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September 17, 1978 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1978-09-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 12--Sunday, September 17, 1978-The Michigan Daily

SENIOR QB RUNS, PASSES FOR 171 YARDS

Leach,

defense shine

in

opener
Hiding Illini eyes

(Continued from Page 1)
Leach scored the TD, one of his two
for the day, on another scramble-he-
was-gonna-pass play from eight yards
out.
Michigan dominated the third quar-
ter (115 yards to 32 for Illinois) but did
not score, the quarter ending with the
Wolverines perched on the Illinois
three.
The big play of the drive was the first
play of the drive. Leach turned the cor-
ner on a QB keeper and cut back
against the flow for a 45-yard gain.
"We went outside more in the second
half," explained Schembechler. Mainly
it was the 6-1, 192 lb. quarterback, using

his tailback as a decoy and turning up-
field which riddled the Illini defense.
Leach had 64 of the 79 yards of the drive
which ended two plays into the fourth
quarter.
Roosevelt Smith, who took over for
Huckleby when the latter sprained his
neck, ("He could've gone back
in,"-Schembechler), scored on a third
and goal from the three situation,
Willner's conversion made it 17-0.
Illinois then mounted its best threat
of the day, moving it to Michigan's 31-
yard line. But a fourth and four end-
around was well diagnosed and stopped
for a four-yard loss.

The next Michigan
after reserve middle

touchdown came
guard Jim Hum-

phries recovered an Illini fumble. Six
plays and 30 yards later Leach scored
on a two-yard run.
Backup quarterback B. J. Dickey
finished the touchdown parade with a
one-yard run a few plays after he had
cut upfield for a 35-yard gain.
A number of Michigan players left
the game hurt. Leach jammed his
thumb, tackle Bill Dufek sprained his
ankle, tight end Gene Johnson got step-
ped on and Huckleby sustained a pain in
the neck, but none of the injuries ap-
pear serious, according to Schem-
bechler.
As for Notre Dame (0-1) McCartney
said: "They have some superb players.
Up front they're big and strong; and
we'll have trouble containing them."
"I'll tell ya," appraised Schem-
bechler, "ya really improve from the
first game to the second. At least I hope
that's true."

First downs.............
Rushing (att/yds).......
Passing (att/com/int)
Passing yds.............
Punts (no/yds)..........
Fumbles (no/lost) ........
Penalties (no/yds).......

MICH
16
55-271
136-10
75
6/40.6
1/1
2/10

ILL
10
43-96
14--
61
8/37.7
2/1
1/15

Powell ....................
Carter .....................
Weber................
Strader.................
McCullough............
Dismuke ..................
Rouse .....................

7
7
5
5
4
3
1

21
17
15
2
1
-4
INT
0
1
0

3.0
2.4
05
0.3
-4.0
YDS
75
45
16

SCORING PLAYS
MICH-Willner 46 yd field goal
MICH-Leach Syd run (Willner kick)
MICH-R. Smith 3 yd run (Willner kick)
MICH-Leach 2 yd run (Winer kick)
MICH-Dickey 1 yd run (Willner kick)
RUSHING
MICHIGAN

PASSING
MICHIGAN
ATT COMP
Leach ............. 13 6
ILLINOIS
Weiss .............12 S 5
McCullough........ 2 1

RECEIVING
MICHIGAN

Pressing the Issue
808 MILLER

Leach ................
Huckleby..............
R. Smith ..................
Dickey ....................
R.Davis...................
Reid ...................
Clayton...............
ILLINOIS
Weiss...................

ATT YDS AVG
i5 96 6.4
11 52 4.7
13 49 3.8
4 42 10.5
8 23 2.9
2 5 2.5
2 4 2.0

Huckeby..............
G. Johnson .............
R. Davis...................
Clayton ...................
Mitchell...................

NO YDS
2 20
1 15
1 14
1 13
1 13

LP
18
15
14
13
13
10
11
16

ILLINOIS

Strader ....................

Kick Leach

Sherrod ...................
ii 36 3.3 Schooley.................

