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October 13, 2008 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2008-10-13

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* POK1
*i
The Michigan Daily I michigandaily com ( October13,2008
.LOWER THAN LOW
Loss to MAC
team a first
for Michigan
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan had been there before.
All the Wolverines needed to do with four sec-
onds remaining was kick a short field goal to keep the
game going. But kicker K.C. Lopata hooked a 26-yard
attempt narrowly wide left of the uprights to secure
Toledo's 13-10 win and leave
the Michigan students sink- TOLEDO 13
ing to their seats in disbelief. MICHIGAN 10
The Rockets' celebra-
tion on the field may as well have been Appalachian
State's.
"We just did what we had to do," Toledo quarter-
back Aaron Opelt said on the field, seconds after his
team's win. "We got to love it. We got to love it."
As in last year's season opener, this was an oppo-
nent the Wolverines should have handily defeated,
even though they already had three losses on the
books this season. The missed kick sealed the Wol-
verines' first-ever loss to a Mid-American Confer-
ence team in 25 games. It marked Michigan's second.
straight defeat and dropped the Wolverines to their
worst record (2-4) in 41 years. And it gave Michigan
its worst nonconference record (1-3) since 1982, when
the Wolverinesawere 0-2.
But this time around, as they quickly and silently
headed through the Michigan Stadium tunnel and
into the locker room, the Wolverines looked less
See ROCKETS, Page 4B

Offense can't
sustain drives
against Toledo
By IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Editor
Entering Saturday, the Toledo football team had
allowed more than 30 points in four of its five games.
In the other, the Rockets allowed 17 points to Eastern
Michigan.
Michigan couldn't even match that.
They haven't put together a complete offensive
game all season.
"It's surprising every week," offensive coordina-
tor Calvin Magee said. "You expect to work on it, and
you expect to get better, and you expect the guys to
execute, and they didn't do it."
That has been Michigan's explanation after every
game this season. But they appear to be regressing.
At the beginning of the season, players talked about
how they were just a couple of inches away on every
play from breaking a long run. But that hasn't been
mentioned in the last few games. Now, the common
explanation is players not being on the same page.
The Wolverines didn't have a drive longer than
three first downs against Toledo.
They only have one drive this year with four first
downs that didn't come on a penalty or a fourth-down
conversion. That happened against Notre Dame.
The quarterbacks remained inconsistent. After
SAM WOLSON/Oaily going 5-for-8 with 59 yards in the first quarter, red-
See OFFENSE, Page 4B

Sophomore Toney Clemons drops a pass in Saturday's 13-10 loss to Toledo.

Will others reconsider
four-year plan after
Mitera's injury?

Palushaj delivers
late-game heroics

ist just not fair.
In the first weekend of
a senior year that he didn't
have to stay for, Michigan hockey
captain Mark
Mitera had to
be helped off
the ice, perhaps
never to play
again.
"He's the
consummate
student-athlete
- one of those
top students MICHAEL
who's also a top EISENSTEIN
player," Michi-
gan coach Red
Berenson said at CCHA Media Day
last month. "These are the kind
of kids that the CCHA should be
proud of - the kids that stay and
graduate."
Mitera, just the second first-
round NHL draft pick to stay four
years at Michigan, returned for

the reasons Berenson constantly
preaches. He shunned the Anaheim
Ducks, the NHL franchise that
holds his rights, multiple times,
turning down a chance to sign his
way into the NHL. He did it to earn
a degree, to captain a young team,
to develop as a player.
And Friday, in the first period of
the season, he went down with a
"severe" knee injury, according to
Berenson, possibly ending his col-
lege career less than 20 minutes
into his senior year. Berenson said
a more precise timetable for his
potential return would be deter-
mined in the next two weeks as
surgery is discussed.
Mitera stayed for all the right
reasons - and got unlucky.
"It's unfortunate, but you never
know you're going to get hurt," for-
mer Wolverine Chad Kolarik said
yesterday. "He took his chance.
He's going to get his degree, and
See EISENSTEIN, Page 3B

By NICOLE AUERBACH
Daily Sports Writer
Aaron Palushaj knows he's in the
spotlight.
Last season, Palushaj played
strong 3
behind ST. L AWRNCE 5
the MICHIGAN
scenes,- 3
tallying ST. LAWRENCE
34 assists MICHIGAN
in his
freshman campaign. He was over-
shadowed by Kevin Porter's Hobey
Baker award-winning season and
freshman Max Pacioretty's domi-
nating presence.
But now, as he steps up to play on
the Wolverines' top line, Palushaj
feels more pressure to put the puck
in the net.
In the season's first weekend, it
didn't seem hard for the sophomore
forward, who tallied two goals in
Saturday's 5-3 win over St. Law-
rence, including the game-winner.

The Wolverines had a solid 2-0
lead after two periods, but in a
back-and-forth third period, the
Saints tied the game with five min-
utes to go.
Enter Palushaj.
The Northville native flewup the
ice, beat a Saints defensemen low
and, as he fell forward toward the
goalie, flicked the puck into the net.
The electric Yost Ice Arena crowd
erupted as the red light flashed.
"When I picked it up at center
ice, I just had some speed and I put
it under (the defenseman's)-stick,"
Palushaj said. "I was going to take
him wide, but he just stepped up, so
I just put it back through his legs.
He tried to trip me, soI used a bit of
my soccer skills and picked it back
up with my stick. Then I somehow
just put it in the net."
Though Palushaj made his play
sound ordinary, it looked extraor-
dinary.
"(He) made that unbelievable
See SAINTS, Page 3B

CHRIS DZOMBAK/Daily
Sophomore forward Aaron Paushaj scored twice in Saturday's 5-3 win over St.
Lawrence. His second goal, the game-winner, came with five minutes remaining.

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