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November 23, 1987 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-23

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Page 10-The Michigan Daily-Monday, November 23, 1987

Tip of the Kap


Buckeyes, Bruce...
...bounce back


Football is a very simple game.
One team blocks. The other team
tackles. Whichever team does a better
job at the two tasks wins.
Learning great lessons from football
hardly seems likely. But ex-Ohio State
football coach Earle Bruce learned a lot
about life from playing football. Last
week, in his final week at Ohio State,
Bruce taught the same lessons to his
team, leading them to an inspirational
23-20 victory over Michigan.
Long after the 96 players on the
Buckeye team forget their blocking,
tackling, history, and geography
asssignments, they will remember what
Bruce taught them.
the lessons you learn on the football
field come back. When you get knocked
down and hit real hard, if you stay
down, you would be sunk," said Bruce,
the ninth-year coach who was given the
hardest hit last Monday - a pink slip.
"And when you try to teach that to your
kids, how can you not do that when it
happens to you?
"You can't always dwell on, and be
taken back by, the fact that you got hit.
You are like anyone else. When you get
hit, you've got to do something about
it. You can't fold up."
The Buckeyes were hit hard in the.
first half on Saturday. The Wolverines
scored on their first three possessions,

moving the ball easily. Michigan hit
Ohio State with a 13-0 deficit in the
second quarter.
But the Buckeyes came back. They
showed poise and patience. They did
everything they had to do to win the
game. And they won.
OHIO STATE beat Michigan. On
the surface, it was a big upset. The 5-4-
1 Bucks defeated the 7-3 Wolverines in
Michigan Stadium.
The annual battle between the bitter
rivals is usually unpredictable. In most
years, neither team has an advantage.
But when the winningest coach in the
Big Ten over the past nine years was
fired, the game became bigger than just
an interstate rivalry.
Bruce stayed in Columbus to prepare
the Buckeyes to beat Michigan. He
followed the advice he learned as a
player from his mentor, Woody Hayes.
The lame-duck coach took the hit, and
bounced back up.
The team followed Bruce's example.
The firing of the coach was not only a
personal blow to Bruce, it was a
collective shot to the team. The
Buckeyes, suffering through a
disappointing year after a large
preseason buildup, realized that even
their own university had declared them a
LIKE BRUCE, the Buckeyes rose
up and silenced their critics.

"I hope every one of our kids learned
a little lesson today about coming back
and staying back," Bruce said after the
game. "You do get hit hard, and you
want to hit hard back. You don't want
any wimps on the football field. You
don't want any guys who are not going
to fight. If you get hit, and you come
back, you learn a little bit of what
courage is all about."
Bruce was a proven winner on the
field. Ohio State was 81-26-1 under his
guidance. He finished 5-4 against
Michigan, won or shared four Big Ten
titles, and went to a bowl game after
every season except 1987.
More importantly, he was a winner
off the field. Judging by his team's play
on Saturday, and the players' comments
after the game, Bruce taught his lessons
"I guess the coach they're going to
bring in is going to be some kind of
Superman," said offensive tackle Joe
Staysniak. "I don't know what they are
looking for."
What Bruce taught the Buckeyes was
far more significant than football. "I
don't know how, in a week's time, a
football team could learn so many
lessons, about people and about life,"
Bruce said.
Ohio State should rehire Earle Bruce,
if not as football coach, then as a
philosophy professor. With tenure.

Bucks back Bruce

Daily Photo by JOHN MUNSON
Michigan receiver John Kolesar just missed this pass in the endzone late in the first half
Saturday that could have given the Wolverines a 20-7 halftime lead over Ohio State.

