Scores

Final

N Illinois 17

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Michigan 33

(1-0, 1-0 home)

3:30 PM ET, September 3, 2005

Michigan Stadium, ANN ARBOR, MI

1 2 3 4 T
NIU 3 7 0 717
MICH 14 13 0 633

Top Performers

Passing: C. Henne (MICH) - 227 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: G. Wolfe (NIU) - 17 CAR, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Avant (MICH) - 9 REC, 127 YDS, 1 TD

Michigan erupts for 19 unanswered points in opener

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan made Northern Illinois pay for its mistakes, using turnovers to turn a competitive game into a lopsided win.

Mike Hart ran for 117 yards and a scored two touchdowns, and the fourth-ranked Wolverines took advantage of five Northern Illinois giveaways to beat the Huskies 33-17 on Saturday.

A season after leading the nation by losing only one fumble, the Huskies lost four fumbles and threw an interception while the Wolverines turned it over only once.

"If you win the turnover battle, statistics say you win 79 percent of the time," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "If the turnovers were 1-1, the score would've been much different."

The Wolverines led just 14-10 early in the second quarter before scoring 19 straight points in the opener for both schools.

Michigan hosts Notre Dame next.

"We know there are better teams ahead, and one of them is coming next week," Carr said.

The Huskies ran for 211 yards and threw for 200, but they were doomed by the turnovers and a blocked field goal.

"I honestly thought we had a shot if we didn't turn it over," said coach Joe Novak, who has built Northern Illinois into a mid-major power after it lost 23 straight from 1996-98.

Michigan's Chad Henne was 20-of-31 for 227 yards and two TD passes. Jason Avant had nine receptions for 127 yards and a score. Hart had 27 carries and ran for more than 100 yards for the sixth time in his last eight games. He also caught four passes for 49 yards.

The Wolverines scored TDs on their first three drives, missed a field goal on their fourth and led 27-10 at halftime after converting 8 of 10 third downs.

"Offensively, we played as well in the first half as any team since I've been at Michigan," said Carr, in his 11th year as head coach.

Adrian Arrington, Michigan's promising No. 3 receiver, was carted off the field with ice packed on his right ankle after he returned a kickoff early in the second quarter. Carr said he's going to miss some time, but didn't elaborate.

Garrett Wolfe had 17 carries for 148 yards and a TD for the Huskies, but his fumble in the second quarter was the first of their turnovers.

"With my fumble, everything started to turn around," he said. "The game started to go downhill for us."

Phil Horvath was 17-of-25 for 200 yards with an interception and a fumble.

Northern Illinois had some success against the Wolverines' high-powered offense, but not when it counted most on third downs.

Michigan opened with a 14-play drive -- converting four third downs -- ending with Avant's leaping 4-yard catch in the corner of the end zone.

The Huskies responded with a 16-play possession, but they missed their first of many opportunities by stalling at the 7 and settling for a field goal.

On Hart's 34-yard TD reception, he caught a screen pass, ran over a linebacker outweighing him by 50 pounds and sprinted past the Huskies down the sideline.

"I knew Mike was fast, but he surprised me with his power when I saw him run that dude over," said former teammate Marlin Jackson, an Indianapolis Colts rookie.

Wolfe scored on a 76-yard run two plays later to make it 14-10 early in the second quarter.

Hart's 2-yard dive over a pile of linemen put the Wolverines ahead 20-10.

Wolfe ruined a strong drive with a fumble at Michigan's 13.

After the Wolverines' next drive, Shatone Powers fumbled on a punt return, giving them the ball at Northern Illinois 14. Kevin Grady's 1-yard dive put Michigan ahead 27-10 with 27 seconds left in the half.

"The fumble at the end of the first half -- that 14-point swing -- was a killer," Novak said.

The Huskies' misfortune continued in the second half as they had a field goal blocked on their first drive.

After stuffing Grady on a fourth-and-1, Jake Nordin's fumble gave Michigan the ball back. Horvath's high pass was intercepted by Leon Hall on the Huskies' next possession, and Horvath fumbled the next time they had the ball.

Garrett Rivas' two field goals early in the fourth quarter gave the Wolverines a 33-10 lead before A.J. Harris scored a late touchdown for Northern Illinois.

"I'm disappointed with how we played" Novak said.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NIU
MICH
1st Downs2029
Total Yards411447
Passing200239
Rushing211208
Penalties5-374-31
3rd Down Conversions4-811-17
4th Down Conversions0-01-2
Turnovers51
Possession24:5135:09

Passing Leaders

Northern IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Horvath17/252008.001-
MichiganC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTQBR
Henne20/312277.320-
Gutierre...1/2126.000-

Rushing Leaders

Northern IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Wolfe171488.7176
Harris10545.4117
MichiganCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hart271174.3112
Grady9424.7114

Receiving Leaders

Northern IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Powers46015.0027
Nordin45112.8020
MichiganRECYDSAVGTDLG
Avant912714.1126
Hart44912.3134

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNIUMICH
TD9:34JASON AVANT 4 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)
Drive info: 14 plays, 74 yards.
07
FG2:41CHRIS NENDICK 24 YD FG
Drive info: 16 plays, 86 yards.
37
TD0:20MIKE HART 34 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)
Drive info: 6 plays, 78 yards.
314
SECOND QUARTERNIUMICH
TD14:47GARRETT WOLFE 76 YD RUN (CHRIS NENDICK KICK)
Drive info: 2 plays, 80 yards.
1014
TD8:48MIKE HART 2 YD RUN (BLOCKED XP)
Drive info: 13 plays, 70 yards.
1020
TD0:27KEVIN GRADY 1 YD RUN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)
Drive info: 3 plays, 14 yards.
1027
FOURTH QUARTERNIUMICH
FG13:16GARRETT RIVAS 38 YD FG
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yards.
1030
FG9:14GARRETT RIVAS 23 YD FG
Drive info: 6 plays, 29 yards.
1033
TD3:06A.J. HARRIS 3 YD RUN (CHRIS NENDICK KICK)
Drive info: 12 plays, 80 yards.
1733