Tonight, 7:30 p.m.
vs. Western Michigan
Tomorrow, 7 p.m.
Yost Ice Arena
The Michigan Daily
Friday, October 30, 1992
Blue seeks to
by John Niyo
Daily Football Writer
Tomorrow is Poultry Day in
Food, fun and frolic. Parades,
concerts, carnivals, games, chickens
- a joyous occasion for all.
But then the football game starts.
And the fun ends.
The Michigan Wolverines, a
band of football mercenaries bent on
pillaging conference rivals, will en-
ter Ross-Ade Stadium in West
Lafayette shortly after noon. The
crowd will hush. The chickens will
scurry back into the coop. Kickoff is
set for 12:36 p.m.
Welcome to ESPN's Big Ten
Game of the Week.
It is an awfully misleading
moniker when you think about it.
Michigan vs. Purdue is hardly "The
Game" of this week or any other.
But the fact of the matter is this:
Michigan is in first place in the Big
Ten, while Purdue is in second
Purdue? Second place? Yes, and
in contention for a bowl bid, thanks
to Michigan's lackluster supporting
cast in the conference. The
Boilermakers are 2-2 in the confer-
ence (tied with seven teams behind
4-0 Michigan) and 3-4 overall.
All this, plus the desire to reach
the Rose Bowl undefeated, forces
Michigan coach Gary Moeller to
"(Purdue) beat a good Iowa team
and they beat California earlier, (but
they lost to Toledo) - you never
know what's going to happen, but
when you go in there you better be
ready," Moeller said.
To this point in the season, that
focus and preparation has not been a
problem. Michigan has done just ex-
actly what has been expected of it,
outscoring conference opponents,
118-54, in four league games.
"Michigan has demolished most
everybody they've played," Purdue
coach Jim Colletto said. "They can
turn games into a track meet; their
fourth-team tailback is better than
most first-team guys."
If tomorrow is anything like the
past several weeks, Colletto will get
to see plenty of that fourth-team
tailback (Ed Davis). Michigan's
first-stringers have been getting their
work done early this season.
The Wolverines have blitzed op-
ponents, 188-26, in the first half this
season; the margin is 125-9 in the
second quarter. That domination is
"The biggest thing is knowing
what we want to do," senior free,
safety Corwin Brown said. "We:
don't want to lose. We want to come
out and smash every team and go:
out to Pasadena."
Purdue, however, would settle
for something less than the Rose.
Bowl. The Boilermakers haven't ex-
perienced postseason play since
1984, when they lost to Virginia 27-y
24 in the Peach Bowl.
With the parity (read: mediocrity)
in the Big Ten this season, Purdue
might have its best chance to break
that streak. The Boilermakers started
off the season with an impressive
41-14 victory over California, but
then lost three in a row. However,,
they have bounced back with a win:
at home against Minnesota Oct. 10
S. S * .5- .
4-0Big Ten,1st place
i w p
and a win on the road against Iowa
"I was especially pleased with
our defensive effort against Iowa,"
Colletto said, after his team shut;
down the Hawkeyes, 27-16. "(The;
defense) came up with big plays."
But Colletto is concerned thi$
week with Michigan's big plays.
"They're a good blocking team,
but they don't have to block for lonk
because their backs can take little;
tiny cracks and they're gone," h
said. "'They're unbelievable."
Michigan has scored 16 touch-.
downs on plays covering more than
25 yards this season, and six frorm
further than 50 yards out. Moeller
credits the Wolverines' passing at-
tack with much of that success.
"You have to back them off'
Moeller said. "When you do that,
then that opens up the running game.
And when the receivers can make
the blocks on that last guy, you can
get some big gains."
And some big victories.
Tomorrow, the Wolverines are
poised and ready to rain on the
Tyrone Wheatley hopes to add to his impressive season totals tommorrow afternoon when Michigan takes on Purdue in West Lafayette.
M Outmatches BoilIermakers
by Jeni Durst
Daily Football Writer
QUARTERBACK: At the beginning of the season,
Purdue coach Jim Colletto had a lot of expecta-
tions for quarterback Eric Hunter.
But two games and an injury later, the burden no
longerrested on the senior's shoulders. Sophomore
Matt Pike took over the Boilermaker offense. But
now Hunter is back at the helm, with a victory
against Iowa under his belt, to try to give a lift to his
Hunter's counterpart for Saturday's matchup,
-Michigan's Elvis Grbac, has returned to the form
* expected of him in the last couple games, after an
injury, a slow recovery, and a lot of questions at the
beginning of the season,.
The senior topped the Wolverine record for
career passing yardage against Minnesota,.while
ending a string of interceptions in previous games,
and now occupies the fourth position in the nation
in passing. Grbac's resurgance takes some of the
pressure of the Wolverine running game, which
beared the brunt while the passing game lagged.
RUNNING BACKS: Purdue's greatest strength re-
sides in its backfield. Six-foot, 210-pound tailback,
Arlee Conners stands at fourth in the Big Ten in
rushing yards with 494 and has notched three
touchdowns for the Boilermakers this season.
