2 - TheMichigan Daily - FotblSaturday - September 26, 98
S ember 26, 1998
- INSIDE FOOTBALL SATURDAY -
Irvin, in his third season as a
Spartan tailback, leads the offense
Last weekend, it finally came
together for the Wolverines, as
they romped past Eastern
Michigan for their first victory
of the season. Anthony Thomas
got Michigan's running ame off
the ground and Tom Brady
earned his first win as
into Ann Arbor
In a rivalry of this magnitude, the
state s plits and fans t*oughout
Michigan form allegiances. With
over 110,000 fans looking on
today in the Big House, loalty is
of little consequence, but,
according to Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr, intensi is at an
Head to head
Michigan-Michigan State week
brings out the best in everyone -
even sports writers. Jim Rose,
of The Michigan Daily, and Joe
Rexrode, of The State News,
square off in a heated debate
about which town is better: Ann
Arbor or East Lansing.
Everything you need to know for
game day: the two-deeps for
both teams, Michigan's season
stats thus far, Michigan State's
facts - even the weekend picks
by the experts at the Daily.
Player by player, all the vitals of
everyone on either team.
Above and beyond
From the time Michigan line-
backer Dhani Jones was a mere
tot, his parents instilled in him
the importance of the Michigan-
Michigan State rivalry. This sea-
son has not been easy for Jones,
however, as he's changed posi-
tions to accommodate all of
Michigan's defensive injuries.
As the only Spartan to score in
last season's Michigan victory in
East Lansing, Sedrick Irvin is
determined to make this season's
outcome different. The tailback
from Miami is the heart of the
Michigan State offense, and
through three games he is the
team's lea ing rusher.
By Sharat Raju
Daily Sports Editor
The ball is pitched to him, standing in
the backfield with his hands on his
knees. He grabs it and cuts up between
right guard and tackle.
A couple yards upfield, he suddenly
darts to the left. A linebacker closes in -
he swings right, quicker than the Earth-
bound would-be tackler. Finally, a quick
safety brings him down, behind the pri-
mary line of defense after a sizable gain.
That's 'Swervin' Irvin,' Michigan
State's elusive tailback Sedrick Irvin;
and when he's swervin', it's unnervin' for
the opposing team.
"He's a great tailback," Michigan line-
backer. I played against him last year.
He's fast. Sometimes he eludes you in
certain fashions. Because he does that,
he's a hard person to get a hold of."
If you do manage to get a hold of him
and get the ball back, your offense better
score. Because if you have to punt -
bad news -you've got to give it to him,
again. And if the punt is bad, look out.
Irvin scored a touchdown last year and
averaged 13.6 yards per return.
"Irvin is a great back," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said.
Irvin has been a hard person to get a
hold of since he stepped on campus at
East Lansing. In his freshman year, Irvin
set the Michigan State single-season
rushing record, compiling 1,067 yards
The freshman scored 18 touchdowns
- another freshman record - and aver-
aged 4.5 yards per carry. He was also the
second leading receiver on the team..
After that breakout freshman cam-
paign, the Miami native didn't slow
down a bit. In fact, he got even better and
finished with 1,270 yards rushing in his
sophomore season, good for seventh on
Michigan State's all-time list. He is the
only player in the school history to rush
for a 1,000 yards in his first two seasons.
His accomplishments were worthy of
a second-team All-Big Ten selection,
finishing fifth in the Big Ten with 105.8
yards per game.
But to Michigan fans, the most
notable part of 1997 was the fake field
goal attempt last season against the
Irvin lined up wide left and went
unnoticed. The holder stood up, passed
the ball to Irvin who waltzed into the end
zone with a 22-yard score.
"That was good for them and bad for
us that they did have that last year,"
Michigan nose tackle Rob Renes said.
"With the emphasis being up front, some
times those things are left open. We're
well aware that they may try something
All the accolades that he has gotten or
will receive over his career don't seem to
matter to Irvin. He just plays.
"But all the rivalry and all the hype
about Michigan and Michigan State - I
don't get into that," Irvin said. "It's just a
game I want to win. Just like every game
But the Spartans have only won one of
the games in which he's played. And in
that victory, Irvin was huge. He scam-
pered for 119 yards and a touchdown on
24 carries against Notre Dame. Needless
to say, Michigan State romped, 45-23.
The Spartan is averaging 101.7 yards
per game, averaging 4.6 yards a contest,
thus far. The Spartans have been utiliz-
ing play-action passes to keep defenses
from cheating and keying on just Irvin. It
worked successfully two weeks ago in
their victory over the Fighting Irish.
But this week provides another chal-
lenge for the shifty junior running back.
"I think it's great playing in the
biggest college stadium in the country,"
Irvin said. "If you can come out with a
victory there in front of I11,000, it
would be a great win."
- Daily Sports Writer Tracy Sandler
contributed to this report.
one for a loss
Free toee0 il
_ _da of vee
Last week, the Wolverines finally notched one in the win column, with a 59-20
victory over Eastern Michigan. The defense continued to struggle, however, giving
up more than 400 yards to Eagles.
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