Michigan Smells Roses!

Michigan charged out to a big lead, then held off Ohio State to win the outright Big Ten Championship, 35-21.

In front of the largest crowd in NCAA history, the first half was almost all Michigan. After trading punts to start the game, the Wolverines scored touch downs on all three of it's ensuing first half possessions.

First they took the ball on their own 10 yard line at 13:24 of the first quarter and went 90 yards in 18 plays, capped by a semi-trick play on third and one from the 2 yard line by Michigan inserting Steve Breaston at quarterback, who ran it in on the option.

The next time they got the ball, Michigan scored quickly. Taking a punt at their 36 with :14:04 in 2nd quarter, two plays later Navarre threw a 64 yard touchdown strike to Braylon Edwards, the longest by either player.

And the next time, Michigan took a punt from the 32, and scored again eight plays later at 5:49 with another touchdown strike from Navarre to Edwards, this time for 24 yards.

Ohio State was on the verge of helping maintain Michigan's record of giving up no 2003 first half points at home. But with 5:49 left in the half the Buckeyes got the ball at their 19 yard line, and 12 plays later, led by three scrambles by quarterback Craig Krenzel, they scored to make it 21-7.

Everyone in the stadium wondered if the momentum would shift to the Bucks.

But Michigan took the opening kickoff and promptly drove 66 yards in 7 plays, capped off by a ten yard TD run by Chris Perry to make it 28-7.

After forcing the Buckeyes to punt, Michigan almost -- almost -- slammed the door, as John Navarre hit Braylon Edwards in stride with an 89 yard touchdown bomb -- but the play was called back for holding.

Instead of putting the game away at 35-7, Michigan was forced to punt. And everyone in the stadium could feel the momentum shift over to the visitors' side of the field.

The Buckeyes promptly marced 57 yards on 7 plays to make it 28-14 at 6:55 in the 3rd quarter, and then started the 4th quarter by going 93 yards in 11 plays to tighten the game to 28-21.

Two Michigan plays later OSU intercepted John Navarre at the Michigan 35, and the Wolverine faithful got REALLY worried. But the Wolverine resolved stiffed. The Wolverine defense pushed the Buckeyes back with a sack, forcing them to punt. And the Wolverines promptly drove 89 yards in 9 plays, with Perry taking it the final 15 yards to make it 35-31 Michigan with 7:55 left. The lead held up, and Michigan smells Roses!

Chris Perry finished a great game and great senior season with 154 yards in 31 carries as well as his two touchdowns, as Michigan gained 270 yards on the ground against the #1 ranked OSU ground defense that had only been giving up 55 rushing yards a game. Perry also added 55 yards in receptions. After the game Coach Carr said, "Chris Perry was sensational. He's a first team All-American."

John Navarre was 28 for 46 for 278 yards passing. And the Michigan offensive line did a great job protecting Navarre, giving up zero sacks for the Bucks. About Navarre Carr said, "He is an unbelievable human being ... the way he has handled all the things that were said about him, I really admire him. I've had some great quarterbacks, and John Navarre is one if them."

Braylon Edwards had seven catches for 130 yards and two scores for the Wolverines, and was the most physically dominating player on the field.

After the game, Navarre and Perry said it all. Navarre had tears in his eyes as he said, "This is something we haven't had in a while. The Big Ten championship was our goal. It's a dream come true."

And Perry summed it all up: "This is one of those games that is going to be remembered."

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