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November 24, 2014 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-11-24

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4B - November 24, 2014

SportsMonday

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I

Five things we learned: Maryland

FOOTBALL
Most positives
overshadowed

By MAX COHEN
Daily Sports Editor
After three weeks without a
loss, you had to see this coming
given the way this season has
progressed for the Michigan
football team. The Wolverines
fell to Maryland, 23-16, Saturday
afternoon at the Big House.
Here are five thingswe learned
in the Wolverines' loss.
1. The fans got it right.
Throughout the season, there
hasbeenagreatdealofdiscussion
about whether Michigan's fans
are behind the team.At times,the
divide between the program and
its fans has seemed significant,
with both sides pointing fingers.
But when the team's 12 seniors
were honored on the field priorto
Saturday's game for Senior Day,
each received a loud ovation for
his service to the program.
Because fans have been
discontent throughout much
of the season, the reaction the
seniors would get on Senior Day
was unclear before the game. But
the fans who arrived early gave
the players the recognition they
deserved with loud applause.
2. A higher power doesn't want
Michigan fans to have fun.
In a season full of strife,
moments of fun - even brief
ones - have been hard to come
by. That's why all of Michigan
Stadium roared in the third
quarter when junior wide
receiver Dennis Norfleet picked
up a bouncing punt and gashed
through Maryland's coverage
into the end zone.
It seemed like a questionable
decision at first. Cover men on
the Terrapins had converged
upon the ball when it had hit
the ground. If Norfleet hadn't
fielded the punt cleanly, it likely
would've been a turnover.
But when Norfleet picked up
the ball and found a seam in the
coverage, the crowd rose while
he raced toward what would

Senior quarterback Devin Gardner would have benefitted from a better performance by wide receiver Devin Funchess.

have been the first touchdown
of his career.
When Norfleet's touchdown
was erased from the scoreboard
because of a penalty, so was the
fun in Saturday's game.
3. This offense needs more
from Funchess.
Junior wide receiver Devin
Funchess has been a tantalizing
player all season. He's teeming
with ability, the kind he displayed
in his three-touchdown
performanceintheseasonopener
against Appalachian State.
But in recent weeks, he has
disappeared. Against Maryland,
Funchess caught five passes for
30 yards, statistics that hardly
resemble those of a team's best
wide receiver.
Funchess has clearly been
missing something the past
few weeks. He has struggled to
catch passes, something that had
previously not been a huge issue.

On 4th-and-3 with 4:21
remaining Saturday, Gardner
tried to find Funchess for a
drive-extending first down, but
Funchess couldn't come up with a
ball that hit his hands. Though it
might've been a missed defensive
pass interference call, a catch in a
critical situation could've ended
Funchess' slump. The play ended
up being theteam's final offensive
play of the game.
Instead, Michigan's offense
will go into Columbus with a sour
taste in its mouth:
4. Ojemudia is a capable
replacement for Frank Clark.
After senior defensive end
Frank Clark was kicked off the
team last week for an alleged
incident involving domestic
violence, Hoke pointed to junior
defensive end Mario Ojemudia as
his likely replacement.
Though Ojemudia wasn't as
dominant as Clark had been in

recent weeks, his impact on the
game was felt. Ojemudia recorded
five tackles, including 0.5 tackles
for a loss. He was also able to bat
down one of quarterback C.J.
Brown's pass attempts in the
backfield on a hurry.
The extra snaps in the final
two games of the season because
of Clark's absence will likely
benefit Ojemudia next year when
he likely would've taken Clark's
place anyway.
5.Boldprediction: Michigan
will stay close with Ohio State
next weekend...
For the first 10 minutes of
the game.
Ultimately, the Wolverines
won't have the offensive
firepower to keep up with the
Buckeyes for a full 60 minutes, or
maybe even a quarter. But enjoy
the early portion of the game,
when you'll believe an upset is
possible.

ByALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
With the season on the line,
the Michigan football team came
up short in a 23-16 home loss
to Maryland. The loss all but
ended the Wolverines' hope for
a bowl bid with a game at No. 7
Ohio State, the last chance for
Michigan to reach six wins.
The Daily picks out the
good, the bad and the ugly from
Saturday's Senior Day loss.
The good:
After a loss like Saturday's, it's
hard to look at the good,but there
were some standouts. Michigan's
running game, which Michigan
coach Brady Hoke pointed to
as the team's bright spot, had
its most successful game of the
season against a Power 5 team.
The Wolverines ran for 292
yards with redshirt sophomore
runningback Drake Johnson's 94
.ards leadingthe way.
Fifth-year senior quarterback
Devin Gardner wasn't far behind
Johnson's production, rushing
for 82 yards and a touchdown
in addition to his lackluster
performance in the passing
game - he threw for 146 yards on
13-of-24 passing. Hoke also said
Gardner was healthy for the first
time in five weeks, and he looked
it. Gardner flashed the burst
on the ground he has shown
Michigan fans from time to time,
and it helped keep the Terrapins'
defense on its toes.
Redshirt junior fullback Joe
Kerridge also got in on the fun
when he ran for 52 yards on a
fake punt during Michigan's first
possession of the game. Despite
the strong ground game, it
wasn't enough offense to give the
Wolverines the win they needed.

Thehad:
After starting strong -
Kerridge's run and three
field goals - in the first half,
Michigan's special-teams unit
made two huge mistakes that
arguably cost it the game.
The first came early in the
third quarterwhenjuniorDennis
Norfleet took a punt to the house,
but the play was calledback on an
illegalblock inthe back almost 20
yards away from the action.
The second special-teams
mistake came just as the
Terrapins' kicker put the
ball through the uprights,
when Michigan was flagged
for roughing the kicker and
Maryland was given a fresh set of
downs. The Terrapins ultimately
punched the ball into the end
zone to break the tie and put
them up for good.
The ugly:
The Michigan football team.
Should it really be anything else?
The Wolverines have had a long,
long, long season. And every time
you thought it couldn't get any
worse for Michigan, it managed
to surprise you.
So when the Wolverines had
the opportunity to end their
disappointing home season
with a win that would propel
them into bowl season, they
came up short. To add to the
mess, Michigan's 100,000-plus
attendancestreakisbarelyintact.
When the stadium announced
the attendance against Maryland
to be 101,717, the crowd booed
because the numbers looked like
a stretch and were stillthe lowest
of the season.
In the end, Michigan's season
is a week from ending and,
honestly, it couldn't end faster.

MEWS BASKETBALL
Detroit game preps
Michigan for Ducks

The breakthrough game

a

By MAX BULTMAN
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's
basketball team will find out
Monday if it can learn from its
mistakes.
The Wolverines (3-0) head
to New York to face Oregon in
the 2014 Progressive Legends
Classic hoping to find some
consistency in their shooting.
But if Michigan's showing
against Detroit - which plays
an upbeat style similar to
Oregon - is any indication, the
Ducks could be a tough test for
a Wolverines team still trying to
orient its freshmen.
Like Michigan,theDucks(3-0)
lost a pair of key contributors
from last year's squad in Mike
Moser and Jason Calliste, who
averaged 13.2 and 12.7 points
per game, respectively. Moser
also was the team's leading
rebounder, grabbing more than
seven boards per contest.
But senior guard Joseph
Young, who was the team's key
scorer a season ago, returns
this year to lead the Oregon
offense. The second-team All-
Pac-12 selection from 2013-14
is averaging 26 points per game
through the Ducks' first three
games.
And if Michigan stuck around
the BMO Harris Bradley Center
in Milwaukee after its NCAA
Tournament victory over Texas
last season, it saw Young go off
for 29 points against Wisconsin.
The Wolverines will try to
counter Youngwith strongguard
play of their own. Junior Caris
Levert is coming off a 21-point
showing Thursday against the
Titans, in which he scored 17
points in the second half alone.
Sophomore Derrick Walton Jr.
has taken a larger share of the
offensive load as well, averaging
17.7 points and six boards per
game.
But freshman forward
Kameron Chatman, a highly
touted recruit, hasn't found the
same type of success. Chatman

is shooting 3-for-I6 from the
floor in his first three college
games, somewhat concerning
considering the competition will
only strengthen from here on
out.
Michigan coach John Beilein,
though, said he's sticking with
Chatman despite the freshman's
early struggles.
"(We will) continue to give
him more opportunities to grow
at that position," Beilein said
in a teleconference Saturday.
"Usually it's more defense than
offense for freshmen. But he's
really played well in practices.
He has a great attitude. Just, in
games, the shot hasn't fallen."
The shots especially weren't
falling in the first half of
Thursday's game against
Detroit, when the Wolverines
went 3-of-12 from 3-point range
in the opening frame. And in
an offense largely dependent
on shooting beyond the are, 25
percent won't cut it.
Sophomore forward Zak
Irvin said the Titans' defense
presented a problem for the
Wolverines, forcing them to
shoot early in the shot clock.
"We got sped up a little bit
with the way they were playing
defensively," he said.
Oregon plays a similar tempo
to Detroit, which could mean
more of the same offensive
options for Michigan. College
basketball statistician Ken
Pomeroy has the Ducks'
competition-adjusted tempo
rating listed at 70.3, nearly
identical to the Titans' 69.9.
Michigan, meanwhile, plays at a
64.8 tempo.
Pomeroy's ratings are based
on how many possessions ateam
would have in a game against
an average Division I team,
and the disparity between the
Wolverines and the Ducks aligns
with Irvin's assessment of the
Detroit game.
Against Oregon, which is
even more athletic than Detroit,
the Wolverines won't be able to
afford similar lapses.

