Page 8 - The Michigan Daily --Monday, November 11, 1985
Kolesar: shades of A.C. in freshman receiver
By MIKE REDSTONE
When John Kolesar was a freshman
at Westlake High School in Westlake,
Ohio, he played in pickup football
games with friends from school. The
youngsters named their favorite pass
play, the bomb, after their favorite
receiver. There was the "A.C. left,"
and the "A.C. right."
At the time, Anthony Carter was in
his junior year as an All-American
flanker for the Michigan Wolverines.
JUST FOUR years later, Kolesar
finds himself running those same kin-
ds of routes on the same Michigan turf
that Carter blazed across for four
Saturday against Purdue, the
frehsman flanker had his finest game
of a budding Michigan career.
Kolesar was on the receiving end of
two Jim Harbaugh touchdown passes,
and he caught two other aerials for a
total of 148 yards. He is now averaging
a whopping 28 yards per catch this
Not a bad afternoon's work for a
guy whose goal for 1985 was to make
the Wolverine's travelling team.
"I WAS waiting for my first touch-
down all year," said Kolesar, who
pulled in a 34-yard Harbaugh pass in
the second quarter for his first score
of the year. "I caught the pass at the
four yard line with a guy (cornerback
Cris Dishman) right on me. I knew I
had to get into the endzone because
that would be my first touchdown."
Kolesar's success Saturday was due
partly to his being open, partly to his
speed, and partly to some mistakes by
the Boilermaker's defense.
Kolesar's second touchdown, a 65-
yard bomb with just 25 seconds left in
the first half, resulted from such a
Purdue's defensive backs were late
onto the field and appeared to be con-
fused. Harbaugh noticed this con-
fusion, audibled at the line, and sent
Kolesar on a streak down the right
THE RESULT: six more points for
Michigan and a 28-0 halftime lead.
Recruited as a runningback,
Kolesar was converted to receiver
during summer practice after im-
pressing coach Bo Schembechler with
his pass-catching ability.
"He is a deceptively fast kid and
has nice soft hands," said Schem-
bechler of Kolesar, who has been
clocked at 4.3 in the 40-yard dash.
"HE'S A competitive little devil and
he's been maturing as a freshman.
What you have to remember is that
this youngster never played wide
receiver in his life."
The 6-0, 190 pounder saw his first ac-
tion as a Wolverine during Michigan's
20-0 win over Maryland. Kolesar
caught one pass for 20 yards in that
IN THE next five weeks, the speed-
ster caught three more passes for 59
yards - one each against Michigan
State, Indiana, and Illinois. But three
passes in five games as the starting
flanker were not enough for Kolesar.
"I got my shot against Maryland
and I guess Bo liked what he saw,"
said Kolesar, who earned a starting
spot after Erik Campbell went down
with a shoulder injury. "I felt I wasn't
good enough before. No one was
throwing to me. Finally, after today,
they (other teams) will have to
respect me too."
"I think John Kolesar is the closest
thing in terms of speed that we've
seen here since Anthony Carter," said
Who knows. In a couple of years,
high school kids in the area may be
running deep pass plays like the "J.K.
right," or the "J.K. streak."
Daily Photo by DAN MAE
Wolverine receiver John Kolesar struggles for yardage against the efforts of Purdue cornerback Cris Dish-
man Saturday. The first-quarter catch netted 47 yards and set up a failed 36-yard field goal attempt by Mike
Gillette. Kolesar had his best game this season, accounting for 148 yards and two touchdowns on four recep-
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The Michigan Marching Band couldn't have
picked a better halftime theme song on Saturday
than Huey Lewis' "Back In Time," because that's
exactly what the Wolverines did in whipping Pur-
Like they had in no other game this year, the
Wolverines took a ride in a time machine back to
the glory days of the 1970's, a time when Michigan
obliterated opponents before halftime and then
coasted home. Teams coming into Michigan
Stadium in those days had two chances to
win-slim and none, and slim was usually on its
way out of the Stadium before the National An-
them was finished playing.
