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September 23, 1994 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

vs. Northwestern
Today, 7 p.m.



vs. Colorado
Tomorrow, 3:30 (Ch. 7)
Michigan Stadium

Offenses figure to dominate

Daily Football Writer
The Michigan football team is
scheduled to take on Colorado tomor-
row at 3:30 p.m., but only if Colorado
stops scoring on Wisconsin in time to
fly to Ann Arbor.
Okay, that's a slight exaggera-
tion. It only seems like Colorado is
still scoring. The Buffaloes drilled
the Badgers last week, 55-17, in a
game that instilled more fear in the
hearts of Wolverines than any pre-
game trash-talk ever could. Colorado
humiliated the defending Big Ten
titlists, rolling up yardage like the
Fruit Roll-Up people roll up fruit.
Colorado's offensive firepower is
the biggest concern for Gary Moeller
and his team.
Here are all the matchups:
Colorado's rushing attack
against Michigan's run defense:
The Buffaloes' running game, like
Michigan's, starts with an outstand-
ing tailback. Rashaan Salaam is a big,
bruising runner with breakaway speed.
In fact, Salaam is probably more like
the Wolverines' Tyrone Wheatley
than any other player in the country.
Salaam is a step slower than Wheatley,
and he doesn't have the same did-
you-just-see-that moves, but he is
averaging 134.5 yards per game and
leads the nation in scoring, with seven
But as good as he is, Salaam is
only part of the story. Colorado quar-
terback Kordell Stewart is a Moeller
headache waiting to happen. Stewart
is averaging 8.5 yards per carry, with
most of those yards coming when
he's been flushed out of the pocket
and forced to improvise. That means
that even if the Wolverines do a good
job covering Colorado's receivers,
they still run the risk of giving up
major yardage on a Stewart scramble.
Michigan limited Notre Dame's
Lee Becton and Randy Kinder two
weeks ago, thanks to the strong play

of linebackers Jarrett Irons and Steve
Morrison and linemen Tony
Henderson and Jason Horn. But on
several occasions Ron Powlus was
able to escape for big gains. If Stewart
escapes, the scoreboard operator is
going to be awfully busy.
Advantage: Colorado
Colorado passing game against
Michigan pass defense:
Stewart must have been a good boy
when he was younger, because he has
been blessed with more offensive weap-
ons than he knows what to do with.
WidereceiversMichael Westbrookand
Rae Carruth have All-American poten-
tial. Tight end Christian Fauriais a solid
possession receiver. Salaam is also a
threat to catch out of the backfield. All
of this talent has helped Stewart be-
come the highest-rated passer in the
nation this season.
Michigan's pass defense has been
fairly inconsistent. All-American
cornerback Ty Law is so well-re-
spected that Notre Dame rarely tested
him, and on the other side Deon
Johnson has been adequate but not
super. The safeties are also a good
news/bad news proposition. Free
safety Clarence Thompson is a sprinter
with a knack for the big play. He has
caused turnovers in fourof Michigan's
last five games. Strong safety Chuck
Winters, on the other hand, is the
defense's weak link, giving up too
many big plays.
Advantage: Coliorado
Michigan running game against
Colorado run defense:
The big news here is that Wheatley
returns. He won't start, and Moeller
says he likely won't get more than 20
carries. But if Wheatley gets going,
don't expect Moeller to sit him out.

And if the past is any indication,
Wheatley will get going.
Tshimanga Biakabutuka gets the
nod to start, and Ed Davis will also
see some time. Biakabutuka has been
phenomenal in the first two games,
rushing for 228 yards. Davis has been
subpar, but he has been too solid in
the past to have Moeller worried.
Colorado gets defensive tackle
Shannon Clavelle back from a one-
game suspension. He will be charged
with clogging up the middle while the
Buffalo linebackers try to gang-tackle
Michigan's backs. Clavelle's a solid.
player, but the Wolverine running
game is simply too deep for Colorado
to stop.
Advantage: Michigan
Michigan passing game against
Colorado pass defense:
A similar situation to Colorado's
passing game. Like Michigan, the
Buffaloes have one great cornerback
(Chris Hudson). And like Colorado,
Michigan has too many receivers for
the passing game to be completely
shut down. Amani Toomer is one of
the best in the nation, and Mercury
Hayes and Seth Smith are speedsters
with solid hands. Quarterback Todd
Collins has shown he deserves to be
mentioned in the same breath with
Stewart and Florida's Terry Dean.
Advantage: Michigan
Colorado has the momentum.
Michigan had a week off. Colorado
has the confidence. Michigan has the
home field. Colorado coach Bill
McCartney worked under Bo
Schembechler. So did Michigan's
Moeller. Colorado has cool uniforms.
So does Michigan.
Advantage: none