Adamantly Speaking

Kolesar to
forget this
OSU game

The 1987 Michigan football season has
been epitomized by the ups and downs of
one of its players - John Kolesar. The
junior wide receiver finished what he called
"one of my most frustrating seasons" on'
Saturday when he and his Wolverine
teammates fell to the Buckeyes of Ohio
State, 23-20.
It was two years ago that Kolesar hauled
in a 77-yard touchdown pass from Jim
Harbaugh which sealed Michigan's 27-17
victory over Ohio State in Michigan
Stadium. That, however, seemed like it had
been an eternity ago, rather than just two
years, for the talented, but oft-injured
While Kolesar had been remembered up
until Saturday as being "the player" who
caught "the pass" in "the game," he now
has to live with the fact that two dropped
passes, which he admitted he should have
caught, killed two Michigan possessions on
But to blame the loss on one player
would be foolish. Kolesar's dropped passes,
including one in the endzone, hurt
Michigan's cause and hurt it badly. Kolesar,
though, typifies the way the season has
gone for the Hall of Fame Bowl bound
Michigan's season, they have done the same
for Kolesar. The Westlake, Ohio native
played in just eight games this season. Pick
an injury, any injury, and Kolesar was
bound to have it. Even in games he did
play, Kolesar said perhaps he shouldn't
have. Saturday's game was the first the 6-0,
188-pounder has played in in the last three.
But the thing that makes Kolesar's
departure even harder to swallow is the way
he became sidelined. Kolesar's injury wasn't
characterized by a knee, or a groin, or a
shoulder - true football injuries. Rather,
Kolesar had mononucleosis - an ailment

that wasn't even football related. But then
again, many of the Wolverine wounded (a
list that grew to 21 by season's end) were
felled by freak injuries.
Promising running back Allen Jefferson
broke his arm not in a game, but in
practice. Linebacker Andre McIntyre, one of
the best at his position in the league, tore
his achilles tendon in the third game against
Long Beach State. He couldn't do it against
Iowa, or Indiana, or even Wisconsin, but
instead, against the joke that is called Long
Beach State. Brent White was one of the
Wolverines that went down with a true
football injury - a knee - but even that
was caused in a car rather than on turf.
WHEN KOLESAR, like his
teammates, did play, he played well. He is
third on the team in receptions and
combines with Greg McMurtry for the most
dangerous tandem of wideouts in the league.
Kolesar also ranks second in the league in
punt. returns and was very dangerous in that
area on Saturday. But just like Michigan's
season has gone, Kolesar's 64-yard return
against the Buckeyes was called back
because of a penalty flag thrown by a referee
who seemingly saw something 106,000
people in attendance and a national
television audience did not see.
After the game, Kolesar talked about
what might have been if...
"What can you say? he asked. "Coulda,
shoulda, woulda, what can you do? I should
have caught those balls, but I didn't."
Kolesar continued to talk about what
might have been, if... If the offense didn't
turn the ball over so frequently, if McIntyre
had not been hurt, if linebacker Steve
Thibert (knee) didn't get hurt, if he,
himself, didn't get hurt.
But "if..." seasons usually result in
disappointing and frustrating seasons. The
1987 Michigan football season was no

The script was written. The scene was set.
And when it was all over the Ohio State
football team carried their vindicated head
coach off on their shoulders.
Earle Bruce couldn't lose.
Not in his final game as the Buckeyes'
leader. Not after the way he was dismissed last
Monday. Not against Michigan.
BRUCE - a man who in a six-day span
went from a sullen loser to a celebrated legend
- would win his final game and will forever
be a thorn in the side of his detractors.
But the key roles of this drama were played
by the Buckeye players, who endured an
unusual week of practice before Saturday's
game at Michigan Stadium.
"All of the emotion from the adversity was
concealed all week," said Buckeye defensive-
back David Brown after Ohio State's 23-20
victory. "We just kind of let it all out."
THE BUCKEYES' week started with a
loss to Iowa on a fourth-down-and-28
touchdown play in the final minute, dropping

their record to 5-4-1.
Monday OSU's ninth-year head coach was
fired by University president Edward H.
Jennings, and as a result athletic director Rick
Bay resigned.
It was also announced that the Buckeyes
would not attend a bowl game whether they
beat Michigan or not.
"We were shocked," said placekicker Matt
"It was like letting the air out of our tires,"
Brown said.
"What else could they do to us?" asked
senior defensive tackle Ray Holliman.
THE TASK AT HAND for Bruce. was
to make his players forget the past actions and
keep their minds on the upcoming game.
"We had no clue that this was going to
happen," said sophomore offensive lineman
Joe Staysniak. "It (Monday) was an emotional
day. It was hard to concentrate but we knew
there was one thing left to do for ourselves
and for our fans - to beat Michigan.
"This was our bowl game."
"We were just concentrating this week on
doing whatever we can do to beat Michigan,"
said Frantz, whose field goal provided the
winning margin.
But just before the Michigan game their
attention, once again, turned toward their
THAT'S WHEN Staysniak passed out
"Earle" headbands for every player to wear as a
symbol that the whole team stood behind its
head coach.
The Buckeyes were pumped up.
"We had to fire up and show the University
that they were losing a good coach," Holliman
The Buckeyes were soaring emotionally
but did not look good, while falling behind
the Wolverines, 13-0, early in the game.
"If there is such a thing as being too up
that was us," Brown said, explaining the
But as the game wore on it became more
apparent that it was destined to be the
Buckeyes', and Earle's, day.
"We fought hard in the second half," said
senior defensive back William White. "It was
an emotional game for all of us. We lost
coach Bruce and we just wanted to go out and
win for him."

