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October 31, 1997 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-10-31

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 31, 1997

I

Staff
Picks
- all picks made
against the
spread.
Game (HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
MICHIGAN (-26) vs. Minnesota
Ohio State (-6) vs. MICHIGAN STATE
INDIANA (-4 1/2) vs. Illinois
IOWA (-11) vs. Purdue

The matchups
Wolverines should
bury tough Gophers

NICHOLAS J.
COTSONIKA
Minnesota
Ohio State
Indiana
Iowa

[ 1- - A
ALAN
GOLDENBACH

JOHN
LEROI

DANIELLE
RUMORE

Penn State (-16 1/2) vs. NORTHWESTERN Penn State
ARIZONA ST. (-3 1/2) vs. Wash. St. Wash. St.

FLORIDA (-20) vs. Georgia
Louisiana State (-6) vs. KENTUCKY
SYRACUSE (10 1/2) vs. West Virginia
TEXAS A&M (-9) vs. Oklahoma State
Best Bet
Last week
Overall
Overall best bet

Florida
Louisiana State
West Virginia
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
7-3
51-37
3-5

Minnesota
Michigan State
Indiana
Iowa
Penn State
Wash. St.
Florida
Kentucky
West Virginia
Texas A&M
Washington State
6-4
43-45
3-5

Minnesota
Ohio State
Indiana
Iowa
Penn State
Wash. St.
Georgia
Kentucky
West Virginia
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
5-5
43-45
3-5

Minnesota
Ohio State
Indiana
Iowa
Penn State
Arizona St.
Florida
Louisiana State
West Virginia
Oklahoma State
Ohio State
7-3
44-44
2-6

hTtp://wwwpbuih dlal

By John Leroi
Daily Sports Editor
Minnesota coach Glen Mason
received a few encouraging e-mails
after his Gophers almost upset then-
No. I Penn State two weeks ago.
One message read, " just wanted to
say what a great game your team
played against Penn State. I am real-
ly delighted I had a chance to talk to
your dad at the game. 'Take care,
your Aunt Gladys."
Only problem is, Mason's father
died 18 years ago. Must have been
one exciting conversation.
That's the kind of two weeks
Mason has had. After a heart-break-
ing loss to Penn State, Mason
benched running back Thomas
Hamner, whose fumble cost
Minnesota a huge upset.
Then Mason received a call from
the Big Ten offices apologizing for
blowing a pass interference call that
also would have secured the upset.
Tuesday, Hamner said he didn't
feel wanted in Minneapolis and
announced he was transferring.
Wednesday, he rescinded his state-
ment.
And things aren't looking up now:
Minnesota (0-4 Big Ten, 2-6 over-
all) is still winless in the Big Ten
and must face the nation's No. 3
defense tommorrow. To make mat-
ters worse, it's Homecoming for
Michigan (4-0, 7-0).
The Gophers haven't beaten
Michigan and taken home The Little
Brown Jug since when Chip
Lohmiller kicked a 30-yard field
goal as time expired to give
Minnesota a 20-17 victory over the
No. 2 Wolverines in 1986.
And Michigan doesn't exactly
take this game lightly. While the
Brown Jug is just a smoky restaurant
to some people, it means a whole lot
more to the football team.
Michigan has won 27 of the last
29 meetings, and both of the
Minnesota wins - in 1986 and in
1977, when the Gophers trounced
No. 1 Michigan 16-0 - ruined an
otherwise perfect season for the
Wolverines.
Mason may need his "surrogate"
families' support after this one, too.
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MINNESOTA PASSING DEFENSE:
Lamanzer Williams, tops in the Big
Ten and second in the nation with 10
1/2 sacks, is celebrating a sort of
Homecoming as well.
Williams is from Ypsilanti and
will have plenty of family in the
crowd (maybe Mason can borrow
them).
The Gophers do a decent job get-
ting pressure on the quarterback, but
after that, the Minnesota defense has
been horrible.
The Gophers have the 98th rated
pass defense in the country and have
picked off just six passes all season
- a number that Michigan equaled
last week.
Michigan signal caller Brian
Griese has proved to be just what
Michigan needs:.a vocal leader and
a smart player.
As the Big Ten's sixth-rated pass-
er, he has surpassed all expectations.
The offensive line has done a terrif-
ic job of protecting him and there is
no reason why it can't handle
Williams.
Wide receiver Rusell Shaw has
been bothered by an ankle injury
that kept him out of the second half
against Michigan State. In his abs-
cence, the Wolverines rarely went to
the air, which drew critisisim from
fans and the media.
But Griese should have few prob-

