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No. 6 Michigan overcomes slow start to beat Wisconsin

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Mario Manningham turned his head
nervously at the lectern a few times, hoping someone would step up
and end his first news conference at Michigan.

He might have to get accustomed to the attention.

That Michigan and Wisconsin were tied 10-10 at the half on Saturday was no surprise. In the previous five meetings between the Wolverines and the Badgers, the average margin of victory was just over four points per game, and no final margin exceeded seven. That all came to end this weekend when Michigan scored 17 unanswered points to open the second half in the Wolverines' eventual 27-13 win.

Year
Site
Winner, score

2006

Ann Arbor

Michigan, 27-13

2005

Madison

Wisconsin, 23-20

2002

Ann Arbor

Michigan, 21-14

2001

Madison

Michigan, 20-17

2000

Ann Arbor

Michigan, 13-10

1999

Madison

Michigan, 21-16

Manningham's second touchdown catch -- and fifth in two games --
put the sixth-ranked Wolverines ahead late in the third quarter and
helped them overcome a sluggish start to beat Wisconsin 27-13
Saturday.

"I can get used to this," Manningham said in a hallway, away
from a sea of reporters and TV cameras. "I just hope we can keep
this up as a team because we're trying to run the table."

Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) scored 17 straight points after it
was 10-all to finish strong, a week after its dominating victory at
Notre Dame.

"A lot of people felt like we were going to have a hangover
after Notre Dame, but we didn't," defensive end LaMarr Woodley
said.

After taking the lead twice in the first half, the Badgers (3-1,
0-1) struggled.

Wisconsin's P.J. Hill, who entered the game averaging a Big
Ten-best 138.3 yards rushing, was held to 54 yards on 20 carries
against the nation's top-ranked run defense. The Wolverines also
had four sacks.

"Everybody kept asking me all week long about their front
seven. I like their front 14," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said.
"They have a first string and a second string that is pretty
impressive."

Chad Henne was 18-for-25 for 211 yards, two TDs and three
interceptions for the Wolverines.

Manningham had seven receptions for 113 yards and two scores a
week after catching three TDs in the 47-21 win over the Irish.

"If you watched our film a week ago, the one thing you're going
to say is, 'Don't let Manningham behind you,' and yet he was able
to do it," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.

Henne's 38-yard pass to Manningham gave Michigan a 17-10 lead
with 3:11 left in the third quarter and ended an 0-for-8 drought on
third down.

"That's probably as fine a throw as he's made since he's been
here," Carr said.

The Wolverines went ahead 24-10 early in the fourth on Mike
Hart's 5-yard run and took a 17-point lead on Garrett Rivas' second
field goal. Hart had 91 yards on 23 carries.

Steve Breaston, who has the Big Ten record for punt return
yards, had three punt returns of 20-plus yards that led to 17
points and a career-high 116 yards on nine punt returns.

The Badgers went 77 yards on a drive late in the fourth quarter,
but stalled at the 8 and settled for Taylor Mehlhaff's field goal
to pull within two TDs with 2:19 left. The ensuing onside kick went
out of bounds, ending Bielema's chance of being just the second
rookie coach to start 4-0 for Wisconsin since 1919.

"I was pretty sure I would lose a game eventually," he said.
"I didn't want it to happen, but the biggest thing I've got to do
as a head coach is that everybody plays off of what I lead."

John Stocco completed 22 of 42 passes for 236 yards and a TD for
the Badgers, who gave him time to throw early before succumbing to
Michigan's pressure. Hill caught five passes for 64 yards,
including a 29-yard reception that gave the Badgers a 7-0 lead.

"I thought our defense was magnificent after the first drive,"
Carr said.

Wisconsin's Allen Langford had two interceptions. One was in the
Badgers' end zone midway through the third quarter on an
up-for-grabs pass intended for Manningham. The other came off
Manningham's hands on the opening drive.

Henne's 24-yard pass to a leaping Manningham, who was draped by
Langford, made it 7-all early in the second quarter. It was the
first TD given up by Wisconsin's defense in 158-plus minutes, going
back to the third quarter of its season opener against Bowling
Green.

Mehlhaff put the Badgers ahead 10-7 midway through the second
quarter with a 39-yard field goal. Michigan's offense was
lackluster again on the ensuing possession, but got a break when
punt returner Zach Hampton fumbled -- leading to Rivas' 31-yard kick
that made it 10-all.