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September 18, 1996 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-09-18

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The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 18, 1996 -11
*Tennessee, Florida gear up for big weekend contest

Manning tries to ignore Heisman hype
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Peyton Manning doesn't want to hear about
stats and showdowns.
Regardless of how others see it, he insists Saturday's game between
Tennessee and Florida is not a duel between him and Gators quarterback
Danny Wuerffel for the Heisman Trophy.
9 "I'm not about Heisman. I'm about wins and losses," he said. "This Florida
game, I would love to go 0-for-25 and have a big win. That would be perfectly
fine with me."
Through two games Manning has completed 34-of-52 passes for 586 yards
and three touchdowns, with two interceptions. In wins over UNLV and UCLA,
his passing yardage is 71 percent of the Volunteers' total offense.
Manning says he feels no special pressure about the Florida game, even
though the winner has the advantage in the Southeastern Conference East divi-
sion race.
With Tennessee ranked No. 2 and Florida No. 4, the game also has national
implications.
And then there's the Heisman angle. Wuerffel was third in the voting last
year, Manning sixth.
"No, I really don't feel any extra pressure. I'm excited," Manning said. "I'm
kind of disappointed we had the off week, to tell you the truth."
The momentum has been building. Each team is 2-0 and had last weekend
off leading to their first SEC game.
. Manning said "it took forever" for the season to start, and the first two
games against UNLV and UCLA went by quickly.
"I'm kind of ready to go right now," he said. "... You play college football
for games like this. Especially with people talking about this being one of the
best SEC games in history. ... It's going to be fun."
*Manning is 20-2 as a starter but 0-1 against Florida. He had a good game last
year in Gainesville, Fla., passing for 326 yards and two TDs, but Wuerffel had
a great game, completing 29-of-39 passes for 381 yards and an SEC confer-
ence game record six TDs in the Gators' 62-37 victory.
"Danny's a great quarterback and he's having a great year so far," Manning
said. "We have a good relationship. We talked on the banquet circuit a couple
of times last year and at the SEC media days this year. He's a quality person
and a very productive quarterback."
PARADISE
Continued from Page 10
really help me at all. But I was clear and precise the first time around.
Maybe Carr actually thought he could run the clock out by downing the ball
on fourth down and is just embarrassed that he forgot the rule.
You could argue that it doesn't really matter either way, and you're right.
Michigan won the game anyway.
In fairness to Carr, he and his staff had a superb game plan and outcoached
Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel. It's just too bad that their efforts were tarnished
by the game's bizarre ending.
An ending that tarnished a great victory.
A PROBLEM OF ANOTHER SORT: The past two weeks haven't been kind to the
iMichigan State football program.
Top-ranked Nebraska destroyed the Spartans on Sept. 7, and Monday, the
NCAA placed Michigan State on four years probation. The probation stems from
violations concerning rules on benefits, academic eligibility, recruiting, ethical
conduct and institutional control.
Michigan State coach Nick Saban must deal with the mess created by former
coach George Perles, who was fired in November 1994. Keeping his team
focused on the current season is the second-year coach's priority.
"Everything that we did prior to the decision ... has been to ignore this entire
investigation ... so the team could concentrate on the games that they played,"
Saban said. "That's been the approach."
Fortunately for Saban's crew, the ban does not include bowl games or televi-
*sion appearances.
- Barry Sollenberger can be reached over e-mail at jsol@umich.edu.

Wuerffel looks to stay perfect vs. Vols
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The defensive scheme is shown on the screen and
Florida coach Steve Spurrier hits the pause button. Now comes the hard part for
Danny Wuerffel.
The Gators have 18 plays that can be called against this defense, and Wuerffel
must pick the one Spurrier has in mind.
It is not easy, considering Spurrier has relied on the precision of a mechanical cngi-
neer and the imagination of a sandlot player in devising the Fun 'N' Gun offense.
"After a while, you start getting a feel of what he wants to do in a certain situa-
tion," Wuerffel said. "When you get to the line of scrimmage and an unknown situ-
ation presents itself, you'll have the right frame of mind to get what you need to get."
Wuerffel's cool confidence is why he likely will finish as the most prolific pass-
er in Florida history.
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, he does not have the physique of Peyton Manning,
his rival at Tennessee. His throwing motion does not draw comparisons with Dan
Marino or John Elway. If anything, it draws criticism that he is merely a product of
the system.
Spurrier, who won the Heisman Trophy at Florida in 1966, speaks matter of fact-
ly when he says Wuerffel will go down as the best in Gator history.
"I don't rank them. I let the statistics and the championships speak for them-
selves," Spurrier said. "He's been actively involved in three in a row, and hopefully
he'll be involved in four in a row."
That won't happen unless Wuerffel and No. 4 Florida can outdo Manning and No.
2 Tennessee on Saturday, a game that could go a long way toward deciding the SEC
champion, the right to play for a national title, even the Heisman Trophy.
Wuerffel seems oblivious to all this, just like he refused to be baited into a dis-
cussion of why Manning was the focus of preseason publicity.
"If I were playing for All-America status or more magazine covers, obviously that
would be a problem," Wuerffel said. "We're not playing for that. We're playing for
team goals, to see who can help our team out the most. I don't ever play against
Peyton head-to-head."
But he thinks highly of Manning, whom he first met when Manning took a
recruiting visit to the 1994 Sugar Bowl.
"He's got a great football mind and he takes the time to study," Wuerffel said.
"Are there things I do better? I don't know. What do you think?"
There is one statistic that sets Wuerffel apart - he is 3-0 against Tennessee.

AP PHOTO
Tennessee's Peyton Manning will try to launch his campaign for the Heisman
Trophy Saturday with a strong showing against second-ranked Florida and Heisman
rival Danny Wuerffel.

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Welcome to Michigan '96
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