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October 28, 1991 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-10-28

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - October 28, 1991 - Page 5

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FOOTBALL OTEBOOK

It's

tradition

- Blue

brings the Jug home
by Matt Rennie
Daily Football Writer
MINNEAPOLIS - Michigan's 52-6 victory over Minnesota means
the Wolverines will hold onto the Little Brown Jug for another year.
The Jug, arguably college football's most famous trophy, is awarded to
the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota game each year. Michigan now
leads the series, 55-23-3.
The history of the Jug dates back to the 1903 game at Minnesota.
Michigan's team, coached by Fielding Yost, anticipated that Minnesota
would do anything to beat the mighty Wolverines, including poison
their drinking water. Michigan trainer Keene Fitzpatrick sent student
manager Tommy Roberts to buy a receptacle in which to keep untainted
drinking water.
Minnesota shocked the football world by tying Michigan, 6-6, and in
the chaos that ensued, the Wolverines forgot about their jug.
Minnesota's equipment manager Oscar Munson found the jug the
following Monday and wired a message to Yost saying, "We have your
Little Brown Jug. Come up and win it."
Because of the brutal nature of that 1903 game, the two schools
refused to play each other again until 1909, when the Wolverines won
the game and the jug, 15-6.
INJURY REPORT: While Michigan apparently avoided season-
ending injuries that have become an eerie part of the series in recent years,
the Wolverines did have their share of bumps and bruises. Linebacker
Bobby Powers suffered the game's most serious injury. Powers' knee
will be scoped this week to determine if he has torn cartilage.
The offensive line sustained its own slew of injuries. Center Marc
Milia, starting in place of the injured Steve Everitt, will miss the next
game with an ankle injury similar to Everitt's. Left guard Matt Elliott
broke a thumb and injured a knee, but will still play the Purdue game,
moving to center; Doug Skene will replace him at guard.
Wide receiver Desmond Howard experienced blurred vision at the
beginning of the second half, which apparently cleared up in time for him
to catch his second touchdown of the game in the third quarter. The
vision problems were apparently the result of a hit Howard took late in
the first half. "I wasn't really worried," Howard said. "It's not a big
concern."
RUNNING OUT OF OPTIONS: One might think Michigan coach
Gary Moeller, faced with next week's task of trying to stop Purdue's
option-style quarterback, Eric Hunter, would be very concerned with
how his defense will react. While Moeller undoubtedly respects
Hunter's abilities, the Wolverine coach can take some comfort knowing
that Hunter will be the third consecutive option quarterback Michigan

SHERAN
Continued from page 3
Ritter remains anxious for New Year's Day. For the
Rose Bowl. For his last day of football. He will have
graduated by then with a degree in graphic design, and
the thought of working on his portfolio without any
athletic responsibilities makes him sit back in his seat
and smile.
He doesn't usually have much time to sit back, with
the constant pull he feels.
It goes toward academics and toward football, but
it's not really a pull. Rather, it's a push from within.
For instance, nobody tells Ritter to work out like
he does. He may play a lot, but hell, he's not a true
starter. Yet, as he says, "I like to believe I'm one of the
best-conditioned players on the field."
And for instance, Ritter could get away with occa-
sionally shouldering aside his academics. He's got a
tough courseload, and football is the worst thing for
it. Yet, as he says, "My professors will cut a little lee-
way, but I don't like to take advantage. I don't want to
be a special exception."
Ironically, what's amazing about Ritter is his
mediocrity - not in his achievements, but in his ap-
proach toward them. He's so nonchalant about what
others would be in awe of, making little mention of
big pressures.
Ritter was named Honda Scholar-Athlete of the
Week last month, one of the most prestigious academic
awards for football players. His reaction was telling.
"It was a surprise, but it doesn't mean much to me,"
he says. "It's an honor, but I didn't apply for it or any--
thing. I just opened the paper and read about it."
Kind of like an honor student's reaction upon mak-
ing the dean's list. That's the type of balance Ritter ex-
udes.
He's managed to transfer this balance to his foot-
ball playing. Ritter, a fifth-year senior, used to fire
himself up for a game until he was so high-strung that
it was counterproductive.
"If you get so tense, you lose your ability to think
and react," he says between sips of Mott's apple juice.
"But that's the whole game - thinking and reacting."
The adjustment has been evident; this season, Ritter
has recovered a fumble, returned a 31-yard interception,
and returned a punt block by Deon Johnson for a 29-
yard touchdown. Last season, he blocked punts against
Iowa and Purdue which others ran in for scores.
His play has impressed not only coaches, but also
fans, the group to which he had been anonymous for
most of his days at Michigan. Fans now regard him as
having the knack for the big play, a quality he hopes is
the result of more than luck.
"You like to think you create your own good for-
tune by working hard and always hustling," Ritter
says. "They talk about Notre Dame having the luck, but
it's more than a coincidence."
Trust him when he speaks about Notre Dame. Rit-
ter, a native of Hickory Hills, Ill., played quarterback
at St. Laurence High School in the Catholic League on

