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November 24, 1997 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-24

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The Michigan Daily - Wrap-around section - Monday, November 24, 1997 - 3

Michigan 20, Ohio State 14
Woodson outduels
Boston in battle of
trash-talking stars

By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
To hear Charles Woodson tell it, Ohio
State wide receiver David Boston
showed up Saturday with his mouth but
without his hands.
Boston, of course, said last week that
the Buckeyes would win by "two or
three touchdowns" and that Woodson,
an All-America cornerback, was "good
but not great." Boston caught three pass-
es for 68 yards against the Wolverines,
but 56 of those yards came on a touch-
down reception in the third quarter -
his lone highlight - and several balls
that hit his hands also hit the ground.
"Except for one play, basically, he laid
down," Woodson said. "I was like a
father chastising his son for running off
his mouth to the wrong people. I told
him he was soft. A foolish man talks
every time he has something to say; a
wise man talks only when he has to."
Woodson said he had heard Boston's
comments prior to the game but didn't
fire back in the media "because we're
not supposed to do that at Michigan."
Instead, he waited until kickoff, when
both had a chance to talk and show off.
Right from the start, the two went at
it. They got into a scuffle early in the
game, in a fight to mark their territories,
with both of them pushing and shoving
before they were separated by the offi-
cials.
"I jammed him, and he started crying
and throwing punches'"Woodson said.
"If I could have gotten my helmet off, I
would have thrown some, too."
A 37-yard reception that set up a
touchdown at wide receiver, an intercep-
tion in the end zone at cornerback and a
78-yard punt return for a touchdown
substituted as punches for Woodson.
Up next
Who: No. 10 Washington State (10-1)
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif.
When: Jan. 1, 1998, 5:30 p.m. EST (ABC

Each play knocked the wind out of the
Buckeyes, who fell behind, 20-0, and
had to rely on Boston to live up to his
bravado.
With 4:50 remaining in the third quar-
ter, he did. Quarterback Joe Germaine
lofted a pass down the right sideline. It
seemed up for grabs as Woodson turned
around, looking for the ball. But
Woodson turned too many times, getting
crossed up, and Boston juggled the ball
into his chest. Boston backed into the
end zone, waving in Woodson's face as
he waltzed, and was flagged for exces-
sive celebration.
"I got a little out of control," said
Boston, whose touchdown catch was
just the second scored on Woodson this
season. It cut Michigan's lead to 20-7. "1
lost my head for a minute.
Boston said both he and Woodson did
"a lot of talking" on the field, though
Woodson said they did not. But
Woodson did admit to a personal desire.
for hot-dogging. After his punt return for
a touchdown, which Ohio State coach :1
John Cooper said was similar to
Desmond Howard's 93-yard Heisman
Trophy-clinching return against the
Buckeyes in 1991, Woodson wanted to
strike the Heisman pose as Howard did.
"I was going to do it, but my team-
mates mobbed me too fast," said.
Woodson, who also didn't mind poking:
fun at the Buckeyes after the fact. Of his
interception, he said quarterback
"Stanley Jackson threw me a .great'
pass" But even Boston conceded that
Woodson has a right to free speech.
Woodson "is probably the best at his
position and is right up there with theg
best in the nation," Boston said. "He just
took over the game. He's a great player
on a great team, and he showed that.
)a
.,
A}

All-American Charles Woodson returns a punt 78 yards for a touchdown to give Michigan a 13-0 lead in the second quarter.
Cooper s nitmare kes g n worse

