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May 30, 2006 - Image 45

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-30

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SP

PORTS-

The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2006 - 29

Freshman Mario Manningham's last-second catch propelled Michigan to a win against undefeated Penn State.
Super Mario leads 'M'
upset of Nittany Lions

By Ian Herbert
Nov.15, 2005
Mario Manningham wasn't the first option - that
was Steve Breaston in the slot.
But with one second left in the game, Manningham
beat Penn State's best cornerback, Alan Zemaitis, on a
10-yard post to finish off the upset of No. 8 Penn State.
With more than 111,000 people screaming in Michigan
Stadium and who knows how many more watching on
TV, it was Manningham who made the game's most
important catch in its most pressure-filled situation.
And then he was off.
After Manningham made the catch to seal Mich-
igan's 27-25 win over No. 8 Penn State, he dropped
the ball and took off running. And like much of the
afternoon against Penn State defensive backs, no one
could catch him.
"I was trying to chase him down, but he's just too
fast,' sophomore running back Mike Hart said. "He
was running away from everybody."
Twice this season - against Notre Dame and Min-
nesota - the Michigan players have had to watch vis-
iting teams end games in the Big House by celebrating
with their fans. This time, it was Michigan's turn. The
Wolverines ran from there to the student section and
jumped into the stands - to sing and dance with their
Maize-clad peers.
"That's the best game I've ever seen or played
in," defensive end Alan Branch said. "It was an
unreal feeling."
When the hoopla ended, Chad Henne went
back to his place - where his friend, a student
at Penn State, was waiting.
"He was pretty much shocked," Henne said, "and
didn't have anything to say."
Neither did Henne's critics. The sophomore quarter-
back led Michigan on an eight-play,53-yard drive in the
final 53 seconds. The drive, which came just after Penn
State took the lead with less than a minute left included
five completed passes by Henne to go along with an
l1-yard run by Hart. For the game, Henne went 21 for
36 for 212 yards and two touchdowns - both to Man-
ningham. The first came earlier in the fourth quarter on
a 33-yard pass down the left sideline. After the game,
Carr took the opportunity to vent about the critics.

"Well, Chad Henne is a great quarterback, and
anyone that knows anything about quarterback play
would understand that," Carr said. "But there are a lot
of people outthere thatdon'tknow a quarterback from
a first baseman, so they don't know that"
But for a while, it seemed as if Henne might have
to continue to face the critics. After taking a 10-0
lead four minutes into the second half, Henne and the
Wolverines handed the ball - and the game - to the
Nittany Lions, literally. Just one play after Penn State
had tied the game at 10on a four-yard touchdown run
by dual-threat quarterback Michael Robinson, Henne
lined up under center, and, with no receivers open,
Henne took off and picked up seven yards. But as
he was going down, Zemaitis took the ball out of his
hands and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
"It was just a stupid mistake on my part, thinking
I'm bigger than what I am, trying run over the corner,"
Henne said. "That's just one of my mistakes, and you
just got to forget about it and move on to the next play.
And that's exactly what we did. We marched down the
field and scored a touchdown."
But even after marching downfield and scoring on
the bomb to Manningham, the Wolverines had their
work cut out for them - because they had let Penn
State convert a two-point conversion after the Rob-
inson touchdown run. "Convert" might be the wrong
word for what Penn State did. A botched snap forced
Kevin Kelly, the Nittany Lions' 5-foot-7, 175-pound
freshman kicker, to run the ball in for two points. So
Michigan gave the ball to Hart for a three-yard scoring
run that tied the game at 18.
"I said to myself, 'You know, this isn't fair. This is
not fair,' " Carr admitted afterwards about Penn State's
two-point conversion.
Carr's sentiment was understandable because the
team has had its fair share of bad luck this season -
from losing Hart to injury just before the Notre Dame
game to giving up a 61-yard run to Minnesota when
the Gophers were trying to run out the clock.
But against undefeated Penn State, the breaks went
Michigan's way. Place kicker Garrett Rivas, who was
inconsistent in last week's loss to Minnesota, con-
nected on two field goals on Saturday, including a 47
yarder that put Michigan ahead 21-18 with less than
four minutes left.

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