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November 02, 2009 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-02

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The Michigan Daily I michigandailycom I November 2,2009
CHAMPAIGN-FUL

Mich'igan 'D' falls apart 'For secondstraight
_ season M' squeezed
In third quarter at Iioi: by Juice Williams

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Editor
CHAMPAIGN - Before Satur-
day, Michigan had given up more
than three points in the third
quarter just once.
Against Illinois, that's when
everything unraveled.
In those 15 minutes, the Wolver-
ines surrendered 21 points and 209
yards to a team that had not beaten
an FBS team in 364 days.
"We are frustrated because we
gave it away, we just gave it away,"
senior defensive end Brandon Gra-
ham said after the game. "We was
the better team today. Not taking
that away from Illinois - they
came - but we know we gave it
away."
The Fighting Illini's 38-13 vic-
tory marked just the second time
in 52 seasons they have beaten
Michigan at Memorial Stadium.
For linebacker Stevie Brown,
the second-half defensive collapse
felt like it took nearly that long.
"I never thought it was going to
get out of reach like it did, it was

just unfortunate what happened,"
said Brown, struggling to find
words. "It's disappointing. That's
all I can say. It's disappointing."
That disappointment stems
from the second quarter, when
Michigan held the Illini to minus-
15 total yards and the Wolverine
offense built a six-point lead. At
halftime, Wolverine coach Rich
Rodriguez told Michigan to "just
step on their throat and extend
our lead," according to junior cor-
nerback Troy Woolfolk.
And the Wolverines had every
expection that they would come
out and do just that - a feeling
confirmed by quarterback Tate
Forcier's apparent 77-yard touch-
down bomb to wide receiver Roy
Roundtree on the first drive after
the half.
An official review reversed the
on-field touchdown call, though,
leaving Michigan with four scor-
ing chances from the one-yard
line. Roundtree's non-score was
inconsequential until, on the next
three plays, senior running back
Carlos Brown could not extend

the football 36 inches across the
goal line. Even senior running
back Brandon Minor, a player that
Rodriguez says transforms the
offense's physical play, couldn't
punch it in on fourth down.
But that wasn't the backbreaker
for Michigan.
The start of Illinois' next drive
looked similar to one of the Wol-
verines' second-quarter pos-
sessions during last weekend's
blowout loss to Penn State. Against
the Nittany Lions, Michigan was
backed up to its own two-yard line
on third-and-long when the snap
went through the back of the end
zone. The safety proved to be a
critical point of the game.
Against Illinois Saturday, with
the Illini starting at their own one-
yard line, the Wolverines were in
a position to reverse fates on the
goal line. Michigan had ended the
previous three Illini drives with
.third-down sacks and was playing
well.
This time, though, was much
different.
Illinois went 99 yards and

scored in less than three minutes
on a drive capped by a 70-yard
touchdown rush by running back
Mikel Leshoure. He was barely
grazed on the play.
And as the Wolverines' halftime
lead dissolved, so did their focus.
"We have to have enough resolve
to bounce back and not let it affect
you," Rodriguez said. "I know the
guys on the sideline were tryingto
keep guys into it. ... I can't explain
everything that goes on in minds
of young people all the time."
Sophomore defensive tackle
Mike Martin said Michigan let
up and was too relaxed after half-
time.
"It hurts, obviously, but we just
went back to the sideline, Coach
was tellingus to dust it off," Martin
said. "We were just trying to have
a better series the next series."
But the Wolverines looked
increasingly worse on the next two
Illini drives, giving up a touch-
down both times.
The third quarter was so differ-
ent from the second that, even
See ILLINI, Page 3B

By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Editor.
CHAMPAIGN - During the
week heading into last year's
Michigan-Illinois game, Illini
coach Ron Zook sat down one-
on-one with his star quarter-
back, Juice Williams.
According to Williams, Zook
simply told him, "to relax and
have fun."
Zook's coach-speak sounded
cliche, but Williams's result
definitely wasn't. He stunned
the Big House crowd with a
Michigan Stadium record of
431 all-purpose yards (310
passing, 121 rushing). Leaving
a dismantled Michigan defense
in the dust, he led Illinois to a
45-20 win.
Last Monday, Zook met
with Williams again. The sit-
uation was slightly different,
but the conversation didn't
stray far from the one the
coach and his quarterback
had a year ago.
"He pulled me aside Monday

