If Michigan running back Chris Perry had to point to one thing that cost the Wolverines the Rose Bowl game Thursday, he wouldn't look far.
"I'd say it was me," he said after Michigan's 28-14 loss. "We should have protected [quarterback John Navarre] a lot better. The responsibility falls on myself and the line. But me more than everyone else. I'm the last line of defense."
Others weren't so quick to blame him.
"That's a typical Perry reaction," said teammate Grant Bowman, a defensive lineman. "For him, any time anything goes wrong, he's going to look at what he did wrong. You have to look at yourself first. That's what you're supposed to do as a competitor and that's how you get better. That's why he's so good."
Perry, a senior playing in the final game of his four-year career at Michigan, appeared to take the loss in stride. "There's no satisfaction in being here," he said. "That's something a loser would say. I wanted to win."
Perry, who rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown Thursday, dismissed his success as inconsequential in the face of a loss, but his numbers are worth noting:
* His 338 carries and 2,041 rushing yards are school single-season records.
* His 811 carries in four years, including 23 Thursday, tie him for second in school history.
* He is tied with Anthony Thomas (1997-2000) for the second-most rushing touchdowns in a season with 18.
"He played unselfishly. He's a wonderful guy to coach because he wanted to win," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said.
-- Arlene Martinez
USC junior tight end Gregg Guenther, who had one catch for 19 yards on a key third-and-12 play in the fourth quarter, said he hopes to play tonight in the Trojan basketball team's Pacific 10 Conference opener against Oregon at the Sports Arena.
"I'll be there," said Guenther, a 6-foot-8 forward, "but I'm going to enjoy this right now."
-- Paul Gutierrez
Most games, a defense would be happy to hold the opposing offense to 68 net rushing yards, but Bowman said that statistic was misleading against USC.
"How many yards did they pass for?" he asked.
"The way they run their offense, they don't really need a running game because all the short passing they do makes up for it."
-- David Wharton
Before he could leave the field, All-American wide receiver Mike Williams was asked repeatedly if he had words to describe how he felt his team proved it was the national champion.
Finally, he stopped one man with a microphone and pointed: "Look up there at the scoreboard. That says it all."
-- Bill Dwyre