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November 21, 1997 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-21
This is a tabloid page

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Game No. 1: Colorado
Michigan Stadium
Coverage fr TWMichigan Daily
Mort ;-Sops ' ~1997





Game No. 7:
Coverage fro(W

"We were
practicing all
week and
during two-a-
days, saying
that we wanted
to be vicious,
to hit their
hard and stop
them all."
Charles VWoodson

"They did
some talking
in the first
quarter and a
little bit in the
second, but in
the second
half, what was
there to talk
Strong safety
Marcus Ray
Above right:
Michigan defen-
sive linemen
James Hall and
Josh Williams
(91) bring down
Michigan State
running back
Sedric Irvin.
Left: Michigan
Charles Woodson
intercepted this
Todd Schultz
pass in the third
quarter with one
hand. Woodson
got one foot
down just in time
to stay in


Woodson never ceases to amaze us

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Editor
hype and there was trash talkin
As'has been the case all seas+
steel clamp on its opposition it
a close battle for 30 minutes tur
tory for the Wolverines before
~jjMichigan 23 Sto
>:Michigan St 7 I
were singled out for theirI
Wolverines deemed excessiv
defense not only attacked the b
as well.
"They did some talking in th
in the second." Michigan safet
second half, what was there to
The talk in the second hal
defense, which held the Spartai
time while intercepting. six Mib
And the Spartans had diffi
offense after Michigan bottled t
Irvin. After burning Michigan
on the ground and in the air, In
the break as the Spartans tur
attack in an attempt to erase thi
Shutting down Irvin allowec
on the ground. The team with
won 28 of the last 29 meeting
convincingly, 173-95.
"It was a good defense," Ir
credit away from Michigan. TI
Michigan State didn't even I.
quarter, when Andre Weathers
off two Todd Schultz passes.
With Michigan up 3-0, late i
State lined up for an apparent3
er Bill Burke took the snap at
lined up wide left, out of the vi
Burke lobbed the ball up for Ir)
yards away from the closest Wv
an easy touchdown, an oversig
the blame.
And even though Michigan
up only six points, its defense s
the 50-yard line until the ga.
Michigan victory was well in h
"This was a big win for us b,
for the Big Ten championship,


Michigan running back Chris Howard dives into the end zone for a touchdown against the Buffaloes in the Wolverines' 27-3 victory.

Michiga sflawless goame leaves Buffs wi'thout, a prayer

By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
D~aily Sports Editor
No last-gasp, Hail Mary pass was needed
Saturday. With Michigan playing vicious
defense and methodical, mostly mistake-free
football, Colorado hadn't a prayer to end the
game like the previous two between these
teams, and the 14th-ranked Wolverines rolled
over the eighth-
'┬ži L Michigan 27 ranked Buffaloes, 27-
Colordo 3 3, before 106,474 at
_____________ Michigan Stadium.
Quarterback Brian
Griese, a fifth-year senior who wallowed in a
backup role most of last season, nearly opted
for real life after graduating in May. But he
came back, and after he won the starting job
from junior Scott Dreisbach this fall, he got the
chance to complete 21 of 28 passes for 258
yards and two touchdowns while his father,
Bob, announced the game nationally on ABC
His lone interception, which deflected off
wide receiver Tai Streets' hands in the first quar-
ter, was Michigan's only turnover of the game.

"I'm very proud of our football team,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "Our defense
was outstanding, and offensively, considering we
have four young guys in there starting, we made
some typical first-game mistakes. But we
showed signs that we can have a pretty good
Most of Griese's success came behind a young
- and much-penalized - line on high-percent-
age passes to tight end Jerame Tuman, who had
a career-high five receptions for 126 yards.
Michigan's dominant defense provided plenty of
support, hassling Colorado quarterback John
Hessler so badly that he threw four interceptions
and was close to throwing more. The Wolverines
"could have had eight," said Michigan All-
America cornerback, Charles Woodson, who
intercepted Hessler to kill the Buffaloes' second
drive of the game.
"We got our tails whipped," Colorado coach
Rick Neuheisel said. "Things didn't go well, and
(the Wolverines) played their butts off. Griese
played well, they got the running game going,
and the play-action stuff with the tight ends just
killed us."