Michigan was an astounding 60-4-3 at home in
the 1970's, including 37-3-1 in the Big Ten. Even
more impressive is that the score was usually
along the lines of 56-0, or some other ridiculous
number. Power offense and demoralizing defense
were the rules of thumb, and that's exactly the
combination Michigan unleashed on the hapless
Sure, the Wolverines beat Indiana 42-15 earlier
this year, but they did that in reverse, scoring lit-
tle early and then turning the game into a rout in
the second half. Against Purdue, they did it the
old-fashioned way-28 first half points to put the
Boilermakers in a huge hole, a powerful touch-
down drive to open the second half and finish them
off, and then some garbage points added late in
the game when the reserves were in. It was deja
vu back to the disco decade all the way.
"I think it was (old-fashioned)," said guard:
Mike Hammerstein. "Our offense came out and
controlled the ball, and we were able to contain
them on defense. Everything went in our favor."
What made the win most reminiscent of olden
days was the return of "THE BIG PLAY" to the
Michigan offense. Bo Schembechler had
bemoaned all season long that, while the offense
was playing adequately, the inability to get the big
play was killing them. Saturday, its return killed
Purdue. Jim Harbaugh threw touchdown passes of
34- and 65-yards to wide receiver John Kolesar,
along with non-scoring adrials of 38 and 47 yards,
and reserve tailback Phil Webb raced 65 yards for
"It was not the best we blocked," said Schem-
bechler "but it was the first time we've gotten the
big plays. They made us go after it and we got it. We
went in with the idea that we weren't going to fool
around-if they were going to bring their men in
tight, we were going to go deep."
The reliance on the pass is the one difference
from past blowouts that existed Saturday.
Michigan still managed to gain 275 yards rushing,
but they added 276 yards passing to boot,
something that never happened in the option left,
option right days of Dennis Franklin and Rick
Harbaugh continued to show he is one of the best
throwing quarterbacks Michigan has ever had.
After missing his first pass against Purdue, he hit
his next 12 in a row and sat down early in the third
quarter with 12 of 13 completions good for 233 yar-
ds. 225 came in the first half, and the junior out of
Palo Alto, California would have surely broken the
Michigan passing yardage record that he set two
weeks ago if he had played the whole game.
"I told you before that Jim Harbaugh would be
the most underrated quarterback in the Big Ten,"
said a smug Schembechler. "He's not perfect, but
he's smart and he's got a good arm. Thank
heavens he's here, he's healthy, and we've got
him another year."
Michigan now appears primed for their tough
season-ending matchups against Minnesota and
Ohio State. The offense has proved it can move the
ball, the defense is still playing at a level that
Schembechler calls "not realistic," and the
players are ready to go.
"They might not be the best players," said
Hammerstein, "but the key is that they don't know
that, and they're sure not going to let people find
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(Continued from Page 1)
pound Romeo native has 133 yards
and three touchdowns on 15 rushing
The resurgence in Michigan's of-
fensive production worked as a great
compliment to the Wolverine's defen-
se, which has been awesome all
season. Defensive coordinator Gary
Moeller's forces notched their fourth
shutout of the season and improved on
their NCAA leading points allowed
per game average, lowering it to 5.4.
MORE importantly, they shut down
Everett completely. The 6-5, 212-
pound signal caller is regarded by
many pro scouts as the top passer in
the Big Ten, even better than Iowa's
Chuck Long and Illinois' Jack
Nonetheless, the defensive unit held
Everett to just 96 yards passing, the
first time in two years that he's been
held to under 100 yards, and kept him
"I've been in the league a long time
and have seen some good defense,"
said Burtnett. "Their defense is the
best that I've seen this year and they
definitely are the best in the conferen-
"THIS defense scares me," said
Schembechler. "How much longer
can we go like this? It's unrealistic.
Before the season how could you ex-
pect that Long, Trudeau and Everett
would not get into the end zone. I was
Michigan held the Boilers to just
one first down in the second half, on a
rushing play. Purdue did not cross
mid-field the entire game.
"Everett had a quote in the paper
that said this is the same defense they
did so well against last year, so they
should be able to move again this
year," said Michigan defensive tackle
Mike Hammerstein. "That was a little
extra incentive for us."
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