The Wolverine

November 2011

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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������ michigan football the Wolverines had a comparable schedule was back in 1992, though that fourth road game was actually played in Pasadena, Calif., at the Rose Bowl. The 6-0-1 Wolverines, who had played five of their first seven games in the friendly confines of The Big House, traveled to Purdue Oct. 31, then Northwestern Nov. 7, returned home to face Illinois Nov. 14, and then went on the road to Ohio State Nov. 21 before earning the trip out West to square off with Washington. During that five-game stretch, Michigan was 3-0-2, besting the Huskies 38-31. The last time this peculiar five-game stretch occurred during the regular season was in 1969, during Bo Schembechler���s first season in Ann Arbor. U-M was 3-1 after four games, play- ing all four at home, when it went to Michigan State Oct. 18 and to Minnesota Oct. 25, returned home to welcome Wisconsin Nov. 1, and then traveled to Illinois Nov. 8 and Iowa Nov. 15. The Maize and Blue went 4-1, and clinched a Rose Bowl berth with a Big House victory over Ohio State. In 1945, Michigan played four of five consecutive games on the road but in a different fashion altogether. The Wolverines began the stretch at Northwestern Oct. 6, met Army Oct. 13 in Yankee Stadium in New York and then headed to Champaign to take on Illinois Oct. 27. U-M hosted Minnesota Nov. 3 and then went to Baltimore to play in Baltimore Stadium against Navy. The sojourn didn���t break the Maize and Blue, who went 3-2. ��� 2011 Schedule Date Opponent Result/Time Sept. 3 Western Michigan W, 34-10 Sept. 10 Notre Dame W, 35-31 Sept. 17 Eastern Michigan W, 31-3 Sept. 24 San Diego State W, 28-7 Oct. 1 Minnesota W, 58-0 Oct. 8 at Northwestern W, 42-24 Oct. 22 Bye Oct. 15 at Michigan State L, 28-14 Oct. 29 Purdue W, 36-14 Nov. 5 at Iowa Noon Nov. 12 at Illinois TBA Nov. 19 Nebraska TBA Nov. 26 Ohio State TBA The sandwich home game occurred once more since 1900, in 1933, when Michigan had three straight away games, at Chicago Oct. 28, Illinois Nov. ��� Great Game Performances Michigan Returnmen Shine Against Indiana In 2004 Steve Breaston entered Michigan���s 2004 week-five advantage, Indiana would not go down quietly, scoring a matchup at Indiana handling both kickoff and punt returns touchdown to close within seven, 14-7, with only six seconds for the Maize and Blue, so his absence, due to a finger injury, remaining in the half. created a tremendous void on special teams. U-M probably ���We knew coming out of the half that we needed a spark,��� had enough offensively and defensively to best the Hoosiers Mason said. ���We were down going into the half because we anyway, but the coaching staff didn���t want to just give away gave up that touchdown right at the end. Everybody just said one-third of its game. go out there and try to make something happen.��� Michigan turned to sophomore Leon Mason caught the second-half kickoff Hall to handle punt returns and junior on the goal line, followed some blockers, Grant Mason to handle kickoffs. Both corfound a seam, and took off. He raced 40, nerbacks, the two had limited experience 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 yards before a Hoosier in their new roles. Hall had averaged just caught up to him nine feet from the goal 4.5 yards on four punt returns in 2003 line. However, four plays later, tailback while Mason had returned a single kickMike Hart would squirm into the end off and a single punt previously in his cazone to give U-M a 21-7 lead. reer. By the end of the 35-14 victory over ���My guys did a great job blocking for IU, though, the neophytes had delivered me,��� said Mason, who then explained how a performance that would have made he finished just shy of the end zone. ���I Breaston envious. saw the guy heading toward me, and I The Wolverines led 7-0 after one quarter thought he had an angle on me, so I deof play and had forced an early secondcided to try to reverse field and go. I guess quarter stop of Indiana when the Hoowhen I reversed, my legs weren���t with me. siers dropped back to punt. Tyson Beattie I couldn���t quite make it.��� boomed the ball, but wound up outkickThe 97-yard return, to this day, repreing his coverage team. With ample room When U-M faced the Hoosiers in 2004, sents the fourth-longest play in Michigan at the 24-yard line, Hall fielded the punt cornerback Leon Hall notched a 76-yard football history, and the only play over and began his canvass across the next 76 punt return for a touchdown to help the 90 yards, among 19, that didn���t result in yards. a touchdown. Wolverines to the eventual 35-14 victory. photo by wolverine photo ���I saw a little crease in the middle,��� he By day���s end, U-M had enjoyed a prolific said. ���I got kind of lost in there for a minute. I just saw a hole performance from Mason and Hall; the two combined for to the right and I just broke. There was one guy left and I 214 return yards and a touchdown. tried to out-run him.��� ���I thought special teams won the game for us,��� offensive coThe 76-yard touchdown return staked Michigan to a 14-0 ordinator Terry Malone said. ���When you leave Steve at home, lead and represented the longest punt return since Charles you don���t expect that. Then all of a sudden two returns pop Woodson went 78 yards for a score against Ohio State in 1997. for us, which is really great news.��� Though U-M had momentum and a commanding early ��� Michael Spath November 2011��� ������ the wolverine��� 45

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