U-M's Big 33 Players: Happy and Disappointed

Mario Manningham, Mister Simpson, and Zoltan Mesko were happy to get the win during Ohio's 34-28 win over Pennsylvania. However, the future Wolverines were not very happy with their performances in the Big 33 game. While the average fan might view it as a decent showing, each player had reason to have higher expectations heading into Saturday night's contest.

Mario Manningham, Mister Simpson, and Zoltan Mesko were happy to get the win during Ohio's 34-28 win over Pennsylvania. However, the future Wolverines were not very happy with their performances in the Big 33 game. While the average fan might view it as a decent showing, each player had reason to have higher expectations heading into Saturday night's contest. Manningham had fantastic practices all week long, and he was thought to be Ohio's biggest game breaker heading into the game. Zoltan Mesko had kicked very well, he was the talk on the Pa. side by those who drove by and saw him kicking. Mister Simpson picked up his play as the week went on while emerging as the starter, over the more explosive Michigan State bound Javon Ringer. With these things in mind, let's take a look their collective performances.

After Pa.'s Ed Collington took the games first play from scrimmage 70 yards for a touchdown, Mario responded with what would possibly be his biggest play of the game. Dontey Love returned PA's kick out to the Ohio 23 yard line. Two plays later, Ohio starting quarterback Robbie Schoenhoft hit a streaking Manningham down the middle of the field for a 74 yard touchdown. Manningham beat Pa.'s Roger Hall on the play. Hall was Pa.'s best corner during the week of practice, and did a decent job of covering Manningham for most of the game. Mario later described the play, and how he was able to get a step on Hall. "I ran a skinny post." I saw that he (Hall) was playing uptight on me, so I couldn't wait to run the play. I don't think he knew how fast I was! Manningham later caught a wide receiver screen pass on fourth down in which he fought for 4 yards which was enough for an Ohio first down. A play later, Dontey Love completed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jared Martin on a half back pass play. This would be Ohio's last score of the half, and the game winner. Manningham finished the with two catches for a total of 78 yards and a touchdown.

Mister Simpson had five rushes for a total of 11 yards. His longest run of 4 yards came in the first half. Mister had this to say following the game. "I didn't like the way they used me tonight." I didn't get the chance to show everyone what I could do. Every time they put me in, the defensive ends were crashing, and the line didn't up their blocks. That's okay though, we got the win. That's what we play for!"

Zoltan Mesko made his first four extra points tries, but missed his last attempt shortly before halftime. He also punted five times, with an average of 43 yards. Zoltan talked about his play after the game. "I was really nervous!" I didn't think I'd be, but I was. I really struggled with my punting tonight, I just couldn't get it going. I don't know what happened on the filed goal, I don't think we got the timing down. That's okay though, I'm leaving here with a win."

Notes: Rocket Ishmail was this year's Big 33 Honorary Chairman. He also did the coin toss, which the Pa. Team won.

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