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September 06, 2000 - Image 24

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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10B - The Michigan Daily - September 6, 2000 - SportsWednesday

Irish get ready
for showdown
with Huskers
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Notre Dame is not a newcomer
to this season's Top 25 as far as Nebraska coach Frank Solich
is concerned.
Solich, whose Cornhuskers have been ranked No. I since
thle preseason, has had the Fighting Irish in each of his coach-
es' polls.
"I believed that they would be a very fine football team and
deserving of being ranked" Solich said.
And Notre Dame's 24-10 win over Texas A&M in the sea-
son opener Saturday was enough to convince others. The
Irish, out of the AP's preseason poll for the first time since
1986, are ranked No. 23 by the media heading into Saturday's
game against the Cornhuskers, the first between the traditional
powers since 1973.
"They are on a very high note right now. They're playing
'with a lot of confidence," Solich said. "They really flow to the
ball very quickly defensively. They get a lot of people
involved in the tackle. They're a strong physical type of team
on both sides of the ball."%
Solich doesn't want.to fuel any talk in the Huskers' most
anticipated non-conference game in years, so he isn't saying
,Where he put the Irish in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll,
v$hich has Notre Dame at No. 25.
"Regardless of who's favored and the point spread, they're
going to be fired up and ready to play. They've had something
good happen to them out of the chute, winning the first game
and winning it impressively against a nationally recognized
football program," Solich said. "I doubt that there's anything
that can be said or done to inspire them any more than they've
been inspired."
Well, playing the No. I team might be a little bit more of an
incentive for the Irish. But Solich wants the Huskers to treat it
just like any other game and forget about "Touchdown Jesus,"
"The Four Horsemen" and the rest of the Notre Dame mvs-
tique.

Freshmen lead Blue
at Eastern Open

By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports riter
The Michigan women's cross-country
team kicked off its' 2000 season on Satur-
day with the Eastern Michigan Invitation-
al, a non-scoring meet contested at Buhr
Park.
The meet was an opportupity for some
of the Wolverines' younger runners to get
some competitive experience. The hot,
humid conditions on Saturday morning
provided a tough challenge for all of the
athletes involved and gave several unher-
aIded runners a chance to shine.
"We ran a lot of our kids that redshirted
last year, some people that were looking
to emerge into being some solid contribu-
tors this year," Michigan coach Mike
McGuire said. "I thought, for the condi-
tions, we did a pretty good job."
Colleen Lange, who completed the
5,000-meter race in a time of 19:36,
which was good for fifth overall. Follow-
ing Lange across the finish line were fel-
low redshirt freshmen Rachel Sturtz and
Nicole Johnson - who placed eighth and
ninth, respectively --- and sophomore
Andrea Steinhoff, who came in tenth.
"Overall, I was happy," McGuire said.
"I thought they competed. The big thing
is. when you get conditions like this, -you
find out who your competitors are, who's
tough and who's not. For the first time

out, dealing with these weather extremes.
I thought we did a good job handling it."
The youngsters in the Michigan lineup
will be expected to assist a corps of
returning veterans who led the Wolverines
to a second-place finish in the Big Ten
last year.
Paced by seniors Lisa Oucllet, Katie
Clifford and Julie Froud and juniors Katie
Ryan and Erin White, the Wolverines are
looking to rebound from what - by
Michigan standards --- could be consid-
ered a subpar year.
Although the Wolverines had a solid
runner-up showing at the Big Ten Cham-
pionships. they placed just 15th at the
NCAA Championships. Michigan had
trouble replacing 1998 NCAA champion
Katie McGregor and fought bouts of
inconsistency all year
But, a new year brings a chance,for
redemption, and the Wolverines sound
determined to make a return to past glory.
"Realistically, our goal is to be in the
top two in both the Big ren and the
region, and be a top ten team nationally,"
McGuire said. "We kind of took it for
granted for years about being in the top
ten nationally, and we haven't been the last
two years, so those are some focus goals
that we have.
"A lot of it is going to center on staving
healthy and focused, and on [ids like the
ones in this race stepping up

NORMAN NG/Da,
The Michigan women's cross country team is looking to improve on last season's
15th-place finish at NCAAs.

