Michigan squad refocusing after upset drops them from polls

The Wolverines fell completely out of the top 25 this week after starting the season at No. 5.

Luke Middendorf

Michigan will do its best to rebound this week against Oregon one week after falling victim to what some consider the biggest upset in Division I-A history last Saturday. The Wolverines lost in a nail-biter to former Division I-AA opponent Appalachian State, 34-32.

Michigan, who came into the season fifth-ranked in the nation, fell out of the top 25 on Tuesday. It was the biggest one-week drop by a team since The Associated Press expanded its poll to 25 teams in 1989.

To add to Michigan’s misery, the loss to Appalachian State is the first time a ranked team in Division I-A has ever lost to a team from Division I-AA, now known as the Football Championship Subdivision.

“The test of any team is how they handle disappointment,” said Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr.

For Michigan, there is little time to sit and think about the past, as a talented Oregon team invades Ann Arbor to try and bring Michigan to 0-2.

“You have to face the reality of the performance, the things you need to do to get better and the things you need to do to focus and get ready for this week,” Carr said.

Players of the Week

On Monday, the Big Ten named its players of the week. The four players named all were first-time award winners.

On the offensive side of the ball, two players were named for co-player of the week: Michigan State senior running back Jehuu Caulcrick and Wisconsin senior quarterback Tyler Donovan.

Caulcrick racked up 93 yards in the first half in the Spartans’ rout of UAB, helping Michigan State gain a 45-3 lead at the half. Caulcrick also had career bests in touchdowns (4) and for a longest touchdown run (42 yards).

Donovan gained the weekly honor after starting only his third game under center, racking up career highs in completions (19), attempts (29) and touchdown passes (3).

Penn State junior linebacker Sean Lee was named defensive player of the week, as he led the Nittany

Lions to their third shutout in six games by stifling Florida International 59-0. In less than three-quarters of play, Lee racked up seven solo tackles, a forced fumble, a pass broken up, and two tackles for a loss, one of which was a sack.

On special teams, Purdue senior Dorien Bryant returned two kickoffs for a career-high 151 yards. One of the returns was a 91-yard touchdown scamper. Gaining 197 all-purpose yards in the game, Bryant moved into third all-time for all-purpose yards at Purdue.

Paterno returns in style

Things were back to normal in Happy Valley on Saturday, as 80-year-old Penn State coach Joe Paterno returned to the sidelines to watch his Nittany Lions roll to an impressive 59-0 rout of Florida International.

Over 100,000 spectators packed Beaver Stadium to see Paterno take his trademark run out of the tunnel for the first time since breaking his leg on the sidelines last November.

“I felt good about my ability. I got tired … But I’ll get stronger as I go along,” Paterno said in an AP report. “That felt good to be able to do that whole thing.”

This week Penn State hosts perennial powerhouse Notre Dame, who surprisingly lost to Georgia Tech 33-3 on Saturday.

Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis recently named highly recruited freshman Jimmy Clausen as starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against the Nittany Lions.

“I think that kid (Clausen) is coming in here with a good football team,” Paterno said. “He’ll come in here and do well. The question is whether we are good enough.”