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November 21, 1996 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-11-21

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 21, 1996 - 11A
Around the Big Ten
Coaching resignations overshadow final Big Ten slate

By Afshin Mohamadi
Daily Sports Writer
The Big Ten season, which began way
tick in August when Illinois visited
Michigan Stadium, ends Saturday with
five games.
While this season has been about as
suspenseful as a Scooby-Doo cartoon,
*is weekend gives us the chance to see
whether or not four teams will send their
departing coaches off as winners. Can't
you just sense the excitement?
Aside from the relatively good
matchup on the field, this game is inter-
esting for another reason - the coaching
This college football season has seen
ur rather established Big Ten coaches
'd Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz
announce their intent to resign at the end
'f the season. By next fall, all of them
will probably see their old jobs filled by
young, energetic coaches in the mold of
Northwestern's Gary Barnett.
The Michigan State-Penn State game
is a battle, literally and figuratively,
between a newcomer and the old guard.
Nick Saban has made great strides in his
Dort time in Lansing, while Joe Paterno
is an establishment in State College.
Unfortunately for Saban and his team,
the old man's boys are on too much of a
rdll to be stopped now.
For the Spartans to have a chance in
Happy Valley, they must protect the ball.
Penn State forced five turnovers last

week at Michigan and could be gunning
for the talented, but inexperienced,
Spartan tailback Sedrick Irvin.
Penn State enters the game allowing a
stingy 14.5 points per game, and will
need its defense to continue its outstand-
ing play against a Michigan State offense
that ranks second in the conference.
While all of the statistics are nice, this
game will come down to intangibles, and
Penn State has an edge in that category.
The Nittany Lions are coming off of
two huge wins against Northwestern and
Michigan, and are streaking straight to
the Fiesta Bowl. In addition, they are
playing at home in front of fans who
have renewed faith in their team after a
mid-season slump.
If all else fails, Penn State can simply
annoy the Spartans right off the field
with the repeated playing of the lion
growling over the public address system.
Penn State 38, Michigan State 24
IOWA (5-2, 7-3) AT MINNESOTA (1-6,
Minnesota's Jim Wacker is one of the
coaches who will not return next season.
Unfortunately for him, the Golden
Gophers face a bowl-bound Iowa team in
his final game. Good luck, Jim.
The Gophers received great play out
of quarterback Cory Sauter last week-
end, albeit against a horrible Illinois
squad. He was 23 of 37 for 285 yards
and two touchdowns in the 23-21 victo-
ry, earning him Big Ten offensive player
of the week honors.

Sauter has a couple of talented targets
in Ryan Thelwell and Tutu Atwell, both
of whom are in the top five in receiving
yards in the conference.
Iowa's defense, however, shut
Wisconsin out last weekend behind
defensive end Bill Ennis-Inge's two
forced fumbles. The Hawkeyes also have
Damien Robinson (five interceptions)
and Tom Knight (four interceptions) in
the defensive backfield to defend the hot
Sauter sufficiently.
Too bad for the Gophers.
Iowa 31, Minnesota 17
INDIANA (0-7,2-8) AT PURDUE (2-5,3-
Here it is, the one we've all been wait-
ing for - The Lame Duck Bowl.
No, that's not a reference to the way
each team's quarterback throws the ball.
Instead, neither team's coach is returning
next season. Two powerhouses in a fierce
battle for the state of Indiana. What more
could you ask for?
In all fairness to the two teams, both
have stepped up their play since their
coaches decided to quit. Bill Mallory's
Hoosiers played a tight game with Ohio
State last weekend, but fell in the end.
Jim Colletto's Boilermakers beat
Michigan two weeks ago and were tied
with Northwestern going into the final
minute of their game last week.
The bottom line in this game, howev-
er, is that Indiana has the most anemic
offense in the Big Ten. Even with tail-
back Alex Smith averaging more than

100 yards a game, Indiana has had trou-
ble moving the ball all season.
Purdue's defense, which has played
better in the past few weeks, should con-
tain Indiana.
Nevertheless, it should be a thriller in
front of upwards of 3,000 in West
Purdue 3, Indiana 2
Wisconsin began the season with nar-
row but encouraging losses to Penn State
and Ohio State. Since then, the Badgers
have not been able to play consistently
and have fallen to mediocrity.
One constant in Barry Alvarez's line-
up is running back Ron Dayne, who is
averaging almost 124 yards per game on
the ground per game as a freshman. He
is certain to have a big game against
Illinois' defense, the worst in the Big
Illinois, on the other hand, is another
team with a coach on his way out. Lou
Tepper, a man known to stick up for his
players, bridge the racial gaps on his
teams, and keep a high percentage of his
players in school until graduation, will
not return to Champaign in 1997.
Perhaps, as Tepper bows out, his play-
ers will perform beyond their known
capabilities in honor of their coach. For it
would be comforting to think that, at
least for one week out of the Big Ten sea-
son, a nice guy can finish first.
Wisconsin 23, Illinois 17

Junior taliback Chris Eberly and the Nittany Lion offense will face a stingy Michigan
State rush defense on Saturday. Eberly and Curtis Enis ran wild in Ann Arbor.

_~ .;

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