Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 4. 1985
still in race
(Continued from Page 1
For Michigan, the fact that the
gdme came down to a last second field
goal exposed the Wolverines con-
tinued problems on offense. Jim Har-
baugh and company drove well at
times, but inconsistency was a
problem, as were inopportune
MICHIGAN DROVE to the Illinois
20 in the second quarter, with most of
the yardage coming on a 40-yard pass
from White to Paul Jokisch, but on the
next play, Harbaugh's pass to Jokisch
at the ten was ruled a trap. Jokisch
and Schembechler were upset with
the call, and Jokisch was flagged for
unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the
ball out of field goal range at the 35-
"I didn't say a word," said Jokisch,
who caught six passes for 130 yards.
"He told Bo I said something, and
I didn't. I don't want to point fingers,
but I don't know, that guy (the of-
Schembechler agreed with his
receiver, saying that "they called the
penalty on Jokisch for something he
"IT WAS another case of officials,
being intimidated by the home crowd,
and this group was intimidated, which
is standard in the Big Ten."
Michigan drove to Illinois' 22-yard
line just before the half, but Mike
Gillette missed a 39-yard field goal in-
to a strong wind. That series was also
marred by a questionable pass inter-
ference call against Eric Kattus that
negated a big gain to John Kolesar,
and was highlighted by Monte Rob-
bins impromptu 23-yard run from
punt formation on fourth-and-21 from
the Michigan 36.
"I could not believe what I was
seeing," was all Schembechler could
say about Robbins, who continued to
have problems putting the ball in the
coffin corner on punts.
THE WOLVERINES took the
opening kickoff in the third quarter
and drove from their own 16 to
Illinois' 32. Harbaugh's third down
pass from there fell short, so Gillette
came on and kicked a 49-yard wind-
aided field goal.
The 3-0 held up for only eight
minutes. Keyed by short completions
from Trudeau and a 42-yard run by
running back Ray Wilson, the Illini
drove to the Michigan 11 where they
had a first and ten. As it has all season
long, however, the Michigan defense
rose up and stopped Illinois cold. A
sack and an incomplete pass forced
White to kick a 36-yard field goal that
also was tipped by Heren but then
slipped over the crossbar.
Michigan's final drive was a classic
Michigan series-thirteen running
plays to one pass, and all worked
beautifully until White fumbled the
"WE HAD the game won there,"
said Schembechler, "but we should
have been far enough ahead where
that drive would have put the game
away. We could have put this game to
the point where a field goal couldn't
have beaten us.
"Our offense would have won this
game if we had not turned the ball
Mike White also lamented his
"WE HAD SOME fumbles, a couple
from the center, and that's not tough
minded play," said the coach. "We
showed some inconsistencies on of-
fense, but give credit to their defense.
"I'm disappointed. I don't remem-
ber feeling worse after a game."
Michigan coach and player respo-
nse wasn't so drastic. Most were upset
with the tie, but realized they had
escaped a loss and were still alive in
the Big Ten race.
"I hate tying," Heren said, "but
seeingthe situation we were in in the
last four seconds, it's better than a
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W ARNING: IT has been determined that following Michigan football
can be hazardous to your health, especially if you are a diehard
Even sportswriters fall victim to this danger - after Saturday's ner-
vewracking 3-3 tie with Illinois, I'm a wreck. I've never seen two teams blow
more opportunities to win a football game.
But although the contest was filled with a hundred "if only .. ." type plays,
the most significant "if only.. ." literally fell on the Michigan side.
If only that field goal attempt in the final seconds had hit a fraction of an
inch higher on the crossbar, the Illini would have won the game.
Damn, I like the way that sounds. It certainly sounds better than if only
Gerald White hadn't fumbled the ball on the Illinois seven-yard line,
Michigan would have won.
In truth, this tie was more of a win for Michigan than a loss. Nothing
changes in the Big Ten race for the 3-1-1 Wolverines - they still must win all
their games and Iowa still must lose another. Michigan thus comes out of the
tie, uhh, smelling like a Rose.
Should Michigan and Illinois (which plays Iowa Saturday) win the rest of
their contests, the Wolverines go to Pasadena since the Illini went last
All is not flowery, however, for Bo Schembechler's crew in the national
picture, since they will certainly fall in the polls behind undefeated Penn
State and Air Force. It will be difficult to win the title with a loss and a tie
(assuming Michigan can even win its final three games). Another loss will
put the Wolverines in a lower prestige bowl like the Liberty or Fiesta.
But right now Michigan is only concerned with the Big Ten race, and last
Saturday the Wolverines were more than glad to kiss a sister - it was a
helluva lot better than the kiss of death which would have resulted from a
loss. Another last second defeat at the hands of a bitter rival like Illinois
would have been devastating. It would have put Michigan out of the race and
into the dumps with Purdue, Minnesota and Ohio State left on the docket.
"We're not out of it," said Paul Jokisch, who made six grabs for 130 yards.
"This team has great resolve. They say a tie is like kissing your sister, but if
that's what it takes to win a Big Ten Championship, we're willing to do it
because we're still in the race."
One thing, though, was clear. None of the Wolverines were happy with the
tie - they were relieved that they didn't lose, and it showed. "I always want
to win," said assistant head coach Gary Moeller, who once coached the Illini.
"I can't say that I'm down, it's still a tie."
The kick-blocking Dieter Heren felt the same way. "I hate tying," he said.
"But seeing the situation we faced in the last four seconds, it's better than a
But for the Illini, this was a crushing defeat. For them to travel to
Pasadena, Ohio State must lose to Northwestern or Wisconsin and then must
beat Michigan. Illinois must also beat Iowa in Iowa City. Worse yet, even if
Mike White's squad finishes 7-3-1, it is doubtful that it will play on Jan. 1 (the
Illini can't appear in an earlier bowl because of probation).
I'm sure Schembechler and the Wolverines are all broken up about that.
"I don't remember feeling worse after a game," White said moments after
his son's (Chris') kick bounced off the goalpost. "It was sickening. I'm
devastated. I feel bad for these kids and I feel bad that we couldn't find a way
for them to win."
Although some fans on both sides may disagree, this game, all in all, was
truly a classic. The Hollywood script ending will be remembered for many
years. It's just amazing how two teams' seasons can literally hang in the
The old football adage says you play to win at home and play to tie on the
road. Michigan did; Illinois didn't.
Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
The celebration started early for freshman placekicker Mike Gillette
(left) and junior punter Monte Robbins after Gillette nailed Michigan's
only points of the game with a 49-yard goal.
The University of Michigan
has a national reputation
THE COLUMBIA SCHOLASTIC
FIRST PLACE CERTIFICATE
Caroline Buller and Eric Mattson for News Writing
Given at Columbia Iniversity in the City of New York,
in its Gold Circle Awards for 1985.
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