At longlast, the Michigan
hockeyteam had its
breakthrough.
At long last, the team with
enough talentto garner a top-10
national
ranking
looked the
part.
Consider
this a
warning.
In the
first 10
games, the ZACH
Wolverines SHAW
had been
unable to
put the pieces together. Whether
it was nightmarish defensive
miscues, a stymied offense or
sloppy goaltending, something
seemed to prevent Michigan
from clicking for an entire game,
resulting in the team's worst
start in 28 years.
But that all changed in
Saturday night's 8-1 win over
Penn State. The team with great
expectations finally met them on
the ice, dominating in all areas in
its breakthrough win.
At long last, Boo Nieves looks
like the star he was supposed to
be all along.
Findingnew life on the
second line, the junior forward
maneuvered his way around
a defender before firinga
backhand shot over Penn State
goaltender Eamon McAdam's
left shoulder, breaking the
scoreless tie early in the second
period.
The tally was the second in
three games for Nieves, already
matching last season's total for
the former second-round NHL
draft pick.
At long last, scoring came easy.
Through the first four
periods of the weekend series,
McAdams had stopped 51 of 53
shots, bringing back haunting
memories of teammate Matthew
Skoff's dominant performance
that denied Michigan a
postseason berth last season.
But following Nieves' goal,
things were different. The
Wolverines scored two more
times in the period, thentacked

a

4

JAMES COLLER/Daily
The Michigan hockey team finally lived up to its potential Saturday in an 8-1 thrashing of Penn State at Yost Ice Arena.

on five more in the third on just
12 shots. With swift passing,
strong shifts and timely shots,
the Wolverines - once dead last
in the Big Ten in scoring - are
now No. 4 nationally with,3.64
goals per game.
At long last, JT Compher is on
the board.
With a
spoon-fed
pass from The tea
junior Max
Shuart, great exp
Compher
didn't finally n
think twice
about the
opportunity.
All season, the competitive
sophomore forward had grown
frustrated at his inability to
score. Officials, reviews, posts,
position changes, hot goalies
- everything seemed to come
between Compher and the back
of the net.
But with eight-and-a-half
minutes remaining in the game,
Compher would not be denied.
Michigan's second-leading
scorer last season rifled a one-
timer past McAdams on a shot so

pure, Compher celebrated before
the puck officially made it in.
The reawakened forward
wasn't done. Less than four
minutes later, Compher struck
again, sounding the horn and
sending a message to the rest of
college hockey that he is willing
and able to
make up for
lost time.
Im with At long
last, Zach
ectatons Nagelvoort
doesn't just
net them hold the
starting
goaltender job;
he owns it.
For many teams, position
battles are a good problem that
promote depth and competition,
but when neither Nagelvoortnor
junior Steve Racine appeared
up to the task, the goalie battle
became a distraction capable of
swallowing Michigan alive.
Despite less-than-stellar
performances, Michigan
coach Red Berenson stuck
with Nagelvoort, mercifully
bringing consistency to the
team. The sophomore reinforced

his coach's faith and finally
looked like a worthy starter
Saturday, stopping 40 shots and
scrambling all around to keep
Michigan alive when the game
was close, and agonizing the
Nittany Lions when it wasn't.
For the first time all season,
there was no doubt in Yost Ice
Arena that Nagelvoort was right
where he belonged.
At long last, the Wolverines
look like themselves.
Dominant on offense, defense
and in goal - this was the game
Michigan fans had been waiting
for all season. A game the
Wolverines needed if they want
to return to the postseason.
Immediately following the goal
that started it all, Nieves dragged
his hand across the Yost ice
longer than usual before pumping
his fist to the screaming crowd -
feeling the moment, soaking up
the success and having fun.
At long last, his team is now
ready to do the same.
You've been warned.
Shaw can be reached at
zachshaw@umich.edu and
on Twitter at @_zachshaw.

/.

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