ANN ARBOR - The losses are beginning to pile up for Michigan, and so are the injuries.
The Wolverines were banged up even before they fell 13-10 to Toledo, then saw their starting quarterback and one of their running backs forced out of yesterday's contest.
Running back Brandon Minor was taken to Ann Arbor's University Hospital with injured ribs, according to UM coach Rich Rodriguez. Quarterback Steven Threet suffered a bruised elbow in the first half and did not return for the third quarter.
Minor reeled in a 27-yard touchdown pass from Threet late in the first quarter.
He apparently took a shot to the ribs, and he did not return. An emergency room employee said Minor was still at the hospital last night.
Rodriguez said Threet was removed because of the bruised elbow but also said his quarterback was struggling even before the injury.
Threet threw an interception that was returned 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and missed some open receivers. He finished 7-of-11 passing for 55 yards.
"I'm not sure when he got hit on the elbow," Rodriguez said. "He wasn't particularly sharp on some of his throws at times. He came off [to] the sidelines after [a pass] we hit and said he babied it in there instead of throwing it."
Nick Sheridan, who hadn't played since Sept. 13, took over to start the third quarter and was intercepted twice. He did lead the Wolverines into field-goal range on their final drive, but K.C. Lopata missed a 26-yard field goal with four seconds left that would've tied it.
Sheridan was 8-of-16 for 65 yards.
"I felt comfortable most of the time throughout the game," Sheridan said. "I take a bunch of reps in practice every week, so it's not like I'm not playing football."
OTHERS OUT: The Wolverines opened the game without starting defensive end Brandon Graham (leg infection), starting receiver/kick returner Martavious Odoms (sprained shoulder), and starting cornerback Donovan Warren (quadriceps).
"It's all kind of hitting us it seems like at the wrong time," Rodriguez said. "The next guy's gotta step up."
Graham entered the game second in the country in tackles for loss, and Odoms is UM's top receiver this year.
The absence of Graham, Odoms, and Warren meant three players - Ryan Van Bergen, Zion Babb, and Boubacar Cissoko - all received their first-career starts.
SPREADIN' OUT: The Rockets ran an offense that looked very similar to the spread, especially in terms of the effect it had on UM's defense.
UT quarterback Aaron Opelt was 33-of-50 passing for 257 yards, and Nick Moore had a huge day with a school-record 20 catches for 162 yards.
The Rockets didn't score any touchdowns but converted 8-of-18 on third down and held a six-minute advantage in time of possession.
"They hadn't shown [the spread], but then again if you're watching us on film all year we've been hurt when people have spread us out and isolated us in space," Rodriguez said.
NO HUDDLE: UM running back Sam McGuffie carried 25 times for 105 yards and led the Wolverines with five catches for 44 yards. Cornerback Morgan Trent moved into a tie for 10th place in UM history with 23 pass break-ups. He is now tied with Thom Darden (1969-71). The Wolverines did not lose a fumble for the first time this season.
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