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October 23, 1998 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-23

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 23, 1998

Spartans put 26-year hurt on Minnesota

By Michael Dougherty
Minncsota )Daly (U. Minnesota)
WIRE) - The last time the Gophers
beat Michigan State in Minneapolis
was Nov. 18, 1972, when Minnesota
won 14-10 at Memorial Stadium.
-- To get an idea of how long ago
that really was, Gophers coach Glen
Mason was in his first year of coach-
i:)g as a graduate assistant at Ball
State. Current Michigan State coach
' ick Saban, meanwhile, was a
senior at Kent State.
Minnesota has lost 17 games in a
row to Michigan State, including a
31-10 win in East Lansing, Mich.,
during the Spartans' homecoming
last year.
, The key to ending the losing
sIreak will be stopping the Spartans'
running attack, which features all-
Big Ten selection Sedrick Irvin at
tailback and former Eden Prairie
star Leroy McFadden at fullback.
In last year's game, Minnesota
contained Irvin with some success
on the ground, limiting him to 72
yards on 21 rushes. But, he caught
five balls for 79 yards and a touch-

The Gophers' defense, which had
been ranked eighth nationally
against the run before giving up 236
yards to the Buckeyes in Saturday's
45-15 Ohio State win, saw its rank-
ing plummet nine spots to No. 17
and the per-game average rise from
84 yards allowed to more than 109.
Mason said he blames the huge
numbers on the tentativeness of his
defensive line - especially his line-
"I was not pleased with the play
of our linebackers in the Ohio State
game," Mason said. "They were
worried about making a mistake and
that's not how you're supposed to
Gophers defensive lineman Jon
Michals was one player who Mason
said played well in the loss to top-
ranked Ohio State.
The junior from Oak Creek, Wis.,
said he thinks Irvin is a great back,
but is confident the Gophers (3-3, 0-
3 in the Big Ten) match up well with
the Spartans (3-3, 1-1).
lie admitted the Minnesota
defense was not up to par against the

"Last week we took a step back
as a unit, and that happens once in
awhile," Mason said. "But hopefully
it will be the last time."
The Gophers will also have to
contain Michigan State quarterback
Bill Burke. A junior who has looked
spectacular in wins over Notre Dame
and Central Michigan, Burke has
experienced trouble in other games
when he gets some intense pressure.
Protected by a fairly inexperi-
enced offensive line, Burke has been
sacked 26 times this season, the sec-
ond-worst in the Big Ten conference
ahead of only Minnesota.
Gophers defensive coordinator
David Gibbs said his defense is
specifically designed to stack the
line and put pressure on the quarter-
back, and the Spartans offensive line
has been hit hard by injuries.
But while he admits the defense
has been lit up the past couple of
weeks, he said he feels confident his
group is improving.
"Michigan State has had some
injuries on offensive line and they've
given up some sacks, so we're going

to try to get after (Burke)," Gibbs
But Gibbs said his squad has to
be careful to pursue the quarterback
recklessly, otherwise they will get
burnt by Irvin.
"I don't think you ever stop a guy
like Irvin because he's too hard to
tackle," Gibbs said. "So despite the
injuries to the offensive line, when
they've got a running back that good,
I don't know that they have to block
Gibbs said Irvin killed his team
catching balls out of the backfield
last year, and his players had trouble
wrapping him up and bringing him
In the Ohio State game, Gophers
defensive end Curtese Poole
dropped back in pass coverage a few
times, but Gibbs said the experiment
didn't work as well as planned,
adding not much of anything worked
well against the Buckeyes.
"We've watched a lot of film on
those screen plays they run," Poole
said. "We'll have a lot of guys going
to the ball, so we think we're pre-


Greg Crozier, one of several experienced forwards who look to help the Wolverin
this year, has been to Alaska before. But for some of his teammates, this week-
end's trip is their first,
Icers hope to take
advantage of big ice

By T.Berka"
Daily Sports Writer
There's nothing more dangerous than a
perky Nanook.
The Michigan hockey team may dis-
cover the truth of this statement as it trav-
els to the great frozen North to take on
well-rested Alaska-Fairbanks (0-0
CCHA, 1-1 overall) in a two-game series
today and tomorrow.
"It'll be cold," Michigan coach Red
Berenson said. "Last time we were there,
it was 20 degrees below zero with two
feet of snow in October."
Similar to the eskimos who live a few
hours north of Fairbanks, the Nanooks
seem as if they have stored food for the
winter, as Alaska-Fairbanks boasts a big,
physical team. Along with being big, the
Nanooks are also fresh, with a six-hour
drive to Anchorage last weekend their
only road trip.
So after Michigan deplaned in
Fairbanks Wednesday following a 12-
hour flight, and spent a few days at
Captain Bartlett's Inn, the team will
trudge through the snow to the Carlson
Center to take on the Nanooks. And the
Wolverines will try to stay awake in the
process. The Nanooks are "not going to
be tired. They're going to want to put on
a show at home,' Berenson said.
While the Nanooks may be physical,
the square footage of the Carlson Center
ice may be an advantage for the
Wolverines. The rink is about 15 feet
wider at the Carlson Center than at other
CCHA arenas, potentially giving speedy
Michigan centers Mike Comrie and
Mark Kosick an advantage.
Although the Wolverines have speed
that may be an asset on a wider rink,
Berenson thinks that intelligent play is
more important than speed when playing
at the Carlson Center.
"You have to be a smart player to use
the whole rink," Berenson said. "If you
have 10 guys chasing the puck all over

the ice, it really doesn't matter how big
the rink is. People like Comrie, Bobby
Hayes and Kosick are pretty smart play-
ers, so they should benefit from the ice."
If Michigan uses the ice to its advan,
tage, it will still have to get the puck by
senior goalie Ian Perkins. The
Wolverines, who have made Lake
Superior's Scott Galatiuk and Niagara's
Greg Gardner into all-star goalies w
past two weeks, face a goalie in Perkins
who could be an all-star without help.
Perkins' play in last week's two games
against in-state rival Alaska-Anchorage
helped the Nanooks keep state bragging
rights, and also earned Perkins CCHA
defensive player of the week honors fof
this past week.
The Wolverines will try the same strat-
egy they have used thus far in the young
season - pepper Perkins with bushel'f
shots and hope that he will crack u x
the barrage.
"We are going to have to test him
early," Comrie said. "We need to get a lot
of shots and a lot of opportunites against
Michigan goaltenders Josh Blackburn
and Kevin O'Malley also have to be
aware of a barrage of shots, especially
from junior forward Sjon Wynia.
Wynia is the Nanooks' biggest o -
sive threat, and is known for being in Te
right place at the right time. To come out
of Fairbanks with two victories,
Michigan will need to be wary of Wynia
"We'll respect him," Berenson said.
"Our players will know that he's on the
ice, and hopefully they can minimize his
impact on the game."
Whatever impact Wynia and his fellow
Nanooks will have on the Wolverines this
weekend, it will pale in comparison tothe
impact of the cold. While the Wolvea
will be bundled in 20 layers of clot 9g
and may even come to loathe the Grcat
White North, it could be worse. They
could have gone in January.

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