The Michigan Daily - Thursday; November 3, 1994-- 9
*Alstott just a cut above
Fullback flourishes in Purdue's surprising season
By BRIAN CLARK
The Purdue Exponent
One day in practice this year,
football coach Jim Colletto yelled at
fullback Mike Alstott for blowing a
play. When he ran the play again,
Alstott broke at least five tackles.
The coaches pulled him aside
and warned him to take it easy on
the younger players, because they
were trying to build confidence.
Alstott has been running through
opposing players all season,
amassing 846 rushing yards. But
it's his positive attitude and
determination that have given the
team it's biggest lift, coaches say.
"Players like him are the reason
I'm coaching, and they only come
around once in a while," said
offensive coordinator Bobby
Turner. "There's never enough of
those kind of players.
"He is just a cut above. They
have that iron-willed determination
* and drive, and he is a self-made
A junior tri-captain, Alstott has
led Purdue (2-1-2 Big Ten, 4-2-2
overall) to its best start since 1984.
His 10 rushing touchdowns rank
second in the Big Ten.
"I think Mike's an outstanding
football player, there's no doubt '
about that," Minnesota coach Jim
* "I don't know if I'm qualified to
tell anybody who is the best in that
nation. But I think he's as good as
I've seen, I'll tell you that," Wacker
continued. "And last year against
us, he was the best in the universe."
Wacker still has nightmares
when he thinks about Alstott's
career day against the Gophers last
year. Alstott had 171 yards rushing,
84 yards receiving and he tied a
Purdue record with five touchdowns
in the game.
"I can still see that big ol'
fullback running up and down the
field, my God, Mike Alstott just ran
through us like crazy," Wacker
"So did (junior
But Alstott is
the one you
Boy, what a
Alstott great game he
"He's a great football player.
He's a power runner. He's got good
quickness and speed for a big back.
He's the whole package and I really
like the young man. I've got
tremendous respect for him."
Respect is something Alstott has
worked hard to gain.
After an outstanding high school
career in which he gained more than
3,900 yards and had 57
touchdowns, Alstott was still
criticized by the so-called experts
for lack of speed and quickness.
But he has used that criticism as
motivation, pushing an old car and
dragging tires in high school, and
'if everyone played like
(Alstott), we would
have an unbelievably
Purdue football player
adding 31 pounds to his 6-foot-I
frame since he has been at Purdue.
This summer he worked on his
speed and dropped his 40-yard dash
time two-tenths of a second to 4.7
"The criticism pushed me and it
helped me learn not to get down
when people criticize me in the paper
or make negative comments. I learned
a lot from that," Alstott said.
Alstott has seen the criticism
turn to compliments while at
Purdue. Last year, he became the
first sophomore since 1945 to be
named Most Valuable Player, and
his teammates elected him team
captain this year.
It's a role Alstott says he tries to
fill by leading by example, and his
teammates respond to his
"What makes him such a great
competitor, besides his God-given
talents, is that he goes 100 percent
on every play," senior tackle Ryan
Grigson said. "If everyone played
like him, modeled themselves after
Alstott eludes Michigan in last year's contest. The junior fullback has risen to the occasion this year.
him, we would have an
unbelievably talented team."
Turner said Alstott's leadership
has already paid dividends this year.
"Fortunately, he's not a mouthy
guy. His actions speak for
themselves and the other players
have caught that fever and the
winning fever," Turner said.
For Alstott, his Purdue career
has been troublesome at times.
During his high school career,
Alstott's teams only lost one game.
Last year, the Boilermakers only
won one game.
"It was probably the hardest
thing to go through. I was
successful as an individual, but it
was hard because I was used to
winning," Alstott said. "It was a
hard thing to cope with, but now it
feels so good to win."
It's a testament to his desire and
determination that he has handled
every obstacle in his path, not only
by emerging as one of the nation's
top fullbacks, but by developing
and maintaining an All-American
attitude in the face of adversity.
"When I was a kid, I wrote this
letter in grade school that I wanted
to get a college education, play
Division I football, and go on to
play pro football," he said. "I've felt
that way ever since. And I haven't
lost that desire to do it."
AROUND THE BIG TEN:
.Race for second place and Citrus Bowl bid heats up
Daily Sports Writer
With the Big Ten football season
nearing to an end, many people are
looking toward the bowl season and
New Year's Day, or in this year's
case, Jan. 2. Penn State's impressive
victory over Ohio State last weekend
seems to have ended the race for the
However, other Big Ten teams are
in the position to go to a New Year's
Day bowl as four are tied for the
number two conference spot. An ex-
citing ending to the season is guaran-
teed with a possible shoot-out be-
tween Ohio State, Illinois and Michi-
gan for the Citrus Bowl bid.