3
2
1

28
17
16

OPENER UNEVENTFUL

-Arms limitation...
.. removed from offense
T HE PASS is back in Michigan's offense.
Bo Schembechler promised before the season began that he was going to
get as much mileage as possible out of his offense led by quarterback Rick
Leach, hnd that meant throwing the ball when the situation warranted it.
Leach threw on first down, on second and on third. He tossed the pigskin
around from his own 15 yard line and at the Illinois eight and a lot of places
in between. As a matter of fact, Michigan passed for more yardage in the fir-
st half than was gained on the ground. When was the last time in recent
memory that happened?
All told, the senior from Flint finished the day with six for thirteen, no in-
terceptions and 75 yards (all 75 came in the first half). It really doesn't sound
like much, but there was an important factor involved that could only be
considered intangible-Leach was a threat to throw at any time.
Balancing the offense
Illinois had to have a new respect for the Michigan offense which was far
from the traditional three yards and a clump of Tartan turf.
Leach was able to run the option with poise and confidence, mixing up
the pass and the run effectively. Unfortunately, Leach missed the mark a
few times with teammates wide open.
"He didn't throw as well as he's capable, because he can throw darn
well," Schembechler said.
Even Leach agreed, but was optimistic about the future. "I didn't throw
as well as I should have, but we have a damn good passing offense and it's
going to work," the Heisman trophy candidate noted.
There is a lot of truth in that statement. Anyone who wasn't surprised by
what they saw wasn't paying attention. Leach threw screens to men coming
out of the backfield and time and again kept his cool even when being chased
down by Illini defenders. In all, five different Wolverines caught passes,
each for at least 13 yards.
Leach was happy to have a chance to pass with regularity and praised
offensive back coach Don Nehlen for the rejuvenation of the aerial portion of
Michigan's game plan.
"The first two years I don't think we explored the pass too much. But
now that Nehlen is here working with our offense, it helps our passing and I
think it's going to help me," Leach said.
While 13 pass attempts might be average for one quarter at Brigham
Young and not that unusual for a game at Michigan, it wasn't just the
number Leach felt was important. "I love playing at a place I'm going to
win. You can drop back and throw 30 passes a game and never win. I'd
rather win," he said.
One of the most pleasing aspects of Leach's passing game was the
finesse he exuded. Except for a couple of misguided tosses, Leach threw
with authority and at one point was positioning his receivers around the
field. ". . . A couple of times I just threw the ball bad and missed the guy,"
Leach added.
Still, if Schembechler keeps his word about "throwing from anywhere,
at any time in any game," then Leach should be able to smooth out the kinks
in his passing arm caused by a lack of use.
Can you believe it?
It might take Michigan followers a while to get used to the idea that the
Wolverines have embraced the singular aspect of football that they have
turned their collective backs on the past few seasons. After all, Bo reasoned
the team was winning with a potent ground arsenal, so who needed to pass?
After the game, Schembechler fielded questions from the media in a
room adjacent to the lockerroom. The Michigan mentor was in a jovial
mood. One reporter asked him "Will you start thinking about Notre
Dame?"' to which came the reply, "I think so. I'm sure we'll give them some
consideration."
Another mentioned his decision to pass more often-"I know," joked Bo,
"we'll have to cut that out."
Schembechler could afford to flavor his comments with humor. He had
quieted his detractors and the pass-starved fans who were anguished at the
thought of an entire season of grind-it-out and wear-'em-down football.

First down,

By CUB SCHWARTZ
Perhaps the proper perspective with
which to view an opening game is 'No
news is good news.'
Maybe a coach should consider
himself lucky so long as his team ends
up with more points on the board. As
long as the defensive backfield doesn't
make so many mistakes that next
week's quarterback is chomping at the
bit, as long as the injuries are few and
far between, as long as there is nothing
particularly notakle about the contest,
then perhaps it is best to log it as a
victory - no more, no less.
MICHIGAN DIDN'T display a
particularly powerful ground game
yesterday, nor did Rick Leach pick
apart the Illinois secondary. And those
who have voiced skepticism over the
young defensive backfield saw nothing
at Michigan Stadium to make them
sleep any better.
Nevertheless, the Wolverines notched
win number one. And the folks in the
Maize and Blue feel fine about that.
"I'm pleased," said Coach Bo
Schembechler. "You win the game 31-0
- you've got to be pleased with that."
"The first game you expect the worst,
and you usually get it. We made a lot of
mistakes, but as openers go, we'll take
it. It gives us some starting point from
where we can improve."
WHILE THE offense did put 31 points
on the board, there were many
mistakes committed, in particular, by
the offensive line.
Russell Davis could only manage 25
yards in 13 carries up the middle. The
holes just weren't there. What yardage
Michigan gained on the ground, it
gained by running wide.
But all Schembechler would say is, "I
was disappointed with our line
blocking." He was even smiling while
he said it.
Mistakes were mentioned, then
forgotten for the afternoon. His 'it's-
good-to-get-one-under-the-belt' philoso-

phy was evident
quarterback as well.

in his prize

en to g
"They (Illinois) were tough.
They scrapped and they fought. I don't
think we blew them out by any stretch
of the imagination.
"But it was good to win."
Still, there are only so many ways to
say it was good to win. And with all the
talking that went on in the Wolverine

0

$ eO

"YOU NEVER really know what's
going to happen in that opening game,"
said Leach. "Missouri beat Notre
Dame and Penn State and had .a real
tough time with Temple.