to play in
Hall of
Fame game
Michigan Athletic Director
Don Canham, on behalf of the
Michigan football team,
formally accepted an invitation
Saturday to play in the Hall of
Fame Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tampa,
Michigan has been allotted
12,500 tickets which will go on
sale starting today at 9:00 a.m.
at the Michigan Ticket
Department, located at the corner
of State and Hoover streets.
Tickets will cost $22 apiece.
Special bowl tour telephone
numbers have also been
announced for all Michigan
alumni, faculty, staff, and
students planing to join a tour to
go to the game. For faculty,
staff, and students, the bowl
number of the sponsoring
student service office is 936-
1140. For alumni, the number
of the tour sponsored by the
Alumni Association and the
Athletic Department is 936-
THIS WILL BE the first
time the Wolverines have played
in the Hall of Fame Bowl (1
p.m.- NBC-TV). Michigan's
opponent will not be decided
until later this week, when
Auburn plays at Alabama. The
Wolverines will play the loser of
that contest.
The Michigan basketball team
will also be in Tampa at the
same timd, participating in the
South Florida Tournament Dec.

... stood behind Bruce

Miscues lead to Blue's demise

(COntnued from Page 1)
Taylor perfectly faked a handoff and
hid the ball behind his back. The
play fooled the Ohio State defense,
but Taylor's pass fell short of tight
end Derrick Walker, open in the end
"When you see a man that wide
open, you tend to float the ball
instead of throwing it naturally.
That's what happened," said the
redshirt sophomore quarterback. "As
soon as I released it, I knew it was
going to be kind of short, but I
hoped Derrick could have caught it.
It was totally my fault."
THE PLAY would have staked
Michigan to a 17-0 lead. Instead, a
Mike Gillette field goal made it 13-
-Malfunction two - Later in the

Bunch fumbled on the Ohio State
42. The Buckeyes took the
momentum and the ball and went in
to score a touchdown.
Michiganl3, Ohio State 7.
-Malfunction four - With 12
seconds. left in the second quarter,
Kolesar dropped a catchable
Demetrius Brown pass in the end
-Malfunction five - As a result
of malfunction four, Gillette
attempted a 34-yard field goal. He
domination in the first half,
Michigan entered the locker room
with a six-point lead. The
Wolverines led in first downs 16 to
6, average yards per play 7.4 to 2.9,
and average per rush 5.9 to 0.3.

rookie tailback Carlos Snow in the
left flat. Snow scampered along the
sideline, avoiding safeties Anthony
Mitchell and Doug Mallory, for a
70-yard touchdown.
field I hoped (wide receiver) Everett
Ross would turn around. He was
still running his route," said Snow.
"I cannot believe he turned around
just in time."
Ohio State 14, Michigan 13.
-Malfunction seven - Kolesar
dropped a 45-yard bomb from Brown
the play after malfunction six.
"The ball got caught in the wind,
and it hung up there a little bit too
long," said Kolesar. "What can you
-Malfunction eight - Cornerback
David Brown intercepted Demetrius

anything positive for Michigan.
Punter Monte Robbins ran 25 yards
to the Ohio State 37 for a first
-Malfunction 10 - Michigan's
Brown fumbled the ball away two
plays later.
-Malfunction 11 - With the
Wolverines driving with 4:15 left in
the game, fullback Leroy Hoard
fumbled at the Michigan 47. Earlier
in the game, Hoard bulldozed in for
10-yard touchdown to tie the score at
20. The fourth Wolverine turnover
of the day all but sealed the Buckeye
turnover team I've had at Michigan,"
said Schembechler. "They just turn
it over. It has got to stop, or we'll


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