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October 24, 1997 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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MAJOR LEAGUE
BASEBALL
Florida at Cleveland,
inc
Series tied 2-2
PRO
HOCKEY
Tampa Bay 2.
BOSTON 2

NEW JERSEY 2,
Montreal 1
Florida 2,
OTTAWA 2
PHILADELPHIA 4,
Calgary 3
ST. LOUIS 4,
Vancouver 1
Washington at
PHOENIX, inc.

Detroit a
Los An ~eIc
NBA
PRESEASON
HOUSTN 116
San A ntoio 104
OR LA NDO 95.
New~ Jersc' 7

Friday

9

Ocoe-2.19 9 ----- I-

The Matchups:
WolverineS SlOu'dwin
battle of tou h defenses

By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
Shortly after Michigan and Michigan
State made a mess of his Indiana
Hoosiers on successive weekends, coach
Cam Cameron made a simple assess-
ment: "The two teams are twins."
Both have dominating defenses. Both
have decent, balanced offenses. Both
have big men that can pound you into
submission. Both have big-play men that
can suck out your spirit in one moment.
And both have something to prove.
Tomorrow's brother-against-brother
showdown in East Lansing between the
fifth-ranked Wolverines and 15th-ranked
Spartans will be just that, a meeting of
members of the same mold. The winner
will be the team that remains true to itself
and can force the other to abandon its
strengths.
That bodes well for the Wolverines,
whose defense has been a savior all sea-
son and has yet to buckle. But it will be
close. Extremely close.
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN STATE RUSHING DEFENSE:
While the Wolverines are having a less-
than-outstanding season running the ball,
averaging 195.3 yards per game, the
Spartans have been stifling against the
run. They are allowing just 88.0 yards
per game, second-best in the Big Ten.
Fullback Chris Floyd, who missed last
week's game against Iowa, should return
and provide some punch for the
Wolverines. Running back Chris
Howard, however, still may be feeling the
effects of a rib injury he sustained late in
the first half against the Hawkeyes.
The Wolverines have been mum about
Howard's health, worried that a smart
shot by a Michigan State linebacker
could cause serious problems. Watch
closely for future developments.
EDGE: Michigan State
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN STATE PASSING DEFENSE:

Here, too, Michigan is rather mediocre,
while the Spartans are formidable. But
this may be the most even matchup in a
quite evenly matched game.
Quarterback Brian Griese has had a
good year, playing dependable, smart
football. Before his three interceptions
last week - two of which were the
results of poorly run routes, according to
one offensive player - he'd only thrown
one all season.
Griese's numbers help put the
Wolverines' passing offense tourth in the
Big Ten with 223.5 yards per game.
Michigan State is fourth in pass defense,
allowing 191.0 yards per game. And
since defense usually gets the nod head-
to-head, the Spartans look good.
(But Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has
promised Charles Woodson will play
more two-way football as the weather
gets colder and less taxing. Tempratures
should be in the high 40s by kickoff, and
that might be cool enough for Woodson
- and the Wolverines - to heat up.)
Edge: Michigan State
MICHIGAN STATE RUSHING OFFENSE
vS. MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE:
Sedrick Irvin is darn good, and so is his
sidekick, Marc Renaud. But neither is
averaging 100 yards per game behind a
mountainous offensive line, and if they
can't eclipse that level tomorrow, they
won't be able to carry the Spartans.
Michigan State is averaging 187.3
yards rushing per game. That's all right.
But that's not going to cut it against the
second-best rushing defense in the land,
which allows just 73.7 yards per game.
The Wolverines didn't flinch last week
against Tavian Banks, the nation's leading
rusher. For them to worry about Irvin and
Renaud would be out of character.
Edge: Michigan
MICHIGAN STATE PASSING OFFENSE
VS. MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: The
one place Michigan State differs the most
from Michigan, Cameron said, is quarter-

back -- as in Todd Schultz is more tal-
ented than Griese. That may very well be
true, but it also won't matter a bit.
Just as they have faced some of the
nations best backs and stuffed them, the
Wolverines have frustrated some of the
nation's best quarterbacks. Iowa's Matt
Sherman came to Ann Arbor last week as
one of the best in the Big Ten. He threw
three interceptions and finished 8-for-21
for 86 yards and no touchdowns.
Schultz won't dare throw at Woodson,
and so he'll contend with Marcus Ray,
who had two interceptions last week.
That type of talent is what gives
Michigan the nation's top scoring
defense, which has allowed 8.3 points per
game and hasn't allowed a point in the
fourth quarter all season.
Edge: Michigan
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Spartans are
good on returns, third in the Big Ten at
24.5 yards per kickoff return and second
at 12.2 yards per punt return. But they
absolutely stink at punting, dead last at
30.2 yards per punt.
Problem is, Michigan averages just
19.1 yards on kickoff returns, 8.8 yards
on punt returns and 34.7 yards per punt.
Considering the Wolverines had a punt
blocked and another returned for a touch-
down last week, they've got problems.
EDGE: Michigan State
The way things stack up, Michigan
State has a tremendous opportunity to
spoil Michigan's sterling record. Playing
at home, in an environment that has been
conducive historically to favorable calls
and otherworldly breaks, the Spartans
have a good enough team to win and look
good in the process.
But as alike as the two teams seem,
Michigan's defense is better than its
brother's -arguably better than anyone's
- and that will make all the difference in
a tight, exciting game.
PREDICTION: Michigan 16, Michigan
State 13.

