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December 06, 1993 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-12-06

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- The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, December 6, 1993

Miller's Crossing
A Hall of Fame-journey
begins with 1000 steps
The Tampa Bay-area residents call it nautically-influenced.
ESPN anchor Chris Berman calls it "The Big Sombrero."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers call it home.
I call it strange.
Yes, Tampa Stadium, the 74,316-seat site of the Hall of Fame Bowl,
takes a little getting used to. No matter what term you use to describe it, you
can't get away from its, shall we say, wavy appearance (so maybe that is
nautical) as it rises between the 20-yard lines, dips toward the endzones,
and rises again above the goal-posts.
Supposedly, the shape of the stadium maximizes the number of "good
seats" for the spectators, and minimizes those undesirable seating locations,
such as in the corner of the end zone.
Well, I don't know about that. My seat in the 1988 Hall of Fame Bowl,
which was played on Jan. 2 (the bonus being that the Wolverines played
later than the Rose-Bowling Spartans) was right in the corner of the end
zone, but that was precisely where John Kolesar.hauled in Demetrius
Brown's prayer of a lob for the winning score to defeat Alabama, 28-24.
Seemed like a good enough seat to me.
Which brings me to the point of this column: having been to the Hall of
Fame Bowl before, having been part of a Michigan victory, having seen it
all, heard it all, and done it all, I am here to tell you everything you need to
know about following the Michigan football team to Tampa this New
Year's for the game against North Carolina State.
In other words, trust me.
Let's start with the stadium. We've already discussed how odd it is.
Howev'er, there are some things to like about it. The field is natural grass -
for Michigan fans, that's a plus. Had the Wolverines been Alamo Bowl-
bound, which could have been the case, they would have been playing on
artificial turf inside the new Alamodome (which isn't really a dome,
anyway). A quick check of the season's statistics tells you that Michigan is
much better off on grass.
Games on grass: 6-2.
Games on turf: 1-2.
So it's not great science. You get the point.
Something you may not enjoy about the stadium are the entrance ramps.
They're spirals, and you go around, and around, and around, and around
some more, and you still haven't reached your row.
But hey, once you arrive, you get to spectate with nautical-influence.
And stop complaining. It's New Year's Day, right?
Moving on. Before you arrive, make sure you've brushed up on your
Hall of Fame Bowl history, as it's much shorter, more interesting and easier
to learn than that Statistics chapter you should be studying now. The bowl
is a fairly young one, first playing in 1986. Boston College won the
inaugural game, 27-24, over Georgia.
Michigan's 1988 appearance was the first visit by a Big Ten school, and
the only victory.
Ohio State lost to
Auburn, 31-14, in
the 1990 contest.:
Clemson blankedp
Illinois, 30-0, in.
1991. The Bucks losts
again in 1992, this
time a 24-17
decision to Syracuse.
Here's a factoid x
that you can impress
everyone with. From
1977-84, there was
another bowl named
Hall of Fame, the Tampa Stadium
Hall of Fame Classic,
played in Birmingham, Ala. It became the All-American Bowl, and played
its last game in 1990.
No Big Ten teams played in the bowl while it was the Hall of Fame
Classic, but three - Michigan State in 1985, Indiana in 1986, and the Illini
in 1988 - went and lost in the All-American Bowl.
So go ahead, throw these facts around at your Holiday parties. I'll be
nice: you don't have to tell where they came from.
Enough history. Let's conclude with tips for getting the most from
Tampa. First, and I think this goes without saying, any self-respecting
traveler to the Tampa Bay-area must visit Busch Gardens. Even the
Wolverines are spending an evening there.
As a card-carrying member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, I
heartily recommend the Scorpion (which I've experienced) and Kumba
(which I await) roller coasters, though you may prefer the animals.
After that, there's the Gulf of Mexico and the beach. Enough said.
Besides, you may not be in southwestern California, but you are in

southwestern Florida. Just be careful not to always believe what AAA tells
you, and there are plenty of places you can go to have a good time.
Reportedly, though I didn't see this personally on my last visit, there's a
huge New Year's Eve party on the Tampa Harbourfront. Both teams'
marching bands and cheerleaders perform, and a fireworks show starts at
9:45 p.m.
So party hard New Year's Eve, but be ready to go New Year's morning.
After all, you've got a long climb ahead of you.