lockerroom yesterday, someone must
have done something notable.
THE DEFENSIVE unit deserves
some recognition. Only one other time
in Schembechler's stay at Michigan has
his defensive corps shut out the
opponent on opening day.
The first time was in 1972 when the
Wolverines blanked Northwestern, 7-0.
That team only allowed 57 points all
year.
However, it is hard to say how much
of the credit belongs to Michigan's
defense, and how much is attributable
to Illinois' anemic, if not comatose,
offense. The Illini were blanked last
week by Northwestern, and haven't
scored in the past 10 quarters, covering
two seasons.
Thus, the green defensive secondary
and juggled outside linebackers
situation remain a question.
"I DON'T KNOW how much they
were tested," Schembechler said of his
defensive backs. I'm not sure how
much the linebackers (outside) were
challenged either," he continued.
"We've got some work to do, but they
did a good job."
Apparently just about everyone did a
fairly good job, no one did a terrible job,
and the people at Hoover and State
are willing to accept the performance.
The players simply enjoyed the
opening game. One of Leach's
comments best describes the carefre
atmosphere. When asked about his 45-
yard run from scrimmage, he stated,
"If I were Davis or Huckleby, it would
have probably gone for more. You know
- they're as good as any running backs
in the nation and it's just a joy to play
with them."
If nothing else, the one-game-at-a-
time philosophy now allows Michigan to
look toward South Bend and Notre
Dame. And one can be sure that a win
will not come nearly as easy, nor will
mistakes be regarded quite so lightly.

Daily'Photo by WAYNE CABLE
MICHIGAN CO-CAPTAIN Jerry Meter (46) prepares to sock it to Illinois
quarterback Rick Weiss (17) as Weiss just manages to get off a pass in action
yesterday which saw Michigan win, 31-0. Meter, a 6-2, 210-lb. linebacker, led the
Wolverines in solo tackles with nine. The Wolverine defense held Weiss to just six
completions in 14 attempts.

BIG 10 ROUNDUP
Penn State throttles Bucks

By The Associated Press
COLUMBUS, - Fifth-ranked Penn State gave
heralded"Ohio State freshman Art Schlichter a rude
welcome to the collegiate ranks yesterday,
intercepting five passes and forcing him into a
fumble en route to a 19-0 victory over the sixth-
ranked Buckeyes.
The new-look pass offense of Ohio State's Woody
Hayes picked up plenty of yardage but self-
destructed with the five interceptions plus three lost
fumbles.
Meanwhile, Penn State scored on four field goals
by Matt Bahr and a three-yard touchdown run by
Matt Suhey that capped a crunching 80-yard march
in the third period. Ohio State, which dropped its
opener for the first time in 11 years, also was
saddled with its first three-game losing streak since
the end of the 1971 season,
Bahr's field goals, one in the first period and three
in the final quarter, all followed interceptions of
Schlichter passes, who chose Ohio State over Penn
State in a torrid recruiting chase after being named
Ohio's High School Football Player of the Year in
1977.

Barber, a 6-foot-2, 203-pound runner from Detroit,
scored on a run of three yards in the second quarter
and then burst 40 yards off tackle in the third
quarter to give Minnesota 31-6 cushion.
Artis, also a sophomore, gained 57 yards rushing
and had short touchdown runs of one and five yards
in the second quarter.
Wildcats dumped
IOWA CITY, - Brad Reid took a 55-yard pass
.::* .......... . :-"?a;:{ .:<.::.;:: .:<-:,.... .. . . . . . h ~**.*~*.. ...~* .** ,.
4-1
o Z
.~~~~ ~* *...*.*.*..* *. 5 *
a u
from wingback Rod Morton for a touchdown and

Simonsen picked off the ball in mid-air and rambled
four yards for a touchdown.
Reid scored on a reverse play around left end late
in the third period to ice the victory in Iowa's season
opener.
Spartans steamed
WEST LAFAYETTE, - A 33-yard touchdown run
by John Macon with just over three minutes
remaining lifted Purdue to a 21-14 come-from-
behind victory over penalty-riddled Michigan State
yesterday in their Big Ten football season opener.
Third-quarter touchdowns by Dave Young and
Russell Pope, the latter on a spectacular 62-yard
run, brought Purdue back from a 14-0 deficit.
The Spartans took their lead after one quarter on
a touchdown pass from quarterback Ed Smith to
Kirk Gibson and three-yard run by Smith. But the
senior quarterback, Michigan State's career
passing leader, injured a finger on his touchdown
run and did not play the rest of the game.
Badgers squeak

SCORES

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Michigan 31. Illinois 0
Penn St. 19, Ohio State 0
Ia.,,20.flNorthwestern 3

Youngstown St. 21, Wayne St. 10
Auburn 45, Kansas St. 32
Oklahoma 52, W. Virginia 10
Stanford 38, San Jose St. 9

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