Conners' backfield mate, junior Jeff Hill, holds the
13th spot in the league.
All of Purdue's fullbacks return from last year,
and it adds 6-1,210-pound freshman Mike Alstott.
Both Alstott and senior Earl Coleman have con-
tributed three TDs apiece to the Boilermaker
And then, of course, there's Tyrone Wheatley.
The Michigan sophomore phenom comes in at
seventh in the country in rushing with a 125 yard
average per game. The Wolverines own three spots
on the Big Ten's leading rushers list. Fourth-string
tailback Ed Davis sneaks into the final spot with
333 yards on 48 carries joining Wheatley and Jesse
Michigan's backfield dominance of the confer-
ence would most likely be greater if Ricky Powers
hadn't been sidelined with an injury. The junior is
recovering from an ankle injury.
WIDE RECEIVER: Desmond Howard's shadow
no longer looms over Michigan Stadium. It has
been eclipsed by the growing talent of wideout
Derrick Alexander. Alexander set a Michigan
record last weekend for most touchdown recep-
tions in a game with four - a feat Howard never
accomplished. The connection between Alexander
and Grbac seems to have solidified.Flanker Walter
Smith also proved his versitility, creating seven
points on a crazy reverse against Minnesota.
For the Boilermakers, Pike will look to flanker
Ernest Calloway and split end Jermaine Ross.
The duo is one and two respectively for the Boiler-
makers in receiving yardage.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Purdue's offensive line is
young, consisting of only three seniors. The
See MATCHUPS, Page 11
Laying Down the Law
Burch's injury moves rookie cornerback into lineup
by Josh Dubow
Daily Football Writer
Michigan freshman cornerback Ty
Law's first impression of Michigan football
was an inauspicious one. In Michigan's
opener at Notre Dame, the Wolverines had
a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead. The Irish drove
down to Michigan's 12-yard line and faced
a third and seven.
Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer
play faked and then fired a pass to flanker
Lake Dawson on a slant route. Law came
around Dawson and appeared to knock the
ball away cleanly. However, the referees
flagged Law on the play, and the Irish
punched the ball in the end zone on the,
next play. They added a field goal and the
teams finished in a 17-17 tie.
Law's infraction wasn't just the turning
point of the game, it also signaled that
Michigan had a freshman cornerback who
could flat out play man-to-man defense.
Instead of receiving criticism for the play,
Law was praised by his teammates and
"It wasn't really the coaches who com-
forted me through that, it was really my
teammates," Law said. "It was the defen-
sive tear and the overall team who com-
forted me because they thought it was a
really good play. The coaches did comment
on that. They thought it was a good play.
They gave me a gold helmet for making a
been more aggressive than in the past.
Michigan is blitzing more and playing
considerably more man-to-man defense.
This is showing up in the statistics. The
Wolverines are first in the Big Ten in rush-
ing defense, scoring defense, overall de-
fense, first downs allowed, third down con-
version defense and sacks.
"As I was getting recruited, they were
slowly but surely changing the philosophy
of the Michigan defense," Law said. "They
wanted to bring in a little more speed and a
little more size so they can play a more
man-to-man defense. As you can see,,
sometimes when you don't have speed and
you get to the big games the better teams
will find a way to beat you.
"I think Michigan also knew they had a
weakness somewhere on the defense and I
believe it was the defensive backs. So they
tried to bring in more speed in the defen-
sive backs to improve the defense. Every-
thing was all right up front, they just
needed to improve the defensive backs."
Law has played a vital part in this im-
provement. The 6-foot, 185-pound
Aliquippa, Pa. native has been heralded
around the nation. In Wednesday's USA
Today, Law was named to the all-freshman
team. Law has, recorded 22 tackles and
broken up three passes so far this season.
"Coach Moeller brought it to my atten-
tion," Law said. "He congratulated me. I
ous than first thought,.and the junior had
surgery on the foot Monday and will be in a
cast for four weeks. Burch is out for the re-
mainder of the regular season and his status
for the bowl game is questionable. Burch
has served as a coach for Ty this season.
"Alfie has been a lot of help with my
progress even when he was here," Law
said. "Along with the other coaches, he has
been sort of like a personal coach for me.
He helped with everything I did. A lot of
credit I get should go to Alfie 'cause when
he's on the sideline he sees everything I'm
doing out there. He tells me what to do here
and what to do there. So a lot of credit
should really go to him. He's helped me.a
Michigan defensive backfield coach Bill
Harris has been pleased with Law's
progress so far, however he does not likb
the idea of playing a freshman.
"I think Ty keeps getting better and bet-
ter," Harris said. "He has great work habit.:
He wants to be the best he can be. He's at-
ways listening and taking coaching. Wheb
you combine great athletic ability with '
good attitude you're gonna do well.
"Anytime you start a freshman, it's
worrisome. The best time to start a fresh-
man is when he's a sophomore. It's a learn-
ing process. It takes a lot of repetitions to
get better. Ty's gonna do a great job b-
cause he's a great athlete. He'll do well." u
sue': ° a., Isom,