The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, September 13, 1993 -- 5
Continued From Page 1
faced, he ended his press conference with a nod and
left the room.
The week-to-week focus has changed dramati-
cally for the Wolverines. After beating Washington
State last week, the team had begun thinking about
the Irish before they had changed into their street
clothes. After the Irish loss, Collins admitted he was
thinking not about Houston (the next Wolverine
opponent), but about the disappointment of the Notre
Dame game, when he left the field Saturday.
Surely, Houston is not Notre Dame, and the game
is two weeks away. He has more than enough time to
regain his mental focus and he probably will find it.
However, the memory of this game will haunt him
and his teammates throughout the season. They will
wonder how the season got away - after just the
second Saturday in September.
Michigan had finally admitted to the public that it
wanted the national championship. Although it had
been mentioned in the past, the Wolverines simply
felt they could do it this year. Unfortunately, they
fully understand the sting of setting agoal and having
it moved to an unattainable position.
'We got behind and we never caught up," Michi-
gan linebacker Steve Morrison said. "We really have
to put (the national championship) behind us now.
We want to go out and win every game but we really
have no say anymore."
But what if playoffs existed.
Indulge in a bit of fantasy. Pretend this game had
notbeen played twodays ago. After playing a season,
this game would be a feasible playoff confrontation.
Surely, Houston is not Notre Dame,
and the game is two weeks away.
He has more than enough time to
regain his mental focus and he
probably will find it. However, the
memory of this game will haunt him
and his teammates throughout the
season. They will wonder how the
season got away -- after just the
second Saturday in September.
Michigan'soffensive line would have had time to
gel. And with a little better protection, and Collins
would have had less reason to get flustered and throw
interceptions. And Michigan's defense could have
prepared for an option offense.
Of course, the Irish would have progressed also.
They need some improvement, much like the Wol-
verines. Amazingly, Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz
expects improvement from all his players after play-
ing one of their strongest games.
The point is - you do what you have to do, you
play the hand you're dealt, all those clich6s - you
have to win every game you play to be a national
champion. More than likely, participants in any na-
tional title game would be undefeated before it started.
Separately, they would not give up special teams
touchdowns in two consecutive games - first a
kickoff return, then a punt return.
Thus, after years of setting the ultimate goal at the
Big Ten title and weeks of national dreams, the trip to
the Rose Bowl is back at the top menu.
There is really nothing else to choose from.
T. Collins 2
22 25111.4 43
lo p yEVyN PM IE/Di ly
opnup many holes in the veteran Irish defensive front Saturday, but tailback Ed Davis does find some daylight
Failure in execution of football
fundamentals leads to Blue loss
By ADAM MILLER
DAILY FOOTBALL WRITER
If the sting of defeat at the hands of
the underdog Irish wasn't enough for the
Michigan football team - and the si-
multaneous loss of any national champi-
onship hopes - the Wolverines can add
this woe to the pile: fundamental mis-
takes in football technique greatly con-
tributed to the loss.
Take, for instance, tackling.
When NotreDamequarterback Kevin
McDougal kept the ball on the option
and scampered 43 yards for the touch-
down to open the scoring, several Wol-
verines had a chance to tackle him. Most
tacklers that had an opportunity to stop
him were on the line, as several Wolver-
ines took swipes at McDougal in the
backfield. All slid off, and soon
McDougal had gained the left corner and
was in the secondary.
Strong safety Shonte Peoples, stand-
ing at the 10-yard line, had the lastchance
to stop him, but he was really out of
position. He lunged from three yards
away in a desperate attempt to make the
Michigan coach Gary Moeller cited
such inadequate tackling as a key to the
"The option? We've seen that before,
we saw it last year," he said. "There
shouldn't be anything there that's going
to deceive you to the point that you can't
get it straightened out....
"When something like this happens,
you just go back to basics, basic funda-
mental football and the techniques to be
executed. It just appeared to me that we
had several opportunities to tackle."
Or, for a second example, blocking
and controlling the line.
The place where there was the most
fundamental - and critical - break-
down for Michigan was on the line of
'When something lke this
happens, you just go back
to basics, basic
fundamental football and
the techniques to be
executed. It just appeared
to me that we had several
opportunities to tackle.'
- Gary Moeller
Michigan football coach
scrimmage. Notre Dame controlled both
the offensive and defensive line of scrim-
mage most of the game, and this in large
measure led to the Irish upset.
There was little doubtbefore the game
that Notre Dame's defensive line would
make life difficult for Michigan's inex-
perienced offensive line, and this indeed
For the second consecutive week,
Wolverine runners were forced to run
wide, around the ends, insteadof through
holes in the center of the line. The pattern
was established on Michigan's first pos-
On his first carry, Tyrone Wheatley
ran over right guard for no gain, but his
second carry was around right end for 11
yards. Later in the drive, Michigan quar-
terback Todd Collins was sacked by
cornerback Bobby Taylor, and while he
would only be sacked once more on the
day, he was under relatively constant
pressure from the Notre Dame rush the
rest of the afternoon.