Ritter

Chicago's South Side -
gold

where players bleed green and

People ask Ritter why he didn't play for the Fight.
ing Irish, considering Notre Dame's comparably strong
academics. Or perhaps why he didn't attend an Ivy
League school, where he'd receive more playing time.
Ritter scoffs at either idea.
"Not with the atmosphere here," he beams. "It's
too incredible'
Sure, he means playing football for Michigan. But
he also means attending Michigan.
"I'm up on North Campus half the time. A hundred
yards away. they're doing nuclear fission, and here I am
a graphic designer What a waste it would be not to get
all I can out of it.
"It took Bo (Schembechler) to put it into words.
He said 'If you're gonna spend this amount of time on
something you do, you might as well do your best at
it.'" f
Ritter learned something else from Schembechler,
under whom he played for three seasons.
"'Those who stay will be champions.' This year it
has a different meaning for me., because I'm not start-
ing. I'm not going to say I don't play enough, because
I'll never play enough. I'd even play offense if I could.
But I'll always be thrilled to just be a contributor."
Ritter knows he's a good player, but he also knows
he's just a role player. He likes it this way - no pres-
sure to try for the NFL, no expectations to disappoint.
Just graduate in December, look for a job next
semester, and let Michigan football become a cherished
set of memories.
"I'm going to live on after 22," he says. "I hope to
think some of my most productive years are ahead of
me".."
Once out of school, Ritter can pursue his career. No
football, just graphic design. He can be regular.
But he certainly won't be average.

Passing
Player C-A Yds TD Int
F'wood 14-27 159 1 1
Schffnr 3-5 16 0 1
Totals 17-32 175 1 2
Rushing
Player Att Yds AvgLg
Fleetwood 12 36 3.0 18
Rios 8 14 1.8 4
Carter 3 3 1.0 2
M. Smith 3 13 4.3 8
King 2 16 8.0 13
Schaffner 2 -7 -3.5 -1
Totals 30 75 2.5 18
Receiving
Player No Yds L9 TD
Evans 6 54 15 0
Joiner 3 47 20 1
Douglas 2 26 14 0
Rios 2 8 5 0
Bentley 1 21 21 0
Hopewell 1 13 13 0
King 1 4 4 0
M. Smith 1 2 2 0
Totals 17 175 21 1
Punting
Player No Yds Avg La
Kaufman 6 233 38.8 50
Punt Returns
Player No Yds Avg La
R. Smith 1 0 0.0 0
Kickoff Returns
Player No Yds Avg Lg
Rios 4 69 17.3 22
White 2 37 18.5 19
Carter 1 14 14.0 14
Li Santi 1 25 25.0 25
Totals 8 145 18.1 25
Defense
Player Tac Ast Tot

RENNIE
Continued from page 1
Yes, this game was truly a
blowout, and those of us in the
stands and the press box should feel
no remorse about laughing at what a
joke it was. However, Moeller must
find a way to wipe the smiles off
the Wolverines' faces if he wants
his team to be in peak condition dur-
ing its stretch drive toward
Pasadena.
"The win is the most important
thing, but I'll be anxious to see the
film because we got some easy ones
today," Moeller conceded. "It's re-
ally hard to judge, but the key is, did
we get better?"
Moeller's point is well taken.
While they looked invincible
Friday, the Wolverines have some
improving to do before they can
confirm their reservations in
Pasadena.
Don't get me wrong. After six
emotional games, Michigan needed a

