Michigan Overcomes Turnovers, Freezes Out Badgers

Michigan uncharacteristically turned the ball over three times against Wisconsin -- the most since the Notre Dame game. But behind a great rushing day by Chris Perry and a stout defensive effort, Michigan defeated the Badgers 21-14.

Michigan came out hot in the game, jumping to a quick first quarter lead of 14-0 behind the running of Perry and BJ Askew, and aided by a Wisconsin fumble. But on a freezing snowy day, the Michigan offense never did get totally warmed up (they ended up losing time of possession to Wisconsin 30:15 to 29:45). The rest of the first half included an Askew fumble, a Navare interception, and a poor Adam Finley punt, returned for a Wisconsin touchdown, and at the break the game was knotted at 14-14.

Michigan started the second half with a long 78 yard drive for what turned out to be the winning score, behind the running of Perry and three Navarre passes each to tight end Bennie Joppru and Bralon Edwards (including the winning TB pass). And even though the Wolverine offense sputtered from there, the Michigan defense put the Wisconsin offense into a deep freeze for the rest of the game.

Offensively, quarterback Navarre was a little cold, going 19 for 28 for a modest 136 yards and two interceptions. Fortunately Chris Perry had his best rushing day as a Wolverine, running for 175 yards on 27 carries.

Defensively, the Wolverines totally shut down the Wisconsin passing game, holding quarterback Brooks Bollinger to 7 of 20 for a meager 60 yards. The Wolverine defensive backs played a particularly strong game as a group, coming up with a very good 7 pass breakups. And the decimated Michigan linebacker corps was aided by the moving of Scott McClintock to 'WILL', and the combination of Victor Hobson (team-leading 8 tackles) McClintock (second with 7 tackles), and Carl Diggs held together well.


(AP Photo/Paul Warner)

Now, finally, come the Buckeyes. We can expect another tough low scoring game. ALL of OSU's tough games seem to be low-scoring and down to the wire. Plus game day is liable to be cold again -- and if today's cold-weather Michigan game is any indication, this also points to a low scoring affair. Remember the Michigan-Penn State game -- button-up offenses for two-plus quarters, then finally some scoring late. We might expect another one of those next Saturday.

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