't been
allowed since 1969. If he wouldn't
have taken the chance, he would
have been called crazy.
Now, because Michigan has
won just one of trree games, he's
greedy?
All of the Rich Rod hate col-
umns would be funny if they
weren't so painfully familiar.
Substitute "terrible fit" for "out-
dated" and "Rich Rodriguez"
for "Lloyd Carr," and you'll have
the columns and comments that
appeared when the Wolverines
were 1-2 at this time last year.
My personal favorite letter
during last year's early-season
struggles was this complaint to
the Daily from an alum after the
Appalachian State loss:
"Please, in the name of all that
Michigan football used to mean,
rip all traces of maize and blue off
of Carr and get him out of town
and out of the state."
And now, even after the Wol-
verines have been stripped of
Carr's offensive system and
philosophies, people are just as
upset.
But even after three mistake-
filled games, it's easy to see this:
The offense is exciting. Red-
shirt sophomore quarterback Ste-
ven Threet is getting better every
game - he posted career-high
statistics in a game with six turn-
overs. When the rest of the team
learns how to hold on to the ball,
he could start looking even more
impressive.
Freshman running back Sam
McGuffie is overwhelmingly the
team's best running back through
three games, gained 138 rushing
yards against Notre Dame and
has high potential.
The defense is full of veterans.
And though that hasn't necessar-
ily meant much so far, except dur-
ing for parts of the Miami (Ohio)
game, the defense should be able
to perform well when it isn't con-
stantly making up for the offense.
Sure, we've heard all of this.
But the learning curve in games
should be starting to level off.
The Wolverines have played both
at home and on the road. They've
gotten their first win and they've
had an embarrassing loss. They've
played in pressure situations late
and almost pulled off the come-
back.
That means the Big Ten season
is when you should start seeing
results.
What if that doesn't happen?
Like it or not, you're stuck with
Rodriguez for now.
And watching Michigan foot-
ball is always more fun when you
still have a little faith.
Ratkowiak can be reached
at cratkowi@umich.edu.

Don't
granted
that don
the Big7
Even
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Ten gar
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Purdue-
Notre D
How
that this
doesn't.
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that ha:
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undefea
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pack mi
So, le

By ANDY REID after their disheartening double-
Daily Sports Editor overtime loss to Oregon last week. A
win over the Ducks would've legiti-
take last weekend for mized Purdue's claim that it's ready
- nonconference slates like to make a push at the Big Ten cham-
i't come around too often in pionship and a BCS bowl. Now, the
Ten. Boilermakers have to find a way to
though the marquee game, get excited for a game against an
te-Southern Cal, was a bust, upper-echelon Mid-American Con-
kend was full of grade-A Big ference team.
mes. There were some real But the Chippewas aren't going
- Wisconsin-Fresno State, to roll over for Purdue. Quarter-
Oregon and Michigan- back Dan LeFevour and the Central
ame, just to nam6 a few. Michigan offense are attempting to
does the Big Ten plan to top seal their third consecutive MAC
week? Well, to be frank, it championship and break out onto
the national scene with a big win. A
one Big Ten team is play- victory over Purdue would do just
S conference school - and that.
ppens to be a Pittsburgh This one might not have the
at got embarrassed 27-17 by draw that a marquee game like
Green to open the season. Ohio State-Southern Cal had, but I
ame - possibly the worst can guarantee it'll be a much bet-
ted school in the country - ter game than that stinker. I mean,
ing to Michigan State, and did you see last year's down-to-
an that, it's middle-of-the- the-wire Motor City Bowl between
d-majors for everyone else. these teams?
et's all try to get excited

still need to prove themselves. Too
bad a win over Pitt won't do much
to help Iowa's image.
Ever since Dave Wannstedt and
his mustache took over coaching
duties for the Panthers, with the
hopes of bringing them back to
prominence, the team has failed to
impress. This was supposed to be
Pitt's year, but the season-open-
ing loss to Bowling Green means
the Panthers will have to wait at
least another year to return to rel-
evance.
There just aren't a whole lot of
good reasons to watch this game -
other than the fact that Michigan is
on a bye week, and you'll all have to
occupy your time somehow.
NOTRE DAME
AT MICHIGAN STATE
The Fighting Irish have played
two games this year, and in both,
they were outgained by the oppos-
ing offense. But after a fourth-
quarter spark one week and six
turnovers from Michigan the next,
Notre Dame fans and media pun-
dits alike were quick to announce
the Irish's return to glory.
Well, that might be an overstate-
ment.
Michigan State is the strongest
team Notre Dame will face thus far,
and this game will be a great indi-

cator of how much glory the Irish
really have regained. The Spar-
tans have a brutal run game, l'ed
by Javon Ringer, who has bruised
defenses on his way to more than
500 yards rushing in three games -
best in the Big Ten. On top of that,
rivalry games are fun, and this one
has some pretty heavy historical
substance, so you know the players
will get hyped for it.
TROY AT OHIO STATE
Last year, the Trojans turned
some heads when quarterback
Omar Haugabook lit up Oklahoma
State in an early season upset -
don't expect Troy to garner that
same kind of attention this week.
Granted, Ohio State has looked
unimpressive this year, but the
Buckeyes are sure to smoke a mid-
dle-of-the-pack Sun Belt team. Of
course, there are some storylines
that make this game semi-inter-
esting. Is Beanie Wells going to be
play? How is super-recruit Terrelle
Pryor coming along? Can Todd
Boeckman finally breathe some life
into this dormant offense?
At the end of the day, it's Ohio
State, and every Michigan fan
should be at least a little intrigued
when the Buckeyes play - even if
they're playing Troy.

