Sunday, September 30, 2007

Michigan 28 Northwestern 16

Michigan climbed above the .500 mark for the first time this season as they came from behind to knock off Northwestern 28-16 in Evenston. On a day full of upsets (six of the AP top 10 teams lost) the Wolverines managed to stay composed and rally after a 16-7 halftime deficit.

Michigan Offense vs. Northwestern Defense

There were two Wolverine offenses that took the field Saturday, one led by senior quarterback Chad Henne, and the other led by freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett. After their respective performances on Saturday, there should no longer be any rumblings over who should be the Michigan quarterback. As Coach Carr and Mallett said after last weeks game, "This is Chad's team."

Chad Henne played the first series and led the Wolverines down the field, capping the drive off with an 11 yard touchdown pass to junior Mario Manningham. Mallett took over for the remainder of the first half and struggled as Michigan struggled to establish a running game, as senior Mike Hart ran for only 31 yards on 12 carries. Overall Mallett was quarterback for five drive, which resulted in three three-and-outs, four punts, and another missed field goal by Jason Gingell.

Chad Henne came out and took over in the second half and led the Wolverines to the victory. He threw two more touchdown passes (16 yards to Adrian Arrington and 5 yards to Carson Butler) as the Michigan offense finally lived up to preseason expectations, putting up 21 points in the second half while marching up and down the field. Mike Hart rebounded from a tough first half to finish with 106 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, moving him in to second place on the all-time Michigan rushing list. Hart needs only 33 yards to pass Anthony Thomas for first place. meanwhile Chad Henne also set records on the field. With his first quarter touchdown pass he broke a tie with John Navarre for the most touchdown passes in Michigan football history, the Chad extended that record to 75 touchdowns with his second half passes to Arrington and Butler. For the day chad was an impressive 18-27 for 193 yards and three touchdowns, and he did not through an interception. Mallett finished 5-11 for 67 yards.

Although the offensive line struggled to make holes for Mike Hart in the first half, they improved as the game went on. More importantly they only allowed one sack of Ryan Mallett, and did not allow the Wildcat defense to touch Chad Henne. Yet again there was an injury to Michigan starting RG, as Tim McAvoy was hurt, but again a backup stepped in and played well, with junior Cory Zirbel stepping in on Saturday.

Edge: Michigan

Michigan Defense vs. Northwestern Offense

Michigan continued their trend of playing poor defense in the first half Saturday, allowing Northwestern to put up 16 points and 323 yards in the first half. Michigan struggled against Northwestern's spread offense as C.J. Bacher picked the Michigan secondary apart while backup running back Omar Conteh gashed the defense. The score could have easily been worse, but the Michigan defense firmed up in the red zone, forcing Northwestern to settle for three field goals. nevertheless Michigan found themselves trailing 16-7 at the half.

In the second half the defense came out and played like they did last week against Penn State, as the shut out the Wildcats in the second half and held them to 94 yards, while forcing five turnovers (three interceptions, two fumbles) and sacking C.J. Bacher five times. Senior linebacker Shawn Crable led the way for the Wolverines, recording 10 total tackles (5 for a loss), one sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Senior defensive end Tim Jamison also had a nice game, recording four tackles, a sack , and also getting an interception off a tipped pass that he returned for 37 yards.

Edge: Michigan

Special Teams

Once again Michigan struggled on special teams. Kicker Jason Gingell missed two more field goals, one from 26 yards and the other from 39 yards. For the season Gingell has only made three of nine field goals, and has looked worse as the season goes on. On the bright side, sophomore punter Zoltan Mesko continued his excellent season as he averaged 44.5 yards on his six kicks, including a booming 60 yard punt. He also placed three of his kicks inside the 20 yard line. Once again Michigan had no return game to speak of, although there were no muffs this week.

Edge: Northwestern


Northwestern came out and marched up and down the field on the Michigan Defense, but the unit rebounded in the second half and came out playing with a chip on their shoulder. The offense finally clicked under Henne's leadership, and the team is now 2-0 in big ten play.

Notable Stats:

Total yards: Michigan 380, Northwestern 417

Turnovers: Michigan 0, Northwestern 5

Shawn Crable: 10 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack, FF, FR

Chad Henne: 193 yards, 3 tds, 0 interceptions

Player of the game

Chad Henne came back from his knee injury and played very well. He led Michigan on four scoring drives, and it would have been six if Michigan could kick a field goal. Honorable mention to Shawn Crable, who was all over the field wreaking havoc on the Northwestern offense.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Michigan @ Northwestern Preview

Michigan hits the road for the first time this year as the Wolverines travel to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday. Game time is slated for 12:00 PM EST. You can listen to WCBN’s first ever road broadcast at and then clicking on the sports stream. The Big 10 Network will televise the game for those of you who are fortunate enough to actually get the BTN. On to the preview…

While both teams are unranked with 2-2 records, Michigan and Northwestern couldn’t come into this game any differently. After winning its first two games of the season against Northeastern and Nevada, Northwestern went on to lose to Duke and then get blown out last Saturday by Ohio State. Michigan on the other hand, suffered two bad losses to start the season before turning things around by shutting out Notre Dame and then upsetting #10 ranked Penn State.

Michigan Offense vs Northwestern Defense:

At Monday’s press conference, Lloyd Carr hinted that there was a possibility of Chad Henne returning to the starting lineup against Northwestern. Henne has been medically cleared, so now it just depends on when he feels ready to go. That being said, I expect Mallet to get the start against Northwestern with Henne being available if Mallet struggles. This is a good opportunity to get Mallet some game experience while also allowing Henne to get back to 100% before putting him back out on the field. Whichever quarterback starts, look for them to have success against a Wildcat secondary that ranks 10th in the Big 10 in Pass Defense and last with only two interceptions on the season.

Mike Hart enters the game 138 yards short of Anthony Thomas’s career rushing yardage record. While it would be nice to see him break this record at home next week, I don’t see the Northwestern defense holding Hart to his season low in rushing yardage. Ironically enough, Northwestern gives up 138.8 rushing yards per game. Hart is the nation’s leading rusher by over 100 yards with 655 yards on the year, an average of 164 per game. Tim McAvoy will most likely get the start at right guard with the injuries to Jeremy Ciulla and Alex Mitchell so look for even more of Mike Hart runs to the left side of the field. This also increases the odds from 97% to 99.9% that the first Michigan play of the game will be Mike Hart to the left.