Penn State (4-0 Big Ten, 7-0
E verall) vs. Indiana (2-3, 5-3)
Parents' Weekend in Bloomington
may not be a happy experience as the
Hoosiers prepare to battle with the
Nittany Lions. Penn State comes off
last weekend's 63-14 trouncing of
Ohio State with a No. 1 ranking in the
CNN/USA Today poll. Indiana will
have to amass a tremendous effort to
prevent losing three conference games
in a row.
The Hoosiers are coming off lack-
luster performances against North-
western and Michigan State. They
will need to regroup if they want to
give Penn State a game. Indiana has
the offensive fire-power to restart its
engines in freshman running back Alex
Smith, who leads the conference in
rushing with 133.8 yards per contest.
He has already broken the Big Ten
freshman record for most yards in a
game (221) against Kentucky.
What more can be said about the
Nittany Lions? Penn State leads the
nation in scoring offense with 50.3
points per game. This is due to the
pairing of quarterback Kerry Collins
with tailback Ki-Jana Carter. Collins
is number one in passing efficiency
(194.7) in the country and is well on
his way to breaking the NCAA record
of 176.9 set by Brigham Young's Jim
McMahon in 1980. This past week-
end he completed 83 percent of passes
(19 of 23), while throwing for two
Heisman Trophy hopeful Carter,
who amassed 137 yards on 19 carries
against Ohio State, is second in the
nation and first in the Big Ten in
scoring. Carter's consistent success
on the nation's best team has substan-
tially improved his chances for the
Indiana will be ready to play, but
will not be able to match up to Penn
The Lions win, 48-26.
Wisconsin (3-2-1,4-3-1) vs.Ohio
State (3-2, 6-3)
Is Ohio State as bad as it looked
against Penn Sate last weekend or as
good as it looked against Purdue two
weeks ago? The answer seems to be
somewhere in between.
This season has not been as rosy as
last year in Madison, where the Bad-
gers are barely maintaining a .500
record overall. However, they are
coming off a victory over Michigan
and should benefit from the return of
running back Brent Moss.
Ohio State quarterback Bobby
Hoying was not impressive last week-
end and has been inconsistent all sea-
son long. Two weeks ago again'
Purdue, he had career highs in compi&-
tions, yards and touchdowns. Against
Penn State, he completed half of his
passes for a mere 87 yards, coupled
with three interceptions.
Split end Joey Galloway has had a
mediocre season thus far, but should
muster up a good effort at home.
Hoying will have to be more consis-
tent to beat Wisconsin and will look
to Galloway and tailback Eddie
George for offensive firepower.
Wisconsin's offense ranks second
in the Big Ten in total yards and the
Badgers have the conference's third
best defense. Last weekend the de-
fense looked impressive, especially
with linebacker Eric Unverzagt who
tallied eight tackles, one sack and two
interceptions. Running back Brent
Moss returned this week after miss-
ing the last two games due to injury,
and ran for 106 yards and one touch-
down on 26 carries. He is joined by
Terrell Fletcher in the backfield.
Though Buckeye All-American
defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson now
plays in the NFL, Ohio State's de-
fense is still competitive. It ranks sec-
ond behind Illinois in total defense,
and is led by middle linebacker
Lorenzo Styles and end Mike Vrabel.
The Buckeye defense should be able
to contain the tandem of Moss and
Fletcher and give the ball back to the
This one will be close, but Ohio
State will find a way to win at home.
Buckeyes win, 20-17.
Illinois (3-2, 5-3) vs. Minnesota
This is a very big game for the
Illini. They have a legitimate shot at
the Citrus Bowl if they finish the
season on a winning note. Minnesota
was idle this past week, but amassed
a huge victory over the Moss-less
Badgers in Madison two weeks ago.
Illinois has one of the top defenses
in the nation. The Illini defensive unit
See BIG TEN, Page 11
ile U of M Coffege Republicans
Want to remind you to take
your government back...
On November vj
The University of Michigan
Auditions will consist of a sight-reading excerpt.
Men's Basketball Band Rehearsals Tuesdays, 7 - 8:15 pm
**Women's Basketball Band Rehearsals Tuesdays, 8:30 - 9:45 pm
ELIJAH WOOD - KEVIN COSTNER
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