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4B - October 22, 2008

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

48 - October 22, 2008 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

GAME STATISTICS

Graham guarantees win Saturday .

Tm,,Stats
First Downs
Rsh/Yds
Passintg as
OffensivePlay
Ttal Offens
Kick rturs/Yds
PuntretrnsS/ Yds
Comp/Att/Int
Punts/Avg
Fme/Lost
Pnalties/Yards
TimeR of PRo

PENN ST.
22
38/231
2s1
482
3/95
2/1
19/33/0
3/44.7
3/1
3/20
30:19

MICH
15
46/202
89
68
291
8/162
1/-3
12/22/0
7/37.3
5/1
3/27
29:41

PASSING
Player
Threet
RUSHING
Pyer
Threet
McGuffie
Totals
RECEVNG
Odms
Koger
Mathews
Minor
PUNTING
Player
TEAM
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player
McGuffie
Totals
PUNT RETURNS
Player
Mathews
Totals
TACKLES -
Payer
Thompson
Harrison
Taylr
Steartin
Gwaam
Brw, S
Markn
RHer
Ttals
RECESING
Pler
Totals
RUNING
Player
Toas
PUCINGEUR
Player
Norwood
Williars
r Total
KCKFLETUN
Mlayb
Aoro
Gblladys

McEowen
Jeffries
Beachum
Ogbu
Koroma
Totals

M I C
C-A
9-13

CH I G A N
Yds
84
50 3.6
36 9.0
?02 4.4

TD
0

Att
14
4
46

Y
2(

14
17
36
Lg
28
16
6
-2

Int
0
0
0
TD
2
0
0
0
0
0
TD
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

No. Yds
3 34
3 26
2 9
1 21
1 6
1 -2
1 -5
12 89

Avg
113
8.6
6.0
-2.0

By DAN FELDMAN team is going to practice to make that pos-
Daily Sports Editor sible."
Only a year after Hart said the Spartans
STATE COLLEGE - As if the Michi- were Michigan's "little brother," Graham's
gan football team's back wasn't pressed remarks will add more fuel to the rivalry.
up against the wall firmly enough, junior "I'm pretty sure (Graham) got a couple
defensive end Brandon phone calls from some guys over at Michi-
Graham pushed it a little NOTEBOOK gan State afterwards, and a couple texts,"
further. Taylor said. "But, hey, that's what it is..And
After the Wolverines' 46-17 loss at No. I'd be happy to go out there and help him
3 Penn State, Graham guaranteed a win back that up."
against rival Michigan State on Saturday. QUARTERBACK: Michigan coach Rich
"We gonna come out, we gonna work Rodriguez said Monday that redshirt
hard this week," Graham said. "Because freshman quarterback Steven Threet,
I don't think we are going to ever lose to who was pulled twice against the Nitta-
State. I'm feeling like we're not gonna to ny Lions because of a bruised elbow, was
lose to State because that's just - we're not healthier than he was a week ago.
going to lose to State. We are going to work "He'll play," Rodriguez said.
hard. We're gonna win." Redshirt sophomore Nick Sheridan
After getting on the bus, Graham told replaced Threet both times and went
redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Obi 3-of-9 for five yards. Although Rodriguez
Ezeh about his comment. said earlier this season freshman Justin
"I guess I have kind of been preparing Feagin would redshirt, Feagin almost
for that for the past couple of days," Ezeh made his college debut on Saturday.
said Monday. "We were going to put him in there,"
Graham's prognostication after a tough quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said. "We
loss is in line with a couple of Michigan's had practiced him, but we thought Steve
other famous guarantees. was doing okay, and we thought Nick
Running back Mike Hart guaranteed a would be okay, too. Justin, I don't know if
win over Notre Dame last year after the that's the environmentto put him into, and
Wolverines lost to Oregon and fell to 0-2. we're limited with his package because he
Michigan responded with a 38-0 win over hadn't practiced much at quarterback"
the Fighting Irish. Rodriguez said the coaches are near
In 1986, quarterback Jim Harbaugh the point when they will decide whether
guaranteed a victory over Ohio State after Feagin redshirts this season. He has prac-
a loss to unranked Minnesota at home. ticed at quarterback and slot receiver in
The Wolverines beat the Buckeyes, 26-24, recent weeks.
the next week. The decision may depend on Threet's
For Michigan to follow through on health. The health of a quarterback is par-
another guarantee, Graham and his fellow ticularly important in a spread offense,
defensive linemen will need to step up. For which utilizes a running quarterback.
the second straight week, the defensive line "He ran the ball well tonight, to be hon-
was largely taken out of the game, record- est with you," said Smith, who pointed out
ingjust 12 tackles and none for a loss. Threet was hurt on a passing play. "We
"We're going to back Brandon Graham 'gave him a couple of things and tried-it,
up on what he said," senior nose tackle and ran it, and felt comfortable. He likes
Terrance Taylor said. "Everybody on this doing that. So we are just going to keep on