SARA STILLMAN/Daily
rs Howard is banged up, another reason why Michigan's ground game, may not be able to run through the Spartans'
stiffling rush defense. Michigan State enters the contest with the Big Ten's second best defense, behind only Michigan.
Spartans hope to wrangle CCHA
dominance away from Michigan

U U

i

W,
By Pranay Reddy
Daily Sports Writer
There have been whispers about it all
over the CCHA this season.
'Pssst.Pass it on - Michigan is done
... it's Michigan State's turn now.'
But as with any rumor, you always
need to go back to the source to find out
if it's true.
Tomorrow night will be the first step
i answenng the questions of all those
uiring hockey minds when Michigan

The other
Big Game
Who: No. 6
Michigan vs. No.
2 Michigan State
Where: Yost Ice
Arena
*hen: Tomorrow,
7 p.m.

State (1-0-1
CCHA, 3-0-2
overall) faces
Michigan (0-0,
3-1) at 7 p.m.
at Yost Ice
Arena.
You would
think the one
man who could
put an end to
all these
rumors would

to most hockey 'experts,' Michigan
State's crawl out of the gate has definite-
ly raised eyebrows.
The Spartans fought back from a two-
goal deficit against Western Michigan a
week ago to earn a tie. And while a tie
with a middle-of-the-pack squad like the
Broncos may not be all that surprising,
the Spartans first contest of the season
was.
Michigan State struggled to a 3-3
deadlock with Guelph, a Canadian col-
lege team. Meanwhile, Michigan handi-
ly defeated its one Canadian foe,
Toronto, 9-2. While most games against
Canadian teams serve as tune-ups for
conference schedules, the Spartans
found Guelph to be anything but.
Nevertheless, the Spartans are ranked
No. 2 in the country and No. I in the
conference for a reason, despite their
early difficulties.
The reason being the huge amount of
experience present throughout the team,
starting with senior goaltender Chad
Alban who garnered honorable-mention
All-CCHA honors last season. Alban has
started this season where he left off,
posting a 1.35 goals-against average.
Offensively, center Mike York has
been scorching opponents for the
Spartans, leading them with three goals
and four assists. York's performance thus
far this season has been overshadowed
by Michi'gan right wing Bill Muckalt,
who has scored five goals and added

four assists.
"Even though Michigan lost a lot of
good hockey players, they have a strong
goaltender and some good snipers up
front," Michigan State coach Ron Mason
said. "I still think they are going to be
right here"
If Mason's prediction is to hold true,
the Wolverines will need support from
their freshmen - who will be playing
their first CCHA game against the
intrastate-rivals.
"Early on in the game home ice could
be a key for the freshmen, as opposed to
playing the at Munn (Ice Arena),"
Berenson said. "But, Michigan State has
always come here and played well in the
past.
"I think it will be a good game wher-
ever it is played,"
But, what could affect the quality of
play tomorrow night is the injury situa-
tion of both teams.
Michigan freshman Troy Kahler, who
was suffering from bursitis in his right
elbow, practiced this week but will not
play against the Spartans.
In addition, Michigan captain Matt
Herr is still out of action due to a groin
injury he sustained in a game against
Minnesota on Oct. 10.
On the bright side, however, center
Bobby Hayes should return for the
Wolverines tomorrow night after leaving
Saturday's game against Colgate early
with a hip pointer.

I

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0 o a a
02 0

be Michigan coach Red Berenson.
Guess again. Berenson is anticipating
tomorrow night's game as much as the
next guy.
"I think no matter what I say (about
the game) - it's all speculation until the
teams play," Berenson said.
Despite all of the rumblings about
Wchigan's expected fall from grace,
Berenson is confident in his team's
chances - even after a 2-1 loss to
Colgate last week that ended the
Wolverines' 36-game home winning
streak.
"I, think we're a pretty good team, and
the comparison is good between the two
teams," Berenson said.
Excluding the preseason hype,
Arenson would be dead-on with his
sessment of the two clubs. While
Michigan's slower start isn't surprising
I Mobil,

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Shaming of the Sun
_ w> - WORLD TOUR

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