The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, November 15, 1993 - 5
Three TDs, 72 yards
mark Wheatley's return
By ANDY DE KORTE
DAILY FOOTBALL WRITER
Anyone underestimating Tyrone
Wheatley's importance to Michigan's
football team can certainly stop now.
While no one would give all the
credit to Wheatley for Saturday's 58-
7 blowout against Minnesota, the dra-
matic difference between Saturday,
with Wheatley, and the last few games,
without Wheatley, cannot be consid-
A shoulder injury incurred against
Illinois three weeks ago kept Wheatley
out of the following two games against
Wisconsin and Purdue. Michigan lost
to Illinois on a late touchdown and
then lost to Wisconsin. After both
games, slow starts and a ghost-like
running game were the culprits by
Wheatley returned to the starting
lineup against Minnesota with 55 yards
in the first half and three touchdowns
for the game. His first two scores
came in the opening quarter and pushed
. the score to 17-0. Michigan had not
scored in the first quarter since its Big
Ten opener against Iowa.
The quick scores played a major
role in deflating the opposition and
did not go unnoticed. Wheatley's
praise came from both sides.
"Wheatley is the best running back
in the nation and he proved it again
today," Minnesota coach Jim Wacker
said. "We couldn't catch him, then we
couldn't tackle him."
His own coach welcomed him back
to reestablish the rushing game and
the ball control that comes with it.
"Tyrone certainly helped us, there's
no question of that," Gary Moeller
said. "I actually wanted to get him
some more carries. If the game had
been closer, I would have kept him in
Wheatley accomplished every-
thing he intended despite wearing a
shoulder harness as a precaution to the
EVAN PETRIE/Daily "I was not really 100 percent. There
junior tailback were still phases in my game that felt
tight," Wheatley said. " I had a shoul-
I was not really 100
percent. There were
still phases in my game
that felt tight. ... I did
everything I wanted to
do, but I didn't want to
do too much.'
- Tyrone Wheatley
der harness on the whole game. I did
everything I wanted to do, but I didn't
want to do too much."
Minnesota cornerback Juan Hunter
did a little too much to Wheatley when
he tried to drag him down on a first
quarter run -- a flagrant face mask
With Wheatley headed for his sec-
ond touchdown of the first quarter, he
put a move on Hunter. Hunter's frus-
tration apparently made him feel cor-
ralling Wheatley's head would be his
only means of a tackle.
"I feel lucky my helmet came off,"
Wheatley said. "It's a good thing I was
sweating, maybe this (pointing to a
closely shaven head) haircut helped.
Otherwise my head might have stayed
in the helmet."
Hunter's reprieve did not last long.
Wheatley added to all the Gopher's
frustration when he sped into the end
zone just two plays later.
The result seemed almost inevi-
table to Michigan quarterback Todd
"Anytime we get in there, inside
the five- or 10-yard line," Collins said.
"We expect a guy like Wheatley to
score, even if the blocking isn't great."
As the disappointment grew for
Hunter and his teammates, weeks of
Wheatley's frustration continued to
dissipate with each stride.
"It was real frustrating not being
able to play," Wheatley said. "It was a
new view watching the game on tele-
Yds Avg Lg
120 40.0 45
Batley to the Wolverines' starting lineup. Seen here scoring the second of his three touchdowns, thej
aining 72 yards, enroute to the Wolverines 58-7 thumping of Minnesota.
:rives began on the Minnesota 29.
Three and out described the Go-
phers first drive, but regardless of the
:escription, the drive was anything
t conventional. Minnesota went
e penalties and out, not three plays.
On the next drive the Gophers
managed two first downs. Michigan
inebacker Jarret Irons then stepped
up and knocked away passes on first
and second down. When Eckers' third
pass of the series floated out of bounds,
the stage was set for Wolverine Walter
ball and rambled to the Minnesota 17
before the punter tackled him. With
their second consecutive start inside
the Gopher 25, the Wolverines needed
to prove that they could still take ad-
vantage of their breaks. Before this
game, Michigan had not scored in the
first quarter since Oct. 2 against Iowa.
The killer instinct, so long dor-
mant in the Wolverine offense, arose
in many forms in the rest of the half.
Three plays and 55 seconds later,
Michigan led 10-0.
Three and out for Minnesota, this
time three plays, gave the ball back to
Michigan with 5:12 left in the first
quarter. After two Wheatley rushes,
Todd Collins found Derrick Alexander
for 55 yards and first down on the
"The way they play defense some-
times you need to get big plays," Michi-
gan coach Gary Moeller said. "We
knew our receivers were fast enough
to beat one-on-one coverage, and we
got some big plays and had (an ap-
proximately 50-yard completion) to
(Mercury) Hayes wiped out by pen-
Three rushes later, Wheatley
jumped into the end zone and the rout
officially began. Second quarter drives
of 1:29, 1:03 and :06 all ended in
Michigan touchdowns. Michigan led
41-0 at halftime, just one point less
than the previous season high for points
in a game.
Biakabutuka's nine-yard touch-
'I think it showed that
we were ready to play
right from the start. We
knew they were going
to be blitzing, but we
picked it up right. This
is what we were
supposed to be doing.
It felt good to blow
- Todd Collins
down run represented the total of the
Collins said that preparation played
the biggest role in offensive explo-
"I think it showed that we were
ready to play right from the start,"
Collins said. "We knew they were
going to be blitzing, but we picked it
up right. This is what we were sup-
posed to be doing. It felt good to blow
Regardless of how the offense
handled the blitz, they would not have
had so may opportunities without the
heavy pressure of the defense. More
than half of the 17 Minnesota drives
lasted four plays of less. Five first-half
drives contained only three plays.
Player No. Yds Avg
Osterman 2 3015.0
Totals 2 3015.0
MI - Elezovic 35-yard field goal
Drive: 6 plays, 4 yards, 2:03
MI - Wheatley 13-yard run (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 17 yards, :55
MI - Wheatley 3-yard run (Elezovic kick)
MI - Smith 22-yard pass from Collins (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 42 yards, 1:29
MI - Davis 18-yard run (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 36 yards, 1:03
MI - Biakabutuka 9-yard run (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 1 play, 9 yards, :06
MI - Hamilton 47-yard field goal
Drive: 9 plays, 44 yards, 2:36
MIl- Wheatley 1-yard run (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 6 plays, 58 yards, 3:09
MN - Dahlen 26-yard pass from Eckers (Chalberg kick)
Drive: 7 plays, 77 yards, 1:46
MIl- Elezovic 23-yard field goal
Drive: 3 plays, 47 yards, 1:01
MI - Biakabutuka 5-yard run (Elezovic kick)
Drive: 2 plays, 34 yards, :35
Smith. Smith burst through the offen-
sive line and smothered the punt at-
tempt by Gopher punter Ron Holty.
"I think it was a missed assign-
ment. I came straight through," Smith
said. "I was afraid of missing the ball
(because he was untouched) but we've
*n working on that in practice."
Steve King picked up the loose
re of Big Ten crown
us in race for bowl position
In of a Rick Trefzger pass at the
(Michigan State 30 with 1:59 to play.
But the Boilermakers got the ball
back once more with 57 seconds left at
he Purdue 28 when Michigan State
;unted. Trefzer hit Hill and Ross
Purdue (0-7, 1-9). "We've got to start
playing with more intensity."
The victory was Michigan State's
first on the road this year, and insured
the team's first winning season in three
'+ . .... .. ::'" ..a. : .:>,: ...,... :a: >.. .,e... .i t? .o .fo- .a +:;9c:xS.:''.<: .. t ....: ............. , .... :..:._; "_. _ fi a%' t