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Monday. September 29, 1986
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The Michigan Daily
lart n (Ihronicls
By Adam Martin
DEFENSIVE BACK CARVES OWN NICHE
Hicks escapes shadow
...team goes on
i f you had to wager whether Florida State coach Bobby Bowden
voted for Ron "The Gipper" Reagan, you would bet an emphatic
Bowden made it fairly clear Saturday that Reagan's favorite
football cliche' - "Win one for the Gipper" - does not apply to his
Seminoles. Normally, Bowden's clarification would be
insignificant, regardless of his favorite political party, but these
aren't normal times for FSU.
On September 13 the Seminoles' former starting split tackle was
murdered in a tragic episode of college chaos.
Pablo Lopez, a 6-4, 281-pound junior from Miami, arrived at a
party that night with outside linebacker Ed Clark. Clark had been
insulted earlier in the evening when a Tallahassee towney, Byron
Johnson, took a swing at his car. Clark responded by pulling a gun.
Johnson apparently needed to match Clark's threat. When the
towney confronted Clark and Lopez at the party that night, Johnson
went for his gun.
Lopez will never play football again. Clark's shotgun made sure
But this isn't the time for teat-jerking speeches or phony stories.
The President's favorite cliche' doesn't apply.
"We'll be wearing the 'LO' (for Lopez) on our helmets," Bo*den
said after Michigan's 20-18 victory, "but it's not going to be 'Win one
for the Gipper' or anything."
The "LOs" were placed with care. Each Seminole wears a sticker
with the last syllable of Lopez' first name on the back of the helmet.
Lopez' memory now resides in the back of the Seminoles' collective
mind. The idea is to forget on the field and remember before and
after the game.
"We were gonna wear armbands on the uniform, but (the
players) only see those every seven days," explained FSU assistant
coach Chuck Amato. "On the helmet they see it every day."
Lopez will not be a'forgotten Seminole, but the remaining
Seminoles refuse to pull a Reagan and devote the season to their
"The initial shock was devastating," said Lopez' replacement
Tim Hebron, "but we kind of realized that we needed to pull together
and start playing as a team.
"There may have been a few on the team that felt we should rally
around Pablo, and play for him, but you can't win on emotion. You
have to execute."
Execution, of course, will be more difficult without Lopez, but the
FSU offensive line believes they can adjust. In fact, they showed
their potential in Saturday's second- quarter. FSU's linemen
cleared the way for a 10-play (90 percent on the ground) touchdown
drive that tied the score at 10.
The cutback running of tailbacks Sammie Smith and Victor
Floyd effectively answered Michigan's overpursuit on the drive, but
FSU's line made the cutbacks work.
One successful drive will not push Lopez out of the Seminoles'
minds,thowever, especially in a losing effort.
Center Jim Hendley will not forget his slain teammate.
"Emotionally I can't explain how much it hurt," said Hendley. "I'm
talking about Pablo the person. He was like a brother."
Despite the physical and emotional loss of Lopez and a 1-2-1
record after the loss to Michigan, the Seminoles will play for a bowl
bid knowing they'll battle Florida, South Carolina, and soon-to-be
first-ranked Miami in the coming weeks.
"We can still salvage a great year if we can beat those good
teams, "said Bowden.
Here is a safe bet: With or without Lopez, Florida State has a better
chance at a bowl bid than The Gipper has at another term in office.
And Bobby Bowden probably likes it that way.
Daily Photo by SCOTT LITUCHY
Ivan Hicks chases down Seminoles' tailback Victor Floyd in Saturday's 18-20 victory. Hicks intercepted two passes in the game.
By PHIL NUSSEL
A funny thing happened in the press box
Saturday after Ivan Hicks' first interception.
The announcer said, "Interception made by
The family name was correct, but the
announcer forgot Dwight Hicks - a former
All-Pro safety with the San Francisco 49ers
- has been out of a Michigan uniform for
nine seasons. Ivan is the Wolverines' Hicks
of the 80's and after two interceptions against
Florida State, nobody, except for maybe a
sleepy announcer, will confuse him with his
BOTH OF Hicks' interceptions Saturday
.keyed the Michigan victory. He grabbed the
first one on the first play of the second half at
the FSU 37-yard line, stopping the
Seminoles' momentum before it started.
The second, with 8:34 left, broke up an FSU
drive at Michigan's 47 and set up the game-
winning touchdown by Thomas Wilcher to
put the Wolverines up 20-10.
Both interceptions came on quick sideline
passes from quarterback Chip Ferguson.
Hicks cheated up and made the steals in front
of intended receiver Darrin Holloman.
"IT WAS THE same pass pattern (for
each)," Hicks said. "On the first, we were
showing a blitz. On the second, we were
faking a blitz and I was closer to the line of
scrimmage. I believe he called an audible
when he saw the fake blitz. As the ball was
snapped and thrown I had a decent break
because I was closer and I made the
"I was pretty much pleased I didn't have to
work so hard to get it."
