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October 15, 1990 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-10-15

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The Michigan Daily- Monday, October 15,1990 - Page 13
--'a I"'I 3,96111:0

SPARTANS
Continued from page 9
Carlson 28-yard field goal just before
the half - which Moeller called
"ridiculous" - and dropped passes
throughout the contest let MSU
Beep the score close.
As the game progressed, the
partans' running game was even-
tually able to wear down a Michigan
defense made weaker by the loss of
defensive end Chris Hutchinson
(back injury) at halftime.
Spartans' tailback Hyland Hick-
son rushed for 90 yards, picked up
key first downs when needed, and
brokea 26-yard touchdown jaunt that
Viut MSU up, 21-14, with six
minutes left in the game. In all, the
Spartans ran for 222 yards, outgain-
ing Michigan's output by 46 yards.
"You don't expect them to do
that. Here at Michigan you don't
expect anyone to do that," Michigan
linebacker Erick Anderson said.
"They just had a set number of plays
and just ran them."
State running backs Hickson and
ico Duckett were able to run the
ball right at the heart of Michigan's
defense when they had to. Often,
they would appear stopped at the line
of scrimmage only to spin off
would-be tacklers for extra yardage.
What happened to a defense that
was ranked 14th nationally in
rushing defense, giving up an
average of only 97 yards a game?
0 "That's a good question," Moeller
said. "But obviouslytif we let that
happen it's going to be a long
season.
"They just possessed the ball too
much on us (MSU controlled the
ball almost 10 minutes longer than
Michigan). Four touchdowns. That's
not Michigan defense. Not at all."
Also unchracteristic was the
umber of dropped passes by
ichigan receivers. On the final
drive, three different players -
Jarrod Bunch, Howard and Dave
Diebolt - all let Grbac passes fall.
Unflustered, Grbac finished the
drive with a touchdown and the game
with a career-high 213 yards.
"There were too many (drops),
far too many," Moeller said. "Elvis
threw the ball well. He pinpointed a
*olt of passes today and from where I
stood, I thought he did an excellent
job."
Even with Grbac's performance
ad 162 yards from tailback Jon
Vaughn, the Wolverines fell a point
short and will have the rest of the
season to reflect on it.
"Everyone wants to be No. 1,"
Welborne said. "Everyone wants to
win. But someone's got to lose be-
0 cause this wasn't going to end in a
tie. This loss will hurt more as the
season goes on."

Motivated Hickson breaks
image, tackles for big yards
by Ryan Schreiber

s

Di ly ootball Writer
Hyland Hickson finally stepped
out of the Michigan State doghouse
and into the limelight.
And it took the senior tailback a
year to equalize the most devastating
moment of his career.
On Oct. 21, 1989, the Spartans
had a victory over Illinois in hand,
leading, 10-7, with just over two
minutes to play. Then, disaster
struck.
Hickson fumbled away the ball
on the Spartan 35, setting up an
Illini scoring strike from Jeff George
to Mike Bellamy, and snatching de-
feat from the jaws of victory.
"Last year, once that fumble was
there, it's over with," Hickson said.
"It's behind me. (Michigan State)
Coach (George) Perles and everybody
are behind me 100 percent now. I
don't look back at the past, but to-
ward the present and the future."
But Hickson's most recent past
includes two touchdowns in MSU's
28-27 victory over Michigan, with
90 yards rushing and 36 more
receiving.
His first touchdown - a four-
yard, broken-play screen pass from
Dan Enos - tied the game,14-14, at

the close of the third quarter. Hick-
son then gave the Spartans a 21-14
lead on a 26-yard burst up the mid-
die, breaking a few tackles before
storming over the goal line.
"Hyland gave us two touchdowns
by breaking tackles," Perles said.
"This is by far his best game and
I'm very, very happy for him and
proud of him. He's been playing
second fiddle to some backs that
we've had in previous years. He
played second fiddle to a degree with
Tico (Duckett) and then he came into
his own.
"My hat's off to Hyland. He
played a very inspirational game."
Hickson's inspiration, though,
came from ESPN's pre-game analy-
sis that riled him and the team.
"I felt from the start that we
could win the game and I was fired
up from the start because, before we
left the hotel, (ESPN analyst) Beano
Cook told us that we never made a
big play in a big game," Hickson
explained. "So, I'm out to prove to
Beano that we can do everything in
our will to break a run and get in the
endzone.

"Since I've been here, he's been
putting Michigan State down to the
lowest degree, and I had to show
him."
Hickson also felt that Michigan's
running defense, ranked 14th in the
nation, had been overrated.
"From the start, we knew we
could run the ball on them, because
their linebackers float real hard, and
if you float too much, you've got a
lot of open holes in the back," he
said.
"(Michigan made) too many arm
tackles. They tried to tackle with
just their hands, and on that long run
that I had that I scored on, they tried
to reach out and trip me up, but I
wouldn't go down. I'm the type of
runner that if you put your hand out
there, I'm going to step on it."
Hickson was glad to get in the
last word, proving to the Wolverines
and the networks that the Spartans
could handle Michigan.
"I feel real good that we won this
game, because everybody underesti-
mated us. Michigan players told us
that we shouldn't even show up,"
Hickson said. "Like I said, I feel real
good, because they should have
never been No. 1 from the start."

