Michigan's Manningham Answered the Call

Without their starting quarterback and tailback, the Wolverines got production from several backups, but it was a wide receiver that made the biggest dent against the Gophers.

It wasn't much of a surprise that quarterback Chad Henne and tailback Mike Hart were in street clothes. What the Wolverines did in their absence, however, was staggering.

Backup tailbacks Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown each went over 100 yards, the ground game churned out more than 300 yards, and Mario Manningham managed to outshine them all, catching five passes for 162 yards and a touchdown in flashing the form that made him so deadly last year before a knee injury derailed his season.

After getting called out by Lloyd Carr, Manningham has caught 22 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns in his last three games. He also learned late last week he won't face charges for possessing painkillers that did not belong to him.

"Mario has been sensational these last three weeks," coach Lloyd Carr said. "He's a guy who is really focused. ... Going into this season, he received an inordinate amount of [attention]. I think maybe it impacted him a little bit, but what I've seen this month is, he's really playing some of his best football."

That's the way it needs to be again in November as Michigan faces Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road before returning home for the finale against No. 1 Ohio State. What's uncertain, of course, is the health of Henne and Hart for the season's final month. That is yet to be determined.

NOTES

  • LB Shawn Crable had seven tackles against the Gophers, including two sacks.

  • LT Jake Long anchored an offensive line that ran for 307 rushing yards and allowed just one quarterback sack. It was a dominating performance by Michigan's front five.

    GAME BALL GOES TO: WR Mario Manningham — With two-thirds of the offense's Big Three out with injuries, it was all up to Manningham and he delivered. He finished the game with five catches for 162 yards and a touchdown.

    KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Chad Henne and RB Mike Hart — Given the opponent, it was fairly obvious Henne and Hart would both get the week off to heal. But November's schedule is a grind that includes road games at Michigan State and Wisconsin before the finale at home against No. 1 Ohio State. In order to win all three, Michigan needs its quarterback and tailback healthy.

    LOOKING GOOD: QB Ryan Mallett did all that was asked from him, and he took advantage of Mario Manningham. Mallet threw for a career-high 233 yards despite completing just 11 of 20 passes.

    Sophomore RB Carlos Brown's 85-yard touchdown run tied for seventh-longest run in school history. He ran for 132 yards, while Brandon Minor rushed for 157 on a day the Wolverines pounded out a staggering 307 yards on the ground.

    DE Brandon Graham's fumble recovery led to a field goal, giving Michigan 100 points off turnovers this year.

    STILL NEEDS WORK: Carlos Brown fumbled away Michigan's second possession, which gave Minnesota possession in Michigan territory. Minnesota could not, however, get any points out of it.

    QB Ryan Mallett was shaky early, telegraphing his passes and making poor decisions. But with the talented receivers Michigan has, they covered up a lot of his mistakes.

    ROSTER REPORT: QB Chad Henne (shoulder) and RB Mike Hart (ankle) both missed the game with injuries. Their status for next week against Michigan State has yet to be determined.

    With freshman Ryan Mallett starting at quarterback, Justin Boren and Adam Kraus flip-flopped, with Boren becoming the left guard and Kraus becoming the center. Kraus and Mallett have more experience with exchanges.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Mario has been sensational these last three weeks. He's a guy who is really focused. ... Going into this season, he received an inordinate amount of [attention]. I think maybe it impacted him a little bit, but what I've seen this month is, he's really playing some of his best football."

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