Defensively for the Wildcats, it is possible that cornerback, Sherrick McManis might miss Saturday’s game with the concussion that he suffered last week against Ohio State. The entire secondary suffered against Ohio State giving up four touchdown passes on the day including two from over 40 yards. Maybe we’ll finally get to see Mario Manningham haul in a deep ball tomorrow.

Northwestern has struggled putting pressure on quarterbacks this year, ranking 10th in the Big 10 with just 4 sacks. For some perspective there, Brandon Graham has recorded 5 sacks just in the past two weeks. The Michigan offensive line should be able to give Mallet or Henne plenty of time, so watch for a breakout game, especially from Mallet who really caught fire in the second half of the Penn State game.

Edge: Michigan

Michigan Defense vs Northwestern Offense:

Northwestern will be much improved in this category with the return of RB, Tyrell Sutton from a sprained ankle, assuming he is 100%. Sutton was expected to play against Ohio State, but after the pre-game warm-ups he was unable to go. He should be back and healthy which would really give that Northwestern offense a spark it desperately needs. Sutton was averaging 4.5 yards per carry before his injury and has run for 1,000 yards in each of his previous two seasons.

Junior quarterback C.J. Bacher is in his third year as the Wildcat starter and runs a spread offense that we all know has troubled this Michigan defense. Bacher is not as mobile as either Dennis Dixon or Armanti Edwards who both gave Michigan all kinds of headaches with both their arms and legs. Bacher is still capable of scrambling if he’s forced out of the pocket so the Wolverines do need to be prepared for that possible rushing threat. On the year Bacher has thrown for 958 yards and run for another 136 (not counting his sacks). Ohio State was able to contain him last weekend, so hopefully Ron English and the Wolverine defense will pay close attention to those tapes.

The Michigan defense has been much improved in the past two weeks which may be correlated to not having to face a spread offense from Notre Dame nor Penn State. The secondary has played much better, led by Jamar Adams who broke up five passes last week, en route to the co-Big 10 defensive player of the week award. Morgan Trent is quietly having himself a great season as Michigan’s #1 cornerback. Donovan Warren continues to improve and did a good job last week where he shut down Derrick Williams. As mentioned previously, Brandon Graham has five sacks in his last two games and against a Northwestern offensive line that is dead last in the big 10 averaging three sacks against per game.

Edge: Slight edge for Northwestern...Michigan has yet to prove that they can stop a spread offense

Special Teams:

Amado Villarreal won the kicking job for Northwestern and is a perfect 4-4 for field goals with a long of 46 yards. He is also a perfect 10-10 on PAT’s. Punter Stefan Demos is averaging 36.8 yards per punt on the season. McManis was their lead kickoff returner, so if he is out look for Stephan Simmons, Simmons has only returned three kicks on the year, but one of those he took 99 yards for a touchdown. Michigan’s coverage has struggled at times this year, so he might get the chance for another big return.

Michigan also had a kicking competition before the season; however their winner is not having the same success as Villarreal. Jason Gingell is 3-7 on the year after missing his only attempt last week, a 29 yarder late in the second quarter. Gingell made his first two kicks of the year, but since then is only one of his last five. Zoltan Mesko has been the bright spot on special teams, averaging 42.3 yards per punt. Of his 19 punts, only 6 have been returnable.

Edge: Northwestern


Northwestern comes into this game off two straight bad losses against a Duke team that hadn’t won in its last 22 games and then a 58-7 demolition at the hands of Ohio State. They get Tyrell Sutton back which should provide a spark to their offense.

Michigan comes in riding high off a blowout win over Notre Dame and then a solid upset victory over Penn State. Michigan hasn’t been able to stop a spread offense all year. Michigan’s last two victories seem to have turned their season around and now have them looking towards a possible Big 10 Championship at the end of the year. With the two upset losses to start the season, we don’t have to worry about the players and coaches won’t overlooking Northwestern.

Edge: Michigan


Michigan continues to roll, winning this game 38-3. Chad Henne’s return is delayed another week and Ryan Mallet should find success against the depleted Wildcat secondary. Look for Mario Manningham to have his breakout game of the year. Mike Hart will pace the Wolverine offense yet again and by the end of the day, he should be Michigan’s career rushing leader.

Player of the game: Mike Hart: 150 yards, 2 TDs

Remember, you can listen to the game LIVE at by clicking on the link for the Sports Stream.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Michigan 14 #10 Penn State 9

Michigan (2-2) came through yet again winning their 9th straight contest over Penn State. The Nittney Lions came into the game highly touted by many in the media but had yet to be tested in a close game against a good team. A former Ohio State quarterback even had PSU ranked in the top 5 nationally…shows you the importance they place in education down there in Columbus.

This game was perfect for the Big 10 Conference opener as it featured classic Big 10 football. Both coaches love physical, in-your-face, smashmouth football and that is exactly what they got on Saturday. Michigan was able to grind out the win behind another stellar performance from Mike Hart. This win puts Michigan in the driver’s seat to the wide open Big 10 championship.

Michigan Offense vs Penn St. Defense

For the fourth consecutive week, Mike Hart led the Wolverine charge offensively. Hart rushed for 153 yards on a career high 44 carries. With freshman Ryan Mallet starting his second career game, Michigan needed Hart to carry the load again as he did last week vs Notre Dame. Hart paced the Wolverine offense and allowed them to eat up clock in the fourth quarter. Michigan ended the game with almost a 10 minute advantage in time of possession thanks to Hart’s efforts on the ground.

Mike Hart also did a tremendous job as a blocker. Even though he gave up a good 40 or 50 pounds to some of the blitzing linebackers, Hart met them all head on and did a great job buying more time for his freshman quarterback. When most people would get out of the way, Hart stepped up and picked up the blitzer. Hart also had a great block to seal the corner on Ryan Mallet’s 10 yard touchdown run in the first quarter. With his 153 yards, Hart is now 138 yards behind Anthony Thomas on the Michigan all-time rushing yardage list.