Neuheisel said earlier this week that "nerves
were a factor" for Hessler in a 3 1-21 victory over
Colorado State last weekend. And Saturday,
before the seventh-largest crowd in Michigan
Stadium history, Hessler seemed to buckle.
Three of his interceptions led to a combined 1 7
points for the Wolverines.
"It was a frustrating day," said Hessler, who
was 15-of-40 for 141 yards and was sacked three
times. "They were all over me."
As Hessler was interviewed after the game,
Neuheisel pulled him into a secluded area and
spoke with him for five minutes.
Hessler emerged with tears in his eyes, and
Neuheisel, who once played quarterback for
UCLA, defended him. "I threw four interceptions
against Georgia back in 1983 and ended up com-
ing back and having a decent year," Neuheisel
said. "He'll bounce back."
The Wolverines (1-0) rotated several players
into their strong secondary, giving Hessler dif-
ferent looks. Carr said he didn't have a great
defense last season because of its inability to
create turnovers and "negative plays."
But Saturday, that defense swarmed all around

the Buffaloes (I-I), allowing just 49 yards rush-
ing and 175 passing while limiting them to their
lowest point total since they were shut out by
Nebraska in 1988. Michigan ran for 142 yards
and passed for 284.
"We were practicing all week and during two-
a-days, saying all the time that we wanted to be
vicious, to hit their quarterback hard and stop
them all,"said Woodson, who also returned three
punts for 13 yards and had a 29-yard reception.
"The defense on this team wants to make things
Woodson 's first-quarter interception spawned
the Wolverines' first touchdown. After Woodson
picked off Hessler, Griese hit Tuman for 53
yards, setting up a first-and-goal situation. Two
plays later, fullback Chris Floyd punched in the
ball from one yard out to give Michigan a 7-0
that it would never relinquish.
"It's been a great series," said Neuheisel. "I
wish we could have given them a better game.
They are a fine football team, a fine football pro-
gram. It's a shame that these games are becom-
ing a dying breed, because certainly they are

By Alan Goldenbach
Daily Sports Editor
EAST LANSING -- Charles Woodson's head
was spinning so quickly it was amazing that he
had time to stop and talk.
Then again, talking has never been much of a
problem for the All-America cornerback, whose
gift for gab competes pretty darn well with his
gift for grabbing opposing quarterbacks' passes.
Woodson completely stole the show, not only
on the field with his two interceptions - one that
was legendarily acrobatic, the other as a result of
his impeccable pass coverage - but off the field
as well, with his talented mouth after the game.
Woodson was dishing out verbal blows to the
Spartans' collective ego that were almost as
vicious as some of his four solo tackles on the
field. But the tackles somehow lacked the comi-
cal aspect of Woodson's postgame chatter.
" I think their coaches ought to keep a better tab
on what they say to the press;' said Woodson,
-referring to Michigan State's trash-talking in the
tweek leading up to the game. "They, were saying
a lot of things this week and we were just taking
it all in. This is the type of game where you don't
need any extra fuel to the fire."
But even without the trash-talking, there was
already a red flag surrounding this game for

Woodson as a result of his last visit to Spartan
Stadium. The junior almost certainly had this
game circled on his calendar as far back as two
years ago.
In 1995, as a freshman, Woodson and
Michigan lost to a less-talented Michigan State
team on the Wolverines last trip to East Lansing,
2 8-25. The loss hurt Woodson particularly
because as the Spartans were driving the field for
the eventual winning touchdown, the usually
sure-handed and timely playmaking Woodson
uncharacteristically let an interception slip
through his hands and into the Spartans' Derrick
"Two years ago, we came up here and it was
one of those things that you can't describe, the
feeling after the game, the loss;' Woodson said. "I
had a play in that game where had I came down
with the interception, we would have had the vic-
tory. I didn't make that play
"Today, I wasn't going to let that happen to
myself, I wasn't going to let that happen to the
To see to it that there would be no catastrophic
ending for Michigan, Woodson simply took the
game over on defense in the second half.
His first interception, a historic one-handed
grab that resembled someone plucking a frisbee

out of the air, truly silenced the predominantly
pro-Spartan crowd simply out of awe.
"I think that has to be the best interception I've
ever made;' Woodson said. "Especially coming
against Michigan State, it was a big play for me."
Then, on the first series of the fourth quarter,
Woodson thwarted a Michigan State drive with
another interception as he snuck up from behind
Spartans' receiver Octavis Long on his left and
picked off his second pass of the day.
"They threw the same play to the other side
and I was kind of insulted that they tried to get me
on the same play twice;' said Woodson, in true
In fact, it was the first time since Michigan's
season-opening victory over Colorado that a
team actually challenged Woodson through the
air, to which he responded, "I think so and I think
it was the wrong move. "
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said that the sec-
ond pickoff was responsible "for a big momen-
tum shift" in the game, as Michigan went ahead
and scored five plays later to take a 20-7 lead.
"The greatest players have their greatest games
in their biggest games;' Carr said. "Charles
Woodson was motivated because two years ago,
he had the worst game of his career here. He was
motivated to play the best game of his career."

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