Sophomore wide receiver Mercury Hayes sparked Michigan with his acrobatic catches. After a
Ohio State, Hayes and the Wolverines celebrated their impending upset.

diving grab against

N.C. State lives life on the edge
Fourth-quarter comebacks key Wolfpack season

Just as you can't expect a rejuve-
nated Michigan to play down to the
level of its 7-4 mark, N.C. State's iden-
tical record isn't the best indicator of
how it will play when the Wolfpack
meets the Wolverines in the Hall of
Fame Bowl, Jan. 1.
Six consecutive N.C. State games
were decided in the fourth quarter this
season, earning the Wolfpack a reputa-
tion as a team that keeps fans in their
seats for the full game.
As the nine points that seperate the
Pack from a 9-2 record indicate, N.C.
State is a team best measured along
intangible lines.
Tenacity, adversity and drive re-
placed wins, losses and ties when the
Hall of Fame Bowl selected N.C. State,
Nov. 24.
"(We) probably (got the bowl bid)
because of those fourth (quarters) we
lived and diedby," senior cornerback
Dewayne Washington said. "Mostly
"We've been exciting all year with
the fourth-quarter rallies," center Eric
Counts said. "They probably said,
'These guys play exciting football. They
don't give up."'
Perhaps the bowl scouts and execu-
tives were saying that all through the
season, when N.C. State won four
straight games in the final quarter by an
average of 4.3 points and outscored the
opposition, 91-15, in the fourth quarter.
In each game, N.C. State controlled
its destiny. The Pack was down by six
and on the Clemson 12 for the final play
of the 20-14 loss that started the streak.
Then N.C. State beat Texas Tech on
the last play in Lubbock, Texas, 36-34;
came back from 17 points down against
Division I-AA Marshall; survived two
Georgia Tech drives to win, 28-23, and
rallied from 10 down against Virginia
to win its homecoming, 34-29.
Then N.C. State missed a two-point
conversion after scoring three unan-
swered touchdowns in the fourth against
Duke, but lost, 21-20.
So even though Virginia finished

with an 8-3 record, the Cavaliers were
still on the bowl bubble when the Pack
received its invitation. And after N.C.
State's upset over then-No. 16 Vir-
ginia, which tied the Pack for fifth place
in the ACC, the conventional wisdom
was that the Pack had the upper hand
over Clemson for both the Peach and
Hall of Fame bowls.
Jim McVay, executive director for
the Hall of Fame Bowl, said N.C. State
Athletics DirectorTodd Turner deserves
some credit, too, for helping send the
Pack to Tampa.
"Nobody rolls out the red carpet
better than Todd Turner," McVay said.
"He has done a tremendous job for
(N.C. State). He worked closely with
the committee, he was on the phone
every week, it seems, with the scouts
and representatives. To make the whole
package complete, it takes a guy like
"I enjoy selling (bowl comittees on)
N.C. State because it's easy to do,"
Turner said. "(The bowl is) the result of
one of the most gratifying seasons I've
had as an athletic director."
N.C. State comes to the Hall of
Fame Bowl healthier and more enthusi-
astic than it has been all season, accord-
ing to center Todd Ward.
"Some of the guys who missed
games at the end of the season will all be
there," Ward said.
Carl Reeves, defensive tackle, is
expected to be at full strength for the
first time since he broke his leg in
practice, Aug. 24. When Reeves, who
recorded a school-record 10.5 sacks
last season, went down, N.C. State had
to make some disorienting defensive
"We lost John Akins (to a shoulder
injury) and Carl Reeves, and EricCounts
and Darryl Beard had never started be-
fore, and Loren Pinkney was moved to
the defensive line (from linebacker) at
the beginning of the season," O'Cain
said. "But Tyler Lawrence stepped in
and gave us some stability among the
front four."
The result was Lawrence's best sea-
son, according to O'Cain. The junior

'We've been exciting
all year with the fourth-
quarter rallies.'
- Eric Counts
N.C. State center
outside linebacker had 60 tackles, 10
sacks and earned first-team All-ACC
Ward is eyeing the Wolfpack's
chance of getting national recognition
at the expense of a tradition-packed
program like the Wolverines'.
He says the key to winning will be
controlling Michigan tailback Tyrone
"Everybody knows that as Tyrone
Wheatley goes, Michigan goes," Ward
said. "If we can shut down their run, we
can shut down a big portion of their
O'Cain respects Wheatley's explo-
siveness as well.
"Wheatley is as good as any back in
the nation," O'Cain said. "We know
they'll try to come in and run the foot-
ball at our small line."
But Washington doesn't think
Michigan's running game out-classes
the Wolfpack's rushing defense.
"They'll definitely try to break the
game open by running the ball," Wash-
ington said. "I think we can (stop the
run). We have an undersized defensive
line, but they've done the job for the
most part."
Ward said that Michigan's size and
offensive game plan most resembles
North Carolina, which defeated the
Pack, 35-14, Sep. 25.
Offensively, O'Cain says that the
Wolfpack's diversity will help the most.
"They don't see a lot of the option in
the Big Ten," O'Cain said. "And our
quickness up front helps a lot."
All-ACC wideout Eddie Goines,
who holds school records for touch-
downs and receiving yardage in a sea-
son (10 and 928) and career touchdown
catches (14), provides most of the of-
fensive speed.

