for this game

Henne rallies Michigan to sixth straight win over Michigan State

Nov 4, 2007 - 1:51 AM EAST LANSING, Michigan (Ticker) -- Thanks to a heroic effort from Chad Henne, the Paul Bunyan Trophy will remain in Ann Arbor for another year.

Henne threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes Saturday to rally 15th-ranked Michigan to a dramatic 28-24 victory over Michigan State in the annual Big Ten Conference battle between the in-state rivals.

It was the sixth straight win in this series for the Wolverines (8-2, 6-0 Big Ten), who have reeled off eight consecutive victories this season after losing their opening two contests - both in Ann Arbor.

"You've got to keep fighting," Henne said. "It's always going to be until the end of the game."

Michigan improved to 67-29-5 all-time in winning the 100th edition of this series, which presents the winner with the Paul Bunyan Trophy.

Henne missed last week's victory over Minnesota with an injured shoulder, which he suffered the previous week during a triumph over Illinois.

Despite battling the injury throughout this contest, Henne stood strong in the pocket and rallied Michigan from a 10-point deficit midway through the fourth quarter.

"If you want to define courage, one way to do it is mention Chad Henne," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "This guy has been that way since the day he got here. He's never received the credit that he deserves.

"What he did a couple of weeks ago at Illinois, what he did today, as a coach I can only admire and respect. Every quarterback I've had have been tough guys, but there ain't anyone tougher than Henne."

Spartans fullback Jehuu Caulcrick plunged into the end zone from a yard out to make it 24-14 with 7:40 remaining.

But Henne took over from there, completing 10-of-13 passes over Michigan's next two drives - both of which ended with touchdowns.

The Wolverines sliced their deficit to 24-21 when Henne lofted a perfect 14-yard TD pass to Greg Matthews with 6:47 left.

After forcing a three-and-out, Michigan marched on a nine-play, 65-yard drive capped by Henne's 31-yard TD to Mario Manningham with 2:28 left. Although he was double-covered, Manningham made a leaping grab in the back-right corner of the end zone to give the Wolverines a 28-24 edge.

"We were saying all game that they could not stop Mario," Henne said. "He was beating their corner every play. That's why we were taking some shots deep. At the end, I just kind of audibled."

"When I saw the ball go deep, I knew we had a chance," Carr said. "But if you don't make that, then there's fourth down - and that's where you don't want to be. Manningham competed hard throughout today."

Henne finished 18-for-33 for 211 yards, four TDs and one interception. His favorite target was Manningham, who hauled in eight catches for 129 yards and a pair of scores.

"We just stepped up in our pass protection," Michigan left tackle Jake Long said. "Everybody just let it all on the line. We just protected Chad. We knew if we did that, that Chad could throw the ball great and our receivers could get open."

Michigan running back Mike Hart, who was sidelined with an ankle injury for the last two games, chipped in 110 rushing yards on just 15 carries.

Javon Ringer ran for 128 yards while Caulcrick rushed for 84 yards and a pair of TDs for Michigan State (5-5, 1-5).

"It's very disappointing," Caulcrick said. "After we were up by 10 points, we came to the sideline and we said we've been in this position before, we have to come out here and finish and keep playing. We did our best, and the breaks didn't go our way."

The Wolverines raced to an early 14-3 lead thanks to Henne, who completed TD passes of 11 and five yards over the game's first 17 1/2 minutes.

But after clawing within 14-10 on Caulcrick's first TD run, the Spartans took their first lead of the game five seconds into the fourth quarter, when Brian Hoyer found Kellen Davis for a five-yard score to make it 17-14.

"In the second half, I thought we came out and played very, very well," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "When we were up by 10, the ball came out and they had an outstanding drive. I don't think I have to recount it."

Hoyer finished 19-for-35 for 161 yards and one interception for the Spartans, who have lost five of their last six games after starting the season 4-0.