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September 24, 1998 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-24

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I The Michigan daily - Thursday, September 24, 1998 - 1.7A

Irvin ready for battle of
unranked combatants

Continued from Page 17A
The freshman scored 18 touchdowns -
another freshman record - and averaged 4.5
yards per carry. le was also the second leading
receiver on the team.
After that breakout freshman campaign, 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 sev-
enth on Michigan State's all-time list.
Ie is the only player in the school's history
to rush for a 1,000 yards in each of his first two
Ilis accomplishments were worthy of a sec-
ond-team all-Big Ten selection, finishing fifth
in the Big Ten with an average of 105.8 yards
per game.
But to Michigan fans, the most notable part
of his 1997 season was a fake field goal
attempt last season against the Wolverines.
Irvin lined up wide left and went unnoticed.
The holder - current quarterback Bill
Burke - stood up and passed to ball to the
wide-open Irvin who waltzed into the end zone
with a 22-yard score.
For Burke, who played sparingly last season,
it was one of his few bright spots while back-
ing up incumbent quarterback Todd Schultz.
For Irvin, it was one of many touchdowns.
"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, sometimes those things are left
open. We're well aware that they mnay try some-
thing like that."
All the accolades he has received during hsis.
cireer don't seem to matter to Irvin. lIe just
"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 I play."
Unfortunately for the Spartans, they have
only won one of the games he's played in this
season. And in that victory, Irvin was huge. He
scampered for 119 yards and a touchdown on
24 carries against Notre Dame.
Needless to say, Michigan State romped in
the game, 45-23.
The Spartan is averaging 101.7 yards per
game, averaging 4.6 yards a carry. The
Spartans have been utilizing play-action passes
to keep defenses from cheating and keying on
It worked successfully two weeks ago it
their victory over the Fighting Irish.
But this week provides another challenge for
the shifty junior running back.
"I think it's great playing in the biggest col-
lege stadium in the country," Irvin said. "If you
can come out with a victory there in front of
111,000 (people), it would be a great win."
Daily Sports Writer Tracy .Sandler
contributed to this report.

fIchigan linebacker Dhani Jones made it clear earlier this week that he plans to give 110 percent on Saturday when the Wolverines face Michigan
tate at Michigan Stadium. Stopping Michigan State running back Sedrick Irvin may require every bit of that effort. Last year, Irvin surprised the
olverines on a trick play, scoring Michigan State's only touchdown.
ones assumes unfamiliar role

ontinued from Page 13A
A Butkus Award candidate at inside
nebacker, Jones was forced to the
ti e when most of the linebacking
rcw was decimated by injury.
His fellow starters generally
%garded as the top group in the coun-
-y before the season Clint
'openhaver, Sam Sword and Ian Gold,
tcrc lost to various ailments over the
irst three games.
So, as the unifying thread and most
spericinced linebacker, he agreed to
ilve wherever coach I loyd Carr
ere's some necessities and some
asitions needed to be filled," he said.
don't care where I am on the field, I
st want to play. It's al up to you
hethci you want to play and whether
au want to sacrifice for the team.
"That doesn't bother me at all.
hat's one thing that's great about
lichigan is that everybody has an
en heart."
aking about anatomy seems to
cite the pre-csed student his abil-
to tie in his studies, position, play,

ind focus on this week's game is
"One of the reasons you come to
Michigan is to beat Michigan State,"
he said. "No matter what the record is,
it's always going to be balls out."
Using slang to describe such an
intense rivalry is hardly unusual, but
Jones seems toi take his effort and
practice ability to an impossible level
regardless of his position.
"Inside or outside, that's one of the
great attitudes about our team is that
everybody goes where they're sup-
posed to, and they give 110 percent no
matter what," Jones said. "Week by
week they'll tell me (where to play),
but regardless, I'll give I 10 percent."
Ilis ability to give more than seems
humanly possible (i.e. that extra 10
percent) impresses his coaches, who
know his unique thirst for knowledge.
"We moved Dhani because we Ult
he was strong enough and smart
enough to play that position," Carr
said. I Ie was moved "probably because
we thought he was the best guy"
Since his leadership role expanded
as youth surrounded him, Jones spoke
more as a deflensive leader and not the

observant underclassman he was dur-
ing his first two seasons.
"1 think with any defense, or any
team, when they give up a touchdown
or two touchdowns within a defensive
nind, they don't ever want to ever let
anybody score oi lthem," he said.
"I nless they've ever shut out another
team, they think they could do better."
"hach week is a fresh start. One
good thing about our defense is that we
put the past aside and we learn what
happened in the last game."
'Ibis week, the Wolverines may have
to concentrate On Michigan State's
anatomy if they plan to come away
with the 'State Champs' title - and
there's little doubt who will be leading
the charge.
"Dhani is an extremely bright guy,
but toe has some things to learn," Carr
said. "le's going to fight you. lie's
done a great ob at Michigan, he's a
great leader and one of the toughest
guys on our team.
"You know one thing, you're always
going to get 100 percent from Dhani
'[hat must be oi a slow day for


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