"8y Nicholas L. Cotsonika
,LDaily Sports Editor
And so John Cooper must endure his curse for
S4nother year. He has coached Ohio State to more than
M5 victories over the past five seasons, but in
' .2olumbus, games against Michigan become seasons
of their own. Recently, they have been ones of agony.
8 ; Cooper is now 1-8-1 against the Wolverines at Ohio
M1 State, having lost three straight. The past two years,
unheralded Michigan teams upset his undefeated, sec-
ojd-ranked Ohio State teams. Though his Buckeyes
were the underdogs this time, ranked No. 4 while the
Wolverines were No. 1, there was hope for revenge.
Unimpressed with Michigan's offense, free safety
Gary Berry said the Buckeyes "wanted a shutout real
wbad. We didn't want them to score any points." The
Wuckeyes entered the game with the Big Ten's sev-
enth-best rushing defense but limited the Wolverines
rto just 42 rushing yards. That was due to preparation
by Cooper and his coaching staff, Berry said.
"I couldn't ask for more of a defensive effort than
what we gave," Cooper said in a brief postgame press
Conference. "I'm really proud of (defensive coordina-
:tor) Fred Pagac and his defensive staff and what he's
;given us all year long."
YFloyd and Tb
spark with H

Coach's record drops to 1-8-1 against Wolverines

Cooper's offensive line gave a similarly inspired
performance. That group had allowed 36 sacks this
season, a number Cooper had underlined in red ink
while reading over his stat sheets earlier in the week.
Saturday, they gave up just five against the nation's top
defense and created holes big enough for their rela-
tively weak ground game to gain 119 yards. Again, it
was coaching, Berry said.
But what will continue to haunt Cooper is his team's
inability to get the job done in the clutch. The
Buckeyes' play in the fourth quarter symbolized their
play against Michigan the past 10 years. They came
close but couldn't pull off a victory. With just 42 sec-
onds left, the Buckeyes still had life with the score 20-
14, but quarterback Joe Germaine couldn't connect
with a receiver on fourth down.
"I thought we had a chance," Cooper said. "I
thought we were going to win the football game up
until the fourth-down pass was incomplete. We had
the ball on their 40-yard line down six points with
about five minutes to go in the game. I thought we
had a good chance to come back and win the game.

We got sacked and then got behind on downs and
distance."
Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. Ironically, Cooper
was hired at Ohio State for his demonstrated ability to
beat Michigan. As coach at Arizona State in 1986,
Cooper beat the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl. He was
hired at Ohio State shortly afterward, following the
firing of Earle Bruce.
Now, it is his job that is in question. In 1994, before
he earned his only victory over Michigan at Ohio
State, Cooper was on the firing line. Michigan co-cap-
tain Walter Smith even fueled the situation further
when he said the Wolverines wanted to "get Cooper
fired" by winning the game. Ohio State's victory that
year, many assumed, saved his job.
The only question that remains is whether the
firestorm that follows this weekend will intensify
again.
"It's not fair to him," linebacker Kevin Johnson
said. "We win as a team; we lose as a team. The blame
shouldn't go to one person, even if he is the coach."
But in Columbus, it always seems to anyhow.

Series: Michigan leads all-time 3-0
The Wolverines make their first appearance in the Bowl since the 1992 season,
when they beat Washington, 38-31, and finished No. 5 in the nation with a 9-0-
3 record. The Cougars have had a much longer Rose Bowl drought - 67 years.
The last time these two teams met, Michigan won, 41-14, in 1993. Washington
State boasts the No. 2 offense in the country, led by quarterback Ryan Leaf.

omas give Blue
)ward on sideline

By Danielle Rumore
Daily Sports Editor
The rose Michigan running back
Chris Howard held in his hands as he
celebrated Michigan's Rose Bowl
berth with a victory over Ohio State
Saturday was a sign that his injury
was not serious. After colliding with
Ohio State cornerback Antoine
Winfield halfway through the second
}qarter, Howard left the game and did
not return.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said he
thinks "he took a hit to the head," a hit
' owerful enough to send Michigan's
top rusher, a senior, to the lockerroom
in what was arguably one of the most
important games in Michigan history.
In his absenee, freshman running
back Anthony Thomas and senior
fullback Chris Floyd were forced to
pick up the slack. The two offered
Michigan a few bright moments on an
otherwise dismal offensive day, as the
Wolverines struggled against a tena-
cious and equally frustrating Ohio
State rush defense. Even Howard, the
team's rushing leader, left the game
with just 12 total yards.
Ohio State entered the game with a
dangerous pass defense, ranked sec-
ond in the nation behind Michigan.

