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January 10, 1996 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-01-10

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

TEXAS A&M 22, MICHIGAN 20

Blue should remember the Rose Bowl and the Alamo

seemed to tail off, though, as the
half wore on. So did Griese's
veness.
Michigan quarterback was 5-
in the third and fourth quarters,
ig eight in airow at one point.
ason? The pressure.
wears on you, to be honest,"
s d.
t obably why the Aggies kept
ing the entire game. Texas A&M
R.C. Slocum insists, though,
le Aggies didn't always bring
body.
ehadmore individual stunts where
3re bringing an extra linebacker
li-out blitzes," Slocum said.
A&M coach estimated that the
s blitzed about 30 percent of the
o the Wolverines, it seemed like
rr should be a lot higher. But
ver many times they did, the Tex-
:reunbeatable when they blitzed.
rly the guys defending the Alamo
iought of it.

AN ANTONIO - It's
ecome an unwanted Michigan
tradition. Yet once again, the
Wolverines have sunk to its depth.
For the third consecutive cam-
paign, the Michigan football team
managed to drop four games in a
season. You have to go all the way
back to the '60s, before the
Schembechler era, to find the last
time the Wolverines pulled that
trick. From 1965-67, the school lost
a combined 16 games.
The Dec. 28 contest against Texas
A&M in the Alamo Bowl marked
the third straight season that the
Wolverines have traveled to an also-
ran bowl game. Michigan played last
season in the Holiday Bowl and the
year before in the Hall of Fame
Bowl.
It was also the second straight
year that the Wolverines did not see
action on New Year's Day. There
was a day and age when Michigan
actually played on Jan. 1. Recently,
the Wolverines and their followers
have watched everyone else enjoy
the prestige of playing on the first
day of the new year.
The 22-20 loss to the Aggies
certainly should leave Michigan with
a bad feeling after the 1995 season.
The previous two seasons ended
with the Wolverines easing by lesser
opponents. Michigan whipped North
Carolina State, 42-7, in the 1994
Hall of Fame Bowl and outlasted
Colorado State, 24-14, in last year's
Holiday Bowl.
A&M
Continued from Page 1B
kick to give the Aggies a 13-10 lead.
Bryant kicked his third field goal
with 5:34 remaining in the third;
Hamilton hit his second 5:01 later.
Bryant would hit two more in the
fourth to put the game out of reach.
Michigan's final score came on a
44-yard Hail Mary from Griese to
Toomer into the left side of the end
zone with five seconds left.
"We gave them that last one,"
Mickens said.
For the game, Michigan had more
yards on offense than Texas A&M,
311-276, but the Wolverines were
unable to consistently move the ball.
"We did not execute the way you
have to execute against that kind of
defense," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr
said of the Aggies' stop-the-run-first
game plan. "We hit some big passes,
particularly in the first half, but we
were only able to get one touchdown
out of that."
"I thought we had guys open; we
didn't find them consistently or hit
some of those (passes)."
" I didn't even
think it was
possible for a
placekicker to win
the MVP"
- Kyle Bryant
Texas A&M kicker
For Bryant, who had been incon-
sistent throughout the season, his five
field goals and Most Valuable Player
honor were a bit of redemption.
"It's always that' first field goal
that breaks the ice," he said. "The
49-yard field goal pretty much set
me straight for the game.
"I didn't even think it was possible
for a place kicker to win the MVP."

Aside from Texas A&M's highly
aggressive defense, Michigan ran
into two other problems in San An-
tonio: crowd noise and field posi-
tion.
"We had a very, very difficult time
communicating," Carr said. "If any-
thing, it was louder than what we
anticipated it being."
As for field position, the Aggies
only touchdown drive started at
Michigan's five-yard line. For the
game, Texas A&M's average field
position was its own 45.5 yard line,
while the Wolverines began their
drives an average of 25 yards further
back, at their own 20.3.
In the end, though, Michigan co-
captain Jarrett Irons may have
summed up the game best.
"A&M executed their plays and
we didn't execute ours," he said.
"You can't sit and dwell on it be-
cause it's over with."

Those victories gave the Wolver-
ines false praise for their work in
those two seasons. The fact of the
matter is that Michigan did not have
good seasons in 1993 and 1994, and
it didn't have a
good year in
" 1995.
There were
a lot of
reasons, or
excuses as
some like to
say, why the
ANTOINE Wolverines
PITTS couldn't get
Pitts the job done.
Stop There was a
________________ new coach in
Lloyd Carr
who had to start a redshirt freshman
quarterback in Scott Dreisbach.
After Dreisbach's injury, Michigan
had to turn to another experience-
less quarterback in Brian Griese.
The Wolverines were stacked top
to bottom on both the offensive and
defensive sides of the ball, but an
untimely penalty, missed tackle or
some other error cost the team
victories. Michigan had few holes in
its lineup, but the quarterback
position was one of them. Both of
the first-year players went through
growing pains and it hindered the
team.
The bottom line, though, is that
Michigan did not win. In fact, it has
been some time since the Wolverines
have won.

