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Michigan Takes the Steam Out of Northwestern, 33-17

Surging Wolverines shut out the Wildcats in the second half for their third victory in a row.

October 30, 2005|From Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. — Leon Hall returned a fumble recovery 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, and No. 25 Michigan won its third in a row, shutting out No. 21 Northwestern in the second half on its way to a 33-17 victory Saturday night.

The 17 points were a season-low for the Wildcats, who fell to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten Conference as their three-game win streak ended. Michigan (6-3, 4-2) held an offense that was fourth in the nation, averaging 529.3 yards, to 415 yards and intercepted two passes by Brett Basanez.

It was, simply, a dominant performance by the Wolverines.

"It's right up there," said cornerback Grant Mason, who had an interception.

"We gave them some things early, but we came back and fought in that second half.... When you play defensive football like that, it's fun. It gets everybody pumped."

Hall's return increased Michigan's lead to 14-0 about six minutes into the first quarter.

Michigan's Jerome Jackson ran for 105 yards in 24 attempts. And Kevin Grady, starting for Mike Hart, carried 20 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Hart, fifth in the Big Ten at 113 yards a game, was in uniform but did not play after leaving the previous game against Iowa with a sprained ankle.

Michigan's Chad Henne completed 17 of 30 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown, with three interceptions.

"Our defense kept giving us opportunities, but we couldn't get it going," Northwestern Coach Randy Walker said. "In the second half, especially in the third quarter, we kept having mental breakdowns."

Michigan scored 10 points in a two-minute span late in the second quarter to increase its lead to 27-10.

First, Henne connected with Mike Massey for a 10-yard touchdown, capping a 71-yard drive.

Then, a lunging Mason intercepted Basanez along the sideline at the Northwestern 28. That led to a 19-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas with 58 seconds left in the half.

"Their defense is great," Basanez said.

"They all seem to be 6-5, 300 and run a 4.4 40."

Basanez connected with a leaping Mark Philmore for a 35-yard score that cut it to 27-17 with 11 seconds left, but that was as close as Northwestern would get.

"We needed to score some points, but we just couldn't get it going," Basanez said.

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