With strong play that would make Kenny Mayne proud, Michigan”s two-minute drill has been leaving opponents in the dust all season long.
With Saturday”s game providing the one failed attempt, Michigan has scored six touchdowns in the seven chances it has made in the two-minute offense.
In each of its first five games, Michigan went into halftime directly after a touchdown, and in three of those cases, the game”s face was changed from that point on.
“It”s always really good to go in (for halftime) after you score,” wide receiver Calvin Bell said. “Our two-minute offense is going real well. And that goes back to (quarterback) John (Navarre).”
Against Washington, Michigan ran a touchdown drive in the game”s waning minutes. Taking just under two minutes, the drive brought the Wolverines within five points before failing to convert on the onside kick.
“We”ve done a good job with under two minutes on the clock in setting up good drives when the pressure is on,” defensive tackle Jake Frysinger said. “It just changes the whole attitude and it definitely helps us out.”
Saturday, it looked like Michigan was going to stay perfect on the drill, but wide receiver Marquise Walker threw an interception to Purdue”s Stuart Schweigert.
Alone at the top: With Michigan”s win and Ohio State”s loss to Purdue, the Wolverines are now the only unbeaten team in Big Ten conference play. With five games to go, the Wolverines control their own destiny in the hunt for the conference title.
“We always had confidence that it was going to be something that was in our hands,” Frysinger said, but added, “there”s a lot of football left to be played this season.”
Last year, Michigan tied Purdue and Northwestern for the title, but since the Wolverines lost to both teams, they had to spend their time watching scoreboards, hoping that either team would lose. This year, Michigan”s fate is in its own hands.
“That”s a huge thing for us,” senior linebacker Eric Brackins said. “We know we just have to go out every week and work.”
Also, since Michigan is now teetering around the top 10, Rose Bowl hopes are popping up for the first time since the loss to Washington.
“At Michigan we set high goals and that”s always in the back of our mind,” Frysinger said.
Bye woes: Michigan is off this weekend before heading to Iowa City for its next game. Coach Lloyd Carr said after the game that his team could use a week off to nurse injuries and his players agreed with him.
“This bye week”s going to be huge in terms of getting people healed up,” Frysinger said.
But in the last two years, Michigan has lost its first game back from the bye week last year to Northwestern, and the year before to Illinois.
“We”d like to keep this momentum going,” Frysinger said, “and I think we can still do that with a bye week.”
Hand him the Heisman?: For the first time this season, people have started talking about Walker”s chances at taking home the Heisman Trophy. With several preseason favorites falling on hard times, Walker”s consistent play has earned him national recognition.
Last year, David Terrell was a preseason candidate for the award. Through six games, he had caught 33 balls for 554 yards and six touchdowns. This season, Walker has 43 catches for 587 yards and six touchdowns.
Walker also has thrown two passes, one complete to quarterback Jermaine Gonzales on a trans-continental play, and the other, an interception.
“Marquise is just one of those guys who runs really great routes,” safety Charles Drake said.