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October 15, 2006

Notebook: Happy homecoming for Henne

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. This won't go down as Chad Henne's prettiest performance of the season, but it just might rank as the most satisfying.

The Michigan quarterback returned to his home state Saturday and led the fourth-ranked Wolverines to a 17-10 victory over Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

"Just coming into this stadium, it's a great atmosphere," said Henne, who went 15-of-30 for 196 yards with a touchdown pass. "They love their state and they love their football team."

But they don't necessarily love Henne.

Henne handed Penn State its only loss of the season last year in the most crushing possible manner. His 10-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham as time expired Penn State fans would argue it was made possible only by a timekeeping error - gave Michigan a controversial 27-25 victory.

The last-second touchdown solidified Henne's status as the man Penn State fans love to hate. But he actually already had made himself an enemy around these parts a few years earlier.

That's when the pride of Wyomissing, Pa., surprised his home state by choosing the Wolverines over the Nittany Lions. This marked Henne's first and only game at Beaver Stadium since jilting the Nittany Lions three years ago.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr read many of the newspaper articles this week that discussed Henne's decision to attend Michigan instead of Penn State. He then offered Henne this reminder.

"When it's all said and done, that's not what people are going to remember and what you're going to remember," Carr told Henne. "What you're going to remember is what kind of job did you do when you went in there (to Beaver Stadium). Did you take your team and get them in the end zone? And did you find a way to help your team win this game? Because that's what's going to be remembered.

"You can't go in there thinking about anything you read that you didn't want to read, or anything that made you mad. I thought he did a great job with it because he's a tough, tough guy."

Henne needed to stay tough while encountering a rude welcome.

"Of course there were some people booing and saying things that were politically incorrect," said Henne, who noted that happens every time the Wolverines play a road game. "You just have to ignore it and let it go in one ear and out the other."

Henne might not have received many compliments before the game, but he got nothing but love afterward. He celebrated on the field and shared a hug with his high school coach, who was decked out in Michigan gear.

"I'm very proud of Chad," Wilson (Pa.) High coach Jim Cantafio said. "He's such a class young man. It's amazing he can come into this environment and do what he does and stay so in control. Everyone's so proud of him. I am."

ARRINGTON STEPS UP: Manningham apparently isn't the only Michigan receiver with a knack for finding the end zone.

Adrian Arrington scored his fourth touchdown in his last three games Saturday when his 25-yard reception broke up a scoreless tie with 11:13 left in the second quarter.

Arrington finished with five catches for 83 yards to help Michigan make up for the loss of Manningham, who missed the game after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. Manningham entered the weekend leading the nation with nine touchdown catches and leading the Big Ten with 527 receiving yards.

"I didn't really feel any pressure," Arrington said. "We all knew we had to pick up the slack because that was big-time production we were missing this week."

Carr didn't offer a timetable Saturday on when Manningham might return.

HART AND SOUL: Michigan tailback Mike Hart rushed for more than 100 yards for the sixth time in seven games this season. And he had to work for each of the 112 yards he gained.

Penn State's defense held Hart in check for most of the night before the senior tailback exploded for 62 yards on his final 10 carries.

Hart dragged defenders with him for much of a 20-yard run late in the third quarter that set up his 1-yard touchdown burst. He then delivered a critical 23-yard gain as Michigan attempted to run out the clock late in the fourth quarter.

"It was hard sledding," Carr said. "I knew they were a good defense because I watched them against Ohio State. But they are legitimate. That front played great. The linebackers floated to the football. I give them credit. If you run for over 100 yards against that defense, you have put in a good night's play."

WHO'S THAT?: Carr admitted he didn't know the identity of Penn State's third-string quarterback before Paul Cianciolo entered the game in the fourth quarter. Carr even had to be reminded of the name during his postgame news conference.

But he had nothing but praise for Cianciolo, who gave the Nittany Lions their only touchdown when a screen pass to Tony Hunt resulted in a 43-yard score. Cianciolo was pressed into duty after starting quarterback Anthony Morelli and backup Daryll Clark were knocked out of the game.

"We knew their second guy (Clark) because he had played in the Notre Dame game, and we were very nervous about some of the things you could see on film he was capable of doing," Carr said. "But Cianciolo, I tell you one thing, he did one heck of a job. My hat's off to him, and I will know his name next time."

Cianciolo, who hadn't attempted a pass in his entire career before Saturday, ended up going 3-of-7 for 51 yards.

"My head is still spinning," Cianciolo said.

ETC.: The attendance of 110,007 represented the second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. The record remains 110,753 for a 40-7 victory over Nebraska in 2002. Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny recorded seven tackles to give him 313 in his career. He is two tackles away from tying Brian Gelzheiser for second place on the school's all-time list. Greg Buttle owns the school record with 343 career tackles. Michigan entered the night leading the nation in time of possession by holding the ball an average of 34 minutes, 15 seconds per game. The Wolverines controlled the ball for 33:26 on Saturday. Penn State's Jeremy Kapinos now has 9,213 career punting yards, putting him 189 yards away from Ralph Giacomarro's school record.



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