for the few Big Ten games worth
watching this week. Here's what to
look for:
CENTRAL MICHIGAN
AT PURDUE
I'm a sucker for upsets, and this
has upset written all over it. The
Boilermakers have to be reeling

IOWA AT PITTSBURGH
I can't think of many battles
between BCS foes that are more
unappealing than this one. Iowa -
one of the great underachievers in
college footballfor the last fewyears
- looks like it might be a little bet-
ter this season. But the Hawkeyes

Top-10 SEC matchup highlight of weekend

By RYAN KARTJE
and TIM ROHAN
Daily Sports Writers
Les Miles is a gutsy coach, to say
the least. The man who was appar-
ently close to becoming Michigan's
coach last Decembermade a coach-
ing decision that almost ruined his
Louisiana State Tigers' 2007 sea-
son.
It was right in the middle of the
usually brutal Southeastern Con-
ference schedule. The Tigers were
ranked fifth in the nation and were
struggling at home against No. 18
Auburn.
Auburn led 24-23 late in the game
- but then LSU marched down the
field into field goal range.
The LSU offense came into the
huddle with one timeout left. With
less than 10 seconds remaining the
Tigers opted for a pass play into the
end zone instead of the obvious field
goal.Quarterback Matt Flynngot the
snap and hurled a pass to the back of
the end zone where wide receiver
Demetrius Byrd made a spectacular
touchdown catch. There was one
second left on the clock. Mike Pat-
rick of ESPN called Miles's madness

the "Call of the Year."
NO.6 LSU VS. NO.10 AUBURN
Miles leads the 2007 National
Champions into thisgame and might
need another gutsy call to take out
the Tigers. Expect this game to be
a little more exciting than Auburn's
thrilling 3-2 win over Mississippi
State last week.
Guaranteed: After burning three
of Auburn's cornerbacks, Tigers
coach Tommy Tuberville brings in
his secret weapon, Jamaican sprint-
er Usain Bolt, to cover LSU sprinter/
wide receiver Trindon Holliday.
Auburn allows 14 points for the
highest scoring game in the SEC
West all season. ' .
Guaranteed: With one second
remaining on the clock, Miles tells
quarterback Andrew Hatch to
launch the ball straight up into the
air. Somehow, Holliday catches the
ball and runs into the end zone in a
miraculous feat of athleticism. After
the game, Les Miles admits to a deal
with the devil.

travels to Tennessee's Neyland
Stadium to see who can touch the
checkerboard endzones the most.
Unfortunately, the checkerboard
endzone may be the only thing in
the Volunteers' favor this game.
Florida's dynamic Heisman Trophy-
winning quarterback Tim Tebow
will look to improve on his 260 total
yards and four touchdowns in Flor-
ida's 59-20 drubbing of the Vols last
season.
Guaranteed: After Tebow runs
for his fourth touchdown of the
afternoon, he and wide receiver
Percy Harvin arrange an elaborate
checkers-themed touchdown dance
that ends with Tebow being kinged
at the edge of the endzone.
Guaranteed: Tennessee running
back Arian Foster does the Heisman
pose to mock Tebow on his first
touchdown run of the afternoon.
He finishes the game with 20 car-
ries for 38 yards.
NO.3 GEORGIA

rier and South Carolina by just one
touchdown last week, a week after
South Carolina lost to SEC punch-
ing bag Vanderbilt.
Butif Georgia is limpinginto this
one, Arizona State is crawling. The
Sun Devils were ranked 15th in the
nation last week, but lost in over-
time 23-20to unranked UNLV.
Primetime television on ESPN
means that Georgia might use Ari-
zona State as a statement game for
the rest of the season. The Bull-
dogs won't be embarrassed two
weeks in a row.
Guaranteed: Arizona State fans
start a chant of "Rudy, Rudy!" after
Arizona State quarterback Rudy
Carpenter throws a touchdown.
Like the original Rudy, Carpenter
lasts only one more play before
Georgia's bone-crushing defense
takes him out.
Guaranteed: The referees take
pity on the Arizona State defense
and let them play with 13 players on
the field. The extra two will equal
the average number of players
Georgia running back Knowshon
Moreno jukes on a single play.

0.40j VS. ARIZONA STATE
Both Arizona State and Georgia
VS. TENNESSEE are coming off poor performances.
EC battle, Florida The Bulldogs defeated Steve Spur-

NO.5 FLORIDA
In a fierce SI

4 A

l

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