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.

1 comment:

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