The question mark surrounded Ohio
State's rush defense, which had been
allowing 131.7 yards per game and
ranked seventh in the Big Ten. It was
the same rush defense that had given
up 211 yards to Penn State tailback
Curtis Enis in Ohio State's first loss
of the season.
The Buckeyes' rush defenders,
blitzing throughout most of the game
Saturday, turned in what was arguably
their best defensive effort of the sea-
son, allowing the Wolverines just 42
total yards on the ground, including
minus-32 rushing for quarterback
Brian Griese.
Floyd and Thomas had a rather bit-
tersweet game, combining at times to
give Michigan the little spark it need-
ed and then struggling at times
against the Buckeyes' suffocating
defense.
The sweetest moment occurred
shortly after Howard left the game,
when Floyd and Thomas combined to
give the Wolverines their only offen-
sive touchdown of the game. Griese
broke a stagnant drive open after hit-
ting Charles Woodson over the mid-
dIe for a 37-yard gain, pushing
Michigan down to Ohio State's 16-
yard line. On the next drive, Floyd

broke through left tackle for a power-
ful 15-yard run, Michigan's longest of
the game, which set up Thomas' one-
yard scamper into the end zone for
the score.
"I play a lot and I practice very
hard ... for this opportunity now,"
Thomas said.
Thomas had a relatively solid late
third and early fourth quarter, includ-
ing three straight runs of 10, three
and nine yards in the third. A bitter
moment came next when he fumbled
and lost the ball on his fourth straight
carry.
Thomas also ran back three kickoff
returns for 82 yards, including a 43-
yarder to start the game.
All in all, Thomas carried the ball
14 times for just 29 yards and one
touchdown. He also caught eight
passes for 77 yards, including one for
19 yards from Griese on third and
long in the second quarter.
"Anthony, in crucial situations,
came up with some big plays," Griese
said.
Floyd contributed smaller runs
throughout the game and set some
good blocks. He finished the game as
Michigan's top rusher with just 33
yards on 11 carries.

Michigan freshman Anthony Thomas had to shoulder the load on the ground after starting tailback Chris Howard left the gme
in the second quarter with a concussion. Thomas carried 14 times for 29 yards.

ROSE BOWL
Continued from Front Page
when Michigan needed to emerge from its offen-
sive doldrums midway through the second quarter.
On third and 12 at its own 47, Brian Griese hit
Woodson slashing across the middle for 37-yard
gain down to the Buckeyes' 16.
Two plays later, true freshman Anthony Thomas
barged in from one yard out to open the scoring, 7-
0.
Thomas as well as Michigan's other backs did-

point attempt and Ohio State's Andy Katzenmoyer
scooped up the ball and rumbled down the sideline
looking for two points. But Michigan's Rob Swett
caught up with him at the Michigan 13, keeping
Ohio State off the scoreboard.
Ohio State came out in the second half looking
to purge the Wolverines' momentum. On their first
possession, the Buckeyes drove 67 yards down to
the Michigan seven, only to have the drive ended
by Woodson, who darted across the end zone and
picked off a would-be touchdown pass.
"I just cut underneath the pass and (Ohio State

through the third quarter fizzled when .the
Buckeyes scored the next 14 points. With six min-
utes left in the third quarter, Joe Germaine, vho
alternated with Jackson all game under center, hit
David Boston with a 56-yard touchdown strike
while taunting his counterpart, Woodson, by
backpedaling into the end zone.
The Buckeyes' second touchdown came almost
as easily. Ohio State's Gary Berry sacked Griese
early in the fourth quarter and jarred the ball
loose. Jerry Rudzinski returned the fumble to the
Michigan two, where Pepe Pearson pounded it in

.. ',

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