Player Att Yds Avc .La
Johnson 20 118 5.9 49
Wheatley 12 43 3.6 9
Alexander 1 31 31.0 31
Legette 5 14 2.8 5
Davis 3 7 2.3 5
Smith 1 0 0.0 0
Grbac 2 -6 -3.0 -3
Total 44 207 4.7 49
Player C-A Yds TD Int
Grbac 17-24 169 2 0
Player No Yds Avg TD
McGee 4 54 13.5 1
Alexander 4 37 9.3 0
Malveaux 2 11 5.5 0
Johnson 2 3 1.5 0
Smith 2 50 25.0 1
Legette 1 6 6.0 0
Toomer 1 4 4.0 0
Wheatley 1 4 4.0 0
Total 17 169 10.0 2
Player No Yds Ava La
Stapleton 6 190 31.7 36
Player No Yds Ava La
Purdue: The victory that almost wasn't
WEST LAFAYETTE - The first reaction
was, "Who switched the jerseys?"
Or something along those lines. The score-
board was definitely malfunctioning. Purdue 10,
Michigan 0. Purdue 17, Michigan 7.
The Purdue Boilermakers were churning out
Michigan-like rushing yardage in the first half.
The Wolverines were going three-and-out.
Purdue's offensive line
John was tearing gaping holes for
Nlyo its running backs, namely
Mike Alstott, an anonymous
freshman. Michigan's Super-
man, Tyrone Wheatley, was
getting wrapped up at the line
Purdue's Eric Hunter was
scrambling and finding his
y tight end, Scott Green - who
had caught one pass all year
- open for a 27-yard gain,
and then a 5-yard TD. Mean-
while, Elvis Grbac was going deep on third-and-
long, and Derrick Alexander was dropping the
Where had all our heroes gone?
"I think we may have been a little flat at the
start," said Jesse Johnson, the stocky, little run-
ning back who did so much to change the tide in
the second half. "But we came out strong in the
second half. That's what Michigan has to do."
Sentences in the Michigan lockerroom after
the game Saturday always came in two parts:
"We got embarrassed in the first half, BUT we
It was rolling out of everyone's mouth. Every-
one has a bad week at some point, the translation
goes, but the really good teams endure it. They
weather the storm and emerge unscathed.
But this is a team that hadn't been tested since
Week One. Frantic fourth-quarter drives were a
distant memory for Moeller & Co.
They are no longer.
"It was good for us," said Michigan's leader,
Elvis Grbac, who turned in his third straight solid
performance. "This was a reality check. The
games are going to get tougher toward the end of
the season, and this should really help us."
The odd turn of events left the media scram-
bling to finda new question Saturday. Each of the
past few weeks, it had gone like this: "Would you
like to maybe, say, have a game that is close -
just so you could have the experience?"
The answers were mostly jumbled.
Yes, but no. Sure, we'd like to have the experi-
ence, but we'd just as soon blow every team out of
the water, if you want the truth.
So now everyone is happy. Michigan can stand
up to the pressure. The defense can stand its
ground when it absolutely must. And the offense
can become frighteningly efficient when the
going gets tough.
"Now, that's a win," Moeller said, with a
hearty chuckle, to begin the postgame interview.
There is no disputing Moeller's claim.
Granted, it was Purdue, but a game is a game.
And Michigan was ahead when the final gun
"This was a test," Johnson said. "I guess we
Not exactly with flying colors, but hey, the Big
Ten season is pretty much a pass-fail course.
You get through the stuff in the middle. The
eyes are always on the prize, that last game on
New Year's Day. But you know you don't get to
go unless you put on your cleats and strap on your
shoulder pads every Saturday.
Michigan forgot that for a brief moment this
weekend. Purdue came out chomping at the bit.
The Wolverines came out, well, bored.
Who can blame them? They beat a conference
foe, 63-13, last weekend, and the final score
didn't even seem all that outlandish.
Saturday, Purdue was supposed to be more of
the same. It wasn't, and Michigan was surprised.
It was a strange feeling, you could tell. They
didn't know whether to frown or smile after the
game. So, basically, they all just shook their heads
and got on the bus, sighing a big sigh of relief.
All those dreams - the undefeated season, the
national title - almost went down the tubes to a
bunch of relative nobodies. Almost, but not quite.
