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January 08, 1992 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-01-08

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The Michigan Daily-Sports Wednesday- January 8, 1992 - Page 3

Washington cancels Magic act
Husky defense holds Howard to one reception

Jeff Sheran

by Jeff Sheran
Daily Football Writer
PASADENA, Calif. -
Desmond Howard always main-
tained his priorities - win first,
then amass statistics.
"I could go through a game
without any catches or touchdowns,
and if we win, I'm the happiest guy
on the field," he said throughout the
season. "I just want to help my
team win games."
So Howard was understandably
sad after Washington not only
trounced his team in the Rose Bowl,
but held the Heisman winner to one
catch and no touchdowns.
"I haven't felt this out of the
game since Florida State," Howard
said, referring to Michigan's 51-31
defeat Sept. 27. But even in that
game, Howard burned Thorpe
Award winner Terrell Buckley for
two touchdown receptions.
But Howard could hardly be
blamed for his anonymity in the
game. Quarterback Elvis Grbac tried
to throw to Howard only five
times, and only once in the second
half. In fact, the last attempt to
Howard came with over 11 minutes
left in the third quarter, when the
score still read 13-7.
"They doubled him a lot,"
Michigan coach Gary Moeller said.
"If we had time to throw, or throw
in rhythm, maybe he could have been
a factor."
Grbac overthrew Howard twice
on the right sideline, and threw deep
into excellent coverage by free
safety Shane Pahukoa once.
"Our free safety did a tremen-
dous job of breaking up those
passes," cornerback Dana Hall said.
"Most of the time it wasn't de-
signed double coverage on Howard
- (Pahukoa) just read the coverage
real well."
Midway through the first quar-
ter, Grbac faked a reverse and threw
deep over the middle toward
Howard. But Pahukoa tipped the
pass, and cornerback Walter Bailey
pulled down the carom.
The heralded Grbac-Howard tan-
dem, which combined for an
NCAA-record 19 touchdown recep-
tions this season, did connect once.
Grbac heaved the ball downfield
toward Howard, who was covered
by Hall. The two jumped and
Howard came down with the ball
* for a 35-yard gain, which set up a
second-quarter touchdown.
Michigan did not go to Howard
in any short-pass or screen forma-
tions, despite his explosiveness in
these situations all season.
"If screen passes were there,
(Moeller) would have called

Sheran My Thoughts
Despite loss, Moeller
has winning attitude
PASADENA, Calif. - Michigan coach Gary Moeller wanted to be a
head coach in. the Rose Bowl. He got his wish, but he also found out he
had wished for the wrong thing.
"It's very special for me to be able to say that I get to take my team
to the Rose Bowl," Moeller said on more than one occasion.
What he should have wished for was to be the winning coach in the
Rose Bowl. Because, as he admitted the morning after his team got
crushed, 34-14, he wasn't having fun.
Of course, he still kept his sense of humor. He poked fun at his former
boss, Bo Schembechler. Schembechler will be remembered as one of the
greatest college coaches ever, but also as one who didn't have much luck
in Pasadena.
"I wish Bo was here," Moeller said to a sparse group of reporters.
"He's got a lot more experience at this than I do."
But this was no joking matter. Though Moeller is an even-keeled per-
son, he's also a sincere one. He could not hide his bitter disappointment.
The conversation turned to the Big Ten's showing, a poor one at that,
in the other bowls. Moeller's best interests dictated defending the Big
Every team is tough, he should have said. Each team gets so beat up
from week to week that they're decimated by bowl time, was the proper
But Moeller separated himself from the mediocrity of the Big Ten.
"We were the ones that should have done better," he said.
Michigan won the Big Ten Championship and went to the Rose Bowl,
at least half of Moeller's season-long goal. Yet he seemed to convey a
greater disappointment than this would normally warrant.
That's because Moeller feels each loss more than the average person.
"Gary Moeller is one of the most competitive men I have ever
known," defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr said. "Bo was, too, and you
knew it by the way he threw his headphones. Mo doesn't throw his head-
phones, but don't let that fool you."
Moeller's competitive streak is not a negative force. Rather, it stems
from the closeness he feels with his players.
"God, this is a great bunch of kids," Moeller said of his fifth-year se-
niors. "I'd love to have them all back again. I'd love to send them out as
Moeller works as hard as any coach in college football, and he loves
the game as much as the biggest fan. And he hates losing more than any-
He revealed this during the press conference at Crisler Arena follow-
ing Desmond Howard's winning of the Heisman Trophy. Moeller was
asked if America had finally forgotten the controversial two-point con-
version play against Michigan State the previous year, during which the
ball, and Michigan's No. I ranking, tumbled out of Howard's hands.
He sat and pondered the question. "What a run we could have had go-
ing if it wasn't for that play," he replied, re-imagining the painful mo-
ment in his mind.
Entering last week's game, Moeller smelled a national title, and it
smelled good. Then he felt a Rose Bowl defeat, and it hurt.
But Moeller has a good perspective on winning and losing. It was he
who quelled the media after Greg Skrepenak guaranteed victory over
Ohio State by saying "He should say we're going to win. If he didn't, I'd
get a new tackle in there."
But no matter how nonchalantly he handles losing, Moeller hates
each defeat more than he lets on.
Michigan has finished in the middle of the top 10 for a long time. It
must move up to the next echelon - an undefeated season.
Moeller is the right coach to take the Wolverines to that level. Even
if he still makes jokes after a defeat. Even if he doesn't throw his head-
Even though he lost the Rose Bowl.

