Page 4 - The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday -
November 18, 1991
Player Att Yds Ava Lg
R. Powers 26 151 5.8 21
J. Johnson 21 104 5.0 17
Wheatley 6 49 8.1 23
Howard 2 26 13.0 15
Legette 1 2 2.0 2
Grbac 1 -2 -2.0 -2
Totals 57 330 5.8 23
Player C-A Yds TD lt
Grbac 16-20 133 1 1
Totals 16-20 133 1 1
Player No Yds Lg TD
Howard 7 80 23 1
VanDyne 4 34 1 2 0
Smith 2 11 7 0
McGee 1 4 4 0
J. Johnson 1 7 7 0
R. Powers 1 -3 -3 0
16 133 23 1
Illinois fullback Kameno Bell is tackled by the Michigan defense in Saturday's game against the Fighting
Illini. Michigan won the game, 20-0, capturing its second shutout of the 1991 season.
Continued from page 1
a e was also defiant; the defensive
Tac A st Tot captain had been just that - defen-
0 1 1 sive - after a season of criticism.
2 1 3 First, he answered the media.
3 2 5 ", want to see the grade this
3 1 4 time," he said, referring to a news-
4 1 5 paper column several weeks ago that
41 1 gave Michigan a 'D+' for its defense.
1 0 1 "The bottom line is, we're winning.
0 1 1 If this doesn't prove we're an 'A'
4 1 5 defense..."
7 0 7 Next, Anderson answered Il-
1 0 1 linois quarterback Jason Verduzco,
2 0 2 who had challenged the defense the
2 1 3 entire week leading up to the game.
3 0 3 "Yeah, well some things were
1 0 1 said that we'd have to play a perfect
game to beat them," Anderson said.
3 1 "I don't think that's true. I don't
3 1 2 think we needed to play a perfect
2 0 2 game. We did anyway."
3 0 3 However, the defense vindicated
2 0 2 itself more with its play than with
its words. Entering the game,
Illinois' strength was the short
pass. Michigan's weakness was de-
fending the short pass.
But the Wolverine coaches had
stood by their strategy. It mandated
stopping the run, while giving up
short passes and preventing long
ones. Eventually, the logic dictated,
the opponent would either fail on a
third-down conversion, or get
stuffed inside the 20, where the
Marcus Walker's key fourth-
ouarter intervention in the end znne
confirmed this logic - unable to
run the ball in, Illinois had to pass
from its 11.
When Verduzco dropped back on
second-and-eight, he threw to his
most open reccver, the triple-
covered Elbert Turner.
Walker snagged the tipped ball
to preserve the shutout. At that
point, the defense did more than es-
cape criticism - it proved the
But they needn't celebrate their
vindication, they have better things
praise from Illini
by Matt Rennie
and Jeff Sheran
Daily Football Writers
CHAMPAIGN - Seemingly unaware that Michigan '! >ss defense
had been criticized this season, Illinois coach John Macko i lauded the
Wolverines, who stifled the Illini, 20-0.
"They were strong up front and were able to pressure (Illinois quar-
terback) Jason (Verduzco) and force him to throw off balance," Mack-
ovic said. "We could not protect the passer quite as much as we had to.
They put real good pressure on us with four and five rushers."
Illinois fullback Kameno Bell agreed. "Their linebackers press the
line of scrimmage - their front seven is pretty physical and active,"
Bell said. "Our short pass protection needed to be a little tighter."
Mackovic's praise extended to Michigan's secondary. "We were try-
ing to mix it up with short and longer passes. But they did a good job
short-dropping and playing man on longer situations.
"I thought they played the best man coverage we had faced during this
Wolverine senior cornerback Lance Dottin credited the coaching
staff for preparing the defense for the shutout.
"We came in with a good package. (Defensive coordinator) Lloyd
Carr set us up really well," Dottin said. "All we had to do was execute
pretty well, and we did."
FRIENDLY REMINDER: Wolverine quarterback Elvis Grbac and
wide receiver Desmond Howard went to high school together at St
Joseph's in Cleveland, Ohio. For that reason, both found it funny when a
reporter asked if clinching the conference title early would mean the
team would forget about next week's game with Ohio State.
