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November 06, 1997 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-11-06

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 6, 1997
Yes, the rest of the Big Ten plays this weekend, too

By Chris Duprey
Daily Sports Writer
Football fans all over the Big Ten will
be glued to their TVs for the marquee
matchup of the week, No. 4 Michigan at
No. 3 Penn State. But that's not to say
they won't steal a few glances at the
sports ticker on the bottom of the televi-
sion screen.
With five teams having one loss or
fewer, the race for a Pasadena pilgrimage
is still up for grabs. The winner of the
Michigan-Penn State contest will have
the inroad to the Rose Bowl, but by no
means will it have the championship
locked up. Who will escape this week's
Big Ten obstacles unscathed?
No. 7 Ohio State at Minnesota:
First-year Minnesota coach Glen
Mason has done a fine job of gaining the
Golden Gophers' respect but hasn't
exceeded former coach Jim Wacker in
the victory column. Despite near misses
against national powerhouse Penn State
and Wisconsin, Mason has no Big Ten
victories to show for his efforts.
The Golden Gophers return home to
the library-esque Metrodome to take on
the Buckeyes, who see Minnesota as one
of two obstacles in the way of the
Revenge Bowl at Michigan.
Minnesota quarterback Cory Sauter
has been unable to adapt to Mason's bal-
anced offense, a sharp contrast from the
airfests that were common under Wacker.
Against Michigan last week, the Golden
Gophers passed only 1 1 times.
Minnesota will need to stay away from
the big play against Ohio State. Their
offense is capable, but they will need run- .
fling production from Thomas Hamner to
keep the Buckeyes off balance.
After sputtering in the early part of the
season, Ohio State is starting to run like
the well-oiled machine expected after last
year's national championship near-miss.
Two straight blowouts of Northwestern
and Michigan State, decent teams, have

fans in Columbus jumping back on the
Ohio State will try to maintain the
offensive balance against the Gophers
that they have displayed all season.
Running back Pepe Pearson hasn't been
spectacular, but good enough to keep the
Buckeyes on a roll.
Ohio State has been getting solid lead-
ership as well. Although Cooper official-
ly uses two quarterbacks - Stanley
Jackson and Joe Germaine - he seems
to have made his choice in recent weeks.
Germaine has been seeing the lion's share
of the game snaps. Cooper likes
Germaine's abilities as a drop-back pass-
er and his capacity to lead the team.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, it would-
n't matter if Cooper himself stepped up
behind center.
Ohio State 34, Minnesota 10
No. 12 Iowa at Wisconsin:
The truth is starting to leak out in
Madison. Wisconsin is not a very good
football team.
This season has been an up and down
one for the Badgers. They lost their open-
er at Syracuse, 34-0, and it has been a
rocky road from there. Wisconsin quar-
terback Mike Samuel has been inconsis-
tent at best, while a young offensive line
struggles to create holes for king-size
running back Ron Dayne.
One might not think Wisconsin is in
trouble, sporting a record of 4-1 in the
Big Ten, and 7-2 overall. But the Badgers
have won their last ballgame this season.
With Iowa starting to pick up steam
again, followed by games against cur-
rently undefeated Michigan and Penn
State, Wisconsin may be looking at the
Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day, if it's
lucky enough to get a bowl bid at all.
The Hawkeyes are busy wringing their
hands over what could have been. Iowa
opened conference play against Ohio
State and Michigan, both on the road.
Had the Hawkeyes salvaged one of those