KKIS i UH L altI 1It/
Wolverine split end Desmond Howard eludes linebacker Hillary Butler following Howard's only catch of the
game. Michigan scored its first touchdown three plays later on a 9-yard pass from Elvis Grbac to Walter
them," Howard said. "As far as Michigan's running game. Trailing fender in double coverage. Hov
their pursuit is concerned, I don't by six with three minutes remaining Washington showed no weakn'
think screen passes would have been in the second quarter, Howard took its rushing defense.
effective." a second-and-13 double reverse "They doubled him more
Washington similarly stuffed around the right end for a 15-yard you'd anticipate, but we should
Howard on punt and kickoff re- gain and a first down. But three in- been able to run the ball," M
turns, on which he averaged seven complete passes later, Michigan said. "We could not run the ba
and 13 yards, respectively. With punted. Howard was not handed the
their team-speed advantage, the ball again. "We knew we had to do
Huskies seemed to close holes as But even without carrying the thing," Hall said. "Shutc
soon as they appeared. ball, Howard usually helps the Desmond Howard and make
Howard also tried to boost ground attack by drawing away a de- team one-dimensional."

ess in
J have

No Califor a sunshine for team.
by Theodore Cox
Daily Football Writerk

PASADENA, Calif. - Many
think the Michigan football team's
bowl trip is a wild time in
California. The players did get to
venture around Southern California
every so often, but most of their
time was spent either relaxing at
the Doubletree Hotel or practicing
at Citrus Junior College, both
located in Pasadena.
"Everyone says, 'stay at the
beach,"' Michigan coach Gary
Moeller said. "So then you can say
you stayed at the beach, but you
never use it."
The team flew out of Michigan
Christmas Day with the first full
practice beginning the the next day.
Here's a day-by-day account of what
*happened during the rest of the
THURSDAY: The Wolverines
enjoyed dinner at the famous
Lawry's restaurant which sponsored
the annual Beef Bowl.
FRIDAY: The team headed across
Los Angeles to Disneyland.
Washington joined Michigan in
Anaheim. Wolverine defensive back
Corwin Brown decided he wanted to
tell Husky wide receiver Mario'
Bailey how much he respected him
before they faced each other New
Year's Day. However, Brown never
got the opportunity.
"I don't know if they were
giving me the runaround or what,"
Brown said. "But they were saying
he was over here, he was over there.
But I didn't get a chance to meet
*him. Maybe they were doing it to
tire me out before the game."

Coaches Poll
1. Washington 12-0-0 1449 1/2
2. Miami (Fla.) 12-0-0 1440 1/2
3. Penn State 11-2-0 1321
4. Florida State 11-2-0 1292
5. Alabama 11-1-0 1191
6. Michigan 10-2-0 1071
7. California 10-2-0 1027
8. Florida 10-2-0 1020
9. East Carolina 11-1-0 1003
10. Iowa 10-1-1 944
11. Syracuse 10-2-0 891
12. Notre Dame 10-3-0 815
13. Texas A&M 10-2-0 799
14. Oklahoma 9-3-0 694
15. Tennessee 9-3-0 617
16. Nebraska 9-2-1 608
17. Clemson 9-2-1 450
18. UCLA 9-3-0 443
19. Georgia 9-3-0 407
20. Colorado 8-3-1 366
21. Tulsa 10-2-0 233
22. Stanford 8-4-0 216
23. BYU 8-3-2 149
24. Air Force 10-3-0 145
25. NC State 9-3-0 142
Jefff -Sagarin's

Michigan coach Gary Moeller feels,
loss to Washington.

the effect of the Wolverines' 34-14

Michigan quarterback Elvis Grbac prepares to hand the ball off to tailback
Jesse Johnson. Grbac was 13-for-26 in passing for 130 yards.


1. Washington 12-0-0
2. Miami (Fla.)12-0-0
3. Penn State 11-2-0
4. Michigan 10-2-0
5. Florida St. 11-2-0
6. Nebraska 9-2-1
7. Florida 10-2-0
8. Texas A&M 10-2-0
9. California 10-2-0
10. Notre Dame 10-3-0
11. Oklahoma 9-3-0
12. Stanford 8-4-0
13. UCLA 9-3-0
14. Alabama 11-1-0


Continued from page 1
No excuses.
How could this happen,
Michigan fans wondered. How
could this offense, which steam-
rolled over conference opponents
all season long, be shut down with
such apparent ease?
The answer is quite simple:
Washington is really good.
Michigan's regular season was no
fluke - few teams in the nation are
better than the Wolverines.
Washington just happens to be one
of those few.
The Wolverines aren't used to
playing teams that are distinctly
better than they are. This game of-
fered a new -ri-nc

lying on top of him.
With the average Wolverine pos-
session lasting about six plays, no-
body was surprised when the
Michigan defense, which hung to-
gether admirably in the first half,
slowly began to disintegrate after
the intermission.
"We had to come out here and
dominate," senior split end Mario
Bailey said. "We dominated every
phase of the game. We could have.
scored 50 points."
As the Huskies racked up the
points, the scoreboard revealed what
those in attendance had been suspi-
cious of since the early moments of
the contest: this was a mismatch.
So it was that Michigan's latest
Rose Bowl experience was the first
of it, hin - htnvntt Ta

eventually recover in time for the
SUNDAY: It poured, causing
flooding everywhere. Moeller
mnved nractire into the Douhletree

their tickets, but first were forced
to wait in line for hours with one
person distributing all the tickets.
At a luncheon in Pasadena,
Wnshingtnn'e Marin Rnhilev mc

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