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Henne, Michigan reclaim Little Brown Jug from Minnesota

Oct 1, 2006 - 3:12 AM MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Chad Henne and No. 6 Michigan were successful in their efforts to bring the Little Brown Jug back to Ann Arbor.

Henne threw three touchdowns as the Wolverines defeated Big Ten Conference rival Minnesota, 28-14, to reclaim the oldest trophy in college football.

A junior, Henne completed 17-of-24 passes for a season-high 284 yards for Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten), which had a 16-game winning streak over Minnesota end in Ann Arbor last year with a 23-20 setback.

"We ran the football and we got Minnesota to where they had to bring eight guys into the box," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "That really opened up some big plays in the passing game. I thought Chad was really sharp. He made a lot of great throws.

That was one of five defeats for Michigan last season, but the Wolverines already have avenged three of them, routing Notre Dame in South Bend two weeks ago and beating Wisconsin by two touchdowns last week in Ann Arbor.

Mike Hart rushed for a season-best 195 yards on 31 carries for the Wolverines, who are a perfect 11-0 all-time at the Metrodome, which hosted a Minnesota Twins-Chicago White Sox game earlier in the day.

"We always want to pound the ball on the ground," said Hart, whose team rushed for 234 yards. "There are some situations where we won't be able to because there are too many people in the box. Early in the game, they did not have that many people in the box, so that's why we were able to run so easy. When they brought people down in the box, we were able to pass. I guess those things go hand-in-hand." Henne capped a 10-play, 80-yard opening drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Arrington, and his 37-yard scoring strike to Arrington made it 14-0 less than a minute into the second quarter. They were the first two scores of Arrington's career.

After Amir Pinnix picked up 11 yards on 4th-and-3 from the Michigan 38, Bryan Cupito threw a 21-yard touchdown to Logan Payne to halve the deficit with 7:49 to play in the period. The play originally was ruled incomplete before being overturned on replay.

But Michigan restored its two-score advantage when Henne found favorite target Mario Manningham on a 41-yard completion with 3 1/2 minutes to go in the half. It was the sixth TD reception in three games for Manningham, the two-time reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week who finished with five catches for 131 yards.

Minnesota appeared to again pull within seven points just over two minutes into the second half when Cupito found Ernie Wheelwright in the end zone from 38 yards out after a fake double reverse, but the play was negated by a holding penalty and backup left guard Ryan Ruckdashel.

"That holding call changed the game," Minnesota coach Glen Mason said. "I'm just glad we have replay because it gave us two calls that would have gone against us." Michigan pushed its lead to 28-7 on a one-yard run by Kevin Grady with 5:27 to play before Cupito countered with a 21-yard TD pass to Payne just over a minute later. The Golden Gophers recovered the onside kick but Cupito threw four straight incompletions after getting to 1st-and-goal at the 7.

"Down 28-7, it's tough," Cupito said. "After we scored we knew we had to get the onside kick. It never usually happens, but we got it. So it was 28-14 and we were at the goal line and there was still three minutes left. We just couldn't finish."

"Today, we wanted to take control and get the crowd out of the game," Carr said. "We were able to do that, but it was still a four-quarter game because they fought their way back in there. We had to come up with a great stop."

Cupito went 17-of-34 for 215 yards for Minnesota (2-3, 0-2), which was outgained, 518-323. Payne had six catches for 104 yards and Pinnix gained 91 yards on 20 carries against the nation's top-ranked rush defense.

"Michigan is a great team, but we wanted to put the emphasis on playing hard and I think we did that today," Pinnix said. "We came out and we played extremely hard until the last second." The Gophers gained 108 yards on the ground - 66 more than any other Michigan opponent but 118 fewer than their average.

"Our kids played their tails off," Mason said. "If that's not good enough for you, I don't care, because it's good enough for me. But let me repeat myself because I know sometimes the media doesn't listen. I'm disappointed that we didn't win the game, but I'm happy with the way we competed. We don't have the depth that they do, but we fought hard one every play."

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