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January 07, 1998 - Image 15

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-07

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 7, 1998 -5B

Woodson
pick ends
Cougars'
key drive
Third-down success
key in Michigan win
By Danielle Rumors
Daily Sports Editor
PASADENA, Calif. - The shoul-
der shake and body swagger ended
just as his teammates rushed over to
pat him on the head and on his pads.
Cornerback Charles Woodson
gave his usual swagger in the end
zone after intercepting his eighth
pass of the season in Michigan's 21-
16 victory over Washington State.
The interception proved to be one
of the biggest plays in the 84th Rose
Bowl game, preventing the Cougars
from possibly going up 14-0 early in
the second quarter.

Washington

ei'
-9a
PRcEe~

State quarterback
Ryan Leaf
launched the ball
from Michigan's
12-yard line,
intended for
receiver Kevin
McKenzie in the
left corner of the
end zone.
Woodson cut in
front of McKenzie

Woodson's second-quarter interception of Ryan Leaf's end-zone bound pass elicited quite a reaction from Michigan fans. Woodson broke up four passes, caught a pass and ran for a first down.

Nebraska
throttles Vols,
for share of
national title
MIAMI (AP) - When Tom
Osborne's final game ended, he trotted
off the field and checked the scoreboard
one last time without expression. But
when presented with the Orange Bowl
trophy minutes later, he broke into the
grin of a champion.
And that's how Osborne will be
remembered, even though his Nebraska
Cornhuskers had, to share the national
title with Michigan.
The Wolverines finished No. I in the
final Associated Press poll released early
Saturday, receiving 51 first-place votes
to Nebraska's 18. But in the coaches'
poll, the Cornhuskers received 32 first-
place votes to Michigan's 30.
"It's just a real sense of relief, espe-
cially to do it for coach Osborne," All-
America defensive tackle Jason Peter
said. "We felt we established ourselves,
and we felt we deserved it."
The Cornhuskers gave their retiring
coach an emphatic sendoff Friday night
by beating Tennessee 42-17 in the
Orange Bowl. Peter and teammate Grant
Wistrom were in their hotel room watch-
ing television hours later when the poll
results were announced at about 3 a.m.
"We were so loud when we saw it, the
hotel security had to come up to tell us to
be quiet," Wistrom said.
Ahman Green rushed for an Orange
Bowl-record 206 yards and two touch-
downs to lead the Cornhuskers past
Tennessee. Peyton Manning - also in
his last college game -- managed just 134
yards passing, while counterpart Scott
Frost was 9-for-12 for 125 yards and
scored on runs of one, I1 and 9 yards.
"I don't think there's anybody out there
with a clear conscience who can say that
Nebraska and that great man Tom
Osborne doesn't deserve a national
championship for this - at least a
share," Frost said before the ballots were
counted.
Osborne forgot to vote until he
received a phone call reminding him.
No. 3 Tennessee finished 11-2, while the
Cornhuskers capped a 13-0 season.
"We can't do any more than win 13,"
said Osborne, his shirt soaked from an
ice-bucket bath courtesy of his players.
"We'll just let the chips fall where they
may as far as the rest of it goes. "It's a

and grabbed the ball on a soaring
leap, ending what would have proba-
bly culminated in a touchdown on
the 65-yard drive.
The Cougars had gone up 7-0 after
Leaf hit a streaking McKenzie on a
15-yard pass and Rian Lindell con-
verted the point after attempt.
"I thought the play Woodson made
was definitely a big play for us
because being down 14-0,against a
team as prolific as Washington State
is would have been difficult for us,"
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said the
day after the game.
Woodson's eight interceptions
were a team high this year and are
the most in a single season since
Tom Curtis' eight in 1969. Woodson
was the Heisman Trophy winner, the
first primarily defensive player to
win the award, and the defensive
player of the year.
THIRD-DOWN CONVERSIONS: The
Wolverines failed to convert any of
their five third-down opportunities
in the first half, while the Cougars
converted three of their nine oppor-
tunities. The first Cougar third-down
conversion led to their first score
two plays later.
The Wolverines did an about-face
in the second half, converting 10 of
their 12 second half opportunities.
The Wolverines' conversions were
instrumental in keeping their last
drive alive, the same drive that ate a
huge chunk of the clock late in the
fourth quarter. The Wolverines con-
verted four straight third downs to
burn 6:56 off the clock.
One of the biggest plays of the
drive was quarterback Brian Griese's
11-yard run deep in Michigan terri-
tory. Facing a third-and-l from the
Michigan 18-yard line, Griese broke
free of a tackler's hold and raced for
the first down.
Then on the next third down, on a
third-and-seven, Griese hit Woodson
on a lateral who faked a pass then
raced up the sideline for the first
down. Griese then hit receiver
Russell Shaw and Woodson once
more on the next two third down
opportunities, respectively.
"Griese certainly had great plays,"
Carr said. "Just imagine if we
haven't had gotten those first
downs."
OTHER NOTES: Michigan's Rose
Bowl victory was the first time since
1973 that a consensus No. 1 coming
into the Rose Bowl has won the game.
Top-ranked Southern Cal defeated
Ohio State, 42-17, in 1973 and went
on to win the national title.
Michigan finished the season 12-0 for
the first time in school history and
won its 11th national championship.

ight end Jerame Tuman took this Brian
- 01
ontinued from Page 1B
And while Nebraska is certainly a
reat team, and losing out in the
oaches poll does not diminish what
ias been a spectacular season from
hese Wolverines, Michigan got the
aw end of the dealin one of the most
bsurd turnarounds in polling history.
SWhile the Cornhuskers are an
*ptionally gifted team and odds-
nakers have made them a seven-point
avorite in a mythical heavyweight
out with Michigan, the Wolverines
leserve an undisputed national cham-
ionship.
It only makes sense that Michigan

WARREN ZINN/Daily
Griese pass for 10 yards and a first down, but Tuman's biggest catch was a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Wrong again. There is a huge differ-
ence between the two situations.
Teams should lose votes for playing
poor and undisciplined football,
whether they win or lose. Nebraska
played poorly and struggled against a
mediocre football team, needing over-
time and a miraculous catch, which
was in fact illegal, to beat Missouri -
a game it should have lost. Michigan
stomped all over then-No. I Penn
State, 34-8, to rightfully stake their
claim as the best team in the country.
So, while Michigan only beat
Washington State by five points, it
played very well, limiting the Cougars'
high-octane offense to just 16 points,
24 under their average. and this was a

some members of the coaching frater-
nity would be naive.
And while the Wolverines lost out
by two first-place votes to the
Cornhuskers in the coaches poll, the
ylost by four points, which means that
either two coaches voted Michigan
third or one dropped them to fourth.
While you could make a case for
Nebraska as the nation's top-ranked
team, Michigan should then certainly
be No. 2.
This is an obvious attempt to sabo-
tage Michigan's chances at a national
championship. And while the polls'
outcome did not depend on these two
points, it very well could have, dis-
crediting what has long been consid-

should be taken with a grain of salt.
While I won't make any excuses for
the Big Ten's poor bowl showing, each
Big Ten team that lost played a higher-
ranked team, while both that didn't -
Michigan and Purdue -- won. It would
be a shame to think that had Curtis
Enis and Joe Jurevicius played and
Penn State beat Florida, the
Wolverines would be undisputed
national champions.
As for who would win a slugfest
between Michigan and Nebraska, who
knows? The answer is nobody. And
while some of us think the Huskers
would walk all over Michigan and oth-
ers think the Wolverines would shut
Nebraska up. it is idiotic to guess and

w , 4

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