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October 29, 1998 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-29

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14A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 29, 1998

Titans not likely to slip up this week-

By Michael Kern nonconference opponents such as
For the Daily UNLV and Fresno State, and a con-
This weekend marks the final ference schedule that conspicuously
week before the Big Ten heads into omits Ohio State, have managed to
the final month of the season. Not keep the Badgers undefeated for yet
surprisingly, Ohio State, Wisconsin another week.
and Michigan all remain undefeated They will stay that way, heading
in conference play. With four teams into a bye week that they will use to
still in the hunt for the Big Ten prepare for another tough conference
championship - Penn State has just opponent, Minnesota.
one loss - these next few weeks Last week failed to clear up the
should present some exciting games race for the Big Ten championship,
in the race to Pasadena. and this
Ohio State w e e k
demonstrated AROUND THE should be
why it is the CONFERENCE no differ-
top-ranked team in the country, ent. A week after its upset of the
cruising to a 36-10 victory over mighty Spartans, unranked
Northwestern. As long as all of its Minnesota hosts No. 22 Michigan.
players maintain passing grades in The other four games in the con-
'How to Change a Lightbulb' and ference are almost as exciting, giv-
'Table Tennis 115,' the Buckeyes ing Big Ten football fans ample rea-
should stay undefeated until they son to spend their day outside enjoy-
host Michigan in the Horseshoe on ing the weather - while it lasts.
Nov. 21.
With a 31-0 victory over Iowa, No. 1 OHIo STATE (4-0 BIG TEN,
Wisconsin continued its streak of 7-0 OVERALL) VS. INDIANA (1-3, 3-4)
consecutive weeks as the most over- When the Bowl Championship
rated team in the country. Stellar Series standings were revealed for

4 *R

Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El had a hard time running the option last
weekend against Michigan's revived defense. His job won't get any easier this
weekend, when the Hoosiers host No.1 Ohio State.

the first time earlier this week, Ohio
State finished a surprising second
behind UCLA. The Buckeyes can
thank opponents such as Indiana for
dragging their schedule strength
down to 16th in the nation.
As long as Ohio State continues
to play the way that it has for the past
eight weeks, strength of schedule
won't be enough to keep it out of the
Fiesta Bowl and a matchup with the
The Buckeyes' seventh-ranked
offense is guided by a powerful pass-
ing attack, led by quarterback Joe
Germaine and wideouts David
Boston and Dee Miller. These three
should run all over Indiana's under-
sized defensive backfield all day.
To balance out the pass, Ohio
State possesses a solid ground game,
led by Mi'hael Wiley, who averages
almost 113 yards per game.
It's a pick-your-poison situation
for the Hoosiers, who can either sit
back against the pass and let the
Buckeyes run all over them, or
defend the run and hope their corner-
backs don't get burned by Boston
and Miller.
Indiana's offense is run by flashy
freshman quarterback Antwaan
Randle El, who at times last
Saturday made Michigan defenders
look like construction pylons as he
rushed for more yards than the entire
Wolverine offense.
But Randle El has to compete
with one of the nation's top defenses,
led by linebacker Andy 'Big Kat'
Katzenmoyer and cornerback
Antoine Winfield. The Buckeyes'
defense is holding opponents to
229.1 yards and 9.3 points per game.
Ohio State has won the past seven
contests between these two teams
and is 8-1-1 against Indiana under
coach John Cooper. You can make it
eight straight, because the Hoosiers
have about as much chance in this
one as Bill Clinton does of winning
the Christian Coalition's Man of the
Year award.
There won't be much for Indiana
fans to cheer about this weekend, but
they can at least start looking for-
ward to basketball season
No. 10 PENN STATE (2-1 , 5-I)
VS. ILLINOIS (1-4, 2-6)
After winning their first Big Ten
game in more than a season and a
half against Northwestern. Illinois
has returned to form with three
straight losses.
In the past four weeks, the
Fighting Illini have faced three
ranked opponents. Things don't get
any easier for Illinois this week, as it
travels to Happy Valley to face No.
10 Penn State.
The Nittany Lions boast a scoring
defense that is ranked seventh
nationally at 13.3 points per game.
The defense, led by linebacker LaVar
Arrington, has been the key to Penn
State's success all season. It shut
down Drew Brees and pass-happy
Purdue in a 31-13 victory in West
Lafayette two weekends ago.
The Illinois offense, ranked 96th
in total offense in the nation, will
struggle against the powerful Penn
State defense. Although they have a
veteran offense line, the Fighting
Illini are young and inexperienced at
the skill positions, especially quar-
terback and running back. This will
prove to be a serious problem against
the Nittany Lions' stingy defensive
Quarterback Kurt Kittner has
completed 45 percent of his passes

