ANN ARBOR, Mich.
-- The No. 12-ranked University of Michigan football team sent its seniors out with a victory in their final home game by virtue of a 21-14 triumph over Wisconsin on Saturday (Nov. 16) at Michigan Stadium. Junior Chris Perry (Advance, N.C./Fork Union Military, Va.)
set career highs for rushing yards with 175 and carries with 27. It was his third 100-yard rushing game of the season but just his first since the second game of the season against Western Michigan.
Perry set career bests with 175 rushing yards and 27 carries and scored one TD.
U-M lost a 14-0 first quarter lead but scored the decisive touchdown on an impressive third-quarter drive that saw John Navarre (Cudahy, Wis./Cudahy HS)
complete eight straight passes, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Gallagher HS)
. Michigan's defense, catalyzed by Victor Hobson (Mt. Laurel, N.J./St. Joseph's Prep)
with one sack, one fumble recovery and nine tackles, kept the Badgers out of the end zone on three fourth-quarter drives to seal the victory.
Perry gave Michigan an early boost after taking a handoff around the left end for a 28-yard gain just three plays into the game. Two plays later, B.J. Askew (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS) burst through the left side of the line and outraced the Wisconsin defense as he leaped into the end zone to cap the five-play scoring drive that covered 75 yards in 2:46. Adam Finley (Greenwood, Ind./Center Grove HS) kicked the extra point as Michigan held an early 7-0 lead.
On UW's first play from scrimmage, Marlin Jackson (Sharon, Pa./Sharon HS) forced Wisconsin running back Anthony Davis to fumble the ball at the UW 19-yard line to give the ball back to the Maize and Blue. Perry then crashed through the center of the Badgers' defense for an 11-yard touchdown run, and with the PAT the Wolverines held a 14-0 lead with 10:41 remaining in the first quarter.
After the teams exchanged punts, Wisconsin moved the ball downfield by gaining three first downs and got as far as the Michigan 32-yard line before a sack by Shawn Lazarus (Canal Fulton, Ohio/Northwest HS) on third down put an end to the Badgers' drive. UW's resulting punt pinned Michigan on its own three-yard line, which eventually led to Wisconsin's first touchdown on a 39-yard punt return by Jim Leonhard after Finley was forced to kick out of his own end zone. The score cut the U-M lead to 14-7.
Michigan turned the ball over on its following two possessions. After Askew fumbled, Navarre was picked off at the Michigan 42-yard line. U-M kept Wisconsin off the scoreboard after both turnovers when it forced UW to punt after the first misplay and the Badgers' kicker missed a 27-yard field goal attempt after the second turnover.
Wisconsin ended up tying the game at 14-14 late in the second stanza on a sweep by Davis from the U-M two-yard line. The 54-yard drive primarily featured Davis on the ground as he racked up 41 yards.
Michigan's first drive of the second half spanned 8:43 and moved 78 yards on 16 plays, U-M's longest drive of the season. The Wolverines converted on four consecutive third-down attempts as they retook the lead, 21-14, on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Navarre to Edwards over the middle. Navarre completed all eight of his pass attempts during the drive, including three to Bennie Joppru (Wayzata, Minn./Minnetonka HS) to tie his career high of seven receptions.
Throughout the fourth quarter, Michigan and Wisconsin traded fruitless possessions as each team had three. Wisconsin was able to bring the ball on to U-M's side of the field on all three occasions but never could put the ball over the goal line. The Badgers' best chance came with just a few minutes remaining when a deep pass from Brooks Bollinger was broken up in the end zone by Markus Curry (Detroit, Mich./Bishop Gallagher HS) on third down. The ensuing fourth down pass was overthrown and the Wolverines ran out the clock with the help of a 43-yard carry by Perry.
Michigan will conclude its regular season next Saturday (Nov. 23) in the annual "Big Game" against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is set for 12:15 p.m. and the game will be televised by ABC.
Contact: David Ablauf, Jim Schneider (734) 763-4423