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Article published Thursday, December 29, 2005

Michigan played its share of close ones
Nebraska’s Zachary Bowman defends as Michigan receiver Jason Avant tries to make a catch during the second quarter of the Alamo Bowl.

SAN ANTONIO - In Michigan's four defeats this season entering last night's Alamo Bowl (Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State), the Wolverines lost by a total of 17 points.

Tough-luck Wolverines?


It all depends on how you look at UM's entire season, both wins and losses.

UM's wins against Michigan State (34-31 in overtime), Penn State (27-25, won on the final play of the game) and Iowa (23-
20 in overtime) were by a combined total of eight points.

The one truism regarding the 2005 Wolverines is that they played a lot of close games.

The Wolverines were good enough to win some games they could easily have lost, and they were bad enough to lose some games they could easily have won.

important is sophomore running back Mike Hart to Michigan's

In Hart's two seasons, the Wolverines were 9-1, including 3-1 this season, when Hart rushed for at least 100 yards.

Hart started and finished four games this season and played in parts of three other games prior to the Alamo Bowl.

OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLE: Because of injuries, Michigan has featured six different starting offensive line units in 2005.

All told, UM's starters missed 44 games because of injuries - 24 on offense, 20 on defense.

Sixteen of the 24 starters on offense who missed games were offensive linemen. Junior offensive tackle Jake Long, who returned to the starting lineup last night, missed seven games.

ESPN LIKES ALAMO BOWL: The Alamo Bowl has had six of the top 15 most-watched bowl games in ESPN history. The 1995 Alamo Bowl between Michigan and Texas A&M is No. 6 all-time.

In terms of ratings points, the 1995 Alamo Bowl is No. 2 with a 6.3 rating. Over the last 10 years, the Alamo Bowl has the second-highest average television rating (4.46) of the 21 ESPN bowl games.

THIS AND THAT: Steve Breaston's 69-yard kickoff return in the first quarter on his first return of the night set an Alamo Bowl record. Breaston's first punt return last night went for 25 yards. ... Michigan players Chad Henne, Leon Hall and Garrett Rivas were among several players in this year's Alamo Bowl who played in the U.S. Army All-
American Bowl, a high school all-star game held annually in the Alamodome in early January. ... UM dressed out 95 players last night. Because of the unusually high number, there were 23 sets of two different players wearing the same number.


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