The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
November 9, 2009 -- 3B
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom November 9, 2009 -- 3B
PU's defensive adjustments stump '
Time of PHss
M I C H I G A N
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Purdue cornerback Brandon
King saw something critical in the
Michigan offense that made him
But it didn't show up until after
In the first half, freshman quar-
terback Tate Forcier led Michigan
to a two-touchdown lead. The
offense looked unstoppable.
a lot of man (cov- NOTEBOOK
erage) in the first
half, and it showed," Forcier said
after the game. "We saw it, and we
picked it apart."
It showed especially when
Forcier found redshirt fresh-
man Roy Roundtree for a 43-yard
touchdown pass in the second
quarter. Purdue was playing zero
coverage in order to stop Michi-
gan's prolific run game, which left
sixth-year safety Torri Williams
But once Roundtree beat Wil-
liams, the Boilermakers knew they
had to change their game plan to
have a chance.
After the break, Purdue played
much more zone coverage, which
threw off the Wolverines.
"We hadn't done that all sea-
son," Boilermaker cornerback
Brandon King said. "And so when
we changed the defense up, it kind
of startled them as a team.
"We changed a couple defen-
sive schemes, we changed a couple
calls up, and it worked to perfec-
After 24 points in the first half,
Michigan scored just 12 in the sec-
"They stuck with their game
plan - we adjusted ours," Purdue
senior cornerback David Pender
said. "I don't think that they were
ready for us to come out (like
When Michigan coach Rich
Rodriguez went to shake Purdue
coach Danny Hope's hand after
the game, Hope brought a strange
guest: fifth-year senior offensive
lineman Zach Reckman.
"(Hope) came over and shook my
hand, and then introduced me to
Reckman and said, 'Thanks, Coach,
I really appreciate what you did.'
Whatever." Rodriguez said.
Wait a second. What did Rodri-
When the Big Ten suspended
Michigan linebacker Jonas Mou-
ton for throwing a punch at a
Notre Dame player on Sept. 12,
Rodriguez said he hoped the con-
ference would be consistent in its
criteria for suspensions.
A week later, Reckman threw
what was reported as a jab against
Northern Illinois. When Rodriguez
was asked the nextMonday whathe
thought of Reckman's questionable
action, he said "it probably" was "a
And then, just like with Mou-
ton, the Big Ten made Reckman
sit out a game. It's pretty clear who
Purdue blames for the fifth-year
"Their coach brought him over
like I was the reason his lineman
got suspended for that one game,"
that came from. I talked to (Hope)
on the phone and said that wasn't
me and this was way back when. I
didn't have anythingto do with that
young man getting suspended.
"To come over and say some-
thing about that - whatever."
The Momentum Swing: After
Purdue got within six points in the
third quarter, the opportunity was
ripe for a comeback.
The Boilermakers lined up in
their normal kickoff formation but
caught Michigan off guard and
executed a perfect onside kick.
The Wolverine coverage team had
already turned away from the ball
for their regular blocking assign-
ments, allowing Purdue to easily
recover the ball.
"I never felt like it was going to
work (in practice)," said Pender,
who recovered the kick. "But it
No. Yds Avg Lg
3 139 46.3 63
3 139 46.3 63
No. Yds Avg Lg TD
6 170 28.3 55 0
Freshman Tate Forcier and the Wolverine offense had trouble cracking the Purdue zone defense in the second half.
actually worked and it turned out and Hope took completely differ- Hope.
to help our offense go down and ent approaches to the 55thmeeting "We came here today to make
score, and it helped us come out between Michigan and Purdue. history as a football team," Hope
with the win." The Wolverines hadn't lost to said. "What a great motivating
Rodriguez was particularly dis- the Boilermakers in Michigan Sta- factor for a football team, to know
appointed on the play because the dium since 1966. we were coming up here to Ann
last thing the coaching staff tells "What's that got to do with Arbor, to the Big House, to make
the coverage team before it takes today's game?" Rodriguez said history. That has been the driving
the field is to watch the ball come after the loss. force all week long for us."