Collins admitted that "They were
rushing the passer well." Taylor agreed.
"I thinkfirst of all, the front four, they
were getting great rushes on'em and the
coaches were putting us in perfect de-
fenses at any particular time," Taylor
said. "We knew they were going to go
deep, they have four, five great receivers,
and they came up with a lot of big plays,
but overall, I think we contained them to
What many observers were not ex-
pecting was the ability oftheNotreDame
offensive line to hold out the Michigan
defensive line, allowing Notre Dame to
establish the running game.
Especially early in the game, the Irish
line opened big holes for tailback Lee
Becton, fullback Ray Zellars, and the
"I had confidence in my offensive
line the whole time," McDougal said.
"I've got (center) Tim Ruddy, and (right
tackle) Todd Norman and (left tackle)
Aaron Taylor also. They're great
blockers. I had confidence in them the
whole time, it was just a matter of going
out and doing it."
"What I couldn't believe is after one
game we could run the ball that well,"
Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz said. The
Irish had 192 gross rushing yards, and
163 net, Saturday.
Finally, there is special teams.
Most shockingly, and just as against
Washington State, Michigan allowed a
kick to be returned for a touchdown. Last
week it was a kickoff. This time, a Chris
Stapleton punt was returned 56 yards by
speedster Mike Miller.
"You just can't do those things,"
Moeller said. "It's very disappointing
because on thatpartof our football (team)
we had worked very hard."
Examining the fundamental break-
downs in every phase of the game -
offense, defense, and special teams, in-
cluding a rash of untimely penalties on
each - Moeller put the loss in perspec-
'We've just got to get back to the
drawing board," he said, "and obviously
we've got a lot of work to do."
No Yds Avg Lg
4133 33.3 49
1 1414.0 14
5147 29.4 49
recordfis at 'M
AU-Big Ten team, Miliacarries a 3.48 GPAas a Biology/Pre-Med student, and has
been admitted to Michigan's medical school for next year.
BO-UTIFUL: Former Michigan head coach Bo Schembechler was honored at
halftime Saturday as an inductee into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame. Schembechler,
who compiled a 194-47-5 record in his 20 years at Michigan, was the winningest
active coach in Division I football at the time of his retirement in 1990.
His record in the Rose Bowl, two wins in nine tries, has often been joked about,
luding by Schembechler himself. But the fact remains: his 13 teams who won
or tied for the Big Ten championship, 17 bowl appearances, and nine trips to
Pasadena truly distinguished Schembechler as one of the game's greats.
MAGIC, IS THAT YOU? No, former Wolverine and Heisman Trophy winner
Desinond Howard still plays for the NFL's Washington Redskins. But wide
- iceiver Mercury Hayes' diving touchdown catch in pregame warmups did bring
uo mind Howard's grab that defeated the Irish two years ago, and brought a hearty
tound of cheers from the early-arriving faithful.
4. STREAK SNAPPED: Michigan was undefeated in 20 consecutive regular
season games going into Saturday's contest (17-0-3). The streak dated back to
orida State's 51-31 drubbing of the Wolverines in the third game of the 1991
n. However, Michigan's 21-game Big Ten unbeaten streak and 22-game
conference road unbeaten streak remain.
. Such are the benefits of a non-conference game.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, REDUX: Saturday's affair marked the 25th meeting
between the Wolverines and the Fighting Irish. The on-again, off-again series dates
b, k to 1887. Including Saturday's loss, the Wolverines lead the series 14-10-1
LUCK OF THE ... : Despite Michigan's overall series lead, Notre Dame
y has held the upper hand of late. The last time the Wolverines won two in
w from the Fighting Irish was in the 1985 and 1986 seasons, when they won
X3-12 in Ann Arbor and 24-23 at South Bend. Since then, Notre Dame is 5-1-1,
Acuding a four-in-a-row streak from 1987-90.
The"luckiest" game in that stretch (in terms of good ol' Irish luck) came in 1990
at South Bend. Though Notre Dame raced to a 14-3 lead, Howard teamed with
quarterback Elvis Grbac to lead Michigan to a 24-14 lead late in the game. Irish
quarteback Rick Mirer then earned his "Golden Boy" label, throwing the
winning pass to Adrian Jarrell with mere seconds remaining.
IT'S GETTING OLD, ALREADY: Throughout their short career, Michigan's
Five basketball players (Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson,
First Downs 19
Third Down 5-14
Total Offense 402