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November 10, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-10

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4B - November 10, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Offense struggles in win

When needed, Wolverine
front seven stops Wildcats

By MAX COHEN Gardner. His errant pass late in
Daily Sports Editor the second quarter could've been
broken up by the intended wide
EVANSTON - Devin Gardner receiver, sophomore tight end
watched Northwestern's final Jake Butt, something Michigan
drive on the sideline, standing coach Brady Hoke acknowledged
next to backup quarterback after the game.
Shane Morris. He paced the area "We've got to help (Gardner)
between plays, delivering quick and outcompete for the ball,"
messages to the rest of his offense. Hoke said.
At the beginning of the drive, But a mistake was made
the offensive players had been regardless of where the fault was
loose on the sidelines, offering placed, and Wolverine defense
brief smiles, believing their made sure the impact of the
defense could bail them out turnover was felt only briefly. It
one final time. But as the drive took just four plays for Michigan
progressed, the mood had togettheballback. Defensiveend
tensed. There were still some Frank Clark batted a pass into
smiles, but they were rooted in the air, and redshirt sophomore
disbelief. Gardner stood stoically defensive tackle Matt Godin
next to Morris, watching as the sprawled out for an interception.
Michigan football team's margin It wasn't the last time Gardner
for error disintegrated. tempted fate during the game.
When the Wildcats lined up His next interception came
the potential game-winning late in the fourth quarter, and
two-point conversion with three that time, there was nowhere
seconds remaining in the fourth else to place the blame. This time,
quarter, Gardner waved his arms no Michigan wide receiver had
and jumped repeatedly, reduced a chance at the ball. It floated
to a cheerleader alongside his into the arms of Northwestern
offensive counterparts with safety Ibraheim Campbell, who
the game on the line. Redshirt then sprinted 79 yards to the
junior center Jack Miller said he Wolverine 15-yard line.
was talking to God before the Michigan's defense once
deciding moment. again saved Gardner, despite the
When Michigan made the precarious field position. It drove
stop, the offensive players joined the Wildcats back 28 yards in just
in celebration with the defense, three plays, forcing a punt.
meshingintotheunifiedteamthe While the defense
Wolverines have insisted they've continuously stymied the
been all season. Gardner was Wildcats, the Wolverine offense
there too, taking in the victory. appeared to be in a battle
Most of the game's moments against itself. The mistakes were
weren't as sweet for the fifth- constant, and they weren't just
year senior. Michigan was in Gardner's. There were well-
the position of a close game placed balls dropped by wide
because of the offense's receivers, a fumble by redshirt
overall ineptitude. Gardner sophomore Drake Johnson and
repeated the performances another turnover when a snap
Wolverine fans have become hit junior wide receiver Devin
accustomed to seeing, throwing Funchess in the shoulder when
two interceptions - both of a he was in motion.
different nature. This time, the After the game, Clark tried to
defense prevented his mistakes shift the blame from Gardner,
from resulting in another loss. . sayingthe quarterback did enough
The first interception was to win. Hoke implied a similar
blamed only partially on message, giving Gardner an

endorsement typically reserved
for quarterbacks who don't make
the plays to win the game.
"He managed the team very
well," Michigan coach Brady
Hoke said.
Minutes earlier, Gardner
had been one of Michigan's
last players to leave the field.
He walked off slowly, looking
into the stands. The Michigan
contingent gathered near the
tunnel screamed compliments
his way, and he offered back a
smile and an enthusiastic wave.
Thegame'sherosenior defensive
end Frank Clark, remained on
the field, basking in victory.
When Gardner disappeared
into the tunnel, the cheers grew
louder for Clark, who followed
soon after. He stopped to sign
autographs for some overjoyed
children, their smiles one final
reward for saving the game for

ManagingSports Editor
EVANSTON -' It had come
down to this, to the moment
when the clock had been stopped.
with three seconds remaining
and the Michigan football team
leading Northwestern, 10-9. It
sat on the verge of a make-or-
break moment in a game that
had otherwise been dreadful to.
And the Wolverines' front
seven, who had been there to
burst into the backfield and
prevent a touchdown, had failed
in a rare moment.
The front seven watched as
the Wildcats beat the secondary
and reached the end zone. There
was no attempt at an extra point.

to score and win or be stopped
and lose.
Now, the front seven, which
had been strong for most of the
season as it had been all game,
was faced with the pressure of
stopping a play from the 2.5-
yard line as the clock stood still
at 0:03. Michigan's best chance
of qualifying for a bowl game
dropped down in its three-point
stance and stared its future in the
"It's just the nerves (running
through my mind)," said senior
defensive end Frank Clark.
"That's just being the athlete in
the sport - you're going'to feel
some type of nerves. It wasn't just
nerves, but like, awill."
Everything before the clock
had stopped had been about a
will, though. The unit had forced
six sacks, allowed minus-nine
rushing yards and grabbed two
Northwestern's leading
rusher, Justin Jackson, averaged
90.8 yards per game, but finished
with 35 yards on the day.
Siemian, who had otherwise
burned Michigan's secondary,
struggled to get the ball past the
front seven. He had a ball tipped
by Clark that fell to redshirt
sophomore defensive lineman
Mathew Godin. And Siemian
had another pass snagged in the
middle of the field by redshirt
senior Jake Ryan.
"The defense answered the
bell a lot," said Michigan coach
Brady Hoke. "They faced some
challenges, some adversity and
did a nice job with it. But that's
why they came to Michigan.
They count their blessings."
So the Wolverines faced the
most adversity at the moment
when the clock had stopped at
three seconds and only 2.5 yards
separated them from the make-
or-break moment.
Jackson remained lined up well
behind the tightend. The receivers