0

No. TA, Avg Hg
1 12 12.0 0
7 262 37.4 50

Junior defensive end Brandon Graham said after Michigan's 29-point loss to PennS State that the
Wolverines would win Saturday against Michigan State.
working." offensive linemen againstthe Nittany Lions
POSITION CHANGES: Redshirt junior as it did the first two games of the season.
Carson Butler, who had played tight end, is Redshirt junior Mark Ortmann started
now a defensive end and rush linebacker. his third game at left tackle, his fifth over-
Butler wore No. 85 prior to this year-and all start. Redshirt junior Tim McAvoy
switched to No.5 this season, but wore No. returned to the lineup at left guard after
85 at Penn State. Fifth-year senior strong starting there the first two games.
safety Charles Stewart wears No. 5, and Rodriguez said much of the shuffling
two players with the same number can't be was due to injuries.
on the field at the same time. The other three linemen - redshirt
"He ain't playing tight end, because freshman center David Molk, redshirt
Kevin Koger's the starting tight end and junior right guard David Moosman and
Mike Massey's the backup," said Rodri- redshirt sophomore right tackle Stephen
guez, who didn't elaborate on which posi- Schilling - have started every game.
tion Butler is playingnow. Saturday's line played well, especially
Rodriguez also said sophomore Vince early on. The unit was instrumental in
Helmuth asked to move from fullback clearing the way for junior running back
to defensive tackle. Rodriguez didn't say Brandon Minor, who ran for 117 yards and
whether the move would be permanent, two touchdowns on 23 carries.
but he said it helps Michigan's scout team. "I gotta give a lot of credit to the offen-
LINE 'EM UP: After trying four combina- sive line, because they were really getting
tions, Michigan started the same group of on their blocks," Minor said.

No.
4
8

Yds
94
162

Avg
23.5
20.2

Lg
35
35

TD
0
0
.0

No. Yds Avg Lg TO
1 -3 -3.0 -3 0
1 -3 -30 -3 0

Solo
8
3
4
3
1
3
2
2
2
1
1
0
1
2
rl
1
1
0
37

Asst
2
6
4
3
2
0
1
0
0
1
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
24

PENN STATE
C-A Yds
18-31 257
1-1 80
0-1 0
19-33 2S1

Tot
10
9
8
6
4
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
1
2
1
1
1
1
61
Int
0
0
0
0
TD
1
2
0
0
3
TD
0
1
0
0
1
9
2

