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November 05, 1999 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-05

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Friday, November 5, 1999 - The Michigan Daily - 13

close not enough*
this time for Gophers

Dayne, Brees meet
in Heisman runoff

STATE COLLEGE (AP) - Eerie, the
similarities.
16In 1997, undefeated Penn State was
steaming toward a national champi-
onship. Minnesota came to Beaver
Stadium and bullied its way to a 15-3
lead before the Nittany Lions escaped
with two late touchdowns and friendly
referees.
Two years later, same story - -so far,
at least: The Gophers visit Saturday hop-
ing to derail the No. 2 Lions' (5-0 Big
Ten, 9-0 overall) title run.
A bad omen for the Lions? Nonsense,
y say. Just a coincidence.
"This is a totally different team," Mike
Cerimele said. "I think we're going to
rise to the occasion the next three weeks.
We're not going to come out flat."
With three games - against
Minnesota, No. 16 Michigan and No. 19
Michigan State - standing in the way of
a shot at a national title, Penn State's play-
ers say they're as intense as ever this week.
Maybe this Penn State team really is
ferent than the 1997 group - who fell
from the top spot in the polls after the
near-loss to the Gophers, then dropped
t;Tree of their last five games.
~.But so is Minnesota
Those Gophers came into the game 2-
4., giving up 33 points per game. This
season, Minnesota is 5-3, 2-3 in the Big
Ten. They rank atop the conference in
total defense and second in keeping
teams out of the end zone.
ind they could very easily be unbeat-
- losing at home to No. 10
Wisconsin 20-17 in overtime, No. 20
Ohio State 20-17 and No. 17 Purdue 33-
28.
"Every one of those games they could
have won," Penn State coach Joe Paterno

said. "They are so close to being one of
the top football teams in the country."
That's why he declared them Penn
State's most dangerous opponent to date,
even though they've lost two straight
games.
"Each week he's going to say that. He
said that back to the season opener
against Arizona," said Derek Fox, laugh-
ing. "But each week, it does get more
dangerous. Each time you win, people
are gunning for you more. The thing that
scares me is the way they played
Wisconsin, because Wisconsin is one of
the toughest teams in the conference."
Minnesota coach Glen Mason said he
felt like a broken record after the narrow
loss to Purdue.
"We had an opportunity to win, but we
came up a little short," he said.
Just like 1997.
Then, the Lions rallied for a 16-15 vic-
tory, turning a questionable pass interfer-
ence call into a touchdown, then scoring
after Minnesota fumbled with three min-
utes left.
"It was a steppingstone for us," said
Carter, who on Saturday will probably
break the Division I mark for tackles by
a defensive back, 481, set by Mike Staid
of Tulane from 1991-94. Carter has 475.
They may be able to stick with a Top
25 team, but they haven't been able to
beat one in three years. They haven't
beaten a top-5 team in 13 years, when
some of these Gophers were in kinder-
garten.
They've been stuck on five wins since
Oct. 16, and they're getting tired of trying
to win their sixth - a magic number that
would mean a winning season for the
first time since 1987 and perhaps even a
bowl bid for the first time since 1986.

MADISON (AP) - When Drew
Brees met Ron Dayne for the first time,
the slim quarterback looked at the burly
tailback and saw somebody very much
like himself
They met at a Chicago hotel four
months ago, trading bits of conversation
between countless media interviews.
Dayne and Brees compared notes on their
experiences as college football stars and"
student-athletes who have spent their lives
exceeding expectations in everything they
do.
"It was my first chance to see him and
hang out with him a little bit," Brees said.
"We laughed a little bit and just wished
each other luck and talked about how we
were looking forward to this game."
That would be Saturday's game, when
No. 10 Wisconsin visits No. 17 Purdue in
a crucial Big Ten matchup between two
bowl teams.
But perhaps even more exciting is the
dream showdown between Cool Brees
and the Great Davne, the signature ath-
letes for their respective programs and
two of the nation's most exciting players.
It's the final road game of Dayne's
career, and if Brees bypasses his senior
season to enter the NFL draft, the game
will be his last at Ross-Ade Stadium.
In a photo-finish Heisman race
between at least five players, the trophy
just might go to Saturday's victor.
"From our perspective, and I'm sure
it's the same at Wisconsin, we haven't
thought about it or even addressed it,"
Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "In our
preparation, you're thinking about what
you have to do to contain the entire team,
,, PHOTO not a matchup of this guy vs. that guy."
Nittany While Brees throws his arm off, as he
did in attempting 83 passes last year
against the Badgers, Dayne will hope to
pick up some of the 321 yards he needs to
Ck set the major-college rushing record.
"These guys are in the midst of the
Heisman race, but they're both team play-
an oppor- ers," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said.
omething "They're not thinking about that."
Although they couldn't be more differ-
e ran for a ent on the field, there are many similari-
Arizona ties between the two. Their coaches and
n against teammates say that at both players' core is
chance to a common decency. These Heisman can-
Navy with didates aren't likely to do anything to
verage of damage the reputations they have built.
"Everybody knows what a great kid
kson said Ron is, and Drew is that same kind of
of Autry kid," Alvarez said. "They were both raised
r rushing right, I think."
Dayne and Brees are players in the per-
akes what feet situations to make the most of their
going to respective talents. Both acknowledge they
nothing," wouldn't be receiving such individual
omething accolades if it weren't for the team sys-
he touch- tems in which they play.
Dayne, the prototypical hard-nosed

