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 Michigan wins again 
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Post Michigan wins again
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EVANSTON, Ill. ? By the end of Saturday, the Michigan defense was no longer strutting.

Earlier, the players danced after Grant Mason?s second quarter interception.

Before, they bounced when Northwestern receivers dropped key passes in the third quarter.

But for the first time since the Wolverines could remember, there was no fourth-quarter explosion because there was no late drama.

The U-M defense won this game much earlier, helping the No. 25 Wolverines coast to a 33-17 win over No. 21 Northwestern before a sellout crowd at Ryan Field.

?Our goal this week was not to give up big plays, because we noticed this week that the teams that gave up big plays against them are the teams that lost,? U-M defensive lineman Gabe Watson said. ?We came into the half and said, ?OK, eliminate the big plays in the second half and we?ll have a chance to shut them out in the second half.??

As amazing as that seems against the nation?s No. 4 offense, it worked.

Northwestern managed just four first downs after halftime and did not score, limping to a season-low 17 points.

None of the Wildcats? second-half drives lasted more than two minutes, none lasted more than six plays and only one barely snuck across the 50-yard line.

Silencing one of the nation?s leading passers in quarterback Brett Basanez made the runaway win that much sweeter.

?I love pass rushing, and the best way for them to get back in the game was to throw the ball; so all I did was tee off on Basanez every time,? U-M defensive end Alan Branch said.

This was yet another statement ? the third this season after Michigan State and Penn State ? that running quarterbacks and spread offenses no longer faze the Wolverines, and this defense is keeping the Wolverines in the Big Ten race.

For the third consecutive week, Michigan (6-3 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) handed a loss to a team higher in the Big Ten standings and, entering the bye week, the Wolverines showed they're only getting better.

Unbelievably, the Michigan defense can actually improve in the final two regular season games against Indiana and Ohio State. They accomplished Saturday?s effort, holding the Wildcats to just 89 rushing yards, without a number of injured defensive starters.

Defensive ends LaMarr Woodley (forearm) and Rondell Biggs (knee) did not play and safety Willis Barringer only saw a few snaps.

The biggest impact probably came from the Northwestern offensive linemen, who were called repeatedly for holding, evidenced by black scratches and rips all over Watson?s jersey.

?It?s difficult to begin, seemingly, every possession first-and-20,? said Northwestern coach Randy Walker, whose team fell to 5-3, 3-2. ?I think we have a pretty good offense, but we're not that good.?

The Michigan offense wasn't much better, struggling to score points with just two touchdowns and only one ? tight end Mike Massey's 10-yard second-quarter catch ? after the game?s first drive.

Though U-M quarterback Chad Henne struggled, with just one touchdown and three interceptions, the running game did its job and ate the clock, even without injured Mike Hart (ankle) and center Adam Kraus, who left in the first half with a sprained right knee.

Jerome Jackson led the way with 24 carries for 105 yards and Kevin Grady carried 20 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan held a 27-17 lead at the half, the Wolverines' two insurance field goals after halftime were more than enough, as the defense kept Northwestern off the scoreboard in the second half.

Cornerback Leon Hall followed Michigan's game-opening scoring drive, capped by Grady's one-yard run, with his own touchdown, forcing the ball from Northwestern tailback Tyrell Sutton and returning it for an 83-yard touchdown.

That gave Michigan a 14-0 early lead and set the tone for a dominant defensive day.



Michigan played a pretty good game. I don't think Henne played particularly well given some of the horrible passes he made, but they still won what was a big game for them.


October 30th, 2005, 12:55 am
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Psh.... people were doubting Michigan....


October 30th, 2005, 1:37 am
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Brian wrote:
Psh.... people were doubting Michigan....


LoL... a lot more are doubting Mich State at this point in the season :idea: .


October 30th, 2005, 1:57 pm
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