and said, 'Relax, just let things
happen, just let plays come to
you,' "Williams said. "And that's
what I did."
Williams heeded Zook's
advice once again, this time to
the tune of 220 yards (123 in the
air, 97 on the ground).
Struggling this season to find
any kind of consistency, Wil-
liams may have needed Zook's
coaxing a little more than last
year. And with the plan for Wil-
liams to split time with redshirt
freshman Josh Charest, no one
knewhow much Michiganwould
see the senior. But just like last
season, he exploded against the
Wolverines.
For two years in a row, Wil-
liams has proven that the Michi-
gan defense can't contain the
mobile quarterback. And the
coaching staff can't quite figure
out why.
"Juice Williams got alive a lit-
tle bit and they had a soft balance
with the run and the pass, you
know, we just didn't respond,"
See JUICE, Page 3B

Wolverines upset
. 12th-ranked Wildcats

Caporusso nets first goal of '09
team's most dangerous weapo
was dormant during the season'
first four games.
"You start telling yoursel
things that aren't true and worsi
things creep into your head, ani
you wonder if you're ever goini
to score again," Caporusso said
"When I did score, I felt like a littl

By JAKE FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
The Wolverines' resume was
lacking.
The Michigan men's soccer team
had lost three of its previous four
games and boasted only one win
over a ranked opponent this season.
If they had any intentions of play-
ing soccer in the postseason, Mich-
igan coaches and players knew they
would need to find their identity
yesterday afternoon against No. 12
Northwestern.
Well, they found it.
After beating the Wildcats 1-0 in
double overtime, redshirt sopho-
more goalkeeper Chris Blais took
off his shirt and sprinted the length
of the field to rejoice with his team-
mates at the U-M Soccer Complex.
"We needed this win, and we
need next week's win," Blais said.
"It was a must-win for all of us if
we want to make the NCAA Tour-
nament, so I think that's where the
intensity came from."
Before yesterday's upset, the
Wolverines (2-3 Big Ten, 9-5-1
overall) had struggled against Big

Ten opponents. They tried to beat
opposing teams with pretty soc-
cer, pushing up their defenders
to sustain long possessions in the
attacking half. But this aggressive
style left Michigan susceptible to
counterattacks and ultimately led
to lasses at the hands of Penn State,
Indiana and Michigan State.
So in yesterday's game against
Northwestern (2-2-1 Big Ten, 9-3-4
overall), Michigan changed its style
of play and finally learned how to
win ugly.
"I'm kicking myself for not work-
ing with the team in that manner
earlier, and it's the way you win in
the Big Ten," Michigan coach Steve
Burns said. "So we sat in, absorbed
more of their pressure, allowed
them more possession instead of
being pressed up on them to deny
space behind them."
Behind this new philosophy
and a 4-4-2 formation, the Wol-
verines kept Northwestern's
speedy forwards in check. But
Michigan's offense floundered
without help from its outside
backs, and the team struggled to
See WILDCATS, Page 2B

n
's
if
e
d
g
e

...,

kid again. It was like my first goal
in house league."
Caporusso and the Wolverines'
offensive momentum carried into
Saturday, during Michigan's 6-3
win at Taffy Abel Arena. Everyone
was on the attack - eight different
Wolverines scored in the opening
weekend of CCHA play. Fifteen
players tallied at least one point
over the weekend.
"It's good to see some bal-
anced scoring," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said Friday. "Even
though it's a different lineup, we
still had the same cast of charac-
ters who were playing well. And
for our fourth line to score two
goals, that's a bonus."
On Friday, Michigan (4-2-0
overall, 2-0-0 CCHA) attacked the
crease and scored three rebound
goals including Caporusso's.
Junior Scooter Vaughan and
See LAKERS, Page 2B

ARIEL BOND/Daily
Junior Louie Caporusso was held scoreless through Michigan's first four games but netted one against Lake Superior State.
By TIM ROHAN Carl Hagelin and freshman Chris gan offense had come alive.
Daily Sports Writer BrownanddefensemenLeeMoffie It was the third goal of Fri-
and Steve Kampfer surrounded day's 5-1 win against Lake Supe-
SAULT STE. MARIE - Junior him as the red light behind the net rior State, but it represented much
Louie Caporusso smiled widely illuminated. more for a fifth-ranked Wolverine
as he pumped his fist in celebra- Caporusso had scored his first team that had been previously
tion. His new linemates, junior goal of the season. And the Michi- underachieving on offense. The

4

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