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September 11, 1992 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-09-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Reaching for the title
Michigan hopes to make fifth straight crown special

Fday qhbv1, W


Many college football analysts
are saying the Big Ten conference
is a joke. But let's face it: it's an
old joke.
People used to laugh about
Michigan and Ohio State being
the Big Two compared to the
Little Eight. Those days are gone,
but only because the Buckeyes
have succumbed to mediocrity.
Meanwhile, the Wolverines have
continued to reign, winning four
straight conference titles and
making the coveted trip to
Pasadena in three of those years.
Were it not for the entry of
Penn State into the conference,
Michigan would likely be the
preseason conference favorite
every season in the foreseeable
Of course, the danger in this
domination is the potential for
Enter the history books.
Michigan coach Gary Moeller
has found a carrot to hold in front
of his Wolverine squad: No
Michigan team has ever won five
consecutive Big Ten
championships. Michigan
currently has won four straight.
Call it the Drive for Five. Call
it One for the Thumb.
Call it instant motivation.
And Moeller couldn't be more
thrilled to have his team's sole
focus be the Big Ten title. That's
been the company line at
Michigan for years. Generations of
Wolverine players, when
confronted with media
expectations of a national
championship, have responded
the same way: "Here at Michigan,
we don't care about national
championships. The Big Ten is all
we're after. After that, it doesn't
Yeah, and people went to see
Basic Instinct for the dialogue.
However, with this year's
historical implications, the
Michigan players seem to be more
sincere than ever about focusing
on the conference. No one even
has been saying how "a national
title would be icing on the cake."
All this, despite Michigan having
as good a shot as ever to win the
national championship.
Think about it: if the
Wolverines get past Notre Dame
on the road, they do not play
another tough road game until the
traditional season finale in
Columbus. Sure, Iowa, Michigan
State, Indiana, and Illinois could

Ohio Stat
Ohio State coach John Cooper
is armed with a new contract,
despite persistent rumors about
his impending demise.
Cooper has not fared well in
his four years in Columbus,
compiling a 27-18-2 record. That
mark might be acceptable at other
schools, but it is not up to par at an
institution with 25 Big Ten titles
to its credit.
Ironically, the last one came in
1986, when Cooper was directing
his Arizona State team to a Rose
Bowl victory over Michigan; Ohio
State has not beaten the Wolver-
ines during Cooper's reign.
The Buckeyes were unimpres-
sive as a 17-point favorite in their
opener versus Louisville. Now
that first-game jitters are out of
the way, Ohio State hopes to
prove it is indeed a top-25 club.
The strength of the team is at
tailback and on the offensive line.
Ohio State has a trio of runners
similar to Michigan's in Raymont
Harris, Butler B'y'n'o't'e (oops,
that's By'not'e) and Robert Smith.
Without question the most
gifted is Smith, the UPI national
freshman of the year in 1990 when
he gained 1,126 yards on 177
carries (6.4 average).
In a much publicized incident,
he quit the team prior to last
season saying the program did not
put enough emphasis on academ-
ics. But after offensive coordinator
Elliot Uzelac, who Smith named
as the biggest culprit, resigned,

Smith returned bigger and faster.
He was impressive in the Louis-
ville game before going out with a
cracked rib. Smith is expected to
be out a few weeks.
Anchoring the offensive line
are tackles Alan Kline (6-foot-7,-
290 pounds) and Jason Winrow (6-
Winrow, a junior, was selected
by the Buckeye coaching staff as
the team's best offensive lineman
last year. Kline was first-team all-
Big Ten last year as a sophomore
and is an Outland Trophy and all-
American candidate. His size and
agility already have NFL scouts
drooling, and ESPN draft expert
Mel Kiper Jr. projects Kline as a
potential top-10 pick.
On the other side of the ball,
linebackers Steve Tovar and Jason
Simmons are the stars. Tovar is a
Butkus Award candidate and has
led Ohio State in tackles the past
two years, when he was also first-
team all-Big Ten. Simmons set
school marks last year with 18 1/2
tackles for losses and 10 1/2 sacks,
including four in one game.
Junior safety Roger Harper is
the mainstay of the secondary and
could win the Thorpe Award as
the nation's top defensive back.
Probably the biggest question
mark comes at the most important
position. Senior Kirk Herbstreit
beat out Bob Hoying, the only
other scholarship quarterback, this
spring to win the job.
- Albert Liar




Continued from page 18
back spots - two very important
Defensively, the Hawkeyes
have been exploited this season by
two teams with superior speed.
Iowa had to replace much of its
defense, and have struggled in its
first two games.
Two of the players the
Hawkeyes miss most so far are
defensive lineman Leroy Smith
and middle linebacker John

Derby led the team in tackles
with 107, while Smith finished
third on the team in tackles last
season with 79, including 22
tackles for loss. Smith also had 18
quarterback sacks. Mike Wells and
his 12 sacks returns.
Fry also needs to replace three
of his starting defensive backs -
Eddie Polly, Brian Wise and Gary
Clark. Scott Plate and his two
interceptions return.
- Josh Dubow

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Michigan defensive back Coleman Wallace and the Wolverines are trying to climb their way to the top of the Big Ten for the fifth
consecutive year.


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