Ryan Mallet struggled a little bit in the first half as he went 8-20 for 94 yards and threw an interception at the Penn St. 6 yard line to end the half. In the second half, Mallet came out of the locker room and did a much better job leading the Wolverine offense. He was 5-5 on third downs in the fourth quarter (including one pass interference call in the end zone) to allow the Wolverines to use up valuable time. Time of possession in the fourth quarter was 11:50 for Michigan to 3:10 for Penn State. His best play of the game came on Michigan’s final possession in the fourth quarter. Faced with a 3rd and 11, Mallet was pressured in the backfield. Instead of taking a sack or throwing the ball away, Mallet bounced around in the pocket buying time for his receivers. Then, on the run he threw a strike, hitting Greg Mathews in stride for a 12 yard gain and first down. Michigan went on to drain the clock down to 1:28 before Zoltan Mesko pinned the Nittney Lions back on their 13 yard line. Mallet ended up with a much more efficient second half, completing 8 of 9 passes for 76 yards. While the coaches showed more confidence in Mallet against PSU by allowing him to throw the ball about twice as many times, his main job was just to avoid making mistakes. With the exception of a few poorly thrown balls in the first half (including the one interception); Mallet did a very good job leading the Wolverine offense.

Defensively, Penn State struggled to get pressure on Mallet, only reaching him for two sacks. Their run defense came into the game only allowing 17 yards per game but Mike Hart and the Wolverines ran for 166. They also allowed Michigan to convert on 10 of 18 third downs. Maurice Evans played well for Penn State, finishing with 9 tackles, including 4 for losses.

Edge: Michigan

Penn State Offense vs Michigan Defense

Anthony Morelli has been criticized throughout his whole career for being unable to win the big game. Saturday was his chance to prove those critics wrong, beat Michigan, and solidify Penn State’s top 10 ranking. Morelli got the ball back with 1:28 to go on his own 13 with a chance to lead a game winning drive and get the Michigan monkey off his back, but Brandon Graham and Jamar Adams made sure that didn’t happen.

Michigan’s run defense played well for the second week in a row, limiting PSU to 101 yards on the ground. Brandon Graham followed up a strong game last week with another great outing. He registered 1.5 sacks and applying pressure to Morelli on the first two plays of the final drive, forcing Morelli to throw the ball away each time. Graham also forced a fumble for the second week in a row as well as recovered a fumble in the third quarter deep in Michigan territory. Jamar Adams finished one short of Michigan’s all time record for pass breakups with five. His final two came on Morelli’s last two passes. Adams also tied his career high with 8 tackles.

Penn State had four opportunities in the Michigan red zone, but could only come away with three field goals. The bend but don’t break defense worked for the Wolverines as they came up with the big stops when they needed too, including recovering a fumble on one of PSU’s red zone trips.

Edge: Michigan

Special Teams

Zoltan Mesko is putting together a great season averaging 42.3 yards per punt with 7 of his 19 punts landing inside the 20. Against Penn St. 3 of his 6 punts were inside the 20, including his last punt which pinned Penn St. back at their 13 yard line to start their final potential game-winning drive. Asked in the press conference what the strategy was to avoid the dangerous Derrick Williams, Mesko replied, “Kick it high and far…but mostly just really high and make him fair catch them.” He did just that, as not a single one of his six punts was returned.

Michigan’s field goal kicking disaster continued as Gingell pushed a 29 yard field goal attempt wide right in the second quarter. Gingell is now 3 of 7 on the year, with all of his misses coming from 41 yards or less. This needs to be fixed and soon. Anyone feel bad for bashing Garret Rivas now? For Penn State, Kevin Kelly went 3-3 on his field goal kicks (28, 29, and 31 yards).

Edge: Penn State


The Big House was rocking as for the first time all season the fans were treated to a competitive game against a division I-A team. The Maize Out went over pretty well, especially in the Michigan student section. The announced crowd 111,310 was into the game from the beginning and provided the Wolverines with a great home field advantage. Joe Paterno’s playcalling seemed a bit conservative as he continued trying to run the ball late into the game when Morelli seemed to be finding his groove spreading out the Michigan secondary.

Edge: Michigan

Notable Stats:

Total Offensive Pays: Michigan: 86 PSU: 60

4th Quarter Time of Possession: Michigan 11:50 Penn St.: 3:10

Mike Hart: 44 carries, 153 yards, TD

Brandon Graham: 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 fumble recovery

Jamar Adams: 8 tackles, .5 TFL, 5 passes broken up

Press Conference Notes:

· Chad Henne has been medically cleared to play, status is unknown for Northwestern

· Alex Mitchell will not be available vs Northwestern due to injury, Jeremy Ciulla is doubtful, so Junior, Tim MCavoy will most likely start at RG

· Junior WR, LaTerryal Savoy who was dismissed from the team following an indecent exposure charge in July is back on the team after being acquitted of that charge.

· Time and television has been announced for the Eastern Michigan game. It will be televised on the Big 10 Network at noon.

· With the loss, Penn State fell to #19 in the coaches poll and #21 in the AP

· Michigan received 17 votes in the coaches poll and 21 votes in the AP putting them at #33 and #31 respectively

· Jamar Adams was named co-Big 10 Defensive Player of the Week today, his first time receiving the honor

Player of the Game:

Once again, it is Mike Hart who led the Wolverines to the upset victory with his career high 44 carries for 153 yards to go with some critical blocks along the way.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Love for Hart

Our own Amy and Cheryl, inspired by everyone's favorite Michigan player, were moved enough to write a haiku for Mike Hart. So with out further ado:

An Ode To Mike Hart

An ode to Mike Hart!
He may be diminutive
But touchdowns galore

He fights off tackles
With the winged helmet on
He takes over games

He makes guarantees
And beats the nasty Irish
With his rushing yards

He drags defenders
In his wake. He bulldozes
On to victory.

The best running back
That all the students love
Mike Hart for Heisman

Friday, September 21, 2007

Michigan Vs. Penn State Preview

So the Michigan team that the Maize and Blue faithful were waiting to see in the Big House finally decided to show up, thumping Notre Dame 38-0 in the Wolverine’s most recent game. The Irish offense looked lost, allowing the Michigan defense to shut down any semblance of the game plan prepared by “offensive genius” Charlie Weis. On the other side, Mike Hart (and Brandon Minor) was able to run at will, setting up 2 rushing touchdowns, as well as helping Ryan Mallet to throw for 3 TD’s. The coaching was even good, throwing blitzes at Jimmy Claussen and attacking the weak points on the Irish defense. This victory not only rejuvenated Michiganfans everywhere, but gave a new spirit to a struggling team.

Now, as our own Stu Zaas stated in a previous post, this victory must be “taken with a grain of salt.” Notre Dame is a terrible team and will be lucky to win 3 games this season. Any team (such as Appalachian St.) could have rolled this team just like Michigan. When put against competent talent, like this weekend with #10 Penn St., will the Wolverines revert to their Oregon form or stay as the sharp team that minimized mistakes and played solid defense against Notre Dame?

