Today, 7:30 p.m.
Cliff Keen Arena
at Ohio State
Tomorrow, 12:00 p.m. (ABC-TV)
The Michigan Daily
Friday, November 20, 1992
Blue outclasses Buckeyes
by Josh Dubow
Daily Football Writer
QUARTERBACKS: After an early-
season slump, Elvis Grbac has re-
turned to his 1991 form. Grbac is
completing 66.5 percent of his passes
and is the leading passer in the Big
Ten. Grbac is averaging nearly nine
yards per attempt.
Ohio State's Kirk Herbstreit has
wanted to be a Buckeye his entire life.
He finally got his chance to start for
Ohio State this season. Herbstreit can
be a threat both with his arm as well as
his legs. Herbstreithas completed over
60 percent of his passes and only
thrown five interceptions. However,
he has only three touchdown passes.
RECEIVERS: Derrick Alexander
has turned into the Big Ten's top
receiver this year. The junior has 47
receptions and 14 touchdowns on the
season. However, Alexander is not
Grbac's only target. Tony McGee
and Walter Smith have been steady
forces for the Wolverines all year,
and freshman Amani Toomer has
come on strong in the past few weeks.
In Brian Stablein, the Buckeyes
have one of the top receivers in the
conference. Stablein has 39 recep-
tions on the season, some of which
have been spectacular.
Hutchinson leads the Wolverines with
10 sacks. Michigan has a great deal of
depth at this position, as its reserves
have 10 sacks.
Ohio State is led by right end Ja-
son Simmons. Simmons is one of the
conference's best pure pass rushers.
LINEBACKERS: Steve Tovar is one
of the nations' top linebackers. Tovar
is adept at playing the run as well as
the pass. The 6-foot-4, 240 pound
senior middle linebacker anchors one
of the best defenses in the conference.
Tovar is projected as a first-round
draft pick in next year's NFL Draft.
Michigan's Steve Morrison is
quickly emerging as a major impact
playerat inside linebacker. Last week,
Morrison had 17 solo tackles and 23
overall. Morrison's fellow inside line-
backer Marcus Walker should return
to the lineup this week.
The Wolverines' linebacking
corps have been banged up this sea-
son and appeared to tire toward the
end of the Illinois game.
Advantage: Ohio State
SECONDARY: Injuries have been a
problem in the Michigan secondary.
Cornerback Alfie Burch is outforthe
season, and Coleman Wallace is out
with a pinched nerve in his arm. Free
safety Corwin Brown has provided a
steadying force for the Wolverines.
Ohio State has one of the strongest
secondaries in the nation led by free
safety Chico Nelson.
Advantage: Ohio State
SPECIAL TEAMS: Michigan's re-
turn game has sputtered in recent
weeks as the Wolverines have muffed
a few kickoffsand consistently given
their opponents good field position.
Pistol Pete Elezovic delivered last
week in the clutch with the game-
tying 39-yard field goal. Chris
Stapleton's one punt last week cov-
ered 57 yards.
Joel Kessel punts for the Buck-
eyes and Tim Williams kicks. Smith
and Butler By'not'e provide a threat
on kick returns. Walter Taylor
handles the punt-returning chores.
RUNNING BACKS: The only team in
the Big Ten who might compare to
Michigan's stable of running backs is
The Buckeyes backfield is led by
Robert Smith who averages over six
yards a carry. Because of his speed,
Smith is a scoring threat from any-
where on the field. Raymont Harris
backs up Smith and has rushed for
423 yards so far.
However, Michigan's Tyrone
Wheatley is the best back in the con-
ference. Wheatley has rushed for
1,041 yards this season and scored 14
touchdowns. Wheatley had problems
holding on to the ball last week and
was pulled in the second half. Jesse
Johnson responded and had his sec-
ond 100-yard rushing day in the past
three weeks against Illinois.
OFFENSIVE LINE: The reason these
are the top two running teams in the
Big Ten starts with the front line. The
Buckeyes' line was injured early in
the season and Ohio State lost its first
two conference games. The rejuvena-
tion of the line has coincided with the
team's five-game winning streak.
Michigan's line is once again tops
in the Big Ten andmaybe the country.
DEFENSIVE LINE: Chris Hutchin-
son anchors the Wolverine defense
from his defensive tackle position.
Senior Dwayne Ware and the rest of the Wolverines expect better results
in Saturday's game against Ohio State than in their tie with Illinois.
Continued from page 1
#'when asked what the Wolverines
would do for motivation. "This is
the biggest game of the year for us."
Michigan has won six of its last
even meetings with the Buckeyes,
and after Ohio State opened the con-
ference season with two losses,
many anticipated a repeat of last
Ryear's 31-3 Wolverine rout.
However, since then, the Buck-
eyes have picked up speed, winning
five straight by a combined score of
S140-49, while Michigan has stum-
bled toward the season's finish line.
The Wolverines have looked listless
in victories over Purdue and North-
western and a tie with Illinois last
"As corny as it sounds, you can
throw everything out when it comes
to a rivalry like this," Michigan
coach Gary Moeller said.
Ohio State coach John Cooper
has yet to beat the Wolverines in his
first four seasons at Ohio State. Al-
though Cooper received a three-year
contract extension before last year's
Michigan-Ohio State clash, rumors
persist that he must win this year to
keep his job.
"I don't get caught up in all that
-him staying or leaving," Moeller
said. "I know that they put pressure
-on their coaches. I think he's done a
good job. He'll be around for a
Michigan defensive tackle and
co-captain Chris Hutchinson dis-
-misses the notion that the Buckeyes
will be motivated to "win one for the
"Every year, it seems like if he
doesn't beat Michigan, he's out,"
Hutchinson said. "I don't think
that's a factor."
What may be a factor is the Ohio
State offense, which has put up big
numbers in recent weeks. At the
helm is quarterback Kirk Herbstreit,
who poses problems for the Michi-
gan defense with his ability to run
"He's the same type of quarter-
back we've faced all season," Morri-
son said. "We know he can scram-
Although Herbstreit can get the
Buckeye offense off the ground,
Michigan expects Ohio State to stick
to its traditional ground game. The
Buckeyes have a diverse attack,
paced by tailback Robert Smith, and
a strong offensive line opening
"I don't think it's going to be a
wild, wide-open game," Moeller
said. "The No. 1 thing is their tail-
back. What scares you about Robert
Smith is that he can make the big
"Some guys can find a big hole,
but they'll get brought down around
the 10- or 15-yard line. Not Smith
- he can hit the home run. Maybe
we should walk him."
"If you let them run, that's when
the floodgates will open," said Cor-
win Brown, Michigan safety and co-
The partisan crowd should be an
advantage for the Buckeyes. The
structure of Ohio Stadium amplifies
any crowd noise, and the Scarlet-
and-Gray faithful usually save their
loudest cheers for the season finale.
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