Michigan Daily Sports Editor Kyle O’Neill is not a
collegiate athlete, nor is he a collegiate coach. But he was a
starting wide receiver for his winless team at Garber High School,
was third in Bay County in receptions his senior year and claims to
know something about the game of football. So each game,
we’ll let him and his 5-foot-10, 158-pound frame break down
why Michigan either succeeded or failed.

Kate Green
Kate Green

Key play: First-and-10; 5:00, Second quarter

3 Observations

1. Someone might as well say something nice about Northwestern.
Quarterback Brett Basanez played well enough to not have to lose by
31 points. He did try to run too much, but that was due to his
receivers’ inability to make routine catches.

2. LaMarr Woodley was scary good in the second quarter. His hit
on Basanez to force a fumble and a loss of 12 yards was just
vicious. His most impressive play, though, came when — after
sacking Basanez for a four-yard loss — he broke through a
one-on-one block on the line and forced the Northwestern
quarterback to scramble for just a two-yard gain, ending the
Wildcats’ first-half drive.

3. It was disappointing, but understandable, to see Matt
Gutierrez pulled out so quickly. I say understandable, because when
Northwestern pulled within 24, it was a score that was seemingly
safe. Of course, anyone who saw the Indianapolis/Tampa Bay Monday
Night Football game a few weeks back knows not even that lead is
safe. Quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler said that while Gutierrez is
the best man for the backup spot this season, there would be a
battle for next year’s starting job between Gutierrez and
Clayton Richard.

Explanation: It would be nice to diagram his actual
catch, but Jason Avant’s touchdown reception on Saturday was
as beautiful as the execution that preceded it. Two things happened
before the pass was even completed that allowed Avant to be wide
open. The first happened on the previous touchdown when Braylon
Edwards caught the score. This made Northwestern safety Jarvis
Adams commit to Edwards’ side of the field. The next part of
the play was the execution of the play-action. Both of the
Wildcats’ right defensive backs bit on the fake — to
the point where Navarre could have hit Brian Thompson in the flats
with an easy run into the endzone. What all this did was leave
Northwestern’s Marvin Ward on an island with Avant. As soon
as the sophomore broke into his post route, he had Ward beaten
— and the rest is … well, a SportsCenter
highlight.

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