Michigan Offense vs. PSU Defense

Many college football fans saw this precise offensive-defensive match-up as one of the season’s premiere match-ups. While PSU still has one of the, if not the best, defenses in the nation, Michigan’s offense has left much to be desired. Fourth year start Chad Henne will most likely not be playing in this game and still has made freshmen mistakes in both the games he played. Michigan will once again start true freshman Ryan Mallet, who looked O.K. versus Notre Dame’s paltry defense last weekend. The coaching staff was obviously not calling lots of passing plays for Mallet, who only threw 15 passes, completing less than half. The good news was is that Mallet did not get sacked and did not throw an interception. In fact, his major mistake came on his first play when he fumbled the snap. He spread the ball to all his receivers, with each of his 3 TD passes going to a different receiver. PSU’s pass defense ranks 47th in the country, but still should find a way to make sure that Mallet doesn’t throw 3 more TD’s. Freshman Jimmy Claussen completed only 53% of his passes for zero touchdowns and one pick. Mallet has more talent around him, but hasn’t seen a defense of PSU’s caliber, who will try to confuse him and rush with a variety of blitz packages, while the defensive backs will prevent Mallet from going deep to Mario Manningham.

Good new for Mallet, Michigan’s strength so far this season has been the outstanding rushing of the Wolverine’s leader Mike Hart. Bad news for Mallet, Penn St. has the top rushing defense in the nation, allowing only 53 yards and one TD. Now, Hart is a force to be reckoned with, but PSU will be looking for most of the play calling to go Hart’s way. Look for them to stack the box, looking for the Hart to the left behind Jake Long we have grown accustomed to seeing when Michigan touches the ball. Hart always does keep his hands on the ball, which cannot be said for backup Brandon Minor. Penn St. always seems to have great linebackers, and this year is no exception. Dan Conner and Sean Lee have combined for 52 tackles. PSU will remember the 112 yards and 1 touchdown running back that they saw last year, but Joe Paterno will find ways to slow him down.

Edge: PSU

Michigan Defense vs. PSU Offense

Oh boy. What Michigan defense with show up-the one that forgets how to tackle, cannot cover a single man, and gets no pressure on the quarterback, or the one who held a team to -6 rush yards, forced 4 turnovers, and 8 sacks? We can’t see sure, but it should be more like the second one. The Wolverines return to the hard-hitting styles of Big 10 football and can be assured that Penn St. will not run the dreaded spread offense. The Michigan defense was key to Michigan’s 17-10 victory over the Lions last year. The front 7 knocked out not one but two Penn St. QB’s and limited the Lions’ offensive production.

That being said, Anthony Morelli has minimized the mistakes he has made this season, with 8 TD passes and only one interception. He does not have a standout wide receiver to work with and has been able to spread the ball around to all his receivers. Granted, he has face 3 sub-par defenses, but some argue that Michigan just benefited from a weak Irish squad and can be counted as a weaker defense. Michigan has the number 48 ranked pass defense, but should get some pressure on the quarterback. PSU had a weak line that got weaker with the loss of number 6 NFL draft pick Levi Brown. Morelli should be moving around in the pocket quite a bit and is thankfully not a good rushing QB.

On the rushing side of things, Penn St. features 2 tailbacks who have combined to form the number 33rd ranked rushing offense. Austin Scott has 215 yards and 5 TD’s, while Rodney Kinlaw has 244 yards with 2 TD’s. Michigan’s rushing defense struggled mightily versus Oregon, but held Notre Dame to negative rushing yards. Michigan needs to prove they can consistently tackle and fill up some of the gaping holes they left for Oregon.

Slight Edge: PSU

Special Teams

Apart from the mighty Zoltan Mesko, Michigan has not had a healthy special teams game. We look at the 2 blocked field goals versus Appalachian St. for proof. They have yet to find a solution for returning punts and kicks, and are not consistent on kickoffs. Place kicker Jason Gingell hit everything last week, but has not shown his range or his ability to kick under pressure. On the flip side, Penn St. has returned a punt for a touchdown, has a consistent place kicker who can hit FG’s and drive kickoff’s deep. Michigan’s special teams coverage will have to step up or Penn St. will spend all day with great field position.

Edge: PSU


No doubt Penn St. remembers its last trip to Ann Arbor, ranked number 2 but upset at on a last second Henne to Mannigham touchdown completion, ruining a possible BCS title game season for the Nitany Lions. Michigan is coming off its first victory after a crushing defeat of rival Notre Dame. No doubt the fans will be in this game (backed by the best marching band in the nation I might add), attempting to give the Blue every advantage possible. It is the Big 10 opener for both teams, but it will be Michigan’s fourth straight home game and will have emotion riding on their side, at least to start the game. Hey, maybe another high-profile star will give them a speech before the game.

Edge: Michigan


This will be PSU’s first “real” competition of the season (heftily defeating Notre Dame, Buffalo, and Florida International), while Michigan is playing another tough opponent in the Big House. Ryan Mallet will start over the injured Henne, one of Pennsylvania’s own. While Mallet will not look nearly as bad as Claussen did against both these teams, he will have his hands full with Penn St.’s defense and will not start each drive with nearly as good field position as he did last Saturday. Mike Hart will again get a heavy carrying load, but will not be as successful as he has been. Look for at a Penn St. defensive touchdown to be a difference maker in this game. Lloyd Carr needs to be able to change his game plan accordingly throughout the game in order for Michigan to stay in it, but Michigan will be frustrated on offense all day long.

Final Score: Penn St. 23 Michigan 13

Player of the Game: Dan Conner, PSU LB – 9 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT

Listen to the game LIVE on the WCBN sports stream at!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Les Miles: LSU or Maize and Blue

For Michigan fans everywhere right now, we are smiling for the first time all season. We slaughtered a pathetic Notre Dame squad...and it still feels oh so good!! But at the end of the season, Lloyd Carr will have a serious decision to make. Is it time to step away from the head coaching position of the UM football team and go to that position that has been waiting for him in the athletic department? If so, who will be his successor? There are rumors flying about multiple possibilities, everything from Bill Cowher (yes, the Chin himself) to Brian Kelly (current Cincy head coach and former Chippewa top man). Yet with all the possibilities (and nearly every coach out there would love the chance to take over the reins of the winningest program in college football history), there is one coach who seems to be the early favorite: Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers and former UM football player. Without further ado, here is a breakdown of the early favorite in the race for successor of Lloyd Carr (if and when he retires).