runner, is the featured back in one of the
country's most run-oriented offenses
behind one of the best offensive lines.
Brees has been allowed to throw at will
in Purdue's wide-open game plan. That
offense wouldn't work without a heady,
somewhat cocky quarterback with the
confidence to quickly find holes in pass
coverage.
Brees has a favorite target in wideout
Chris Daniels. Dayne works closely with
fellow senior and left tackle Chris
McIntosh, who has started every game of
Dayne's career.
"Ron and Drew have had great oppor-
tunities, but they've also made the most of
them," Wisconsin offensive coordinator
Brian White said. "Both of these pro-
grams audition a lot of guys to fill the
roles that Ron and Drew have "
Both players have been model citizens.
Brees is an industrial management major
with-a 3.2 GPA, while Dayne spends
much of his time babysitting his 18-
month-old daughter Jada, whose name he
writes on his wrist wraps every game.
Dayne stayed in school for his senior
season because he wanted to be able to
play more of a role in Jada's upbringing
than an NFL schedule would allow. Brees
has volunteered his time to an antismok-
ing campaign and at an elementary
school, helping kids with reading and
math.
Both are almost wincingly pleasant in
person. Brees has a folksy personal Web
page on which, among other things, he
predicts his 9-year-old sister Ashley will
be a Broadway star someday.
Dayne and Brees have one more thing
in common. They don't like talking about.
the Heisman.
"I guess it's the trophy with the guy tryv
ing to stiff-arm somebody," Breek
laughed when asked about the Heisman:
"I don't really look at it as something i
have to have, or my goal in college foot-
ball."
"I don't think about it," Dayne said. "f
think about the team."
Both players' schools also have taken
low-key approaches to the Heisman race;
befitting the unpretentious natures of
their two stars. Neither is running an overt
campaign to influence votes, as has
become the custom at most schools.
Georgia Tech has promoted Joe
Hamilton with the zeal ofa senator's cam-
paign committee, mailing everything
from CD-ROMs to personalized mouse
pads to sports writers around the country.
But Wisconsin and Purdue largely have
allowed their stars'play to speak for itself.
"I think if people see the way Ron
plays and the way Drew plays, they'll'
form their own opinions," White said. "It
should be a great showdown on
Saturday."

Penn State remains undefeated both in Big Ten play and overall. But theI
Lions still have to do battle with upset-minded Minnesota tomorrow.

Irish 'volunteer' freshman to start at tailba

SOUTH BEND (AP) - Notre Dame
is putting the ball in the hands of fresh-
man tailback Julius Jones.
After rushing for 146 yards last week
against Navy, with flashes of speed
Notre Dame hasn't had in years, Jones
will be the featured back as the Irish
take on No. 4 Tennessee on Saturday.
"He's an impact football player that's
going to get more and more opportuni-
to carry the load for us," coach Bob
W'ie said. "You don't have to be a guy
who's been around football a long, long
time to see when he's in the game, good
things happen."
The 24th-ranked Irish (5-3) are going
to need Jones when they travel to
Tennessee (6-1).
The Vols' defense ranks sixth in the
country against the run, allowing just 74

yards a game, and Tennessee hasn't
allowed a rushing touchdown all season,
the only Division I or I-AA team that
can make that claim.
"If you're going to have a breakout
game, this is the place to do it," said
Jones, who is no stranger to Tennessee.
The Vols coaching staff heavily
recruited the Big Stone Gap, Va., native,
who played high school football just
miles from the Tennessee state line and
attended several Tennessee football
camps.
Even though his father once worked
as an academic counselor for the univer-
sity, Jones dropped Tennessee from con-
sideration after he heard rumors from
other players during unofficial visits that
he would likely be switched to defensive
back.

"I know everybody wanted me to go
to Tennessee, so they'll be there watch-
ing me. I just want to have a good
game," Jones said. "I just like to play.
That's what I do best. I just leave the
talking to everybody else and try to do
my thing."
Jones is slowly being worked into the
tailback position, an attempt by the
coaching staff to ease him into the sys-
tem and avoid offending the three
upperclassmen vying for playing time
with him.
Being patient hasn't been hard with
older brother Thomas, a senior at
Virginia and the nation's No. I rusher
with 159 yards per game, giving him
constant support.
"Just be patient and don't give up,"
Julius Jones said his older brother told

him. "Just every time you get
tunity, you've got to make s
happen."
So far, he's listened well. H(
13-yard touchdown against
State, had a 49-yard receptio
Southern Cal and finally got ac
show what he can do against N
146 yards on 19 carries, an a
just less than 7.7 yards.
Irish quarterback Jarious Jac
Jones reminds him a lotc
Denson, Notre Dame's caree
leader with 4,138 yards.
"He takes the ball and he ta
the defense gives him, or he's
make something out ofr
Jackson said. "You know s
good is going to happen when1
es the football."

--_,

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