for this game

Manningham may return for Michigan's game vs. Ball State

Oct 31, 2006 - 9:27 PM Ball St (3-6) at No. 2 Michigan (9-0), 12:00 pm EST

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (Ticker) - Second-ranked Michigan has struggled offensively in three games without star receiver Mario Manningham. Even if he does not return this weekend, the Wolverines likely will not have trouble putting points on the board.

Michigan looks to post a comfortably victory at the "Big House" on Saturday when it takes on Ball State for the first time.

The Wolverines (9-0) had averaged 33.5 points in their first six games before Manningham underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. But the sophomore, who had nine touchdown catches in six games, has resumed practicing and may return to the field on Saturday.

"I don't know when it will be, but I have every confidence that unless there's a setback that he's going to play pretty shortly," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said Monday. "We'll just have to see how he does (Tuesday) or Wednesday and he can run, I can tell you that. He can run. He's ready to do that. Now the next thing is how he comes out of a break and how it holds up. But we're very much encouraged and excited, because he brings a great spirit and attitude."

The Wolverines are coming off a 17-3 win over Northwestern here in which Mike Hart ran for 95 yards and a touchdown in limited action. Hart injured his back after landing on a down marker, but he is expected to be fine.

Michigan's defense again was dominant, limiting the Wildcats to minus-13 rushing yards. The Wolverines lead the nation in rushing defense at 28.4 yards per game.

The Cardinals (3-6) improved to 3-3 in Mid-American Conference play with a 20-17 win at Miami of Ohio last Saturday.

Nate Davis threw a go-ahead one-yard touchdown to Madaris Grant with 1:11 to play for Ball State, which scored the final 10 points of the game. It was the first career catch for Grant, a redshirt freshman tight end.

Ball State coach Brady Hoke was Michigan's defensive line coach from 1995-2002. Cardinals offensive coordinator Stan Parrish was Michigan's quarterbacks coach from 1996-2001 and offensive coordinator from 2001-02.

"Coach Carr is a great man who I admire more than anybody in football," Hoke said. "He is an outstanding football coach, but even more important he is a better man. This game came about because we needed a game and they needed a game. ... We talked when the possibility of this game came about, and from a regional standpoint it made sense to play."

Michigan is 21-0 all-time against MAC teams.

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