contests, they conceivably could have run
the table and finished the conference 7-1,
making prospects interesting. Instead,
Iowa will try to impress bowl representa-
tives by reaching the nine-win mark.
The Iowa offense is alive and well.
Despite off-games against Ohio State and
Michigan, Tavian Banks remains a big
part of the Iowa attack. The star halfback
didn't gain 100 yards in either game.
But Saturday will be the day that
Banks breaks it open again. The Badgers
suffered large graduation losses on both
their offensive and defensive lines, and
they have had a size disadvantage against
most opponents. Iowa coach Hayden Fry
will go to Banks as long as he is success-
ful against Wisconsin.
The Badgers have shown the ability to
win games in wacky ways this season,
but they don't have the firepower to give
the Hawkeyes a serious fight.
Iowa 38, Wisconsin 23
Michigan State at No. 23 Purdue:
One of these teams started the 1997
season with all the hope in the world, and
the other wasn't given a chance. Now
Purdue, the quiet Cinderella of the Big
Ten, has risen to a No. 23 rank in the AP
poll while Michigan State has gone in the
exact opposite direction.
The Spartans scared many Big Ten
teams with their ability to rack up points
on non-conference opponents in a hurry.
Michigan State scored 202 points in its
first five games, and many picked the
Spartans to finish high in the standings.
But like all the other hot starts by the
Spartans in recent history, this one died
fast. Michigan State gave Northwestern
its only conference victory, then proceed-
ed to drop home games to Michigan and
Ohio State in brutal fashion.
Michigan State quarterback Todd
Schultz has thrown seven interceptions in
his last two starts. While Schultz is still
slated to start against the Boilermakers,
Michigan State coach Nick Saban has

made it clear that backup Bill Burke will
be ready if needed.
Running back Sedrick Irvin will have
to carry the load if the passing game is
not moving the ball for the Spartans.
Irvin does everything, and he does it well.
The sophomore has been having a spec-
tacular season, and he should continue
his success against the Boilermakers.
Purdue is coming off a disappointing
loss to Iowa, its first legitimate opponent.
Early this season, it looked like the
Boilermakers were back to old form,
blowing their opener at Toledo, 36-22.
But Tiller's passing-centered offense has
started to take root. Quarterback Billy
Dicken has found a favorite in flanker
Brian Alford, and Purdue has averaged
more than 42 points per game over the
last four contests as a result.
Tiller has been the most successful of
the four Big Ten coaching newcomers.
Formerly the coach at Wyoming, Tiller
has brought a WAC-style offense to West
Lafayette. No one believed that a run-
and-gun attack would survive in the cold
weather of the Big Ten, but it has.
Michigan State has very few strengths,
and strong secondary play is not one of
them. Look for the Boilermakers to
exploit the secondary with mid-grade 20-
yard passes. If Purdue has any success,
Saban will start to look at NFL coaching
vacancies with a little more vigor.
Purdue 35, Michigan State 20
Northwestern at Illinois:
Any Big Ten coach who plays Illinois
this year should thank the schedule selec-
tion computer for its good graces. The
Illini are having a hard time with each
Illinois has only scored in double dig-
its three times this year, and the situation
won't improve soon. Running back
Robert Holcombe, the team's only note-
worthy player, is a senior and will be
leaving the Illini with very little talent
upon which to build.

There are other games in the Big Ten this weekend, besides Michigan-Penn State.

All those in Champaign who pushed
for former coach Lou Tepper's firing last
year have quietly hidden themselves
away. Tepper, popular with players, was
forced to resign following yet another
unsuccessful campaign.
New coach Ron Turner, fresh from the
NFL, is still searching for his first victo-
ry with Illinois, and this may be his best
opportunity to get it. Ohio State and
Michigan State are waiting in the wings,
licking their lips for a blowout victory.
No one really expected Northwestern
to dazzle the conference as in the past
two years, but the Wildcats' slide to the
bottom of the Big Ten is still somewhat
surprising. Northwestern coach Gary
Barnett started the season with two fifth-


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try during the last 60 years.
Texas, on the other hand, was, the team of the 1980s. The
Longhorns finished in the top two in the country every year
except '83, '85 and '86. Included in that period was a streak of
four straight national championships from 1988-91. In more
recent history, the Longhorns finished fourth at the 1997 cham-
"Texas, Michigan and Stanford are the top three swimming
programs in the country," Urbanchek said. "Texas has an excel-
lent team every year."

Texas was the No. I team in the country when Michigan took
the meet in Canham last year, 129-114. The Longhorns will be
looking for revenge in their home pool.
Texas is coming off a loss to Stanford in its initial test of the
season, but the Longhorns return quite possibly the top colle-
giate swimmer in the nation in senior Neil Walker.
Walker was named the swimmer of the meet at the 1997
NCAA championships. He set American records in the 100-
yard backstroke, and an NCAA record in the 50 freestyle.
Walker also swam on two relays before breaking his left hand,
slamming it into the wall on a touch.
"Walker's the franchise," Urbanchek said. "He could lead
them to the national championship by himself."