off the tee. But Hope had been preach- MISCELLANEOUS: Sophomore
"There are about 20 people ing history in practice all week. wide receiverDarrylStonumbroke
screaming, 'See the ball kicked, Forty-three years ago, Purdue the Michigan single-season record
no penalties,' " Rodriguez said. quarterback Bob Griese played a forkickoffreturns and yards inthe
"That's the first reminder and the critical role in the Boilermaker firstquarter. He currently has 30
last reminder we do, just for that win. Despite an average game returns for 803 yards. The record
reason. Freshmen sometimes play through the air, Griese forced a stood for five years. In 2004, Steve
like freshmen. Theybailed out." Michigan safety on his tower- Breaston returned 28 kickoffs for
That's when it fell apart for ing punt late in the third quarter. 689 yards. ... Senior wide receiver
Michigan. On the next play, Pur- Those two points were the differ- Greg Mathews's 28-yard, third-
due scored on a 54-yard pass to ence in the 22-21 Purdue victory. quarter catch was the 100th of
take the lead for good. Griese, who is now in the Col- his career. It was his only catch
"They got the momentum right lege and Pro Football Hall of Fame, of the game. ... Before Saturday,
after that," junior cornerback is father of former-Wolverine senior defensive end Brandon Gra-
Donovan Warren said. "It went quarterback and 1997 Rose Bowl ham hada sack in each of his last
down from there." MVP Brian Griese. four games. He didn't record one
HISTORY LESSON: Rodriguez The series' past wasn't lost on against Purdue.
Roundtree and Minor strong in loss
o. Yds Avg Lg
5 165 33.0 40
5 165 33.0 40
No. Yds Avg Lg TD
N 103 20.6 30 0
No. Yds Avg Lg TD
2 0 0.0 o0 o0
2 0 0.0 o0 o0
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
The last time a Michigan
receiver and running back both
posted over 100 yards, the Wol-
verines were on top of the world.
They upset Heisman Trophy win-
ner Tim Tebow and Florida 41-35
in the 2008 Capital One Bowl,
making up for a four-loss season
by playing with swagger against
the heavily favored Southeastern
Conference team. Lloyd Carr's
team carried him off the field in
celebration after his final game as
the Wolverines' coach.
On Saturday, with one more
for a bowl, Michigan matched
that 100-yard feat early in the
game against Purdue. But while
then-senior wide receiver Adrian
Arrington and then-senior run-
ning back Mike Hart steadily led
their team to a win in Orlando,
redshirt freshman Roy Roundtree
and senior running back Brandon
Minor mustered just 23 and 47
yards after halftime, respectively,
en route to yet another third-
quarter Michigan collapse.
The individual players' sto-
ries were comparable, even if the
game results were drastically dif-
ferent. In the Capital One Bowl,
Hart was truly healthy for the first
time since the middle of the sea-
son, where he missed three games
and was limited in two more after
suffering a high ankle sprain. He
predictably played well, running
for 129 yards.
Last week, Minor practiced the
most he had in a month, meaning
he was primed to be as healthy
as he could Saturday with what
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez
has called a chronic ankle injury.
From page 1B
struggles and who postponed enter-
ing the NFL draft to stay an extra
season, you want to hope there's
something thatcan be salvaged.
"Just all the goals we had this
year go down the drain a little bit,"
Graham said, describing what has
made him upset about this season.
"We just trying to get to a bowl
now. That's a big goal. I'll really
cry if we don't."
With a road game against Wis-
consin and Ohio State at home
remaining on the schedule, the
chances Graham's eyes wells up
after Nov. 21 are pretty high.
One ofthe Big Ten's quietest sur-
prises this season, the 20th-ranked
Badgers have elevated themselves
His health showed as he racked up
154 yards on 19 carries.
one-back running attack," Purdue
coach Danny Hope said. "Number
four, Minor, is an outstanding play-
er. I think he's one of the best run-
ningbacks in the nation.
"We knew him coming into the
game, he's going to be a difference
maker in the game, and he cer-
tainly was. He's a great player."
And Arrington, in the Capital
One Bowl, and Roundtree, against
Purdue, both posted career-high
numbers. The bowl game was
Arrington's 28th and final game
in a Michigan uniform - the
receiver bolted for the NFL after
Carr retired - and he posted a
personal record 153 yards and two
Roundtree is in a completely
different point in his Michigan
career than Arrington was in
2008. The redshirt freshman
played in just his fourth career
game Saturday and made his sec-
qnd start, filling in for an injured
Martavious Odoms. Roundtree
made the most of his chance,
equaling his cumulative career
receptions (six) in the firstquarter
alone and finishing with 10 catch-
es for 126 yards.
On the Wolverines' first
drive, with the team down 7-0,
Roundtree snatched the ball from
a Purdue defender and made a
26-yard leaping catch to convert
on a third-and-15. That play set up
Minor's touchdown run.
"He's got great ball skills,"
Rodriguez said. "He's going to
keep getting better because he's a
thin guy playing for the first time.
Once he gains some strength, as
he matures and gets older, he's
going to be a very, very good play-
behind a solid rushing offense and
an impressive (±5) turnover margin.
And considering Wisconsin is 5-1in
Camp Randall Stadium this season,
it's not likely the Wolverines come
out with a win there.
