Observations on the win over Illinois, 27-17!

1-Michigan earns 5 red zones for 24 points; Illinois can only earn one red zone for 7 points. We come up with two turnovers for 7 points while Illinois can only capitalize on 3 Michigan turnovers for 3 points. Having the wind behind us in the final quarter didn't hurt either, it was huge!

2-Henne saves the day by coming back in the 4th quarter after injuring himself by taking 3 sacks (2 over Ciulla and one over Schilling), and completed 18 of 26 for 201 yards, 2 TDs, and one pick. Mallett comes in, but wastes a red zone opportunity and fumbles away the ball in another scoring opportunity; he completes 2 of 6 for 13 yards with one pick and scrambles 4 times for 12 yards including a 20 yard scamper. Michigan gets 343 yards of total offense, 23 first downs and is 6 of 16 on 3rd down conversions while dominating time of possession by 10 minutes resulting in 25 more plays. Mario Manningham had 9 catches for 109 yards and 2 TDs while Adrian Arrington had 3 catches for 58 yards, a TD catch and a TD throw to Manningham. Carson Butler added 5 catches for 38 yards, and Greg Mathews came up with 3 second half catches for 28 yards.

3-Carlos Brown spelled Michael Hart with 113 yards on 23 carries; Minor had 9 rushes for 18 yards and a catch for minus 4. Net rushing had Illinois winning 134 to 114.

4-Defense allowed Illinois 15 first downs, 253 yards in total offense, 4 of 13 in 3rd and 4th down conversions! Rashard Mendenhall had 85 yards on 18 rushes. Brandent Engelmon came us with several big plays in the second half including TD saving tackles on Mendenhall, but Brent Musberger was too uninvolved in the game to mention that. Jamar Adams gets 7 tackles. Chris Graham had 6 tackles, 2.5 for loss including one sack; however, he didn't have as good of a second half. Sean Crable didn't have his best game either, but he did come up with 6 tackles, 1.5 for loss, 2 quarterback hits and forced a fumble. The key was we didn't allow any second half big plays, and our special teams didn't place us in poor field position in the second half like they did in the first half.

5-Special teams rebounded from a terrible first half to win the game. Mesko punts twice inside the 20, and walk-on snapper Sean Griffin scoops up the fumble at the 9 to give the offense the game winning red zone opportunity. Minor, Hemingway and Brown look pathetic on the kickoff returns. James Rogers stepped up with a nice tackle at the 9 after we took the lead for good. Lopata was perfect on everything, and Mesko saved an almost muffed hold as the replay showed. We were very lucky in this game as we almost had two punts blocked. The roughing the kicker penalty was huge! Penalties come up big in this game with Illinois taking 10 penalties for 107 yards while we took 4 for 35 yards. Carson Butler took his usual illegal procedure, Tim Jamison took his usual personal foul, Brandon Harrison took a late pass interference and Criswell takes an illegal procedure. Antonio Steele comes up with 12 tackles for the Illini.

6-Ciulla started at right guard, and did not look good; I think the offense works best with Schilling at right guard and Ortmann at right tackle. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to seeing what Wienke and Threet can do at quarterback next year. Brent Musberger also missed the center exchange between Boren and Kraus; I've been saying all year that the reason for the change is because Mallett is so high and tall that he can't get down low enough for Boren who is really low. Helmuth didn't play for his second week in a row. Moundros made a huge block on the TD pass by Arrington so the defensive end didn't rush him on the throw. It was not a pretty win, but a nice comeback after being behind 3-14 early on the road. It's always nice to see Michigan come into a stadium, and leave the fans crying.

7-We are now bowl eligible! Bring on the Gophers!!! Let's keep the Brown Jug and then go back to East Lansing to re-capture the Paul Bunyan!!!
Observations on the first half with Illinois, 17-14!

1-Michigan earns 3 red zones for 17 points; Illinois takes a 98 yard drive to their red zone, and capitalizes on our lousy special teams play to convert another with a 26 yard pass over Warren.

2-Henne completes 11 of 15 for 159 yards, 2 TDs, three sacks (2 over Ciulla and one over Schilling) and one pick, and comes back after a right throwing shoulder injury and now has a hurt wrist. Mallett is one of three for 10 yards. Michigan gets 198 yards of total offense, 12 first downs and is 4 of 8 on 3rd down conversions in 41 plays. Mario Manningham has 6 catches for 84 yards and 1 TD while Adrian Arrington has 2 catches for 53 yards and the other TD. Carson Butler has added 4 catches for 32 yards. Michigan turns the ball over once, but the Ilini can't take advantage.

3-Carlos Brown has 10 rushes for 36 yards; Minor has 5 rushes for 15 yards. Net rushing has Illinois ahead 69 to 29, but we hold a 2 minute time of possession advantage that gives us 14 extra plays.

4-Defense looks bad! Crable gets run over on the 8 yard TD run by Dufrense. Juice Williams is 7 of 9 for 50 yards and a TD plus 6 runs for 22 yards; he was sacked once. Raschard Mendenhall has 39 yards on 10 rushes. Illinois has 119 yards, 6 first downs and are 2 of 5 in 3rd down conversions. Chris Graham has 5 tackles, 2 for loss including one sack to lead the defense. We had several misses including John Ferrara on Juice Williams long run.

5-Special teams absolutely are Division II!!! Kickoff team gives field position at 33, and Illini cash in for an opening TD. Mesko gets a 67 yard punt downed on the 3. Minor and Hemingway look terrible on kickoff returns with 2 for 26 yards. Penalties come up big especially the roughing the kicker with Mesko. Illini had 5 penalties for 62 yards compared to none for us.

6-Defense must choke the Illini in the second half if we are to win this one!