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October 14, 1993 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-14

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vs. Alaska-Fairbanks
Tomorrow, 11 p.m.



Field Hockey
vs. Ohio State
Tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.
Oosterbaan Field House

Happy returns: Ritchie heading home to Penn State

Ithasbeenabusy fall forJonRitchie.
Like all freshmen, he is trying to make
it through his first semester at Michi-
gan, and like most freshmen, it has not
been the easiest adjustment.
"I don't have that much time to
enjoy myself," he said. "It seems like
I'm always preoccupied about get-
ting my work done or getting to prac-
But then, most freshmen aren't try-
ing to juggle classes with a part-time

position in the Michigan backfield.
That, of course, has been what
Ritchie, maybe the cornerstone ofone
of the top recruiting classes in the
country, has been doing this fall. He
says the workload makes him yearn
forhome, Mechanicsburg, Penn., even
though as he says, "I remember it
always seemed boring. There was
never enough to do.
"I hope I can get back there soon,"
he says.
He will come close Saturday, when
his Michigan football team takes the

field for the first time ever against Penn
State in State College. The game holds
special significance forRitchie, because
not only did he grow up only a few
hours away from Happy Valley, he
considered going to school there, too.
Ritchie will be one of four Wol-
verines who will get to appear before
the homefolks. Damon Denson, a de-
fensive tackle from Pittsburgh, and
running back Rob Swett from
Chalfont, both freshmen, and sopho-
more cornerback Ty Law from
Aliquippa are the others.

Perhaps Ritchie, a hotly-recruited
player who made just about every
All-America team, will be the one the
sellout crowd at Beaver Stadium will
be watching most. One thing is for
certain, though. He willhavehis share
of fans in his corner.
"I've been trading off tickets with
other games with other players," he
says. "I've built up a little safety de-
posit box full of tickets."
Ritchie is excited about the chance
to play before his friends and family
who cheered him on during his days at
Cumberland Valley High School.
"I'm hoping that I'll get more of a
shot," he admits. "It would be like a
fairy tale to go in to Penn State and do
And should that come to pass, there
may be some among the crowd, maybe
even Penn State coach Joe Patemo him-
self, who will wish that Ritchie had
decided to spend his college years in
State College.
Georgeanne Ritchie remembers
January 1993 well. It was a time when
her son, Jon, was trying to decide
where to attend college.
"He was under tremendous stress,"
she remembers. "He's akid who didn't
want to displease anyone. And whenhe
had to say no to people, it was very
difficultforhim.So he wanted to get the
decision made. He says that probably
the three weeks in early January were
the worst three weeks of his life."
After a visit to Stanford the fall of
his senior year, Ritchie had agreed pri-
vately with coach Bill Walsh to attend
the school. However, as the year wore
on, Ritchie began to question his deci-
sion. Palo Alto was a lot farther away
from home than Ann Arbor, or for that
matter, State College.
Stanford dropped from the picture
and only Penn State and Michigan
remained. And even though Ritchie
now says he never gave Penn State
the consideration that he did Stanford
and Michigan, the pressure did not
subside at all.
As a youth in Mechanicsburg, he
says Nittany Lion fever was so strong,
he "had no choice about rooting for
Penn State." There was little doubt

where the vast majority of
Mechanicsbug, and all of Pennsylva-
nia, thought he should matriculate.
And choosing Ann Arbor over
State College meant turning his back
on Jerry Sandusky, Penn State's de-
fensive coordinator and the man who
had personally recruited Ritchie.
As a close friend of Cumberland
Valley's athletic director, Sandusky
was in Mechanicsburg often and had
a lot of contact with Ritchie.
During his recruitment, the two
developed a friendship beyond coach
and player.
Georgeanne Ritchie remembers a
newspaper article following his deci-
sion to attend Michigan that quoted
Jon as saying, "Jerry Sandusky is one
of the finest human beings I know."
It was adifficult decision, but it was
the academics at Michigan, as well as
the camaraderie he felt with the Michi-
gan players that won out.
So the misery of January finally
ended when Jon Ritchie signed his
letter of intent to attend the Univer-
sity of Michigan. He would be leav-
ing central Pennsylvania, the land
where Paterno reigns supreme. He
wouldbe forgoing the Blue and White
for the Maize and Blue.
Ritchie says that after the signing,
mostpeople wereunderstanding abouthis
choice. However, there were still the nuts
who felt that somehow it was Ritchie's
obligation to play for Penn State.
Georgeanne read about another in-
coming player, centerJoe Ries of Ohio,
who received hate mail after signing
with Michigan over Ohio State.
"I think he was trying to protect
me," she recalls. "I said to him,
'You're lucky you didn't get any hate
mail like that,' and he said, 'I did get
a few letters."'"
But ever since the decision, he has
not looked back.
"It's really turned out well," he
says. "I feel comfortable here."
He is a good fit for Ann Arbor.
Even though he says that due to his
demanding schedule, "I don't really
know anything that's going on in Ann
Arbor," the compatibility is clear.
His eclectic tastes and intellectual,
thoughtful nature make him a natural