Part of the Michigan tradition is
its winning. Throughout their
history, the Wolverines have prided
themselves on being better than
everybody else. Michigan has won
37 Big Ten championships, a
conference best; but it hasn't been in
the winner's circle since 1992.
Carr and his returning players
have the Alamo Bowl loss to think
about for a couple of months until
spring practice begins. It should
remind everyone how far this
program really has to go. Michigan
didn't build its reputation by
dropping a lot of games and going
to the "second-chance" bowls.
Michigan became what it is by
winning and by going to the Rose
Bowl.
You have a senior class coming
back next year that has lost 12 games
in their time in Ann Arbor. There
aren't a lot of Michigan football
teams over the past three decades
that can say they lost 12 games in
four years, much less three. .
Carr has piggybacked on the
Michigan tradition all season long,
taking the team for a late-night visit
to Michigan Stadium before the
season, bringing great players from
the past to speak to the team.
Carr deserves a good five years to
build his own program. He should
get a chance to recruit his own
players and shape the team the way
he wants to.
If Carr believes in that tradition,
though, he ought to step aside should

he not be able to take the Wolverines
back to Pasadena in the next five
years. If Michigan cannot get to the
Rose Bowl within that time, it will
be time to find someone else who
can get the school there.
"If this link is destroyed you're
messing with tradition," nose tackle
William Carr said about Michigan's
history. "Our class has come in and
put a dent in the chain."
It's funny that you can think back
to a time just a few years ago when
Michigan thought it would be a
factor in the national championship
race every year. These days it's a
question of whether or not the
Wolverines can finish as high as
second in the conference.
Michigan shouldn't pride itself for
rescuing an underachieving season
by knocking Ohio State out of the
Rose Bowl, as it has two of the last
three seasons. The Wolverines can
only be proud when they beat the
Buckeyes to advance to the Rose
Bowl.
Someone needs to take charge,
whether it be Carr, next year's
seniors, or someone else from the
program or a combination of them
all to end this madness.
Michigan better remember the
Alamo all right, because it doesn't
want to be back. It's about time for
the Maize and Blue to get back in
the Rose Bowl.
-Antoine Pitts has a World Wide
Web page at http://www-
personal.umich.edu/-apitts

PASSING
Player
Griese
Totals
RUSHING

C-A Yds TD Int

9-23 182
23-9 182

2 1
2 1

Player

Att Yds Avg Lg TD

Biakabutuka 24 94 3.9 16

C. Williams 7
Hayes 1
Griese 6
Totals 38

36 5.1 9

0
0
0
0

17 17.0 17
(-)18 (-)3.0 7

129 3.4 17 0

RECEIVING
Player No
Toomer !
Hayes
Riemersma
Biakabutuka
Totals

O,

Yds

Avg Lg TD

5 135 27.0 44 2
2 35 17.5 21 0
1 10 10.0 10 0
1 2 2.0 2 0
9 182 20.2 44 2

PUNTING
Player
Peristeris

No. Yds Avg Lg
7 252 36.0 50
7 252 36.0 50

GAME STATISTICS

Totals

PUNT RETURNS

Player
Hayes
Totals

No. Yds Avg .Lg TD
2 1 0.5 1 0
2 1 0.5 1 0

KICKOFF RETURNS

Player No.
Hayes 4
Totals 4

Yds

Avg Lg TD

80 20.0 24 0
80 20.0 24 0

:

Michigan's Jarrett Irons was awarded the Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Awai
Freshman backs get
Despite McElroy's absence, Texas A&M
By Scott Burton The Aggies compiled 140 n
Daily Sports Writer yards on the day, paced by Park
SAN ANTONIO - ESPN football yards, Bernard's 50 yards
analyst Craig James claims that Texas Hardeman's 41. Just as importa
A&M's Leeland McElroy is the best Aggies picked up seven of their I
running back in football, college or pro. downs on the ground.
Draft guru Mel Kiper has suggested that It certainly was an impressive ef
McElroy, who Dec. 29 declared his eli- the face of one of the top rushir
gibility for the NFL draft, will be the fensesinthenation.Goingintothe
second back selected behind Nebraska's the Wolverines had held their opp
Lawrence Phillips. to 90 rushing yards a game, first
So needless to say, Michigan thought BigTen by more than 25 yards per
it caught a break when McElroy was Yet interestingly enough, Mi
physically unable to compete in the proved vulnerable to some of th
Alamo Bowl, Dec. heralded backs it faced during th
28, due to an ankle son. Penn State ran for 262 yards a
injury. Not only is the Wolverines Nov. 18, by far the
McElroyanexplo- est total Michigan allowed all yea
0"' 11 sive runner out of the man who did the most dama
Noe the backfield, but senior Stephen Pitts, with 166 ya
he was also one of had only one 100-yard game to his
the top kick return going into the contest.
men in 1995. Michigan consistently took c
However, the the big boys, however. Ohio"
- - Aggies were able Heisman trophy winner Eddie G
to establish an ef- ran for 104 yards against the W