Att
18
9
38
No.
8
4
1
1
19

Yds
174
45
23

Avg
9.7
5.0
2.8
-2.0
6.1
Avg
13.1
7.0
4.3
8.0
80.0
9.0
112

TD
1
2
Lg9
44
18
44
Lg%
25
15
80
80

NITTANY LIONS
From Page1B
end zone and was sacked again for a safety.
For the first time, Penn State had the lead, and
the snowball just kept growing.
The blowout loss stung even more for
Michigan because the afternoon started so
surprisingly well, with the Wolverines jump-
ing out to a 17-7 lead early in the second quar-
ter.
But when adjustments needed to be made,
Penn State responded and Michigan didn't.
"We had a few things planned for Penn
State, they were working," redshirt junior
offensive lineman David Moosman said. "It
felt great. Then it went awry. The best laid
plans of mice and men..."
One of the reasons Michigan started the
game so strongly was the performance of
junior running back Brandon Minor. Minor,
starting for the first time this season, scored
two touchdowns in the first half and finished
the game with 117 yards on 23 carries.
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said Minor
got the start because he was close to 100 per-
cent healthy for the first time all season and
had practiced well all week leading up to the
game.
But Minor's early surge fell off by the
fourth quarter. As much as Penn State domi-
nated the third quarter, the final frame was
even worse for Michigan. Penn State held the
ball for nearly 10 minutes and outscored the
Wolverines 20-0.
It was an ugly game in what's quickly
become an ugly season for Michigan.
Some time in the future, this game may be a
lesson in not letting the little mistakes snow-
ball. .
For now, it's just another loss.
The third in a row.

By IAN ROBINSON
Daily Sports Editor
STATE COLLEGE - After each
game, Michigan quarterback coach
Rod Smith assesses his quarterbacks'
performance for the media. Following
a loss, he typically talks about missed
reads by his inexperienced quarter-
backs, finishing his explanation by say-
ing he'll learn more when he looks at
the film.
On Saturday afternoon, outside Bea-
ver Stadium, Smith was asked about
redshirt freshman Steven Threet's first
half. The Threet-led offense scored on
its first three possessions for the first
time this season.
In his answer, Smith barely men-
tioned Threet.
"I thought, first of all, (junior run-
ning back) Brandon Minor ran the ball
extremely well in the first half," Smith
said. "Pretty much, the whole game he
did. He ran hard, the kid played hard.
I think we established the run game.
That was the good part."
Minor started for the first time this
season and had 23 carries for 117 yards
and two touchdowns, after missing
the final three quarters against Toledo
with bruised ribs. It was the first time
this season that freshman running
back Sam McGuffie wasn't the starter
and Michigan's top running back. At
Monday's press conference, Minor was
listed at the top of the running back
depth chart.

"The biggest thing he brings is that
he brings a physical presence when he
runs," Rodriguez said. "He's a big guy
that runs downhill pretty well. We've
needed that."
On his first carry Saturday, Minor
cut into the Penn State secondary,
broke a tackle and carried a couple of
defenders before getting tackled 20
yards downfield.
Minor set the tone for the first-quar-
ter offense and continued to tear apart
the Nittany Lions in a season-high
six-first-down series. He picked up 42
rushingyards on Michigan's first drive,
capping it off with a five-yard touch-
down run.
Minor has been one of the few offen-
sive players to make game-breaking
plays for Michigan this season, some-
thing Rodriguez has been asking
of his players all year. Minor is the
team's leading scorer with 30 points
(five touchdowns), even though he has
touched the ball just 39 times. Against
Miami (Ohio), his fourth-quarter score
sealed the first victory of the season.
Against Toledo, he caught the team's
only touchdown.
At the end of spring practice, Michi-
gan coach Rich Rodriguez named
Minor as oneofthetopbacks.Aninjury
during fall practice and fumbles limit-
ed his playing time at the beginning of
the season, but he hasn't missed a prac-
tice in three weeks. Rodriguez also said
Minor understands the offense as well
as any of the running backs.

His versatility as a runner, pass
catcher and pass blocker has made
Minor critical to the team's offensive
success - as he was Saturday.
Against Penn State, Minor account-
ed for 84 yards total yards on Michi-
gan's first three drives.
"We've been seeing little glimpses
of that all season," Minor said. "It's
always times that we look like we could
compete for Big Ten any day, butsome-
times you know we just not connecting
real good so we just going to have to
work on that."
In the final 13 minutes of the first
half, the Wolverines didn't pick up
another first down and Minor ran
for just 10 more yards. The Michigan
offense's inability to sustain drives gave
Penn State's conference-best offense
the opportunity to take the momentum
heading into the locker room.
Coming out of the half, the Nittany
Lions seized control of the game, out-
scoring Michigan 32-0 in the final two
quarters.
Aside from Michigan's opening and
closing drives of the second half, the
offense was stagnant. On. those five
drives, the Wolverines had minus-six
yards of total offense and zero first
downs. Minor was also ineffective in
those stretches, gaining eight yards on
the ground.
And just as it did in the first half,
Minor's performance on the ground set
the tone for Michigan's offensive per-
formance.