stood inside the numbers, and
then Northwestern called their
receivers tomotiontwice.
The Wolverines knew the play.
Last year, the Wildcats had run
the same play in the red zone.
Coaches radioed in and
the front seven lined up wide,
waiting for Siemian to inevitably
run out for more room and to find
a player running an out route. .
"We kind of knew what they
were doing," Ryan said. "We're
just playing our defense. And if
something changes, we just out
there and play like we know how
to play. There's nothing crazy
about it."
So when Siemian took the
snap, the front seven moved
to contain -,except for Clark.
The senior rushed right to the
quarterback and manhandled his
way past the offensive line. Then
Siemian, as if he predicted what
was coming, slipped, fell and
dropped to the ground.
The clock remained stopped.
Clark didn't stop running,
though, as he sprinted to
midfield, jumped up and thrust
his hands into the air. And he
kept moving, off to the sideline
where he slammed his helmet
and yelled to the crowd.
"Ball game! Ball game!" he
Redshirt sophomore defensive
linemen Chris Wormley and
Torn Strobel held each other at
the head. They smiled and they
yelled after making the stop.
Ryan walked around the
sideline, celebrating with every
person in his sight.
Defensive coordinator Greg
Mattison wrapped his arm
around Clark, speaking praises
into his ear. He let Clark go,
where he sat on the bench, buried
his hands in his face and wept.
Then the clock started to tick
and the moment passed. The
front seven had succeeded when
it was needed most.

Brady Hoke has yet to solve his team's offensive woes after Saturday's win.

Dannemiller leads 'M' to
salvage weekend split


For theD
Senior setter Lex
held the ball for a
high in the air befo
to freshman outside
Kieffer-Wright, wh
the kill over the to
scoring the winnin
second set.
The play was on
Dannemiller recor
night against Minn
"I've said it all
Michigan volley
Mark Rosen. "T
- (Dannemiller's)
pulling the strings.
And she certE
all the right
strings during
game versus
Minnesota to
control the
court. The
over the
Golpheis in
a three-set
sweep (25-21, 25-
large part due to D
After a heartbr
set loss to No.
Friday night,
said she felt the
especially good for
"We came back
with the attitude
new day and we ha
Minnesota," Dann
"And that's exactly

SAAKE Her 40 assists on Saturday
oily brought her career total up to
5,039, moving her to third place
iDannemiller on Michigan's all-time assists
split second list. She now tails second-place
re releasing it Linae Mendozza (1994-1997)
e hitter Claire by just 34 plays, a barrier she is
ho completed likely to overcome within the
ap of the net, next match.
g point of the "She's something special,"
Rosen said. "She runs the
e of 40 assists offense better than any setter
ded Saturday we've ever had."
tesota. Dannemiller's
along," said accomplishment is especially
'ball coach impressive given she is still
his is Lexi recovering from a groin injury
team; she's she suffered earlier this
." season. More so, Rosen says
ainly pulled Dannemiller's injury is one
that is best
cured with
time and rest,
"This is Lexi's two things
team; she's does not
have during
pulling the demanding
season play.
strings." t"It's going
to be there
until we stop
18, 25-19), in Rosen said. "But once she gets
annemiller. out there, you barely notice
eaking fifth- because she's so tough and
4 Wisconsin competitive."
Dannemiller The only clue to
victory was Dannemiller's injury was after
the team. the game when she could be
and fought seen with an enormous ice pack
that it's a strapped to her thigh.
ve to go beat But,she showsnosignsofpain
emiller said. on the court, understanding
what we did." that as the sole senior on the

team, Dannemiller has to lead
by example.
"They feel fortunate to play
with her," Rosen said. "But she
doesn't put herself above them.
She just really loves playing
with the younger girls."
As a setter, Dannemiller
is unlikely to score points
off of kills and thus her
accomplishments are often
pushed to the background. But
she is responsible for setting
her young teammates up with
the opportunity to score. Her
skill in getting the opposing
middle blocker off balance has
been crucial in her teammates'
success this season.
With underclassmen like
freshman outside hitter Adeja
Lambert and Kieffer-Wright
making huge splashes on the
team, it's clear Dannemiller's
contributions extend beyond
her game.
Dannemiller has yet to
consider her options for after
graduation, although Rosen said
he felt that she will have several
opportunities to continue to
play. For now, she is focusing
on finishing out a strong season
with the Wolverines. But even
as her final season comes to
a close, Dannemiller is still
putting the team's success as a
whole before her own personal
"I just want to keep pushing
my teammates to be the best
they can be," Dannemiller
said. "We're just going to keep
getting better every single day,
right down to the end."







ga Mic i n wit


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