Les grew up in Ohio and attended the University of Michigan from 1972-1975, playing under Bo Schembechler as a two-time letterman on the O-line. He has since been assistant coach with U-M twice, first from 1980-82 under Bo and then from 1987-94 under both Bo and Gary Moeller. In between there, he coached for 5 years at the University of Colorado. From 1995-1997, he was the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State University. He went from there to the NFL, serving as tight ends coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 1998-2000. In 2001 he was hired as the head coach of Oklahoma State University.

Head Coaching experience:

In 4 years at Oklahoma State University, Les led the Cowboys to a record of 28-21, 3 bowl appearances, and upset victories over the rival Sooners twice with the Sooners ranked in the top 5. As unspectacular as the record and bowl appearances sound, remember that OSU was 13-20 with zero bowl appearances the 3 years before Les arrived. He was subsequently hired by the LSU Tigers in 2005 to replace the recently departed Nick Saban as head coach. In two seasons, Les Miles has done some spectacular things with a school that has never been very dominant in college football. He has taken the LSU Tigers to back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time in school history, while compiling a 22-4 record. He also can be credited with keeping the team strong through adversity in 2005 as the team lost a few home games and many loyal fans to the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Though Les Miles has put together a strong résumé, he still has not won at either stop with his own players. At OSU, you can make the claim that the players there weren’t much to begin with, but they had some good talent there including Rashaun Woods (one of the all-time best receivers in NCAA history). At LSU, he has taken the talent that Nick Saban stockpiled and turned it into neither a SEC championship nor a national title. His teams have won many games against top-10 competition but have also not shown up in big games, such as the 2005 SEC championship game, where they lost 34-14 against the lower-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

Current Status:

Les Miles has repeatedly said that he loves his current team and will not even consider any other team at this point in time. While that is very diplomatic and heart-warming to hear, I am of the belief that if your team has to put a buyout in your contract that specifies only one team, you must have let on something to them about your intentions should Michigan come knocking. The current buyout clause is $1.2 million, with the LSU AD Skip Bertman saying he will do whatever is necessary to keep Les Miles at LSU. While Les may be the top option should Lloyd leave, we should all be prepared to have him turn us down as LSU will do everything in its power to make sure they don’t lose a second head coach in 3 years when the higher prestige jobs in football come calling.


Lloyd Carr will step down as head coach, to leave Michigan football along with Hart, Henne, and Long. As hard as LSU will try to keep him, the opportunity to resurrect U-M football a la Bo Schembechler, his former coach, will be too much to pass on. Les Miles will return to the University of Michigan at the end of this year, with his wife (a fellow Michigan alumnus) and family in tow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Michigan 38 Notre Dame 0!

In a game that was reminiscent of last year’s defining victory, could Michigan’s 38-0 win over Notre Dame be the game that defines this season for the Wolverines? Probably not. When this season is set and done, Appalachian State will be the game that remains etched in everybody’s memories for years to come. That being said, maybe this big win over a rival school like Notre Dame will be the game that turns the season around for Michigan. It couldn’t have come at a better time heading into the tough test vs #10 Penn State this Saturday.

Michigan Offense vs Notre Dame Defense

With Chad Henne out of action this week true freshman, Ryan Mallet got his first career start. While Mallet completed less than half of his passes, he did exactly what Coach Carr wanted out of his inexperienced quarterback. Three touchdowns and zero interceptions make us forget about the 46% completion percentage and only 90 yards passing. Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington, and Greg Matthews each hauled in one touchdown pass. Mallet claims he “never get nervous” and maybe he was telling the truth. While he did make some mistakes none were particularly costly. One early criticism of Mallet has been his inability to put touch on his passes. In today’s press conference, Mike Hart talked about how Chad Henne was the same way (to a lesser extent) when he came in as a freshman. Henne learned that a screen pass and a 20 yard post route need to be thrown differently. With time, Mallet will learn to put more finesse on his shorter passes which will help lessen the number of drops by his receivers.

For the third week in a row, Mike Hart carried the offense on his broad shoulders to the tune of 35 carries for 187 yards. Hart came out of the game with the score 38-0 and about two minutes remaining in the third quarter and still managed to flirt with 200 yards for the second game this year. Also for the second time this year when the field goal/extra point unit was missing a lineman, Hart was the guy who came sprinting in off the bench. Thankfully a delay of game penalty was called before Hart had to block on the line. Hart’s 35 carries propelled him into second place on Michigan’s all time rushing attempts list behind Anthony Thomas. Hart also moved into third place in all time rushing yards at Michigan. With a freshman quarterback at the helm, the Wolverines relied on Mike Hart to follow through on his guarantee and Hart did not disappoint.

Defensively, Notre Dame could not stop the Michigan running attack. As a team, Michigan ran the ball 61 times for 289 yards, wearing down the Fighting Irish defense. Four different backs carried the ball after Hart left the game with Brandon Minor having the most success (17 carries for 82 yards). Notre Dame failed to get pressure on Ryan Mallet throughout the entire game. This lack of pressure allowed Mallet to be comfortable in the pocket and not have to force any throws.

Edge: Michigan

Notre Dame Offense vs Michigan Deffense

Michigan’s defense looked a whole lot like last year’s run-stifling defense against Notre Dame on Saturday. The Wolverine front seven held the Fighting Irish around -50 yards rushing for most of the game. Notre Dame put together a bit of a drive towards the end of the game to push their total up to -6 yards. Michigan sacked Clausen eight times for a loss of 48 yards on the day. Brandon Graham led the way with 3.5 sacks for the Wolverines. Shawn Crable got to Clausen twice, and Tim Jamison and Brandent Englemon (see photo below) added a sack each. Freshman Donovan Warren got the start and made his impact felt early on with a blitz that forced one of the six Irish fumbles. Warren recovered the fumble which led to Michigan’s first touchdown of the day. John Thompson and Stevie Brown both recorded interceptions for the Wolverines. Brown’s interception saved the shutout as Notre Dame was driving into Michigan territory late in the fourth quarter.