lems picking apart Minnesota's sec-
ondary when he has a chance. Look
for him to spread the ball around and
connect with Tai Streets, who's had
a disappointing year thus far, or
Jerame Tuman on a long ball.
EDGE:
MICHIGAN RUNNING OFFENSE VS.
MINNESOTA RUNNING DEFENSE: This
is the one area in which the Gophers
have excelled on an otherwise unim-
pressive squad. Minnesota ranks
39th in the country in run defense
and did a decent job holding Penn
State's Curtis Enis under wraps.

Strong safety Tyrone Carter (70
tackles) and linebacker Parc
Williams (67) have led the cha*,
but six other Gophers have at least
35 tackles.
Michigan is averaging 192.1
yards on the ground per game -
good enough for 26th in the nation.
The Wolverines have a bunch of
players nicked up in the backfield,
includingistarting fullback Chris
Floyd who has a bum ankle and
starting tailback Chris Howard, who
is playing with bruised ribs.
Michigan is chugging along n
the ground, especially when
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is able
to rotate Howard, Clarence Williams
and freshman Anthony Thomas in
and out of the lineup and they
always seem to be able to break a
big runwhen they need it.
EDGE:
MINNESOTA PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: No
need to say anything, really.
Michigan wins this matchup with
ease. The Wolverines sport the best
pass defense in the country. d
now players like Marcus 1W,
Tommy Hendricks and Andre
Weathers are getting credit instead
of just All-Everything Chuck
Woodson.
Minnesota quarterback Cory
Sauter is averaging just 119.2 yards
per game through the air and has
thrown as many interceptions (five)
as touchdowns. If it weren't for Tutu
Atwell, third in the conferencn
catches, the Gopher passing atf
would be barren. Sauter can't be
looking forward to this game.
EDGE:
MINNESOTA RUNNING OFFENS#.
MICHIGAN RUNNING DEFENSE: The
Gophers are averaging 159.5 yards
on the ground, but their leading
rusher, Hamner, accounts for only
67.5 yards. Minnesota has had its
difficulties moving the ball this year
and have had trouble coming from
behind.
No matter, the Wolverines'
defense hasn't allowed a touchdown
after halftime all year and that stok
should continue tomorrow.
Michigan is ranked fifth nationally
against the run.
Hamner may want to reconsider
transferring.
EDGE:
SPECIAL TEAMS: Ah, special
teams. The Wolverines haven'ibeen
very good at anything. Their punt-
ing is OK and Jay Feely has done a
good job on kickoffs, but returns
haven't been spectacular, though
Woodson is due to break a punt
return anythime.
Minnesota on the other hand't
too shabby. Most impressive is ie
Gophers kickoff returners, ranked
No. 7 in the country. They should

have plenty of opportunities to, show
their stuff tomorrow.
EDGE:
Michigan is very good. Minnesota
is not. And while Minnesota is just
another team to most of us, the
Wolverines actually care about the
Little Brown Jug. Don't look for a
letdown here. Mason is in a heap of
trouble. Michigan wants to-be 8-0
going into next week's game against
Penn State and there's no re
they shouldn't be.
PREDICTION: Michigan 34,
Minnesota 10.

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