Should Michigan earn its sixth
win against Ohio State, it couldn't
be a more poetic ending. End a
five-season losing streak against
its most hated rival, qualify for
a bowl and deny the Buckeyes a
potential Rose Bowl berth?
Especially for Graham, his
freshman year game against
Ohio State meant more than just
another chapter in the rivalry. It's
hard to forget the No.1 vs. No. 2
matchup that seemed like just the
beginning. But a lot has changed
in three years.
There's a reason Ohio State
er for us, I think."
Minor's maturity and speed
was on full display early. The
senior started the game with a
gritty 29-yard touchdown run
where he broke multiple tackles,
stiff-armed a Purdue defender
and dove into the end zone to tie
the game at seven. His 55-yard
touchdown run on the first play
of the second quarter was the
longest of his career and gave the
Wolverines a 17-10 lead.
But he looked like he re-aggra-
vated the injury during the fourth
quarter, where he was pulled
down by his ankle after a run
and limped off the field. Furious,
Minor threw his helmet while
standing on the sideline. He came
back in the game a few plays later.
"I wish we could've pulled it
out for him," freshman quarter-
back Tate Forcier said. "Just the
way he plays, and him playing
hurt, it almost sends a message to
everybody else - if you're hurt,
just deal with it."
It only took eight games into
Carr's Wolverine coaching career
for a receiver and running back
to surpass 110 yards in the same
game (a 52-17 win over Minnesota
in 1995). Rodriguez, a proclaimed
offensive guru, had to wait 22
games for someone from both the
air and ground game to similarly
But the fact that the defense
couldn't protect a 14-point lead
to win a bowl-clinching game
basically nullified Minor's near-
healthy play and Roundtree's
breakout performance. The 100-
yard achievement was a poor con-
solation prize - but in another
disappointing season, the Wolver-
ines may have to take what they
might play for the Rose Bowl and
Michigan is playing just to make
one. With the Wolverines' 2009
season already unraveling, not
much would sound better than to
win in two weeks. For that to hap-
pen, it'll take a different breed of
Wolverine than anyone has seen
these last six weeks.
Astthings stand,it's shapingup to
be a teary holiday season for many.
It's admirable Graham is saying
the Wolverines will keep fighting
week to week, but it's getting hard
to face what now seems like real-
ity. It would be a shame, but it looks
like come holiday season, Graham
will be singing "The Tracks of My
Tears" instead of "The Victors."
- Lincoln can be reached
From page 1B
take a little longer to fix than any-
body wants, but we're gonna fix
them. Just give us time. It's not
going to happen right now. ... I wish
Purdue (3-3, 4-6) was aggres-
sive in the third quarter, deflect-
ing a Foraer pitch-out, executing
an onside kick, throwing a 54-yard
bomb and scoring three touch-
downs to erase Michigan's two-
Once again, the defense was the
center of Michigan's woes, giving
up almost 500 yards of total offense
- more than 100 yards above Pur-
due's average output this season.
And the negative attention is defi-
nitely getting to the Wolverines.
When asked for a comment by
members of the media after the
loss, defensive coordinator Greg
Robinson said, "Not today," and
briskly walked toward Schem-
Robinson and junior corner-
back Donovan Warren reportedly
shared strong words on the side-
line during the game's waning
Defensive line coach Bruce Tall,
whose squad has been the lone
bright spot of the struggling unit,
also declined comment.
"I don't know what's going on,"
junior cornerback Troy Woolfolk
said. "Everybody's just clueless.
We're trying out there. We still go
back every Monday and study. But
game day, we just seem to forget
stuff. I'm not sure what it is. We're
gonna get it fixed."
With games at Wisconsin and
home against Ohio State left, Mich-
igan's bowl hopes - even a spot in
the less-than-illustrious Little Cae-
sars Pizza Bowl - are dwindling.
But the team isn't going to give
up its postseason dreams.
"You're right there, and you
see it, and it's in your sights and
it's slipping away from you every
game," left guard Steve Schilling
said when asked about still being
just one win away from bowl eligi-
bility. "We're going to keep fight-
ing. We've got too much heart. And
I'm pretty confident in our team
and that we'll be able to get to a
Iowa 5-1 9-1
Ohio Slate 5-1 8-2
PeRU State 4-2 8-2
Wisconsin 4-2 7-2
Northwestern 3-3 6-4
Michigan State 3-3 5-5
Purdue 3-3 4-6
Minnesota 3-4 5-5
Illinois 2-5 3-6
Michigan 1-5 5-5
Indiana 1-5 4-6
Big Ten Results
Purdue 38, Michigan 36
Michigan St. 49, Western Michigan 14
Illinois 35, Minnesota 32
Northwestern 17, Iowa 10
Wisconsin 31, Indiana 28
Ohio State 24, Penn State 7
* DAILY SPORTS.