We had expected to see some spread looks from Notre Dame, but Quarterback Demetrius Jones surprised everyone by not showing up for bus to Ann Arbor*. By game-time we learned that he’d decided to transfer to Northern Illinois. I’m assuming that Notre Dame coach, Charlie Weis was planning on Jones taking a few snaps as a part of the spread offense that the Irish have run in the past. While his departure may have thrown a wrinkle in the Notre Dame game plan and been a distraction to the team, it does not explain why the Irish offensive line could not protect their quarterback. The final line for Clausen was 11 of 17 for 74 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, and 8 Sacks. Clausen has now been sacked 14 times in the two full games that he has played.

* Interesting to note, Jones is still listed on Notre Dame's roster on their website, where Johnny Sears has already been removed from Michigan's roster...Kudos to the Michigan football department for being so on top of things

Edge: Michigan

Special Teams:

Jason Gingell started off the Wolverine scoring with his lone field goal of the day, a 39 yarder. Gingell was also a perfect 5-5 on the day for PATs. Zoltan Mesko punted four times for an average of 40 yards per punt. Greg Matthews returned 5 punts with an average of 6 yards per return. Notre Dame punter Geoff Price punted seven times for an average of 43 yards. With the Michigan defense pitching a shutout, their kickers didn’t get an opportunity to put any points on the board. Golden Tate provided the lone Irish spark with his 40 yard return in the first quarter, but that drive ended with the Fighting Irish moving backwards 6 yards thanks to two fumbles and a sack.

Edge: Michigan


Well, the Wolverines didn’t have to worry about any boos reining down on the field with the way the game went from the opening Notre Dame drive. Michigan fans got their first opportunity to cheer on their team since last season and they sure took advantage of it. The fans were into the game the entire way and even stopped doing the wave in the middle of the slow go around to applaud Mario Manningham’s touchdown in the third quarter to make the score 38-0. From the time the first snap sailed over Clausen’s head and all the way down the one yard line, Notre Dame seemed defeated. They couldn’t move the ball offensively and they couldn’t stop Mike Hart and the Wolverines defensively.

Edge: Michigan

Notable Stats:

First Downs: Michigan – 25 Notre Dame – 10

Sacks-yds: Michigan – 8/48 Notre Dame – 0/0

Rushing yds: Michigan – 289 Notre Dame – -6

Third Downs: Michigan – 11/17 Notre Dame – 4/13

Ryan Mallet – 7/15; 90 yards; 3 TD; 0 INT; 0 sacks

Mike Hart – 35 carries; 187 yards; 2 TD (In less than 3 quarters of play)

Brandon Graham – 4 tackles; 3.5 sacks; 1 forced fumble

Shawn Crable – 5 tackles; 4 tackles for a loss; 2 sacks

Jimmy Clausen – 11/17; 0 TD; 74 yards; 1 INT; 8 sacks

Jimmy Clausen – 9 carries; -65 yards; 2 fumbles

Press Conference Tidbits:

From the Monday, 9/17 press conference:

· Johnny Sears who did not play against Notre Dame and was not present at the game has been dismissed from the team. Lloyd Carr declined to comment further on this development, other than to confirm that Sears is no longer on the team.

· Junior Hemmingway missed Saturday’s game due to an unspecified injury. He is expected to be available against Penn State.

· Brian Wright suffered a minor injury against Notre Dame. He is also expected to play on Saturday

· While Chad Henne is not listed on the depth chart, Lloyd Carr labeled his injury status “Day-to-Day.” Carr confirmed that Henne’s injury is a sprain and said Henne’s status would depend on how he felt throughout the week.

· Russell Crowe flew in from Australia to deliver the pre-game motivational speech to the Wolverines.

· Most of the players on hand declined to disclose any of the words of wisdom that Crowe shared with the team before the game. Mike Hart said that Crowe basically told the team that he didn’t fly all the way from Australia to watch them lose.

Final Analysis:

So is who are the real Michigan Wolverines? Is it the team that started 0-2 losing to Oregon and Division 1-AA Appalachian State? Or is it the team we saw on Saturday destroy Notre Dame 38-0? I believe that it’s a combination. Notre Dame is obviously not a very good team, so the 38-0 victory needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Penn State is going to be a much tougher team and that game will be a real indicator of how the rest of this season will go for the Wolverines. That being said, let’s enjoy victory number one, especially since it came via a thorough thrashing of Notre Dame.

Player of the Game:

Mike Hart – 35 attempts; 187 yards; 2 TD

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

MICHIGAN vs. Notre Dame

Let me start this review by giving you a few facts. Michigan has given up 147 points in their past four games. Michigan is on a 4 game losing streak for the first time since 1967. Michigan is 0-2 at home for the first time since 1958. Michigan and Notre Dame are 0-2 in the same season for the first time ever. If Michigan loses Saturday they will be 0-3 for the first time since 1937.

This season has certainly not lived up to the pre-season hype that surrounded the program a mere month ago. The offense has been the most disappointing, with the amount of experienced talent returning many though the Michigan offense would make its way through opposing defenses like a hot knife through butter. Not to be outdone the defense has taken the form of a sieve and has shown that they can't stop anything allowing over 600 yards against Oregon.

So it is 0-2 Michigan vs 0-2 Notre Dame, hey someone has to win, why not us?

Michigan Offense vs Notre Dame Defense

Last week the Michigan offense moved the the ball with ease in the first half accumulating over 300 yards. The only problem is that all those yards only equaled 7 points on the scoreboard. In both games the offense has been able to move, they just can't seem to finish and the worst part is that they are doing it to themselves. Interceptions, fumbles, missed field goals, penalties, and sacks have all taken points off the board for Big Blue. The thing is, if you thought the offense was bad with Henne at the helm it is about to get much worse with Mallett taking over this week. Mallett showed one thing to me Saturday, that he has a rocket launcher attached to his shoulder. Many times he would fire to his man and it would fly through the hands of his receivers, he has to learn to put touch on his throws. Mallett was the typical young freshmen quarterback Saturday, locking on to one receiver, and forcing the ball into double and triple coverage. I believe that Mallett will be better this Saturday because he will be taking all the snaps in practice and playing with the first team, but expect a shortened play book, which now might be at most, one page in length.

Which brings us to Mike Hart. With Henne going down Hart will have to carry an heavier role to bail out his young QB. Also add to the fact that Mike shot his mouth off after the Oregon game guaranteeing a victory over the Irish, I look for Mike to have a monster of a day Saturday. With a young QB the receivers are going to have to step up their game. Arrington, Mann
ingham, and Matthews will all have to run their routes crisper, and have no drops if Michigan is going to move the football.

