ichigan fumbles hopes with early loss to UCLA

Sarah Mitchell

Michigan’s drive stopped short of the end zone Saturday.
The Wolverines were the third-ranked team in the nation and hoped to contend for the national title.
But UCLA dented those hopes and ended Michigan’s seven-game winning streak, beating Michigan (2-1) 23-20.
“We are coming off a difficult loss on the West Coast to UCLA,” Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr said. “We don’t have any time to rest because we enter the conference schedule this week.”
Michigan travels to Illinois for its Big Ten opener. The biggest question surrounding the team is whether junior quarterback Drew Henson will make his season debut.
Henson suffered a foot injury during practice Aug. 23 and underwent surgery. Wolverines redshirt freshman John Navarre was thrown into the starting role. Henson’s return date has yet to be determined.
“We’re not going to know anything until later in the week,” Carr said. “The question is: Can he practice enough to get ready for game situations?”
But the fact remains the Henson-less Wolverines are no longer perfect.
As the Big Ten season opens this weekend, only three conference teams enter with a perfect mark. Illinois (3-0), Ohio State (3-0) and Wisconsin (3-0) are the last of the undefeated.
Bear-ly making it
Wisconsin is lucky to still be among the class of the unbeaten.
Still serving time for the free shoe crime, the Badgers (3-0) slid past their third nonconference opponent Saturday. Wisconsin barely beat Cincinnati, defeating the visitors 28-25 in overtime.
Against the Bears (2-1), the Badgers were without the services of defensive back Jamar Fletcher (a national defensive player of the year candidate), all-Big Ten defensive lineman Wendell Bryant, all-Big Ten receiver Nick Davis, all-Big Ten wide receiver Chris Chambers and running back Michael Bennett. All were forced to sit for receiving extra discounts at a Madison sporting goods store.
“I don’t know anyone who goes out and shops and doesn’t look for discounts,” Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said. “No one did anything illegal. No one took anything for free. They went to a discount store and bought shoes at a discount.”
Iowa’s downhill journey
Iowa is still searching for a win this season –searching for its first win since Sept. 18 of last season when the team blanked Northern Illinois 24-0.
The Hawkeyes lost 24-12 to Iowa State on Saturday, extending their losing skid to 11 games.
Should the trend continue this weekend — Iowa travels to Nebraska — the Hawkeyes will be the winners of the program’s longest losing streak.
“We’re back at work now and ready to face Nebraska,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s going to be a great challenge for our guys, but also a great opportunity.”
Not-so Happy Valley
The 2000 season has been tough for Penn State. Following a 12-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday, the Lions post an unusual 1-3 record.
The last time Penn State started out 1-3 was 1983. The Lions dropped their first three games (Nebraska, Cincinnati, Iowa) before picking up a win at Temple. Penn State finished 8-4-1 in ’83, including a win over Washington at the Aloha Bowl.
Players of the Week
Minnesota running back Thomas Tapeh was one of three players honored by the Big Ten this week. Tapeh was selected offensive player of the week.
In just his second game with the Gophers, Tapeh ran for 183 yards on 32 carries. He rushed for a one-yard touchdown in the Gophers 34-9 defeat of Baylor and caught a 27-yard touchdown.
Illinois’ Fred Wakefield took defensive honors, providing a game-saving play in the Illini’s 17-15 win over California. The senior defensive end batted down a two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the game with 1:29 remaining. Wakefield also posted seven tackles (six solo).
Michigan State’s Craig Jarrett was chosen for special teams performance. The junior punter booted seven punts for 322 yards (46 yards per punt). The Spartans defeated Missouri 13-10.

Sarah Mitchell covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]