MARK FRIEDMAN/Daily
rd after the Alamo Bowl.
the job done
rushes for 140 yards

DEFENSE
Player
Sword
Horn
Hankins
W. Carr
Winters
Thompson
Z enkew icz
I rons
King
Bowens
Copenhaver
Weathers
Steele
Campbell
Griese
Miller
Woodson

Solo
7
6
6
6

4 1 5
5 0 5
5 0 5
3 1 4

Ast Tot
0 7
1 7
1 7
1 7

1

-ushing
er's 56
and
nt, the
17 first
ffort in
rng de-
game,
onents
in the
game.
chigan
he less
he sea-
against
e high-
r. And
age -
ards -
credit
are of
State's
seorge
Volver-

all, the two teams broke 13 records, not
all of which stand out as being particu-
larly impressive. Indeed, the standard
for most rushing yards was eclipsed by
Tshimanga Biakabutuka, who didn't
even hit the century mark in that cat-
egory (94 yards).
However, Texas A&M field goal
kicker Kyle Bryant seta record thatwill
likely stand for a long time. He kicked a
49-yard field goal and five total, both
easily Alamo Bowl records. Bryant's
performance was so exemplary that he
was named the offensive MVP for the
contest.
Texas A&M linebacker Keith
Mitchell was named the defensive MVP
for the contest, while Michigan line-
backer Jarrett Irons garnered the Fred
Jacoby Sportsmanship Award.
WE'RE No. 1: More often that not,
football teams downplay lofty preseason
prognostications. The Aggies, however,
were perhaps the only team that em-
braced the idea that they were the best
team in the nation, when several publi-
cations named the Aggies No. 1.
Three losses later, the Aggies' hopes
for a national title were obviously oblit-
erated. Consequently, the Aggies were a
little more humble when thinking of
their prospects for the next season.
"It's still our goal to the best team in
the nation next year," linebacker Dan
Nguyen said. "But we'll have a lot of
things to work on."

4
4
2
2
1
1
1
0
1

0
0
1
1
1
0
1
0

4
3
3
2
1
1
1
1

i

MICHIGAN RESULTS

AUG. 27
SEPT. 2
SEPT. 9
SEPT. 16
SEPT. 30
OCT. 7
OCT. 21

VIRGINIA
Illinois
Memphis
Boston College
MIAMI (OHIO)
NORTHWESTERN
Indiana

18-17
38-14
24-7
23-13
38-19
19-13
34-17
3:30
25-28
5-0
17-27
31-23
20-22

fective running game against the stingy
Wolverine defense - and Texas A&M
did so behind the efforts of three previ-
ously untested freshmen: Sirr Parker,
Eric Bernard and D'AndreHardeman.
"We knew if we gave our running
backs holes we'd do good," Aggie of-
fensive lineman Koby Hackradt said.
"We knew with a hole they would get
good gains."

ines, 50 yards less than his per game
average. Likewise, Purdue's Mike
Alstott ran for some 100 yards less than
his per game average against Michigan,
while Northwestern's Darnell Autry
ran for 40 less.
RECORD-BREAKERS: Because the
Alamo Bowl is just three years old, it
wasn't too hard for Michigan and Texas
A&M to break a few records Dec. 28. In

OCT. 28 MINNESOTA

NOV. 4
NOV. 11
NOV. 18
NOV. 25
DEC. 28

Michigan State
PURDUE
Penn State
OHIO STATE
Texas A&M

JONATHAN URIE/Daily
Iucdowns in a Michigan
ever, Michigan might look in
Michigan has found several
cluging flanker Mercury Hayes.

Home games in CAPS

hinent
ceivers Mercury Hayes and
i Toomer will be leaving, but
uarterbacks that saw action this
Brian Griese and Scott Dreisbach)

weaknesses
sive line will be losing two of its key
pillars: Trent Zenkewicz and Jason
Horn.
The defensive unit improved dra-

tl:f:"a

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