The Notre Dame defense hasn't been stopping anyone. They surrendered 33 points at home against an average Georgia Tech team, and then gave up 31 points at Penn State. This is also pretty much the same defense that Michigan torched for 47 points last year in South Bend, but remember, no Chad Henne to hit Mario on those double move routes he killed the Irish with all afternoon last year. This Notre dame unit may not be talented, but they do have experience and that could make the difference going against a young QB, if I were the Irish I would blitz Mallett every single down and make him beat me. In the end Carr and DeBord will not expose Mallett and will call for short 5-10 yard routes by their wide receivers with an occasional play action pass deep to Mario. However, this will be the Mike Hart show look for him to get nearly 30 carries and near that 200 yard mark.

Edge: Slight Edge Michigan.

Michigan Defense vs. Notre Dame Offense

This could be described as the unmovable object (Notre Dame's offense) vs the unstoppable force (the Michigan Defense). If you thought Michigan's offense has been bad Notre Dame's has been down right woeful. The offense has yet to score a touchdown, they have currently run for a total of -4 yards and Jimmy Clausen is 21 of 38 for 178 yards, zero TD's and one interception. Add to that the fact that the offensive line cannot run block, they also can't pass pr
otect as Clausen was under pressure the entire night at Penn State. Now, this would normally mean that the opposing defense has the edge in this match up but this is the Michigan defense we are talking about who has been able to get zero pressure from their front four, has not been able to stop a running back, and has made every quarterback they have gone up against this year look like a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Now I do not think this defense is as bad as it has looked these past two games. Michigan has gone up against two teams who run on offense, and run it very well, that Michigan has not been able to stop. Ever. You can go back to Stewart coming into Michigan Stadium with Colorado and running over the Michigan defense. The Hail Marry pass gets all the attention but what gets forgotten is on the previous play Stewart ran for a first down on 4th and about 20. After that you can look at McNabb who ran over UM, along with Jeff Smoker, and of course Troy Smith. Luckily for UM Clausen if not known for his escapability. Like Notre Dame's defense, Michigan should blitz Clausen on every single down and force Clausen into making mistakes and giving Mallet a short field to work with. Notre Dame would be smart to spread Michigan out goin
g 4 or 5 wide and force Michigan into a dime defense where they could pick on any number of Michigan CB's. In the end though I gotta believe that Michigan will respond facing a somewhat conventional offense.

Edge: Slight Edge Michigan.

Michigan Special Teams vs Notre Dame Special Teams

Jason Gingell has looked good...on extra points, field goals on the other hand have been an adventure. How many of you wanted Rivas gone again? First the protection was bad against App State, then Gingell couldn't make a kick with the protection against the Ducks. Mesko has looked good...when he isn't trying to pin someone inside the 20 yard line. Notre Dame's kicker on the other hand leads the team in points with 7! Brandon Walker is 2 for 2 in field goals and 1-1 in extra points. Michigan would be good to give Wright a chance to kick field goals, whats the worst that could happen? You don't score 3 points, not like we haven't seen that this year. Michigan's coverage has been awful has it normally is, and with more kick returns because of kicking from the 30 that is not good news. On the flip side Michigan's return game isn't anything to talk about either. Sears, Minor, Brown, and Hemingway have all field punts and kick offs with zero success, well, if they hang on to the ball we consider that a success.

Edge: Notre Dame


With a 3:30 start Michigan and Notre Dame fans will have plenty of time to console each other prior to kickoff. I would say Michigan has home field advantage, but do they really? The Big House is 0-2 this year and Notre Dame is coming off a night white out game at Penn State, which I attended last year and it is an unbelievable atmosphere, Notre Dame and Clausen won't be fazed coming into Michigan Stadium after that. The mood will also favor Notre Dame as I can only imagine the Boos that are ready to rain down from the stands after ANY Michigan mistake, the home crowd could turn on the Wolverines in a heartbeat.

Edge: Notre Dame


The Battle of the Super Recruit Quarterbacks starts one year before anyone
thought it would with Mallett starting for the injured Henne. This could end up being one of the most boring Michigan/Notre Dame games of all time. Both offenses will struggle to move the ball with young quarterbacks and both defenses should blitz all day long, it might come down to who doesn't make the big mistake and takes care of the football. i don't believe this Michigan team is as bad as they have shown. It is obvious they are no where near the team everyone thought they were but I can't see them staying this pathetic the entire year.

Score: Michigan 17. Notre Dame 7

Player of the Game: Mike Hart 30 carries, 210 yards, 2 TDs

-Tony Bolton, WCBN Sports Director.

Remember that you can listen to the game LIVE on our sports stream at

Also listen to us this Friday Night as we break down the game even further!!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thank You

I would just like to give a big THANK YOU to everyone who tuned into our first ever live broadcast of Michigan Football this Saturday. Too bad the result wasn't much to talk about. However, we received over 3,000 hits to our sports stream during the game, so again THANK YOU!!

I would also like to take this time to keep you up to date on our other broadcasts. This Friday starting at 7 pm we will preview the Michigan/Notre Dame football game. Then, at the bottom of the hour we will go live to Cliff Keen Arena where the #10 ranked womens volleyball team will take on Temple. We estimate the match will end at 9 pm where we will continue our discussion on the game against The Fighting Irish.

To listen click here and then select "listen live"

The blog will be updated more frequently now that the school year is under way and we are settling back into things.

-Tony Bolton WCBN Sports Director

Friday, September 7, 2007

Michigan vs Oregon Preview (Yes, there still are more games to play this season)

Ok, so last week happened. It’s over, done with and now that the stories about the shocking upset wind down and the how hot is Lloyd Carr’s seat talk are coming to an end, it’s time for another game. Yes, that’s right; Michigan does have 11 games left to play this season. Oregon comes to town on Saturday with kickoff scheduled for 3:30. Unlike last weekend’s game, this one will be available on TV to non Direct TV subscribers through ABC.

Michigan Defense vs Oregon Offense:

Let’s start with the worst performing unit from last week for the Wolverines. Michigan’s defense was atrocious during the first half against Appalachian State, giving up 28 points on 239 yards. They improved in the 2nd half, forcing three turnovers and yielding just two field goals, but the damage had already been done. We saw true freshman Donovan Warren take over cornerback duties in place of Johnny Sears and Brandent Englemon, a 5th year senior, replaced Sophomore Stevie Brown at free safety after halftime, so we have to assume that Warren and Englemon will start the game on Saturday.

