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October 14, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-10-14

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

The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 14, 1994 - 5

To morrow

4 . .' J' .




Offense overpowers on both sides of the ball

a lotof points. It's going to be
morelikeaWAC (game)thana
BigTen game. 31-28, Michigan.
- Chris Fowler
Despitethe polls, this is probably a
game between the besttwoteams
the country right now. You have
losttoColorado because they
dominatedthe game. And Penn
State has had overwhelming
- Tim Layden
Sports Illustrated
l like Michigan but Penn State's
*ota No.1 at tight end,two
future No.1 'sat wide receiver,a
No.1 attailback and a solid
- Chris James

Daily Football Writer
The monster Michigan's opponents feared
has awoken. The Wolverines' running backs
are on a rampage, combining for over 600 yards
the last two games.
Neither Iowa nor Michigan State possessed
the defenders Penn State has. However, the
Nittany Lions have not faced
a tailback tandem as talentede
as Tyrone Wheatley and
Tshimanga Biakabutuka.
Wheatley has shown that M
at full strength he is still one
of the best players in college
football. Meanwhile
Biakabutuka has rushed for
100 yards in four of
Michigan's five games. The
pair presents an immense challenge for a Penn
State defense allowing 134.6 running yards per
Michigan coach Gary Moeller wants even
more from his runners this week.
"The backs have to go out there and get
some hidden yardage," Moeller said, "That's
yardage after contact which keeps the ball (and)
the chains moving."
One thing the Wolverines have not been
able to do successfully on offense is put the ball
in the end zone once inside their opponent's 20-
yard line. Michigan has almost as many field
goals (13) as touchdowns (15).

It won't get any easier against a defense that
has allowed only 10 touchdowns Linebacker
Brian Gelzheiser is the key run-stopper and
although not at full strength since a preseason
knee injury, he leads the team in tackles.
The inexperienced Penn State pass defense
has been almost as leaky as Michigan's, allow-
ing 241.6 yards through the air. But that doesn't
mean Moeller will unleash quarterback Todd
Collins, despite Collins' fine numbers (84-for-
123, 1,083 yards, five touchdowns).
And the Lions know it.
"We don't expect Michigan to do anything
different than they've done all year," said
cornerback Tony Pittman. "They throw the ball
when they have to and they throw it well."
If Penn State manages to shut down Wheatley
and Co., the Wolverines have a pair of excellent
wideouts in Amani Toomer and Mercury Hayes,
Tight end Jay Riermersma has shown his abil-
ity to come up with the big play.
The whole key to the Wolverines' offense is
the line. When completely healthy the front five
has been excellent, opening monster holes for
the running backs and providing ample time for
Collins to locate his targets.
The line will have a tough time holding off
a Penn State front four that has posted 15 sacks
for negative 131 yards.

Daily Football Writer
Just when the Michigan defense thought it
had seen enough high-powered offenses in one
season, the Wolverines must now contend with
Penn State's turbo-powered machine.
The Nittany Lions possess just as many
weapons as Colorado. Penn State's artillery has
enabled it to climb to the top
of the NCAA charts in two;
offensive categories - aver-
age yards per game (556.6)
and scoring per game (51.6
Even though that quarter-
back Kerry Collins posts the
top quarterback efficiency
rating in the country, Nittany
Lions coach Joe Paterno re-
lies on his potent rushing game.
Ki-Jana Carter gets most of the load, averag-
ing 8.3 yards per carry. If Carter's dislocated
thumb hampers him in any way, Paterno won't
hesitate to call on versatile Mike Archie.
Near the goal line fullback Jon Wittman gets
the call. He has scored five times this season.
Michigan dominated Michigan State's mas-
sive front but face one of the conference's most
experienced offensive lines in the Lions - all
five are in their fourth or fifth seasons.
Should Michigan manage to stop Penn
State's rushing game, the defense must deal
with the Lions' revived passing game.

After struggling a year ago, Collins has
stepped up as the leader of the Penn State of-
fense, completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.
"Kerry has always had a lot of ability," Paterno
said. "He's playing as well as any quarterback
we've ever had at Penn State."
Collins has a pair of dangerous receivers in
Bobby Engram and Freddie Scott. They each
average over 23 yards per catch, but have differ-
ent skills that pose problems for defensive backs.
"Freddie may be a little bit faster, and I may
be a little bit stronger," Engram said.
The one difference this week for Penn State
is the fact that they face one of the worst pass
defenses in the Big Ten. While Ty Law has done
his best, the rest of the Michigan secondary must
come up to his level in order to halt the Lions.
The front line finally demonstrated it can
consistently rush the passer against Michigan
State. While the line can pressure the passer, the
rest of the Michigan defense needs to keep its
eyes open for tight end Kyle Brady, arguably the
nation's best tight end.
The biggest weakness for Penn State is the
kicking game, specifically kicker Brett Conway,
who replaces school career scoring leader Craig
Fayak. Conway has hit on 30 of 31 extra points,
but his field goal abilities remain untested. He
has attempted only four field goals.