Minor sets tone on offense

Yds
105
28
80
9
21

No. Yds Avg Lg
No Yds Avg Lg TD
1 20 20.0 20 ST
3 9s 3.7 43 0
No, Yds Avg Lg TD
1 5 5.0 5 0
1 -4 -40 -4 0
2 1 0,5 5 0

Solo
4
6
6
4
2
1
3
2
1
3
3
2
2
0
1
1
1
0
0
42

Asst
7
4
2
3
4
4
1
2
3
0
0
1
1
2
0
0
0
1
1
36

Tot
11
10
8
7
6
5
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
2
1
1
1
1
1
78

Confidence has been a
problem for 'M' all year

BIG TEN STANDINGS
Team Big Ten Overall

Penn State
Ohio State
Michigan State
Minnesota
Northwestern
Iowa
Illinois
Michigan
Purdue
Wisconsin
Indiana

4
4
3
2
2
2
2
10
0
0

0
0
1
1
1
2
2
2
3
4
4

8
7
6
6
6
5
4
2
2
3
2

0
1
2
1
1
3
3
5
5
4
5

CONFIDENCE, From Page 1B
19-point comeback against Wisconsin.
Coming off the upset of the Badgers, the
Illinois game initially looked like a one-
time collapse.
After Saturday's 17-7 lead over Penn
State turned into a 46-17 defeat, the Wol-
verines were left struggling for answers
that, game after game, obviously aren't
there.
Two weeks ago, running backs coach
Fred Jackson tried to explain the Wolver-
ines' collapse against Illinois.
"I said (in the first quarter), 'This is
what this offense is all about,' and then
you make some of the mistakes that we
made," Jackson said. "It becomes a situ-
ation where you don't really know if it's
the youth or, it's not necessarily inexperi-
ence."
Michigan's youth and inexperience
were painfully obvious Saturday.
Penn State looked like Michigan in the
first quarter, botching a snap, fumbling
and committing a stupid penalty while
the Wolverines racked up 17 points.
But starting from their second drive in
the second quarter, the Wolverines had
three- consecutive three-and-outs and
started to fade.
If the second quarter raised suspi-
cion, the third quarter provided proof
that the Wolverines' mental mistakes

were adding up.
Steven Threet began the half by recov-
ering his own fumble, marking a return to
the sloppy play the Wolverines had avoid-
ed in the first half. On the next Michigan
drive, the Nittany Lions sacked backup
quarterback Nick Sheridan in the end
zone for a safety to put them up for good.
That's when it was clear the Wolver-
ines wouldn't come back. Penn State eas-
ily pulled away as Michigan watched, and
the Nittany Lions' 80-yard touchdown
pass with two minutes left in the game
was just rubbing it in.
It was a slap in the face for the Wol-
verines, a reminder they were way over
their heads, that they have been all year
and that likely will be for the rest of the
season.
Yes, the play-for-60-minutes issue has
gone hand-in-hand with the lack-of-exe-
cution issue all season. But it was never
more glaring than on Saturday.
"We've got to put it all together," offen-
sive coordinator Calvin Magee said after
the game. "It's got to be four full quarters,
and at some point, the guys got to start
believing."
It's seven games into the season.
By now, they should have done more
than just believe.
Ratkowiak can be reached
at cratkowi@umich.edu.

0

THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
PENN STATE 46, Michigan 17
NORTHWESTERN 41. Purdue 26
IOWA 38, Wisconsin 16
Ohio State 45, MIcHIGAN STATE 7
ILLINOIS 55, Indiana 13

RORIGOGAYA/Daily
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez downplayed the idea that his team's collapse Saturday against
Illinois was mental, but freshman Mike Martin said otherwise after the game.

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