For Oregon last week, their offense was able to pile up 473 yards, 339 of them coming on the ground. Senior quarterback Dennis Dixon led the way for the Ducks rushing for 141 yards on just 15 carries including one 80 yard touchdown run. Dixon also completed 9 of 15 passes for 134 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Juniors Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson split the carries in the backfield, running for 67 and 70 yards respectively.

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game the question looms, which Michigan defense will show up? The unit that gave up 28 points to a Division-IAA team? Or the unit that forced three turnovers while allowing just two field goals in the second half? If the answer is the later, then Michigan is good shape against Oregon. The Ducks run a similar offense that the Mountaineers ran. Their quarterback, Dennis Dixon is a threat to run at any time and head coach, Mike Bellotti takes advantage of his athleticism with designed runs and lots of options. Oregon likes to spread the field which opens up lanes for Dixon to run. They will also run the option out of their spread formation. We all know Michigan’s historical struggles against spread offenses, so Oregon will be another tough test for Ron English’s inexperienced defense.

Edge: Oregon

Michigan Offense vs Oregon Defense:

Michigan had a so-so offensive day against Appalachian State last weekend, amassing 479 yards and 32 points. While those numbers seem impressive enough, we’ve come to expect more from this highly touted offense against a Division IAA team. We heard all off-season about how great this offense would be with Hart, Henne, Long, and Manningham all returning. Mike Hart injured his thigh on the first play of the game and still managed to rush for 188 yards on 23 carries with three touchdowns despite missing about a quarter and a half due to that injury. Hart single-handedly put Michigan on his shoulders and brought them back to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, dragging a few Mountaineers with him. Hart was the lone bright spot of the Wolverine offense and demonstrated why he is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Chad Henne on the other hand overthrew receivers, and made a horrible decision throwing a pass on the run, across his body for an interception in the red zone. We could live with a mistake like that if he were still a freshman or sophomore, but now as a senior and four year starter, poised to break most of Michigan’s quarterbacking records turnovers like that can’t happen. Manningham was unable to get open on the deep patterns that we were accustomed to seeing from last season. Despite his final catch that set up the potential game winning field goal, Manningham had a rather unimpressive game as well.

Oregon’s defense did not play all that well against Houston last week, giving up 545 yards and 27 points. 315 of those yards came on the ground, so if Mike Hart can stay healthy he should be able to have another 150-200 yard day. Oregon’s defense is led by sophomore cornerback Jarius Byrd, the co-freshman of the year last season in the Pac-10. I see Chad Henne rebounding and taking advantage of the fairly young Ducks defense.

Edge: Michigan

Special Teams:

For the Wolverines, kick protection is something that needs to be fixed up immediately. Having a first year kicker is worrisome enough, there’s no excuse for not being allowing two blocked field goals from an Appalachian State line that was give up an average of 20 lbs. Lloyd Carr blamed both of last week’s blocked kicks on poor protection, not low kicks from Jason Gingell (which by the way is pronounced Gin-Gel. Gin, like the drink that would help you forget about the fact that the winningest football team of all time, Michigan lost to a Division IAA opponent and then gel, as in, “I sure hope that the Michigan field goal protection unit gelled during this week of practice) Gingell did knock both kicks that went unblocked through the uprights, so we can’t fault him too much on his debut. It is also worth noting in regards to Michigan’s field goal protection that on Gingell’s first attempt, after some confusion on the sidelines, only 10 players were lined up for the snap. Mike Hart who was still out of the game with the injured thigh tried running on to line up at the last minute. Here’s hoping that we don’t see any of that this weekend. Zoltan Mesko had another great game punting the ball, averaging 48.7 yards on three punts, including a long of 56 yards.

Johnny Sears had difficulty holding onto the football while returning punts and kicks last week, however when he was able to catch the ball he showed some glimpses of why he’s the man back there along with Brandon Minor. Michigan hopes to get sophomore Carlos Brown back for the game on Saturday and he might get a look returning punts and kicks before the game is done.

The Ducks special teams are led by junior kicker Matt Evensen as well as true freshman Daniel Padilla. Evensen was 2-2 on field goals last week vs Houston, while both kickers successfully alternated on PAT’s. Evensen handles kickoff duties for the Ducks. Junior Josh Syria is the Oregon punter in his first year handling punting duties after transferring from Wofford.

The return game for the Ducks is led by running back Jonathon Stewart who averaged 34 yards per return last Saturday including a long of 44 yard. Patrick Chung returns punts and he also had a pretty good day against Houston with an average of 21.5 yards on two returns.

Edge: Oregon


As if the Wolverines needed any extra motivation following last week’s loss to Appalachian State, the Wolverines plummeted from #5 to out of the rankings in both the Coaches and AP Polls. Oregon has to travel all the way across the country and play in front of 110,000 fans, of which some might still believe that the rest of the season is worth playing and be into the game. The crowd caused Appalachian State to jump early for a few false start penalties and also may have played a role in receiver Brian Quick’s dropped pass when he was standing all alone in the Michigan endzone. The 3:30 kickoff will be more popular with the students, so hopefully the crowd can work in favor of the Wolverines. Along the same lines, watch out if the Wolverines struggle early on, as the boo-birds were out in force by halftime of last week. They won’t be as patient on Saturday.

Edge: Michigan

My Pick:

Michigan has now lost three games in a row dating back to last season. Coming off such a horrible loss to Appalachian State, I think the embarrassment from the loss will motivate the players who will be determined not to lose another game at home. While Michigan’s initial goal of a national championship are shot and this game does not figure into their next goal of a big-10 championship, I don’t see them losing two games in a row to open the season. This game is all about pride for the Wolverines, and I think they will win with relative ease. On paper, Oregon looks like their offense can cause headaches for the Michigan secondary, however they don't play the games on paper. Michigan fans might remember the last embarrassing home loss to Notre Dame in 2005. Well the next week, the Wolverines went out and put up 50 points on Eastern Michigan. Oregon is a much better team than Eastern, but the Michigan players will be fired up and seeking to avenge last weeks loss. Oregon may hang around for a quarter or two, but I see Michigan pulling away a bit in the second half. For Oregon, it’s just a bad time to be paying a visit to the Big House.

My score: Michigan 41 Oregon 17

Michigan player of the game: Mike Hart - 150 yards, 2 touchdowns