for 715 yards, but has thrown six
interceptions and just one touch-
Illinois also enters the game
ranked 90th in scoring defense.
Opponents are averaging more than
33 points per game. Although Penn
State does not have any big name
players, such as past stars Curtis
Enis, Ki-Jana Carter and Kerry
Collins, quarterback Kevin
Thompson, tailback Cordell Mitchell
and wideouts Chafie Fields and Joe
Nastasi have quietly led the Nittany
Lions to a 28.3-points-per-game
Unfortunately for Penn State,
Nastasi broke his hand in practice
two weeks ago. The hope is that
Nastasi can return next week to play
It will take more than a miracle
for the Fighting Illini to pull off a
victory in hostile Happy Valley this
weekend. The Nittany Lions are
superior in all facets of the game and
should go into Ann Arbor with just
one loss.

Big Ten Standings
Team C-Qn overil
Wisconsin 5-0 8-0
Ohio State 4-0 7-0
Michigan 4-0 5-2
Penn State 2-1 5-1
Purdue 2-2 4-4
Iowa 2-3 3-5
Michigan State 1-2 3-4
Minnesota 1-3 4-3
Indiana 1-3 3-4
Illinois 1-4 2-6
Northwestern 0-5 2-6
Saturday's games:
Michigan at Minnesota
Ohio State at Indiana
Michigan State at Northwestern
Penn State at Illinois
Purdue at Iowa

Bates is one of the few bright
spots on an otherwise dismal
Northwestern team that harkens back
to Wildcat teams of the '60s, '70s
and '80s.
The Golden Gophers' stunnii
last-second victory droppeW
Michigan State's record below .50
for the season.
The Spartans now must win four
of their final five games, with a
schedule that sends them on the road
to Ohio State and Penn State, to be
eligible for a bowl game. Quite a
surprise, given the high expectations
in East Lansing in September.
Going into this season, Michigan
State had one of the top-ranke
defenses in the Big Ten, anchored b
a defensive line featuring preseason
All-America defensive end Robaire
Smith. But the defense has struggled
with injuries all year. Currently,
defensive end Demitrus Underwood
and cornerback Amp Cambell are
both out indefinitely.
The Spartans' offense isn't faring
any better. Half of the offensive line
is out for the season, and startio
quarterback Bill Burke is question-
able for this week's game.
The Michigan State defense is
ranked 10th in the Big Ten in total
defense, giving up almost 400 yards
per game. The Spartans are also
ninth in the conference in scoring
defense, giving up close to 24 points
per game.
Northwestern's offense ranks
ninth in the Big Ten, averaging 1e
than 300 yards per game, and 10thW
scoring offense, scoring just 16.4
points per game. Someone or some-
thing in this clash of titans is going
to have to give.
If this one doesn't put you to
sleep, you deserve a medal.
PURDUE (2-2, 4-4) vs. IowA (20
Last year, the Boilermakers com-
pleted an amazing storybook season
with 6-2 Big Ten and 9-3 overall
records. Iowa was one of just two
teams in the Big Ten to defeat them.
This week, Purdue tries to get
revenge, as the Hawkeyes travel to
West Lafayette.
Under second-year head coach
Joe Tiller, the Boilermakers employ
a .pass-happy, West Coast-st9
offense led by quarterback Drew
Brees. Brees leads the Big Ten in
every passing statistic imaginable,
completing 235 passes for 2,620
yards and 20 touchdowns. He has
completed more passes than any
other quarterback in the Big Ten has
even attempted.
While defense isn't the strongest
part of Purdue's game, it gives
almost 375 yards and 22 points p
game, the Boilermakers have
outscored opponents 238 to 176.
Their all-out offensive strategy has
placed the Boilermakers in position
to be playing in a bowl game over
The Iowa offense received a
major facelift this year, replacing its
starting quarterback, running back
and star receiver with three untested
The lack of experience has be
evident in the Hawkeyes' play, as
they have committed 17 turnovers,
third most in the Big Ten.
Although Iowa's offense has been
abysmal, ranking last the Big Ten, its
defense has managed to keep the
Hawkeyes from losing every game
this season.

Iowa is ranked fifth in the confer
ence in total defense and fifth
scoring defense, allowing 339 yards
and 19.6 points per game.
But the Boilermakers' 450 yards
of offense per game will be too much
for the Hawkeyes' defense to handle.
Purdue will take this one running



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