Mercury Hayes and the Michigan receivers will have to come up big if Michigan is to beat high-scoring Colorado.

Continued from page 1
-nally as an option quarterback, but
three years ago McCartney abandoned
that offense in favor of a more pro-
style attack. However, the Buffaloes
still run the option at times, making
life difficult for the defense.
"He's not just a good football
gayer," Moeller said. "He's got speed
at can kill you."
While his speed may have made
defenses miss the first two years Colo-
rado presented the passing offense,
Stewart's mercurial passing often let
the Buffaloes down in big games.
Now Stewart is arguably the most
dangerous quarterback in college foot-
ball with his improved throwing skills.
He credits first-year quarterbacks and
Szeivers coach Rick Neuheisel with
helping him reach his potential .
"Coach Neuheisel is doing a great
job with keeping me focused on my
game all the time," Stewart said. "Dur-
ing practice ... he coaches you from
the time he sees you to the time you
One player on the Michigan side
who has not left is Wheatley.
"Tyrone practiced well this week,"
oeller said. "I expect him to be
better than normal. Whether he plays
depends on the situation."
Wheatley will not start tomorrow's
game. Instead, Tshimanga
Biakabatuka takes over as the starting
tailback. Ed Davis filled in at the
starting spot in the first two games but
managed only 50 yards on 27 carries,
mpared with Biakabatuka's 228
ards on 37 carries.
Another injury casualty, offensive
lineman Joe Marinaro, will also re-
turn to the lineup, but not necessarily
start. Thomas Guynes filled in at right
guard for Marinaro against Boston
College and Notre Dame.
Marinaro's return, even if limited,
will help the Michigan offensive line
against a defensive front considered

by some as the nation's best.
Shannon Clavelle, returning from
a one-game disciplinary suspension
due to a fight, leads the self-dubbed
"Regulators." Clavelle, a candidate
for the Outland and Lombardi tro-
phies, registered three tackles for
losses in his one game this season.
"Their defensive line is very physi-
cal," Moeller said. "It's something
we tell them in practice but can't
imitate for you. They can literally
knock you backwards."
"I think their front seven might be
a little like Washington's front seven
in the (1992) Rose Bowl," Michigan
quarterback Todd Collins said.
Michigan lostthe 1992 RoseBowl,
34-14. And the game was not that
As is Michigan tradition, Moeller
wants to run the ball as much as pos-
sible, but may have to rely on the
combination of Collins and receiver
Amani Toomer, who has 12 catches
for 251 yards in two games, should
the running game fail to generate yard-

"Todd Collins has really come of
age," McCartney said. "He plays with
a lot of confidence and a lot of matu-
rity and a flair to him now. Collins is
the one guy they can't afford to lose."
But getting open may be difficult
for Hayes or any of the other Wolver-
ine wideouts should Chris Hudson be
defending against them. Hudson, a
Playboy preseason All-America,
roams all around the secondary for
Michigan has a standout coverman
of its own in Ty Law, who along with
Hudson was a preseason favorite for
the Jim Thorpe Award as the best
defensive back in college football.
Law will be in charge of shutting
down game-breaking receiver
Michael Westbrook.
"I like everything about (Law),"
McCartney said. "I like the way he
competes. I think he may be as good
of a corner as there is out there."
Law shouldn't fret about his as-
signment. Peter Graves succeeded on
every one of his "impossible" mis-

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