The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 26, 1997 - 15
ntinued from Page 13
ds on the ground.
In fact, tailback Chris Howard and running back
Anthony Thomas became the first duo of Michigan
backs to each rush for more than 100 yards since
Tyrone Wheatley and Tshimanga Biakabutuka did it
in 1994. Thomas rushed for 122 yards and one
touchdown, and Howard ran for 112 yards and two
touchdowns last week.
Floyd, who missed the game against the Bears
with a one-game suspension for violating team rules,
p, uld play tomorrow. Floyd, Howard, Thomas and
arence Williams combine to form an interesting
blend of finesse and power ins the backfield. They
should run roughshod over the Irish.
The Irish are currently ranked 85th in the country
in rushing defense, surrendering an average of 177
yards per game. To put that statistic in perspective,
Western Michigan, Toledo and Bowling Green have
far better averages than Notre Dame. That's not
The Irish's defensive line isn't as big as Michigan's
ensive line, which has benefited with the return of
Wrting center Zach Adami. The Irish will be without
starting nose guard Corey Bennett, who has a knee
injury. Michigan's offensive line should be able to
bully the Notre Dame defenders to make holes big
enough for its backs.
replace Howard. But the middle is relatively young
and the Irish have had problems keeping their
defense in sync.
In terms of size, Notre Dame's cornerbacks are
small but quick and match up well to Michigan's
receivers. But the Wolverines have not had to go
deep in most passing situations. Whether the Irish
secondary can pressure the receivers remains to be
NOTRE DAME RUSHING OFFENSE VS. MICHIGAN
The Irish have had trouble getting the running
game going this year. Against the Spartans, they only
managed 61 yards on the ground. Starting tailback
Autry Denson has been held below a five-yard aver-
age per carry in each game. And starting fullback
Joey Goodspeed will be out four to six weeks with a
The Wolverines' big defensive line should keep the
Irish's struggling ground game in check.
NOTRE DAME PASSING OFFENSE VS. MICHIGAN
Notre Dame quarterback Ron Powlus was one of
the most highly touted high school players four years
ago, but he hasn't lived up to the hype. Some say that
Powlus, a passing quarterback, couldn't grow under
former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz's heavy ground
Davie has tried to gear the offense more to the air,
but Powlus still hasn't shown signs of greatness.
Despite breaking a school record for consecutive
completions last week, most were short pass pat-
terns. Notre Dame doesn't have the best targets at
wideout, and freshman flanker Joey Getherall is
questionable for tomorrow's game.
The Wolverines' secondary is just too good and
Powlus's arm is just too shaky. The Wolverines are
currently ranked first in the nation in passing
defense. Cornerback Charles Woodson is arguably
the best at his position in the country. He is comple-
mented well by Andre Weathers at the other corner
spot and strong safety Marcus Ray and free safeties
Tommy Hendricks and Daydrion Taylor have each
had solid outings.
And the linebackers aren't too shabby, either.
Michigan walk-on punter Jason Vinson has been
solid, averaging 44.7 yards a punt, and has compen-
sated for some bad snaps with quick thinking. But
the field goal tandem of Jay Feely and Kraig Baker
has been inconsistent.
Last week, Baker missed a 35-yard field goal
while Feely nailed a 51-yarder. The week before,
Baker missed one from 45 yards out and Feely
missed one from 49 yards.
The Irish have averaged 43.7 yards per punt and
nailed two of three field goal attempts last week--
good, but not stellar numbers.
The Wolverines have been a defensive juggernaut
and have not surrendered a touchdown or 100 yards
rushing in either game.
That will be a problem for the Irish, who have
been able to get a little offensive production, but not
enough to score consistently.
The Wolverines are a healthier and stronger team
than the Irish. And Mattison patrolling the opposing
sidelines will just add fuel to the fire.
PREDICTION: Michigan 28, Notre Dame 10
Continued from Page 13
With the advent of the Bowl Alliance,
the Irish won't be able to waltz into pre-
mium games with a 6-4-1 record, like
the 1995 Fiesta Bowl, just because they
are Notre Dame.
Instead, Davie is more likely to see
such scenarios as last year's, when the 8-
3 Irish's lone bowl invitation came from
the Liberty Bowl. That's not the kind of
game that people shake off New Year's
Day hangovers to see for one good rea-
son - it happens a week before New
A loss this weekend will leave the
Irish with three defeats on the season,
and for the second year in a row, out of
not only a New Year's Day bowl game,
but any bowl game period. Notre Dame
will not sacrifice its grand tradition for
the lousy Liberty Bowl.