"
*

JOSE JUAREZ/Daily
Michigan linebacker Erick Anderson tackles Michigan State running back
Hyland Hickson during the first half Saturday. Hickson had the last laugh,
though, scoring two touchdowns in the second half.
FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Howard's

return

sixthfr MichiganR
by Ryan Schreiber
Daily Football Writer
Desmond Howard's 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown marked the
second-longest in Michigan history, and boosted his average to 34.8 yards
per return, tops in the Big Ten. Howard had previously been second in the
conference, behind teammate Derrick Alexander.
Additionally, his total of 135 return yards on the game broke Alexander's
team-high set against Maryland earlier in the season.
The return was just the sixth for a touchdown in Michigan history and
the first since Tony Boles went 85 yards against Purdue on Nov. 4, 1989.
AND THE WINNER IS...: Michigan State coach George Perles made it
perfectly clear who he thought the true victors were after the game. "I think
the real winner was ABC. They had a game out there that probably really
entertained the country."
He also couldn't avoid mentioning the politics of the in-state rivalry.
"I think the people in the state of Michigan and Governor (James) Blan-
chard ought to be real happy with this kind of exposure that the state of
Michigan got," he said. "I'm not in politics. I don't know anything about
politics, but if I were a governor I'd be very happy with this game. He had
two fine schools in the Big Ten out there playing, and it really showed the
country what Michigan is made of."
SNAKE BITTEN: Michigan State's 28-27 victory marks the fourth
time Michigan has lost while the nation's No. 1 team in either the AP or
UPI polls during the season. On Oct. 17, 1977, AP slated Michigan at the
top of the chart, only to have the Wolverines lose to Minnesota, 16-0. Next
was UPI's 1981 preseason poll, which Michigan followed with an opening
loss to Wisconsin, 21-14. Then, AP's preseason 1989 pitted No. 1
Michigan against No. 2 Notre Dame, with the Irish prevailing, 24-19.

GILL AGAIN
Continued from page 9
mance was striking.
Now, return to that final drive. In
a way, it was a courageous drive.
Twice on fourth down, the Wolver-
ines converted. But look at what else
happens. Howard drops a ball. Jarrod
Bunch drops a ball. Dave Diebolt
drops a ball.
"Too many, far too many,"
Wolverine coach Gary Moeller
acknowledged.
And when Michigan hung onto
the ball, their mind went to sleep.
Jon Vaughn makes a nice catch near
the sideline - with the crowd in
bedlam, dreams of a miracle in ev-
eryone's head, and the clock quietly
ticking away the final precious sec-
onds - and what does he do? He
cuts up field, does not stop the
clock, and Michigan is placed in a
world of hurt. A large mental error.
Should we turn to the bruised and
broken up defense? The Spartan of-
fense, which is from the stone age
and looked so lackluster against Iowa
the oddsmakers made State a 12 1/2

point underdog, resembled a self-
propelled lawnmower moving up and
down Michigan's artificial turf.
The Michigan defense is suffering
from the loss of some injured key
players, but when Hyland Hickson
ran the ball 26 yards to give the
Spartans a 21-14 lead, it was a case
of shabby tackling. And it happened
again and again in the second half. It
appeared as though the defense was
worn out.
Then we come to the special
teams. Specifically, punting and
kicking. I don't think anybody's
ready to complain about the returns
after Magic Howard's sensational
run.
What has happened to J.D. Carl-
son? It appeared that 1989's Mr.
Consistency was back after a slow
start. Then, he shanks a chip shot at
the end of the first half. One does
not need to be an accountant to fig-
ure out three points might have
helped Michigan a whole heck of a
lot.
There have been no blocked punts
this year and Eddie Azcona's statis-
tics sport a pretty impressive aver-

age, but the punts are wobbly little
beasts that find an open cranny and
start bouncing. It's luck. But who's
to complain when it works? The one
time it didn't - Michigan State
caught it before it had a chance to
work its magic - Azcona was stuck
with a 28 yard punt. And he only
averaged 34.3 yards for the day.
Overall, maybe Michigan proved
that it was a good team Saturday.
They made all types of errors, yet
still had a chance to win in the end.
The question everyone wants an-
swered though is "were the Wolver-
ines robbed Saturday?"
Sure. And for the second time in
six games, an official's decision
went against the Wolverines and cost
them the game. The flag that cost
Bo the Rose Bowl was never seen
yesterday - and it cost Molin his
first intrastate showdown.
Be angry about it. Say it wasn't
fair.
But remember this: The officials'
eyes were not the only reason for
this loss.
Give Michigan credit. They did a
lot to deserve it too.

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