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Published: Sunday, 10/19/2003

Navarre getting settled with `O'

BY CRAIG MANTEY
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

ANN ARBOR - Quarterback John Navarre completed 18 of 27 passes for 203 yards in Michigan's 56-14 victory over Illinois yesterday, surpassing the 2,000-yard mark for the third season.

The fifth-year senior, who has connected on 166 of 286 tosses for 2,046 yards this season, said that he's feeling more and more comfortable in the Wolverines' offense.

“The game has slowed down and I just want to keep getting better and better as the year goes on,'' he said.

Navarre hit 10 different receivers yesterday for the second straight game and went over 200 yards passing for the fifth time this season, extending his Michigan record to 23 games.

PERRY ON HOLD: Chris Perry needed just 141 yards rushing yesterday to become the eighth Michigan running back with 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

So what did coach Lloyd Carr do? He took Perry out after 24 carries and 140 yards, leaving the senior one yard short of the mark.

“I didn't want him to get a big head,'' Carr said with a big grin.

“Chris Perry is a great football player - don't make any mistake about that. He's having a great year.''

Carr had no more to say on the subject.

“With the home-field advantage I think I could have got one more yard, but we won the game,'' Perry said.

His 140 yards did give him more than 3,000 for his career (3,021), making him the seventh Wolverine to do so.

With 33 career touchdowns, Perry is now one short of third place on the UM career list behind Rick Leach - after passing Billy Taylor (1969-71) and Steve Smith (1980-83), who both scored 31.

BARRINGER ON DUTY: Scott High graduate Willis Barringer entered the game at defensive back for Michigan to start the second quarter and played most of the remainder of the contest.

But it was a bittersweet experience after playing mostly on special teams.

The sophomore was called for a costly penalty and dropped a would-be interception, but he also was in on five tackles, two solo.

“I wasn't very happy with his penalty and that hurt us,'' Carr said.

“But Willis has got very good potential - he's tough, he can run, and he's going to play an important role for us down the stretch here.”

Barringer said it was exciting to be back on the defense.

“I think I did pretty good,” he said. “I had a couple penalties I was not happy with, but it happens. I've just got to correct those mistakes.”

As for the would-be interception, he said: “I was ready to take it back [for a touchdown]. I should have got both hands on the ball and looked it all the way in. I just messed that one up.

“I just hope I play a big part in upcoming games. I hope to get wins and play as hard as I can.''

ODDS AND ENDS: Michigan followed up its record, 31-point fourth quarter Oct. 10 against Minnesota with 35 points in the first half yesterday, the first time the Wolverines have scored that many in a half since a 58-0 victory over Indiana on Oct. 14, 2000. That was also the last time they scored at least 56 points. ... Jason Avant led 12 Michigan receivers with four catches for 71 yards. ... Fifth-year senior tight end Andy Mignery scored his first touchdown on his nine-yard reception from Navarre in the second quarter. Matt Gutierrez's 21-yard TD pass to Tim Massaquoi in the fourth quarter was the first UM touchdown for both players. ... Carr gained his 50th career home win at Michigan. He's 50-6 at the Big House. ... Freshman kicker Garrett Rivas converted on a career-high eight PATs.



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