BY COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor
Published October 11, 2008
Last week, Illinois quarterback Juice Williams posted the most offensive yards (431) by a single opposing player in Michigan Stadium history.
This week, it only took nine minutes for the Wolverines’ opponent to break another home record.
That was for the longest interception return, a 100-yard run by Toledo safety Tyrrell Herbert in the first quarter after he stole the ball in the end zone and gave Toledo a sudden, 7-0 lead that set the tone for the game.
And by the end, two more Michigan records were shattered.
The most receptions by an opponent against Michigan – 20, by senior wide receiver Nick Moore.
And the first-ever loss to a Mid-American conference team – a 13-10 stunner that pushed the Wolverines’ all-time record against MAC schools to 24-1 and their season record to a dismal 2-4.
The Wolverines (1-1 Big Ten) seemed to have an early advantage after a botched fake punt by Toledo (1-1 MAC, 2-4 overall).
Michigan recovered the ball at the Toledo 33-yard line and set itself up for the game’s first touchdown. But on second and goal at the 6-yard line, redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet threw a short pass into the end zone intended for freshman tight end Kevin Koger that was picked off by the Rockets. Toledo safety Tyrrell Herbert ran the ball from one end zone to the other untouched to put Toledo on the board first.
Michigan’s only touchdown came on a 27-yard catch by junior running back Brandon Minor. Threet threw a quick pass down the middle, and Minor was pummeled by the Toledo defense as he crossed the goal line. The ball flew out of Minor’s hands and junior wide receiver Greg Mathews recovered the ball in the end zone, but the referees ruled Minor scored a touchdown before the fumble.
Though the score was tied at the end of the first quarter, the Wolverines led 93-37 in total yards and 6-2 in first downs, building momentum that was similar to in the first quarter against Illinois, when Michigan led 14-3 after 15 minutes of play.
The Michigan offense continued to take small steps forward in the second quarter. After the Wolverines got a first down at the Toledo 44-yard line, Threet ran under pressure for 13 yards and Toledo committed a 15-yard personal foul penalty to move the ball to the Toledo 16-yard line. Michigan kicker K.C. Lopata kicked a 26-yard field goal with ten and a half minutes left in the second quarter to put the Wolverines ahead for the first time.
And as the first half came to a close, Toledo started to string together sustained drives. After marching 75 yards down the field on the next drive, Toledo kicker Alex Steigerwald missed a 21-yard field goal attempt wide right to keep the Wolverines ahead 10-7.
In the first half, the Wolverines ran the ball three times as much as Toledo and led in rushing yards, 87-15. But the Rockets’ passing game success (121 yards to Michigan’s 55 at the half) continued throughout the third quarter. Six minutes and seven seconds into the second half, Threet was pulled in favor of backup quarterback Nick Sheridan. And while the Wolverines didn’t tally a single passing yard in the third quarter, Toledo strung together a nine-minute drive that ended with a 29-yard, game-tying field goal.
The first down of the fourth quarter was the game’s deciding play. Sheridan threw a pass intended for wide receiver Toney Clemons, but Clemons tipped the ball and it ended up in the hands of Herbert . The interception gave Toledo the ball at the 40-yard line and, a few plays later, Steigerwald kicked a career-long 48-yard field goal. The ball was kicked so low, it bounced off the crossbar, but the kick gave the Rockets a three-point lead that would stick.
After another Sheridan interception in the middle of the fourth quarter ended a Michigan drive at midfield, the Wolverines got the ball back with a minute and 32 seconds left in the game at their own 33-yard line. Sheridan threw a 27-yard pass to freshman running back Sam McGuffie that put the Wolverines in field goal territory, and after another first down pushed Michigan to the nine-yard line.
But with four seconds remaining, kicker K.C. Lopata missed a 26-yard field goal wide left, ending Michigan’s chances for a comeback.
Read SportsMonday on Monday, Oct. 13 for full coverage of today’s loss.