10 - The Michigan Daily - Football Saturday - November 1, 1997
Gophers have little chance
against Big Ten's top defense
ly John Lorol
Daily Sports Editor
Minnesota coach Glen Mason received
a few encouraging e-mails after his
Gophers almost upset No. I Penn State
two weeks ago. One message read, "I 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
Only problem is, Mason's father died
18 years ago. Must have been one excit-
That's the kind of two weeks Mason
has had. After a heart-breaking loss to
No. 1 Penn State, Mason benched run-
ning back Thomas Hamner, whose fum-
ble 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 rescind-
ed his statement.
And things aren't looking up now:
Minnesota (0-4 Big Ten, 2-6 overall) is
still winless in the Big Ten and must face
the nation's No. 3 defense today. To make
matters 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
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
Michigan has won 27 of the last 29
meetings and both of those Minnesota
wins - in 1986 and in 1977 when the
Gophers trounced No. 1 Michigan 16-0
- ruined an otherwise perfect season for
Mason may need his "surrogate" fam-
ilies' 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 cele-
brating a sort of Homecoming as well.
Williams is from Ypsilanti and will have
plenty of family in the crowd.
The Gophers do a decent job getting
pressure on the quarterback, but after
that, the Minnesota defense has been hor-
rible. 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 passer, he has
surpassed all expectations. The offensive
line has done a terrific job of protecting
him and there is no reason why it can't
Wide receiver Rusell Shaw has been
bothered by an ankle injury that kept him
out of the second half against Michigan
State. In his absence, the Wolverines
rarely went to the air, which drew criti-
cism from fans and the media.
But Griese should have few problems
picking apart Minnesota's secondary.
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.
MICHIGAN RUNNING OFFENSE VS.
MINNESOTA RUNNING DEFENSE: Mason
likes his chances here. 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 tack-
les) and linebacker Parc Williams (67)
have led the charge, 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 back-
field including starting fullback Chris
What is Football Saturday?
Football Saturday, to those who know the Michigan athletic tradition, is
an institution unparalleled in excitement and spirit. From the action on
the field to the flying marshmallows in the stands, the Big House
becomes the center of life in Ann Arbor each fall, every time the Wolverines
take the field.
For the first time in its 107-year history, The Michigan Daily will try to cap-
ture the feeling of Football Saturday at home games in 12-page special edi-
tions. Each issue this season will feature coverage of the previous week's
game, player features, a game-day preview, matchups, staff picks, rosters and
statistics. Reports on Michigan sports other than football will be included, to
provide a spotlight for those Wolverines whose performances aren't witnessed
by more than 100,000 fans on a regular basis. Periodically, Athletic
Department news and other relavent stories also will be reported.
It is the Daily's hope that these issues will be fair, entertaining and informa-
tive. They are not intended to be a forum for cheerleading. Rather, they should
give students, alumni and fans a critical, unbiased look at the team and school
they love, and the institution they revere: Football Saturday.
Number 1, 1997 -
Michigan nosetackle Rob Renes chases Spartan quarterback Todd Schultz. Renes
sacked Schultz once and will be looking to do the same to Minnesota's Cory Sauter.
Floyd who has a bum ankle, and starting
tailback Chris Howard, who is playing
with bruised ribs.
Michigan is chugging along on 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 run when they need it.
MINNESOTA PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: No need to
say anything, really. Michigan wins this
matchup with easily. The Wolverines
sport the best pass defense in the country.
And now players like Marcus Ray,
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 con-
ference in catches, the Gopher passing
attack would be barren. Sauter can't be
looking forward to this game.
MINNESOTA RUNNING OFFENSE VS.
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
No matter, the Wolverines' defense
hasn't allowed a touchdown after half-
time all year and that streak should con-
tinue tomorrow. Michigan is ranked fifth
nationally against the run. Hamner may
want to reconsider transferring.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Ah, special teams.
The Wolverines haven't been very good
at anything. Their punting is okay and Jay
Feely has done a good job on kickoffs,
but returns haven't been spectacular,
though Woodson is due to break a punt
Minnesota on the other hand ain't too
shabby. Most impressive is the Gophers
kickoff returners, ranked No. 7 in the
country. They should have plenty of
chances to show their stuff tomorrow.
Michigan is very good. Minnesota is
not. And while Minnesota is just another
team to most of us, the Wolverines actu-
ally care about the Little Brown Jug.
Don't look for a letdown here.
Mason is in a heep of trouble.
Michigan wants to be 8-0 for next week's
game against Penn State and there's no
reason they won't be.
. PREDICTION: Michigan 34, Minnesota
Football Saturday Staff
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EAST LANSING - For the first two
quarters, there was hype and there was
But that disappeared after halftime.
As has been the case all season,
Michigan's defense put a steel clamp on
its opposition in the second half. What
was a close
2 M; Mond 23 battle for 30
Tailback Chris Howard rushed for 110 yards and scored a touchdown to lea
Defense stops Spec
333 E. Huron
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c gn i
Mk~gmSLi7n ut e s
~ Mlchlgan St. 7 turned into a
7 victory for the Wolverines (4-0 Big Ten
7-0 overall) before a rambunctious con-
glomerate of 79,687 at Spartan Stadium,
most clad in green, but plenty in blue.
In the week leading up to the game,
Michigan State players were singled out
for their loose chatter, which some
Wolverines deemed excessive. But
Michigan's stifling defense not only
attacked the ball, but the Spartans'
mouths as well.
"They did some talking in the first
quarter and a little bit in the second.'
Michigan safety Marcus Ray said. "In the
second half, what was there to talk
The talk in the second half was all
about Michigan's defense, which held the
Spartans (2-2, 5-2) to just 83 yards after
halftime while intercepting six Michigan
And the Spartans had difficulty mov-
ing anywhere on offense after Michigan
bottled up all-purpose threat Sedrick
Irvin. After burning Michigan for 141
first-half yards both on the ground and in
the air, Irvin could muster just 17 after
the break as the Spartans turned primari-
ly to a passing attack in an attempt to
erase their expanding deficit.
Shutting down Irvin allowed M
to win the game on the ground. Tl
with the most rushing yards has v
of the last 29 meetings. Michiga
that battle convincingly, 173-95.
"It was a good defense," Irvin
won't take any credit away
Michigan. They played a great ga
Michigan State didn't even havi
down in the third quarter, when
Weathers and Charles Woodson
off two Todd Schultz passes.
Woodson's interception was
tionally amazing, but the All-Ar
cornerback said it only made up
With Michigan up 3-0, late in t
quarter, Michigan State lined up
apparent 39-yard field goal. But
Bill Burke took the snap and thre
to Irvin who lined up wide left, ou
view of any Michigan player.
lobbed the ball up for Irvin who c
a good 15 yards away from the
Wolverine and galloped in for a
"Usually on field goals, I ch
opponent's formation, Woodso
"Today, for some reason, I didn'
the guy coming in and they made
play and caught us off-guard.
"Those are the types of plays t
take a team out of sync. But wi
allowed that to happen to us."
After the next six possessions e
Spartan punts and a Marcus Ray
ception, Michigan had the ball on
five-yard line with 5:36 to go int
half. The Wolverines promptly di
yards in iI plays, culminating
one-yard sneak by quarterback
1220 S. UNIVERSITY