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October 23, 1997 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-23

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16A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 23, 1997

AROUND THE BIT.N
CONFERENCE
Rest of conference out to
prove East Lansing isn't only
place for football on Saturday.

By Rick Harpster
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan residents are only talk-
ing about one game this week: the
annual battle for state supremacy
between Michigan and Michigan
State.
But, there are many other impor-
tant conference battles this weekend
that will have a major impact on the
Big Ten standings, which are finally
starting to come into focus.
Before conference play began, the
Big Ten boasted five undefeated
teams that appeared to be among the
nation's elite. Penn State, Michigan,
Ohio State, Iowa, and Michigan
State all were ranked in the top 15
nationally. But, after three weeks of
beating up on each other, only
Michigan and Penn State remain
unbeaten.
Despite grueling conference
schedules, there are still six Big Ten
teams in the Top 25, with 6-2
Wisconsin just out of the national
rankings.
The surprise team so far is Purdue,
which is ranked for the first time
since 1984, and sits atop the confer-
ence standings in a three-way tie
with Penn State and Michigan. The
Nittany Lions, who are off this week-
end, almost relinquished the confer-
ence lead last Saturday before rally-
ing to defeat 2-5 Minnesota.
Not only did this game cost Penn
State its No. I national ranking, but

FILE PHOTO
'ile the eyes of most Big Ten football fans will be focused on East Lansing this Saturday for the Michigan-Michigan State
ontest, a full slate of conference games will try not to go unnoticed.

it also proved that there is parity in
the Big Ten. Every game is a war,
and there is no sure thing in this con-
ference.
Let this week's wars begin.
NORTHWESTERN (1-3 BIG TEN, 3-5
OVERALL) AT No. 9 OHIo STATE (2-
1,6-1)
Northwestern has won or tied for
the Big Ten title each of the past two
years.
But, Ohio State fans are quick to
point out that there was a worthy foe
missing from the Wildcats' schedule
both of those seasons. You guessed
it, Ohio State has not met
Northwestern since 1994.
While the Wildcats are struggling
this season, they are riding high after
an emotional win over Michigan
State last weekend. Behind Adrian
Autry's 175 yards rushing. the
Wildcats knocked the Spartans from
the ranks of the unbeaten with a 19-
17 victory. Anwawn Jones's block of
a late Michigan State field goal
attempt set off a celebration in
Chicago that will not be matched
until the Illini or Bears actually win
a game.
Ohio State is a late Penn State-
type rally away from being an unde-
feated football team. Coach John
Cooper's two-quarterback system
has been effective this season. Joe
Germaine put up great numbers
against Penn State, and Stanley
Jackson was 13-for-15 passing in
last week's win over Indiana. The
two also complement each other well
because of their different styles.
Germaine spends most of his time in
the pocket, while Jackson is more
mobile and a threat to run.
Gary Barnett's troops have a great
opportunity to prove that the last two
seasons were not flukes if they can
knock off Michigan State and Ohio
State in consecutive weeks.
But, Ohio State will be ready to
play on Saturday. The Buckeye's suc-
cess over the past two seasons has
been somewhat overshadowed by
Northwestern's accomplishments
(and the fact that they can't beat
Michigan). The Buckeyes have not
forgotten this.
Ohio State 27, Northwestern 14
No. 23 PURDUE (3-0, 5-1) AT
ILLINOIS (0-3, 4-6)
When discussing National Coach
of the Year honors, Purdue's Joe
Tiller must be mentioned. In just his
first season, he has Purdue leading
the Big Ten in late October. Usually
by this time of year, the start of bas-
ketball practice is the big story on
campus.
Tiller, who coached at Wyoming
last season, has brought his potent
WAC-style offense to the



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Big Ten Standings
Team Conf. Overall
Michigan 3-0 6-0
Penn State 3-0 6-0
Purdue 3-0 5-1
Wisconsin 3-1 6-2
Ohio State 2-1 6-
Michigan State 24 5-
Iowa 1-2 42
Northwestern 1-3 3-5
Minnesota 0-3 2
Illinois 0-3 0-6
Indiana 0-4 1-6
Last Week (HOME TEAM IN CAP$)
MICHIGAN 28, Iowa 24
PURDUE 45, Wisconsin 2
PENN STATE 16, Minnesota1,&
OHIO STATE 31, Indiana 0
N'WESTERN 19, Michigan St. 17
This Week
Michigan vs. MICHIGAN STATE
Purdue vs. ILLINOIS
Indiana vs. IOWA
Wisconsin vs. MINNESOTA
Northwestern vs. OHIO STATE
Boilermakers, and it has paid hu
dividends. Quarterback Billy Dicken
has put up big numbers, iniding
last week, when he threw for three
touchdowns and 311h yards against
Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, first-year Illinois
coach Ron Turner is struggling to
find reasons for optimism. The Illini
have lost 12 straight games datig
back to last season. Running'back
Robert Holcombe has been 'one
the few bright spots for 'llinois,
rushing for 100 yards in fout games
this year.
Having last week off bef6e' this
Saturday's Homecoming game, the
Illini should play hard in their search
for that first victory.
Will it be enough to end Purdue's
five-game winning streak? Probably
not.
Purdue 31, Illinois 24
INDIANA (0-4, 1-6) AT No. 49IOWA
(1-2, 4-2)
For the second straight-week,
Indiana must travel to face a nation-
ally ranked team coming oftf- tiffi-
cult loss.
Last Saturday, the Hoosiers'layed
at Ohio State, which had just lost }o
Penn State.
Now Indiana faces an loatean
still coping with a defeatat t
hands of Michigan. ' 1
The last thing first-year coach
Cam Cameron needs is to face an
angry football team. His Hoosiers
have not scored a touchdown in 14
quarters and have lost three coPsecu-
tive games to Michigan, Michigan
State and Ohio State by a coiibined
score of 106-6.
After opening the season with four
straight wins, Iowa has dropp&d ce
secutive games to Michigan ant
Ohio State.
The Hawkeyes will look to run-
ning back Tavian Banks to get them
back on the winning track this-week-
end.
Banks averages 183 yards per
game and has gained 1,000 'yards
already this season.

Don't worry, Hoosier ,.fans.
Basketball season is right aroutd t
corner.'
Iowa 35, Indiana 10
WISCONsIN (3-1, 6-2) AT MINNESOTA
(0-3, 2-5)
After opening the year with v an
embarrassing 34-0 loss to Syracuse,
Wisconsin rebounded to win six
straight against weaker competition.
Running back Ron Dayne re-entered
the Heisman race by padding his sta-
tistics in those games and is alreac
over the 1,000 yard plateau this sea-
son.
But, Wisconsin's good times came
to a screeching halt last Saturday at
Purdue,
Despite Dayne's 141 yards, the
Badgers fell, 45-20, to the
Boilermakers.

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