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Continued from PageIA
across the board, and we could have
some difficulty."
Michigan's depth in the distance
freestyle events was questioned when
the season began, but lately senior Talor
Bendel has been strong in the distance
events, although distance is not her forte.
Bendel won both the 400- and 800-yard
freestyles against Michigan State and
also anchored victorious 800 and 1,500
free relays at Northwestern.
Despite her performance, Richardson
insists that distance free will not be a
permanent position for Bendel this year.
"She is a very unusual athlete in that
she has tremendous range," Richardson
said. "Right now she's our fastest dis-
tance freestyler, but she will not swim
distance at the end of the season."
North Carolina will also pose a chal-
lenge for the Wolverines. Kristin Miller

brings strength and experience to the
Tarheels in the distance and individual
medley events, and last year's Olympic
hopeful, Rochelle Fox, will be a force in
the butterfly.
"They are a very good in-season
team," Richardson said. "They swim
very fast in-season."
Richardson said that although swim-
ming well during the regular season is
important, Michigan will focus its train-
ing on the end of the season.
"We know we're not going to be 100-
percent at that meet, and that's okay,"
Richardson said. "You can lose 40 days
of effective training by backing down
every time you need a little extra rest to
win a meet that no one is really going to
care about the next year."
Even if the Wolverines' focus is on the
end of their season, they will still have
reason to be attentive this weekend.
Minneapolis will be the sight of 1998
NCAA championships this March.

year quarterbacks, hoping their experi-
ence would carry through a killer Big Ten
lineup. The schedule has the Wildcats
skipping Minnesota and Indiana this year
- not the best possible draw.
Adrian Autry has performed adequate-
ly at running back for Northwestern, but
falls short compared to the departed
Darnell Autry. Many of the linemen who
helped Northwestern to the Rose Bowl in
1995 and a Big Ten co-championship in
1996 have graduated, leaving gaping
holes up front w
Unfortunately for Illinois, someohe
forgot to tell Turner that unlike in the
NFL, losing all 11 games does not get
you the best draft pick.
Northwestern 20, Illinois 9
Men's gol
wraps up
season out
in the sun'
By Rick Harpster
Daily Sports Writer
After two weeks away from competi-
tion, the Michigan men's golf team con-
cludes its fall season this weekend when
it travels to Palo Alto, Calif., for the
Stanford Invitational.
So far, the inexperienced Wolverines
have surprised a lot of people. Michigan
is coming off a second-place finish in its
last tournament, the Persimmon Ridge
Invitational in Louisville, Ky.
This weekend's 18-team field includes
six of the nation's top-25 teams, includ-
ing No. I Arkansas and No. 2 Georgia
Tech. The tournament should give evy-
one a good idea of how fare he
Wolverines have come this fall.
"The field will be the strongest we
face all year," Michigan coach Jim
Carras said. "But we enjoy the challenge
of playing with very competitive teams
because it gives us a good indication of
where we stand"
Sophomore Mike Harris, who won his*'
last two tournaments, will lead the young
Michigan squad into the tournament.As
the only returning letterman, Harris is
the lone Wolverine to have played the
par-71, 6,778-yard course. But, he thinks
his teammates will be able to learn the
course very quickly.
"The course is not very long and is
pretty wide open," Harris said. "So I
think it will be easy for our newer guys
to adjust."
The newcomers accompanying Harris
will be junior Kevin Vernick, senior
Keith Hinton, freshman Mike Reabe and
freshman Kevin Harris, Mike's younger
Vernick, Hinton and Mike Harris have
participated in all four of the previous
tournaments this year.
Although Michigan's top three have
not changed this fall, its fourth and fifth
spots have been about as consisterit as a
promise from Bill Clinton. Five different
players have already held the two posi-
tions this year.
"We had a qualifier last week in the
bad weather to determine who would
capture the final spots for us this week-
end," Carras said. "Kevin (Harris) and
Mike (Reabe) earned the opportunity."
Kevin Harris has played in tw& tour-
naments this fall and hopes to capitalize
on that experience when he travels to!'
"We've played some of these teams
before;" he said. "When we're playing
well, we can compete with them."
One thing is for sure - the weather in
Stanford will be better than the cold, wet

weather that affected the Wolverines'
practices l1ast week.

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