.Rivalry reaches intense proportions

Daily Football Writer
if you were going to create a foot-
ball rivalry, you'd start with the basics.
First, it would help to have geog-
raphy on your side - Michigan
State, for instance, is within spitting
distance of Ann Arbor. Second, col-
,orful coaches would spice up things
- Ohio State's free-swinging head
coach, Woody Hayes, was a perfect
foil for Michigan's Bo
Most important of all, though, is
the Rivalry Rule of Thumb: If you
play a given opponent enough times,
you'll grow to hate it.
But what happens when two teams
ave no history with each other? Can
ou, the average Michigan fan, still
summon the fist-pounding emotion
to adequately despise a rival?
You'll find out tomorrow, when
the Wolverines play Penn State.
Michigan and the Nittany Lions have
played just once - last year's 21-13
Wolverine win in Beaver Stadium. But
the history of the two programs is so
storied, their current teams so success-
ul, that Michigan coach Gary Moeller
has already put the rivalry in a class
with those nearly a century old.
"It's in there," Moeller said. "It
jumped in last year. It just goes back
to (former Michigan coach) Fielding

H. Yost ... to the tradition that both
schools have. When you put them up
against each other, no matter what
happens, it's going to end up in a
Michigan's victory total (743) is
the highest of all time; Penn State's
(679) is fifth. Today, the Wolverines
are ranked fifth in the nation. The
Nittany Lions are No. 3.
"Any time you have two programs
with the backgrounds that Penn State
and Michigan have, and then you start
meeting every year, you're going to
have great games," Penn State
cornerback Tony Pittman said.
"Therefore, you're going to have a
big rivalry.
"Last year's game really got that
off to a good start. It was a great game
between two teams that were playing
well at the time."
Added Penn State receiver Bobby
Engram: "Michigan's going to have a
good football team year in and year
out. We look forward to playing
Michigan because they're playing so
well now.
"I was optimistic it would get to
this point."
It appears the two teams and their
coaches have already decided that
this matchup is a rivalry in the mak-
ing. Do Ann Arborites agree?
Yes, says John Gabriel, sometime

'We look forward to
playing Michigan
because they're
playing so well now.'
- Bobby Engram
Penn State receiver
Michigan student and T-shirt vendor
on the corner of South and East Uni-
versity Avenues.
"Unlike Michigan State, (Penn
State) is actually a good team with a
lot of tradition and a good head coach,"
said Gabriel, adding that this has been
"one of the better weeks as far as
(selling) T-shirts."
Gabriel added that given the "Rose
Bowl implications" of the game, its
outcome bears heavily on the success
of his business.
"If we lose, I basically just go
home and cry," he said. "If we win, I
sell a lot of shirts."
Gabriel isn't the only one benefit-
ing from the budding rivalry. Scalp-
ers outside the Union were asking as
much as $120 for a prime seat.
Most fans won't get any monetary
gain from a Penn State-Michigan ri-
valry. To them, tomorrow's game is
just a dream matchup between two
excellent football teams.

Michigan's defense laid the rivalry's foundation with a goaline stand against Penn State last season.

Tailbacks sure to be m spotlight on big stage

Daily Football Writer
Is there a soul in the crowd of
106,000 who can't stand watching
top-notch tailbacks turn tidbits into
touchdowns? ... No? Good.
Because you're sure to see plenty
of high-steppin', six-point scorin', end
around-runnin', shoulder-droppin',
good ole fashioned tailback domina-
tion in tomorrow's game between
Penn State and Michigan.
In this corner we have Michigan's
Tyrone Wheatley - everybody's all-
everything. Rumor has it this guy
wears an "S" under his shoulder pads.

Nittany Lion opportunity. He also
scores a touchdown on every eighth
carry. What is it with these guys?
We'll have to conjure up another
corner for Stephen Pitts, Penn State's
second leading per game rusher at
tailback. If you believe what the people
in Happy Valley say, these three guys
are the best of friends. Sure they are.
One thing is certain, though, Penn
State's tailbacks can jet down the side-
lines with the best of them.
"People don't realize how fast this
offense is," Penn State assistant coach
Kenny Jackson told the Philadelphia
Inquirer, "probably because of our

grouping than Penn State's, have also
put up impressive stats.
After missing the season's first
two games due to injury, Wheatley
leads the team in rushing, gaining
128.3 yards per contest. Biakabutuka,
more than filling in for his elder early
on, averages 106.8 yards each game.
Biakabutuka leads all Michigan
tailbacks with a 6.4 yard average per
carry, compared to Wheatley's 5.1.
"We can give the defense a differ-
ent look at a different type of running
back," Wheatley said of the Michigan
system. "(Biakabutuka) gives us an-
other dimension. He complements me


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