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Henne helps Michigan hold on in Carr's last game

Jan 2, 2008 - 1:14 AM ORLANDO, Florida (Ticker) -- Chad Henne and Michigan sent Lloyd Carr out on a high note.

Henne tossed three touchdowns Tuesday, including the go-ahead score late in the fourth quarter, as the unranked Wolverines upset No. 9 Florida, 41-35, in Carr's final game as Michigan's head coach.

Six weeks after losing to hated rival Ohio State, the Wolverines (9-4) finished a topsy-turvy season by winning their first bowl game in five years.

More significantly, Michigan recorded one final win for Carr, who announced he would retire following the Wolverines' loss to Buckeyes on November 17.

"If I've done anything, it's been that I've hired good coaches and recruited good players and good character people who are unselfish," Carr said. "Now every guy in that locker room from here on out will be my friend. That's a beautiful thing, that's one of the joys of coaching, that's one of the things that you take from it that you can't measure in money or anything else."

The third-winningest coach in school history, Carr was carried off the field by his players after guiding Michigan to its first bowl win since a 38-30 victory over Florida in the 2003 Outback Bowl.

"It was an amazing feeling for us to send (Coach Carr) out the right way," Henne said. "He deserves so much, and we really played our hearts out."

"We definitely wanted to do this for Coach Carr," Michigan wide receiver Adrian Arrington said. "We wanted to end his legacy the right way."

Carr, 62, finished with a 122-40 career record, guiding the Wolverines to a share of the national championship in 1997 and to a share of at least five Big Ten Conference titles.

"I hope that for the Michigan fans and the people who love the University of Michigan that I've represented our school in a way that served it well," Carr said.

The last win must have been especially sweet for the embattled Carr, who endured heavy criticism throughout the season - a disappointing campaign in which the Wolverines were upset by Appalachian State in their opener and got off to an 0-2 home start for the first time since 1959.

"We definitely came out here with a little chip on our shoulder and showed the nation that this is still Michigan," Arrington said.

But Michigan salvaged its season finale thanks to Henne, who completed 25-of-39 passes for 373 yards and was intercepted twice.

"I'm very disappointed in our pass coverage," Florida head coach Urban Meyer said. "We have to do a lot better and get some things corrected. This was a defense last year that held Ohio State to 82 yards in the national championship game.

The Wolverines also received a gutsy performance from running back Mike Hart, who rushed for 129 yards and two TDs.

While the senior tandem of Henne and Hart carried the offense in their collegiate swan songs, Michigan's defense constantly harassed Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.

The first sophomore to ever win college football's most prestigious award, Tebow passed for three TDs and also ran for a score. But the Gators (9-4) never adequately protected the southpaw signal-caller, as the Wolverines applied continuous pressure to hold on for the win.

"Right now we're upset about (the loss)," Tebow said. "We just have to work harder and do better and use it as motivation."

"I'm just disappointed by our overall performance," Meyer added. "We have some glaring errors that need to be corrected real fast, personnel-wise and coaching-wise."

Florida took a 35-31 lead on Percy Harvin's 10-yard run with just under six minutes remaining.

But Michigan responded on the ensuing drive, as Henne hooked up with Arrington for a 37-yard completion down to the Florida 24-yard line.

The Wolverines took the lead for good two plays later when Henne found Arrington wide open over the middle for an 18-yard TD, making it 38-35 with 4:12 remaining.

After completing a pair of short passes to Harvin on the following drive, Tebow was hurried into two incompletions, giving the Wolverines the ball back at the Florida 24.

K.C. Lopata converted a 41-yard field goal with 2:21 remaining to push Michigan's lead to 41-35, and the Wolverines pressured Tebow into four consecutive incompletions on Florida's final drive.

Tebow completed 17-of-33 passes for just 154 yards while Harvin finished with 242 total yards - 165 on the ground and 77 through the air - for Florida, which allowed 524 yards of total offense.

Michigan owned a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter and appeared primed to reclaim a two-touchdown advantage with five minutes left in the period.

But Hart lost a fumble just short of the goal line - his second lost fumble inside the 1-yard line - and the Gators forged a 28-28 tie on the ensuing possession courtesy of Tebow's 14-yard TD to Andre Caldwell.

Lopata made a 37-yarder early in the fourth to give Michigan a 31-28 lead.

Arrington finished with nine catches for 153 yards and two TDs while fellow wide receiver Mario Manningham had 131 yards of total offense and a score for Michigan, which improved to 6-7 in bowl games under Carr.