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October 24, 2001 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-24

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michigandaily.comi/sports
sportsdesk@umich.edu

WEDNESDAY
OCTOBER 24, 2001

11

,

Showdown in

Lincoln

Nebraska-Oklahoma highlights week of action

TOM FELOKAMP/Daily
Freshman Milan Gajic has had trouble adjusting from junior hockey to college.
Stffworks with -Gajic
On finding magic touch

By Seth Klempner
Daily Sports Writer

As soon as Hobey Baker finalist
Andy Hilbert decided to leave Michi-
gan early to pursue an NHL career,
Michigan coach Red Berenson knew
the team needed to find another natural
scorer.
A player who had an uncanny ability
to put the puck in the net as if it was
second nature, just like it was for
Hilbert.
Enter freshman Milan Gajic.
Gajic came to Michigan with an
abundance of natural talent but not a
lot of confidence or big-game experi-
ence. With his limitless talent, com-
bined with Michigan's need for more
scorers to step up, the coaching staff
and others around him have been work-
ing diligently with the freshman.
"He has the chance to add some
offense to our team," assistant coach
Mel Pearson said. "We don't have a lot
of natural scorers, but Milan has that.
He just has to do some things away
from the puck, hard work and that way
when he gets-the chance he will be able
to finish."
The coaching staff was also willing
to take a risk on Gajic in giving him the
No. 9 jersey that Hobey Baker winner
Brendan Morrison and Berenson both
wore. He had been a late admission to
Michigan, leaving the decision of what
number he would be up to the coaches.
"I wasn't even sure where I was liv-
ing until a couple weeks before I got
here. I guess they just gave me the No.
9 jersey so its pretty nice' Gajic said.
The Michigan coaches are not the
* only ones that are high on Gajic's
potential. The Atlanta Thrashers drafted
him in the fourth round with the 112th
overall draft pick in the 2001 NHL
entry draft. After'Saturday's game
against Western Michigan, Gajic's
strongest start to date, the forward
could be seen with an Atlanta scout
going over the aspects of his game that

needed improvement.
While some of the freshmen have
had experience against collegiate play-
ers prior to Michigan, Gajic did not. He
played in the British Columbia Hockey
League. Known for its offensive
prowess, the league annually produces
five or six 100-plus point scorers.
But the BCHL lacks in the defensive
discipline and combined physical and
fast play that typifies college hockey.
Consequently, Gajic has struggled thus
far to adjust to the new, higher tempo
of play.
"The defensemen are a lot better
here," Gajic said of the CCHA. "If you
are not watching they will get up in the
rush and score. With transitional play,
the BCHL is a lot slower than here and
that is what I need to improve on."
A poor performance against Michi-
gan State and in the Maverick Stam-
pede left Gajic practicing on the fourth
line and the scout line and sitting out as
a healthy scratch for last Friday's game.
But an injury to freshman Michael
Woodford opened up a spot on the sec-
ond line with juniors Mark Mink and
John Shouneyia.
Gajic stepped up to the challenge,
setting up Mike Komisarek for the first
goal of the game Saturday night.
"The whole style of the game and
the quickness is a big adjustment,"
Gajic said. "Watching from the stands
helped me a lot. It put in perspective
how fast you have to switch from the
defense to offense and the offense to
defense."
MAN DOWN: Junior Mike Roemensky
had to be assisted off the ice in the sec-
ond period of Saturday's game with
what many feared to be a broken leg.
Luckily for the defenseman, the prog-
noses is not as bad as initially feared,
but Berenson believes Roemensky will
miss this weekend's games against
Northern Michigan.
Roemensky described himself as
day-to-day and said he plans to take
this week, "nice and slow."