"The best laid plans of mice
When John Steinbeck wrote tho
immortal words, he certainly could n
have had the 1993 Michigan
team in mind.
But what has transpired this sea
certainly does Steinbeckjustice. Rath
than visiting Tampa on New Year
Day, Gary Moeller, his squad and ju
about everyone else firmly believ
that Michigan was going to once aga
sing "The Victors" in Pasadena onthe
way to a sixth consecutive Big T
What instead transpired was
week tale of anxiety, frustration
uncertainty. For a team that on pa
looked to be as strong as any of the p
championship teams, 1993 became
nightmare that would rival any Fred
Krueger creation.
What went wrong? How could
team that was ranked No. 3 in the p
season and was expected to contend f
a national championship finish 7-
have the worst season of any Mic g
team since 1984? Five plausible expl
nations can be offered to Wolve
fans to explain this season that mg
have been.
"Michigan has won the Big Tenaf
the past five years straight and I re
think it's time to move on. We'v
phasized the national champions
year, more so than in previous ye
We want the ring with the diamonds
-Alfie Burch prior to t
Washington State gam
Michigan football teams traditio
ally shunned any goals other than reac
ing the Rose Bowl, but ever sin
Moeller took over in 1990, the Wolve
ines have expressed a change in
mindset. More and more, they a
professed there to be a grail holier th
the trip to Pasadena. Namely, the n
tional championship ring that Bur
pined for.
This September, with a bandwag
crammed with fans and media, the
since 1948 came hotter and faster th
ever before.
But one game into the season,
gan lost to Notre Dame, and any serio
hopes of a title were dashed. Instead
being the pushover that it appeared
be, Notre Dame exploded early, sco
ing on its first two possessions
never looking back.
"The whole team was just confide
going in that we were going to win
Michigan quarterbackTodd Collins
following the 27-23 loss. "I felt *
good. I think I speak for the team
fact that we thought we were the bett
team going in."
The stunned disbelief that they h
again lost to Notre Dame seemed
linger with the Wolverines for long
'than they would let on, especially f
the seniors. This was supposed to
their year-the year the nationalch
pionship would come to Ann Ar
The loss left the Wlverines scr
bling for a new target, and while th
would quickly retreat to the stand
company lineregardingthe importan
of the Big Ten title, it sounded like

hollow sentiment.
"I think it's kind of a letdown
cause this year we really seemed
have our sights set on a national title
Collins said. "Maybe those hopes
gone now, maybe they're not. Th*
Ten is still very important we still w
to go to the Rose Bowl. I guess that's
goal we're going to focus on now."

Fun, sun, shopping and Kumba await Wolverine faithful in Tampa Bay

When the members of the Michi-
gan football team travel to Tampa,
Fla., to battle the Wolfpack of North
Carolina State in the Hall of Fame
Bowl, their airfare will be free.
Accommodations will be free.

For the wild-hearted, Busch Gar-
dens amusement park offers an entire
day's worth of thrills. The park features
live entertainment, shows, rides and more
than 3,400 animals.
New at the amusement park this year
is "Kumba," an innovative roller coaster
that sends riders rolling, spinning and

shops, galleries, museums and perfor-
mance centers for students who miss
the plethora of cultural opportunities in
Ann Arbor. Of particular interest is the
Museum ofAfrican-American Art. Es-
tablished in 1991 by the Florida En-
dowment Fund, this museum is one of
only four institutions of its kind in the
TT-- ,-A .N,- - . _ _ .1..4 .

Expect weather to be balmy. On the
average day in late December, Tampa
sees low temperatures of about 55 de-
grees and highs in the mid-70s.
Fitness-minded students and sports
enthusiasts should take care not to
miss Bayshore Boulevard, a six-mile
stretch of sidewalk popular with jog-
t. .,l .- A - ] .11.7 _ i .

cert and fireworks. The celebration is
free, and takes place on Harbour Island
from 7 p.m.-10 p.m. This leaves ample
time to hit the bars and ring in 1994.
Dec.31 will also feature First Night
Tampa Bay, an annual community-wide
celebration of New Year's Eve focus-
ing on the arts. Dancers, bands, art

get in free.
But students can watch "the wo
fastest, most dangerous ball gam a
the World Jai-Alai Fronton every nigh
of the week. Jai alai- originated
Spain, and features two teams con
peting to volley a small rubber ball-1
which can reach speeds of more tha

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