When did a drought of New Year's
Day inactivity last happen for the Irish?
You guessed it, 1986.
All this means one thing: this game is
the biggest one of Davie's young coach-
ing career. A loss here and the season
cannot be salvaged.
Imagine the pressure: the biggest
game of your coaching career is your
third game on the sideline, against one of
your biggest rivals.
National titles were not expected this
year, but the expecatations were higher
than what the Irish have achieved thus
far. And the underachievement has
already begun to show on Davie.
"I don't really second guess myself,"
Davie said this week at his press confer-
ence. "Anytime you're 1-2, you're most
critical of yourself."
What happens if the Irish lose three
straight for the first time in school histo-
ry this weekend'?
Could the prized Irish boy, Ron
Powlus, be in jeopardy of losing his jb?
What was once unthinkable under
Holtz's leadership has now become a
legitimate possibility under Davie.
"We've talked about (replacing
Powlus) a lot,' Davie said. "It's when
and where do you do it, and what are the
long-range ramifications of doing that.
But certainly that has been discussed,
and there's some merits to doing that."
If such a question regarding Powlus's
job security arose during Holtz's tenure.
two words would come out of that.
heresy and sacrilege.
Not only does Davie have to contend
with unrest among his most loyal fol-
lowers, but he has to contend with his
quarteback's fragile psyche. Powlus
passed on entering the NFL and came
back for a fifth year, even though he
graduated, for the sole reason of playing
under a new offense instituted by Davie.
Now, what happens to the Golden Boy
if the coach he had so much confideice
in turns his back and benches him?
This game is Notre Dame's biggt
game since the Irish lost their 1993 re-
ular-season finale to Boston College,
41-39, ending a perfect season. The Irish
have not bounced back from that defeat.
And Davie, unfortunately for him,
began his tenure in this downward spiral.
Notre Dame is going to "just continue
to fight and not worry about a whole lqt
of outside things," Davie said. "We'v
got enough to worry about just addres
ing the problems we have on this football
team right now."
-Alan Goldenbach can be rached via
e-mail at agold umich.edu..
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS. NOTRE DAME
Michigan quarterback Brian Griese has been solid
in the first two games, passing for 427 total yards.
Orte of his favorite targets has been tight end Jerame
Tuman, who has caught six passes for 149 yards in
the last two games.
If Griese stays with short passes, the Wolverines
should not have a problem throwing against the Irish.
Stre Dame will be without starting inside line-
backer Bobbie Howard. Grant Irons, whose brother
Jarrett played middle linebacker at Michigan, will
- all picks made
e mo (IOME TEAM N CAPS)
MICHIGAN (-14) vs. Notre Dame
IOWA (-2 1/2) vs. lifloin
MINNESOTA (-8) vs. Houston
Ohk $tate (45 t/2) at M!$$OUlI
PURDUE (-3) vs. Northwestern
WISCONSIN (44) vs. Indiana
*lorida (-22 1/2) at KENTUCKY
C0LORADQ (-15)vs. Wyoming
GEORGIA TECH (even) vs. Clemson
NORTH .RL1A( .j 2) vs. Vrinia
Ovall best bet
The University of Michigan
Department of Recreational Sports
INTRAMURAL SPORTS PROGRAM
A No Experie
Get a Free
The University of Michigan W HAT'S
Department of Recreational Sports
INTRAMURAL SPORTS PROGRAM HAPPENING
SOFTBALL TRACK & FIELD
Tues 9/30,4:30 PM, IMSB ENTRIES DUE:
ENTRY FEE: Tues 9/30,4:30 PM, IMSB
$45 per team ENTRY FEE:
$25 per team
MANAGER'S MEETING: $5 per individual
Weds 10/1, 6:00 PM, IMSB MANAGER'S MEETING:
TraMENTBGITues 9/30, 6:00 PM, IMSB
Mitchell Fields MEET DATE:
POWERBAR Thurs 10/2, Varsity Track
HOME RUN TENNIS SINGLES
DERBY & DOUBLES
ENTRIES DUE: ENTRIES DUE:
Fri 10/3, 4:30 PM, IMSB Thurs 10/9,4:30 PM, IMSB
Sun 10/5, Event Site, Mitchell
ENTRY FEE: $5 per individual
$5 per individual
DERBY DATE: Fri 10/10
Sunday 10/5 Palmer Tennis Courts
THE ENWY DEAL OPE THE CPOS COMWY P IS 4:30PM WEDNESDAY 10/15
*Officials are : ;
Paid for All
Training Clinics Begin