What happened? How did Michigan save itself
"It was all up here," said Tony McGee, tapping
the side of his head with his index finger. "We
just made some mental adjustments."
Johnson was more blunt in his assessment.
"We woke up."
And, to the dismay of Purdue coach Jim Col-
letto, the sleeping giant rubbed its eyes, rose to its
feet and flexed its muscles.
Halftime was an exercise in introspection, with
Moeller and his seniors doing most of the talking.
"You look at yourself, don't look at the guy
next to you," Moeller said, paraphrasing his half-
time speech. "You've got to go out and do some-
So they did. Quickly, efficiently. Linemen
pancaking the opposition. Johnson busting big
runs. McGee plowing defensive backs. Suddenly,
it was back to the same old daily grind.
And it was just barely enough.
"We won by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin,"
Johnson said with a smile.
How close was it?
"It was tough," Alexander said, when asked
about the final Purdue drive. "They were moving
the ball pretty well ...
"I don't know what I would've done if they
Thankfully, we didn't have to find out.
6 3.0 4
Player No Yds Avg La
Hayes 1 30 30.0 30
Wheatley 3 17 5.7 14
Total 4 47 11.8 30
Player Tac Ast Tot
Smith 43-yd pass from Grbac
(Elezovic PAT), 12:12.
Michigan 7, Purdue 10
McGee 10-yd pass from
Grbac (Elezovic PAT),
Michigan 14, Purdue 17
Johnson 3-yd rush (Elezovic
Michigan 21. Purdue 17
Elezovic 25-yd FG, 2:53.
Michigan 24, Purdue 17
Continued from page 1
within three, but Purdue answered with another TD.
Michigan almost exited the half facing an even larger
deficit, as the Boilermakers reached Michigan's two-yard
line before time ran out.
One of the keys to Purdue's offensive success was
the performance of senior quarterback Eric Hunter. His
mobility allowed him to scramble out of many precari-
ous situations, rushing for a touchdown and completing
6-of-8 passing attempts in the first half.
"(Hunter) just keeps you so off balance," Michigan
coach Gary Moeller said. "He's an exceptional athlete.
We couldn't sack him. Sometimes you even worry
about blitzing him."
Before halftime Purdue registered 284 total yards of
offense, 164 of which came on the ground. In compari-
son, the Wolverines mustered only 146 yards and were
4-of-8 on third down conversions. The Michigan rush-
ing game that had dominated teams most of the season
recorded only 57 yards before the break.
"Not playing well in the first half was the fault of
the players and coaches," Moeller said. "Give Purdue
credit. They played a whale of a football game. Give
credit for their execution, and their fullback ran for way
too many yards."
Unfortunately for the Boilermakers, there was an-
other 30 minutes left to execute. Or try to do so.
Alstott, who had blazed through the Michigan de-
fense for 98 yards in the first half, registered only three
in the second. O'Leary missed a 47-yard field goal at-
tempt, his first failure in 13 tries this season. In the
third quarter, Purdue had control of the ball on only nine
"There was no mental lapse, but it just was not the
same effort as in the first half," Purdue coach Jim Col-
letto said. "There was a loss in the edge of the effort to
get to the player. With that little loss of edge, that in-
tensity of effort, you get yourself in real trouble. We
had a whole third quarter like that."
Purdue's loss of intensity, combined with an im-
proved Michigan execution, led to 17 Wolverine points
in the third quarter. The start of the second half appeared
at first to follow in line with the rest of the matchup
when Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley fumbled the ball out
of bounds at the eight-yard line on the kickoff.
Yet things quickly turned around for the Wolverines
as they gained 67 yards on the first four plays. They
capped of the drive with a 10-yard completion to tight
end Tony McGee for a touchdown.
"They threw some things at us in the first half that
we didn't expect," Michigan inside linebacker Steve
Elvis Grbac, a recently-named finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award, throws
one of his 17 pass completions. He posted 169 total passing yards.
Washtenaw County Drain Conunissioner Janis Bobrin has been
endorsed for re-election by The Michigan Sierra Club.
"Janis Bobrin has won statewide recognition as Washtenaw
County Drain Conunissioner for her leadership on water quality
and natural resource protection. We urge the voters of Washtenaw
County to re-elect her."
Director, Michigan Sierra C
THIS WEEK'S RESULTS
Michigan 24, Purdue 17