break. This game filled that role and
also allowed the Michigan coaches
to take a look at some less-experi-
enced players. In both those re-
spects, Moeller should be happy
with the game's lopsided outcome.
However, the Wolverine coach
knows what's on the horizon in the
next four weeks. Michigan's next
two games are at home against
Purdue and Northwestern, respec-
tively. Both contests figure to be
similar to this one, which gives the
Wolverines three consecutive weeks
without a high-caliber opponent.
Nobody needs that much of a break.
Moreover, Michigan has to snap
out of this 21-day nap to close the
season with Illinois and Ohio State,
two teams quite capable of giving
the Wolverines a rude awakening
In these games, the Wolverines
will realize that their opponents'
passes do not always sail long fot
interceptions and that their defen-
sive backs are occasionally capable
of staying in the same county as the

Wolverine receiving corps.
"Everyone says we should cruise
through the rest of-our schedule but
we've got to get better for Illinois
and Ohio State during the next two
weeks or we're not going to be
there," Moeller said. "I think it's
still going to be tough to get to the
Rose Bowl. I don't know if we're
the best team in the Big Ten - the
best team will be there in four
weeks."
If Michigan wants to be there,
Moeller must find a way to keep his
team focused during the current dol-
drums. For the three-week stretch
before their two most important
conference games of the season, the
Wolverines' toughest competition
may come in practice from their sec-
ond team
So, while the Wolverines' sched-
ule over the next two weeks may be
a joke, they should think twice be-'
fore cracking a smile. Only then
will they be able to enjoy the last
laugh.

Davis
Thaddies
Lumpki n
Heath.
Williams
Fisher
Isakson
Staats
Bryant
Cappella
Mays
Se bree
Collins
Hackbarth
Hawthorne
Mathis
Cockrell
Douglas
Li Santi
Marston
Rosga
Snyder
L. Wolkow
Scoring

11
9
8
7
7
5
4
4
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1

Anthony Carter watched from the Michigan bench as Desmond Howard
broke his Big Ten season record for touchdown receptions.
will have faced. One week after tangling with Indiana's Trent Green,
the Wolverines took on Minnesota's Marquel Fleetwood Friday night.
Michigan's defense held Fleetwood to 36 yards on 12 carries,
allowing him to complete 14 of 27 passing attempts for 159 yards.
Fleetwood turned the ball over three times, fumbling once and throwing
two interceptions.
"For three weeks,- we've been doing these drills in practice,"
linebacker Brian Townsend said. "We're ready for Hunter now, and
we've even got an extra day to prepare for next week."
EASY DOES IT: The defense keyed the Wolverines' explosive first
quarter. After Minnesota fumbled on two of-its first three plays from
scrimmage, Michigan forced the Gophers to punt after three plays on
their next possession. This quick work made fatigue less of a factor for
the defense. "I couldn't believe it. We're up, 21-0, and I've only played
six plays," defensive end Chris Hutchinson said. "That helps my back
for sure. In the first quarter, I barely even hit anybody."
STAR-STUDDED AUDIENCE: While the crowd at Friday night's
game (32,577) may not have been large by Michigan's standards, it did
have a high celebrity quotient. The Minnesota Twins' Scott Erickson
and the Atlanta Braves' Steve Avery, the starting pitchers for Game Six
of the World Series, were on the sidelines.
In addition, Minnesota Vikings receiver and former Wolverine all-
American Anthony Carter watched Michigan wide receiver Desmond
Howard break his Big Ten record of 14 touchdown receptions in one
season with a 41-yard, third-quarter grab for his 15th scoring catch.
PERSONAL BEST: Michigan punter Eddie Azcona's 55-yard punt
in the second quarter was the longest of his Wolverine career. Michigan
had a fourth down on its own 14-yard line when Azcona came in to punt.
The kick took a favorable bounce and rolled all the way to the Minnesota
31.
EXCEPTION, NOT THE RULE: The Metrodome press box announcer
apparently has aspirations of landing a network play-by-play job. In
addition to announcing the plays while they were in progress, this astute
observer, after Gopher fullback Chuck Rios returned Michigan's fourth
kickoff, quipped, "No fumble."

Summary

3rd Quarter:
Joiner 12-yd pass from
Fleetwood (run -ailed).
Minnesota 6, Michigan

3:09.
35

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