Behind Hart, Wolverines outgain Gophers on ground

Dan Miller

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said he was worried his fullback was being too cocky.

Wolverines senior Kevin Dudley told Carr on Friday night that all the talk about Minnesota’s Laurence Maroney and Marion Barber III was getting to him.

“(Dudley said), ‘Coach the best two backs on the field are going to be from Michigan,’ ” Carr said. “I told him, ‘If you want to talk about it, you better do it.’ He said we would.”

And he did.

Michigan out-rushed the Gophers 190 yards to 189. Minnesota was ranked third nationally in rushing yards coming into Saturday’s game.

Wolverines true freshman Michael Hart rushed 35 times for 160 yards and a touchdown, setting Michigan’s freshman school record for yards in a game.

“He ran hard and made some big plays for them when they needed him,” Minnesota defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery said. “I really couldn’t tell he was a freshman.”

Hart also caught six passes in the game for 53 yards, giving him 213 all-purpose yards in the game.

Hart was also instrumental in sustaining Michigan drives. He had a part in converting four of the Wolverines’ eight third-down attempts.

“The (offensive) line did a great job, but their safeties came down hard, and I knew I had to pull my feet and get the extra yard,” Hart said.

At a loss

Michigan’s defense, which came into the game averaging 47.2 yards allowed per game rushing, gave up 165 in the first half Saturday.

But the Wolverines came out in the second half with a new determination. They had eight tackles for loss in the second half and allowed a total of 34 yards on the ground.

Wolverines senior safety Ernest Shazor, who set a career high with 12 tackles, had four tackles for loss in the game.

“What I like is that we regrouped in the second half and played outstanding defense,” Carr said.

The Gophers were averaging 323.4 yards rushing per game going into Saturday’s contest.

Maroney’s streak alive

Maroney now has seven-straight games with 100 yards rushing. His Minnesota record dates back to last season’s Sun Bowl win over Oregon.

His 80-yard touchdown run in the first quarter tied his career long. Maroney had an 80-yard touchdown run this season against Illinois State as well.