"You see, we're both from Ohio," Grbac informed the reporter.
"Next question," Howard said.
LOOK WHO'S TALKING: Howard received an unsportsmanlike
conduct penalty for his involvement in a brief third-quarter shoving
match. After the game, he had some choice words for the Illinois defen-
"There was a lot of jawing going on out there. Since I'm a student at
the University of Michigan, I'm not going to use a lot of those words,"
Howard said. "I thought the referee threw the flag prematurely.
"They're good athletes, but I think they ought to spend more time
thinking about the game and less time talking."
DESMOND THE GREEK: Howard bragged about his prognasticating
abilities when asked about his feelings on Miami's 17-16 victory over
"I predicted Miami would win that game," he said. "They just
seemed like a hungry team to me. I figured they would win a close game.
What was the score?"
When told, Howard grinned and replied, "See what I mean?"
DESMOND THE HEISMAN CANDIDATE: Howard scored two
touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, on regional television Satur-
day. Earlier in the day, Heisman candidate Casey Weldon led his team to
only one touchdown in Florida State's nationally-televised loss to Mi-
Howard remains the frontrunner for the trophy, which will be
awarded Dec. 14 in New York.
BACK IN FORM: Michigan placekicker J.D. Carlson broke out of
his slump by kicking field goals of 36 and 43 yards in his only two at-
tempts. Carlson was responsible for the Wolverines' first score in each
Conversely, Illinois kicker Chris Richardson missed field goals of
49 and 39 yards. Richardson's 49-yarder hit the crossbar, bounced nearly
straight up in the air, and fell short. His second miss came with one sec-
ond left in the first half.
HUTCH OUT: Doctors informed Michigan defensive tackle Chris
Hutchinson yesterday that he will not return for the Ohio State game.
Hutchinson sprained a ligament in his left knee against Purdue Nov. 2.
Illini quarterback Jason Verduzco fumbles a snap in Saturday's game.
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Continued from page 1
Michigan clinging to a 13-0 lead
early in the fourth quarter, Ver-
duzco completed five of six at-
tempts and drove the Illini inside
the Wolverine 20-yard line. On sec-
ond-and-eight from the Michigan
11, Verduzco threw for Elbert Tur-
ner in the end zone. The pass was
deflected and fell into the hands of
Walker at the goal line for a touch-
Michigan scored on the ensuing
possession for the final margin of
"If there was a turning point,
it's very likely it was the intercep-
tion in the end zone," Mackovic
The defense stayed fresh all
game, thanks to Michigan's ball-
control attack. The Wolverines, led
by the tailback tandem of Ricky
Powers and Tyrone Wheatley,
ground out 330 rushing yards and
possessed the ball for 38:20. Powers
rushed for 151 yards, while Johnson
racked up 104 yards of his own.
"It helps a lot to get that many
carries," Powers said. "I think this
game did a lot to build the confi-
dence of all the tailbacks."
Although Moeller employed his
most conservative offensive scheme
of the season, wide receiver Des-
mond Howard still accounted for
both Michigan touchdowns.
The first capitalized on a Ver-
duzco fumble that gave the Wolver-
ines the ball on the Illini six with
2:47 left in the first half. On third-
and-goal from the one, Grbac saw
Howard with single coverage and
hit him coming across the middle to
give Michigan a 10-0 lead at the in-
Howard closed the scoring with
a 15-yard run off a reverse with 8:46
left in the game. Howard initially
juggled the exchange with Johnson,
but recovered in time to outrun one
defender and dismiss another on his
way to the end zone.
"He gave it to me kind of high on
the pads," Howard said. "But then I
got to the outside, and the King here
(Grbac) just threw a hell of a
Grbac actually abandoned his
original assignment on the play.
"I'm supposed to take the first
guy on that play," Grbac said. "But
I saw that he took a bad angle, and I
knew Desmond would get by him so
I headed upfield."
The touchdown capped an 80-
yard drive and extinguished Illi-
nois' flecting hopes.
"We were well prepared. We put
everything we had into this game,"
Mackovic said. "We were prepared
to go to the wall on every single
thing we could, but it just wasn't
enough. That's a tribute to Michigan
- they're a great team."
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