Gamecocks finally show they can put up the 'W'

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP)- Lou Holtz
talked about bringing South Carolina a.
national championship. Gamecocks fans
acted like it happened Saturday night.
After South Carolina ended the coun-
try's longest losing streak at 21 games
with a 31-0 win over New Mexico State,
fans rushed the field at Williams-Brice
Stadium to celebrate.
They ripped down both goal posts,
tore apart hedges that lined the end zones
and collected turf to commemorate the
landmark victory - the first since Holtz
returned to college football in 1998.
Holtz had to shoo fans off the field --
they burst through security with 36 sec-
onds remaining --- for the final plays. "I
guess our students don't understand foot-
ball as well as I thought they did," Holtz

said. "I thought they knew it was a 60-
minute game."
But who could blame them after
almost two years of waiting?
"I enjoyed every minute of it, watching
them tear the goal posts down, the shrub-
berv down, it was a lot of fun," Andrew
Heddy, football coach at Lugoff-Elgin
High School, said from the infield at
Darlington Raceway. "There seems to be
a lot of excitement right now."
Radio host Kevin Cohen, who listened
to angry fans vent and criticize for 21
consecutive games, was absolutely giddy
when he hit the air for this postgame
show. "It is great to hear the happiness in
people's voices." he said. "I'm ecstatic."
Throughput the off-season, Holtz was
hopeful that'his team would compete and

surprise. They did a lot of both against
the Aggies in the opener.
The Gamecocks ran for two touch-
downs in the first half-- they had only four
rushing scores all last year -- out of a four-
receiver spread offense that looked like it
was created by a Bowden (Clemson's
coach Tommy) instead of a I-oltz (South
Carolina's offensive coordinator Skip).
Lou Holtz had talked of a more tradi-
tional power-I set earlier in the week.
"I did not lie" he said. "I misled you
when I said we didn't change much. It's
in the playbook, we just didn't use it last
year.
The offense sprang Derek Watson for
114 yards and a 2-yard touchdown. Full-
back Andrew Pinnock had two TDs and
quarterback Phil Petty, often the target for

stadium critics, looked confident and in
control.
"It felt great to be a part of this offense,"
receiver Jermale Kelly said. "We knew we
had this in us all along. It was just a matter
of proving it to everybody."
South Carolina players gave Holtz an
ice-water shower on the sidelines in the
final minute.
A group of students carried a 20-foot
chunk of the yellow post through the
gates with one saving, "W.ve're going to
take this everywhere tonight."
Everx'one walked ofd the field with a
small twig, a few leaves hanging on, in
their hands.
"This is the best feeling I've ever had
in my life, ever," sophomore Kristen
Walker said from the field.

T he (Columbia) State published a full-
page picture of the fan-demonium, a sea
of people swarming the goalpost with the
headline "1, For All."
It took about 10 minutes for both sets
of posts to fall.
Cleveland Pinkney, the Gamecocks 6-
foot-2, 290-pound defensive tackle, had
said earlier in the week that he'd be
swinging of the top of the goal posts if
the Gamecocks won. Instead, he just
jumped around and screamed with team-
.mates and fans.
"We were having fun and enjoying the
moment." he said.
It seems like so long ago, instead of
1998, that a local Kroger grocery store
made the announcement, "Attention
Kroger shoppers, the impossible has hap-

pened, Vanderbilt 17, South Carolina 14."
Soon after, Holtz came to campus
promising Southeastern Conference titles
and national championships. One victory,
no matter how critical to his team's psy-
che, was not impressive.
"I've been involved in a lot of wins,"
said Holtz, who's I11th all-time with 217
victories. "We've got things that we have
to correct. I am proud of the team. They
are coming together. (But) we can play
better."
They will have to next week when
Georgia comes to Williams-Brice. A
South Carolina victory would end its 18-
game SEC losing streak.
"I hope this is the start of a turn-
around," said Heddy, the high school
coach "I hope they beat Georgia."

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