for this liberal town of coffeehouses
and protests. It is difficult, but one can
picture the 6-foot-3, 240-pound full-
back reciting some of his published
poetry in a smoky, dimly-lit cafe.
He is excited about next term,
when, without the demands of foot-
ball, he will be able to take on a larger
courseload and devote himself more
fully to classwork.
"I'll take Japanese after the sea-
son when I have some more time to
study. I'm really into that," Ritchie
says. "And I might want to follow up
on some Spanish courses because I
placed out of that and I feel like I'm
getting rusty.
"And Ithink Russian wouldbe cool."
He also has an independent study
lined up.
"It's basically any type of writing.
I can do poetry, or I can do lyrics for
music or things like that," he said.
In the offseason, too, he will be
able to spend time writing and play-
ing music. Ritchie plays the guitar,
the piano and the saxophone.
But for the time being, he is still in
the middle of the football season, one
of only a handful of true freshmen
earning playing time on coach Gary
Moeller's squad. Ritchie splits time
at fullback with ChM Foster.
Even on the football field, Moeller
says he is always thinking.
"He tries to analyze everything,"
Moeller says. "He does from the stand-
point he wants the complete answer.
He just doesn't want to know who to
block, he wants to know how it fits in
with everything."
So far, his numbers aren't eye-
popping - 10 cares for 38 yards
with a long of 10 yards--but that has
not dampened his coaches' enthusi-
asm in the least.
"I think he's gonna be a person who
we're all going to hear a great deal
from," Moeller predicts. "I think he's
going to be a very, very good football
player. He has the potential to do it."
"I'm just plugging away, waiting
for a greater opportunity to come
along," Ritchie says "And whenever I
get the opportunity, I'll do the best I
can do."
There is no doubting that.


Michigan freshman running back Jon Ritchie of Mechanicsburg, Penn., is heading home for the Penn State game.

Men's soccer to face
ranked Oakland squad

Buckeyes and Badgers
will remain Ii defeated
rIt's no great secret that if a team scores more points than its opponent, it has a
tty goodchance of winning. Three Big Ten teams-Ohio State, Penn State and
Wisconsin - have outscored their opponents in every one of their games. Not
surprisingly, all three teams are undefeated.
While the Badgers will surely lose before the year is out, there is a realistic
chance that either the Nittany Lions or the Buckeyes will go undefeated. Before
the season, that notion would have seemed preposterous, because there was
another team in the conference that figured to dominate - we won't mention
names, but its initials are U-M.
Anyway, on to this week's slate:
Michigan State (1-0 Big Ten, 3-1 Overall) at Ohio State (2-0, 5-0):
* The Spartans looked great last week, but they aren't good enough to beat top
20 teams two straight Saturdays. Tailback Craig Thomas has shown that he is
better than Tico Duckett ever was, and Mill Coleman is a solid all-around
performer. ButMichigan State's offense is too limited to really puta scare into the
Buckeyes, who have allowed just 15 points in two Big Ten matchups.
Ohio State, however, has shown it can dominate nearly anybody. The Buck-
eyes are not the best team in the country by a long shot-Florida State would beat
them like so many eggs - but they have a chance at the national title.
Ohio State 31, Michigan State 10.
Illinois (1-1, 1-4) at Iowa (0-3,2-3):
The Fighting lini always play to their opponent. Illinois played Ohio State
gh last week before losing, 20-12. But earlier in the season they lost to lowly
The Hawkeyes are usually pretty solid, but they have been just awful this year,
losing their first three Big Ten games by an average of fifteen points. This one
won't be so bad.
Illinois 17, Iowa 14.
Minnesota (1-2, 2-4) at Northwestern (0-2, 2-3):
Northwestern started the season by almost beating Notre Dame and actually
beating Boston College, but since then, the Wildcats have taken their usual place
the backwash in the beverage ofcollege football. OhioState beat themby amere