"He read the quarterback's eyes and made
the big plays," said cornerback Dave Arnold.
"He's in the right place at the right time."
THE HICKS thefts were two of FSU's four
turnovers. Ferguson threw an interception to
Erik Campbell and tailback Sammie Smith
coughed up the ball on the first play of the
game. Hicks' interceptions were FSU's only
second half giveaways.
For Seminole chief Bobby Bowden, the
second interception hurt the most because "we
were planning a few tricks on that drive."
Had they scored a touchdown on that drive,
the Seminoles would have taken a 17-13 lead.
"We had a tight end in the flat, but they
didn't pick up the tight end and we went to the
slant," said Bowden, the 10th: winningest
active coach in NCAA Division. I. "They
played the seam real well. It was just a
Bowden felt he misread Michigan's
defensive plans - except on the plays when
Hicks made the interceptions. He thought
Michigan would show the blitz more often.
"I was real surprised (Bo Schembechler)
didn't blitz and gamble more," Bowden said.
"But when he did, it was effective. The two
times they blitzed, they got us, they harrassed
us, and made those interceptions."
For Hicks, the two grabs made him feel
redeemed after missing an easy interception
last week against Oregon State. "This week,
I think I worked a little harder and, as a
result, the ball was thrown in my area and I
made the plays."
He made the plays in true Hicks style -
but don't tell him that. When he heard about
the announcer's miscue, Hicks said, "I'm
glad I didn't hear that."
After nine career interceptions in his five
years at Michigan, and perhaps more to come
this year, nobody will call Ivan "Dwight"
M - White 2-yd run (Moons
FSU - Schmidt 30-yd. FG
M - Moons 26-yd FG
FSU - Holloman 3-yd pass from
Ferguson (Schmidt kick)
M - Moons 32-yd FG
M -- Wilcher 7-yd run (Moons
FSU - Gainer 20-yd pass from
McManus (P. Carter pass from
Third Down Conv/Att
Total Off Plays/Yards
Time of Possession
Blue scalps Seminoles,
(Continued from Page 1)
Florida State head coach Bobby
Bowden. "He was fresh, and he
was very talented. I thought
Wilcher coming in there was
very vital to them."
BUT THE most vital
ingredient in the Wolverines'
recipe was defense. Long
forgotten as a part of a well-
balanced diet, the Michigan
defense played its best game of the
season. Unable to contain Florida
State's potent running attack (98
yards on 21 carries in the first
half), the Michigan defense was
able to put the Seminole ground
game in the deep freeze in the
second half (45 yards on 14
At the outset, Michigan
continually found itself
overpursuing Florida State's
running backs, allowing them to
cut back against the blocking for
big chunks of yardage.
Sammie Smith, Florida
State's outstanding freshman
tailback, gained 66 yards in the
the Michigan defense, tried to
cater his attack accordingly.
"They are a fast-read football
team, and a flying football team,
and false flow probably hurts
them as much as anything," he
WITH THE Seminole ground
attack feeling indigestion,
Florida State threw more. Upon
which Michigan delivered the
Blue Plate Special - two second-
half interceptions by Ivan Hicks.
The second stopped a Seminole
drive at the Michigan 47 midway
in the final quarter, and led to the
final Michigan score.
"It's a timing pass, where you
take a three-step drop and you hit
him (the receiver)," said
sophomore Florida State
quarterback Chip Ferguson about
Ferguson was forced to leave
the table late in the game, as he
was replaced by Danny
McManus, who led the team down
the field for a touchdown with :16
remaining to complete the
Earlier in the week,
Schembechler said that Michigan
might spice up the offense and
pass more. Yet Harbaugh dished
out only 16 passes (completing
nine for 122 yards), and on the
final touchdown drive that sealed
the game, he threw one pass to 11
running plays. That didn't stop
Bowden from heaping praise on
the senior quarterback.
"BOY, HE kills you
scrambling," said Bowden.
Harbaugh ran free twice in third,
referring to two third-down
situations and completed passes of
32 and 27 yards. "His type of
quarterback would be (Fran)
Tarkenton - that style, and
(Doug) Flutie. He looks like the
son of a coach."
Schembechler wasn't as
thrilled with some of the decisions
of Jack Harbaugh's son.
"Some of Harbaugh's
scrambles, in my opinion, were
not necessary," Schembechler
The Wolverines head coach
was probably not thrilled with
many of things the Wolverines
did. Michigan had nine
penalties for 88 yards, it allowed a
67-yard touchdown drive at the
:nd of the game, and it did not
execute consistently on offense.
Those details have to be worked
out before the main entree is
served next week in Madison. If
the details can be worked out, the
Wolverines will be having
dessert in Pasedena.
I .,- 7-AW -m -, -,