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August 13, 2007 - Image 42

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-08-13

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30 The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007

Michigan leaves Rose Bowl with thorns

Daily Sports Editor
Jan. 4, 2007 - PASADENA, Calif.
- This year's Rose Bowl was billed
as a consolation prize for two teams
that came up just short of playing
for the National Championship.
Southern Cal won the prize.
Michigan still needs consoling.
Nearly a month after Bowl Cham-
pionship Series voters selected Flor-
ida to face No. 1 Ohio State in the
BCS Championship game, the third-
ranked Wolverines had a chance to
prove they deserved another shot at
the undefeated Buckeyes.
A chance to become just the sec-
ond 12-win team in program his-
A chance to regain their position
as the nation's No. 2 team.
Michigan blew its chance.
On Monday, No. 8 Southern Cal
embarrassed the Wolverines 32-
18 in a game that was considerably
more lopsided than the final score
Michigan couldn't move the
ball against the Trojans' imposing
defense - and couldn't stop their
explosive offense, either.
"(The Trojans are) a great team;
they can score points, and the
offense put the defense out there
too many times," co-captain Jake
Long said. "That type of offense,
with that many chances, you know
they're goingto score points."
For the Wolverines (7-1 Big Ten,
11-2 overall), it was a disappoint-
ing finish to an otherwise impres-
sive season.
After racking up 11 straight wins
to start the year, Michigan ended its
season with back-to-back losses for
the third year in a row.
The Wolverines have dropped
their last four bowl games, includ-
ing three Rose Bowls, and haven't
won The Granddaddy of Them All
since the 1997 season.
In contrast to the loss to No. 1
OhioState, inwhich onlyMichigan's
vaunted defense struggled, the Wol-
verines floundered on both sides of
the ball against the Trojans.
"(Michigan is) a traditional
straight up offense," Southern Cal
defensive end Lawrence Jackson
said. "if they line up one way, if
they're in certain formations, it
doesn't take a rocket scientist to
pick out what they were going to
do. Our coaches have been around
for a long time and were able to
exploit that."
In the days leading up to the


Johnny Sears (25) and Jamar Adams (22) leave the field after the 3rd-ranked Michigan football team's 32-

game, the Wolverines fielded count-
less questions about the Trojans'
defense and said they were ready
for Southern Cal's relentless pass
rush and creative blitzing.
The game said otherwise.
Michigan's offensive line strug-
gled to protect quarterback Chad
Henne (26-of-41 for 309 yards) and
gave up six sacks, which cost the
Wolverines 44 yards.
The Trojans' swarming defen-
sive performance on Monday was
reiniciscent of their standout day
in the 2004 Rose Bowl, when they
sacked Michigan quarterback
John Navarre nine times in a 28-14
(Southern Cal) just has a great
way of bringing pressure, you
know, uncanny styles of pressure,"
Michigan right tackle Rueben
Riley said. " You have unorthodox
rushers such as (Brian) Cushing
and Jackson just doing a good job
at what they do."
And Michigan couldn't stop
them, especially in the first half.
The Wolverines went into half-
time with 76 yards of total offense,
thanks in part to the Trojans' five
first-half sacks.
Michigan's sluggish running
game didn't help.
Including yards lost due to sacks,
the Big Ten's top rushing offense

amassed a meager 12 yards against
Southern Cal. Tailback Mike Hart,
the nation's seventh-leading rusher,
finished with 47 yards on 17 carries.
"I thought Henne made some big
plays in the first half on third and
long to keep drives alive," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said. "But it's just
a matter of time when you can't run
the football against a team pressur-
ing as well as (Southern Cal) that
you end up (allowing) some sacks,
and that's what happened to us."
The Wolverines found a little
offensive rhythm in the second
half -- especially through the air
- and finished the game with 321
total yards.
But that wasn't enough to keep
pace with the Trojans' offensive
Southern Cal (7-2 Pac-10, 11-2
overall) played it safe in the first
half but came out swinging in the
second. Trojan quarterback John
David Booty threw four second-half
touchdowns and finished with 391
yards on 27-for-45 passing.
Michigan's vaunted defense
couldn't keep up.
"We just have too many weapons
on offense," Southern Cal receiver
Dwayne Jarrett said. "We just have
too many players that can get the
ball, execute the plays (and) make
the big plays when it's on the line.

Michigan, I don't think they knew
who to cover."
After the Wolverines' top-ranked
run defense held the Trojans to
20 rushing yards in the first half,
Southern Cal wisely abandoned the
run in the third quarter, rushing
just twice in the frame. Excluding
two quarterback keepers, the Tro-
jans passed 27 straight times in the
second half.
Boasting a first-team All-Ameri-
ca receiver in Jarrett, the Southern
Cal offense exploited Michigan's
secondary. Jarrett finished with 11
receptions for 205 yards en route
to earning Offensive Player of the
Game honors.
Even cornerback Leon Hall, a fel-
low All-America selection, couldn't
stop Jarrett, who burned Hall for
one of his two touchdowns.
The score came at a particularly
heartbreaking point for the Wol-
verines. The momentum had shift-
ed in Michigan's favor after Henne
found junior Adrian Arrington in
the end zone to pull the Wolver-
ines within eight at the start of the
fourth quarter.
But Michigan's defense couldn't
stop the Trojans aerial assault.
Seven plays later, Booty found a
streaking Jarrett to all but put the
game away.
When Michigan did manage to

contain Jarrett, Southern Cal sim-
ply turned to another member of
its standout receiving corps. Senior
Steve Smith grabbed seven catches
for 108 yards andsa touchdown.
"If (the secondary is) a weak-
ness, why wouldn't they focus on
it?" linebacker Shawn Crable said.
"I think once they realized they
couldn't run on us, they really
resorted to the pass game, and it
took us awhile to realize they were
passing on every down."
Even the Wolverines' highly
regarded front seven didn't bounce
back completelyfromitsbreakdown
against Ohio State. Booty had plen-
ty of time to throw, especially in the
second half, and Michigan notched
just one sack all game (senior co-
captain LaMarr Woodley).
In a battle of two supposedly
stout defenses, Southern Cal had
the edge.
"The media does a great job of
building people up, but we knew
we were a great front seven," Jack-
son said. "We missed a couple sacks
today, so it could have been a lot
worse. Our defense showed up
to play, and we did outplay their
defense and we're happy aboutthat.
We weren't surprised at all about
how this one turned out."
The Wolverines couldn't say the


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