Michigan State and running back Craig Thomas tackle tough OSU Saturday.
48 points, and Wisconsin whipped them by 39. That's the bad news.
The good news is that Minnesota isn't Ohio State or Wisconsin. The Gophers
are coming off awild game againstPurdue in which they put 59 points on the board
- and won by a field goal. Minnesota has the conference's most potent offense
and its most porous defense.
This is the kind of game you make your kids watch if they haven't been doing
their homework.
Minnesota 44, Northwestern 31.
Wisconsin (2-0, 5-0) at Purdue (0-2, 1-4):
Afterjamping out to a3-0 start a year ago, Wisconsin played poorly and ended
up 5-6. Although this year's squad is better, the Badgers will still lose to someone
they should beat this year. You can bet on that. But it probably won't be Purdue.
The Boilermakers are still shell-shocked by the debacle against Minnesota.
Penn State figures to join the Buckeyes and Wolverines at the top. If the
Badgers are to be part of the upper echelon, they will need to beat the lower-level
teams. Purdue certainly qualifies.
Wisconsin 24, Purdue 13.

There are two scheduling strategies
that the Michigan men's soccer team
could have taken in 1993 to prepare
itself for the postseason.
The Wolverines had the choice of
either padding their schedule with
cream-puff teams to give themselves
an inflated record, or taking on tough
teams that would better prepare them
for the rigors of the playoffs.
Michigannodoubtchose the latter.
After taking on nationally ranked
Division II squad Wisconsin-Parkside
last weekend and losing, 4-0, the Wol-
verines will take on a team of equal
caliber Saturday at Oakland Univer-
Oakland is ranked No. 11 in Divi-
sion II and showcases a 7-3-1 record.
Oakland tied with Wisconsin-Parkside
earlier in the year and is coming off an
impressive 4-1 victory over No. 14
Northeast Missouri State last week-
"We'll get another good game
againstaquality, quality team," Michi-
gan coach Steve Burns said. "When
you look at our schedule, we've got
some teams that would be great to beat,
but they are on our schedule because
they are very strong teams. They areon
the schedule because we want to play
top-notch quality programs."
How top-notch is Oakland? Take
one lookat the man tending thenetand
you'll get a good clue.
Senior goalie Mike Shahey has
started every game in net for Oakland
since hejoined the team as afreshman.
He is Oakland's career-leader in saves,
and shutouts. And this year he'snotched
six shutouts and sports a nifty 0.59
IColor PrintingI

goals-per-game average.
Oakland additionally features an
impressive starting trio of junior for-
wards. Ely Tiomkin leads the teams
with 10 goals and one assist for 21
points. MikeThorton (7 goals-1 assist-
15 points) and Mali Walton (3-6-12)
add to the potent attack. Oakland will
also start four midfielders and three
defenders to round out its rotation.
"This is a game that we'd be ec-
static if we won, and we'd be real
happy with a tie," Burns said.
For the Wolverines to stay competi-
tive with the well-rounded Oakland
team, their 4 (defenders) - 4
(midfielders) - 2 (forwards) forma-
tion will have to show the same disci-
pline and command it demonstrated in
lastweek's loss toWisconsin-Parkside.
"We really know how to take a
team out of its game," Burns said.
"When we play our 4-4-2, you need
everyone to know what its role is and
being able to perform their role on the
field. The 4-4-2 worked really well
against Parkside, and is coming to-
gether for us. We've learned that our
system works and we need to stick with
it and mentally be disciplined enough
to play it for 90 minutes."

for lrvel beginning November 1
One Way Rumnirip
$229 $419
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Women's golf heads to Madison f r final fall tourney-

When asked her reaction to her

There's not one thing that I can say
she did good."
Sophomore Shannon McDonald,

to be played at the University Ridge
Golf Course.
The par-72 course is a bit hilly,

stay positive and focused."
"There's a lot that everybody can
do to improve," McDonald said. "We

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