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer
The Bowl Championship Series
rankings finally came out Monday,
and as expected Miami (Fla.) -
ranked fourth in the BCS - was
told that without help, it won't see
Pasadena until it schedules UCLA
as a road opponent. Luckily, for the
Hurricanes, the next few weeks
could help them tremendously as
the Bruins (No. 3 BCS) play three
ranked opponents - two on the
road - and Oklahoma (No. 1) plays
Nebraska (No. 2) with a rematch
looming for the Big 12 title game.
No. 2 OKLAHOMA (4-0 BIG 12, 7-
0 OVERALL) AT No. 3 NEBRASKA (4-
0, 8-0), 12:00 P.M., ABC: After
being shown up by Texas Tech's
quarterback Kliff Kingsbury last
weekend, the
Nebraska sec- AROUND
ondary will have the Nation
plenty to handle
in Oklahoma
sophomore Jason White.
White, who replaced Nate Hybl
as the starter midseason, impressed
many in his starting debut against
Baylor with over 300 yards passing.
Unfortunately for the Sooners, pass-
ing will probably be their only
effective means of attack, as
Nebraska has not allowed a 100-yard
game by any individual back all sea-
son.
The key to this game, though,
will be the matchup between
Nebraska's option offense and Okla-
homa's 4-3 defense that will be led
by linebacker Rocky Calmus. The
Butkus Award nominated linebacker
will need to read the Huskers'
offense fast as their rushing attack
is divided between quarterback Eric
Crouch (97 yards per game) and
Dahrran Diedrick (108:2 yards per
game).
The Oklahoma cornerbacks will
play the largest role in shaping a,
Sooner victory. Normally a strong
group against the pass, they will be

able to concentrate entirely on the
rushing game, leaving the Huskers
unable to move the ball.
Oklahoma 17, Nebraska 9
No. 4 UCLA (3-0 PAC 10, 6-0
OVERALL) AT No. 20 STANFORD (3-1,
4-1), 3:30 P.M., ABC: It would
take a great deal to stop Stanford
this week, as it is coming off one of
the biggest comeback victories in
school history in handing Oregon its
first loss at home in 23 games.
That great deal has happened,
though, in the form of losing start-
ing quarterback Randy Fasani to
injury.
Now before you say, "Chad Lewis
engineered the second-half come-
back and was able to pick apart the
Ducks' defense," remember that
Oregon's secondary has let teams
like Southern Cal. pass for over 400
yards on them all season.
Lewis' inexperience against a top
defense will be the Cardinal's down-
fall as the Bruins' defense has only
allowed 12.8 points a game.
UCLA will also come at Stanford
with its balanced offense of running
back DeShaun Foster and quarter-
back Corey Paus. The two combine
for 77 percent of the team's offense
and are among the nation's elite at
their positions.
It won't be for another two weeks
before the Bruins taste defeat, as
their defense will win them this
game by causing Lewis to turn the
ball over.
UCLA 24, Stanford 10
SYRACUSE (3-0 RIG EAST, 6-2
OVERALL) AT No. 5 VIRGINIA TECH
(3-0, 6-0): Vick-less and all, Vir-
ginia Tech has flexed its muscles
proudly this year and shot up the
rankings with blowout victories.
Those victories, although impres-
sive, are 'hurting 'the Hokies'
strength of schedule, one compo-
nent of the BCS formula.
That will change this week when
they face Syracuse, winners of six
in a row.

A
AP PHOTO
Eric Crouch's Heisman hopes - and Nebraska's national title hopes - are on
the line Saturday.

Troy Nunes and Robin Anderson
split quarterbacking duties for the
Orangemen and are almost identical
statistically. Each quarterback
spreads out the ball well as five of
their receivers each have over 10
receptions on the season.
Add running back James Mungro
(757-yards rushing) to the mix, and
this will be the most balanced team
that the Hokies have seen all season.
Since its first two losses, Syia-
cuse's defense has not allowed a
quarterback to reach 250 yards and

has only allowed one to throw for
over 200. The Hokies will need to
rely on their rushing attack -
which has only produced two 100-
yard rushing games - as Syracuse
defensive lineman Dwight Feeney
will create havoc for quarterback
Grant Noel all game.
The first BCS mistake - ranking
Virginia Tech so high with such a
weak schedule - will be corrected
as the Orangemen steal one on the
road.
Syracuse 20, Virginia Tech 17

I i

' ; ' A
#:
r ,. :

p

Even without flag, State
pride on the line tonight

By Eric Chan
Daily Sports Writer
Tonight in East Lansing, pride is
on the line. The "State Pride Series"
has been a tradition between the
Michigan State and Michigan vol-
leyball teams since 1990. In past
years, the winner of the two-match
series received an American flag,
known as the "State Pride Flag",
which the school proudly displayed
next to its court.
But one problem remains though:
in its travels, the flag was lost. Thus,
the winner of the "State Pride
Series" this year doesn't receive
anything concrete, merely the pride
of being the better team.
If each team wins one match,
then the team who won its match in
fewer games takes the title. But if
each team takes one match, and both
teams won in the same amount of
matches, it comes down to the team
who scored the most points in the
series. Michigan State took home
the crown last year on points. Each
team won a match and both won in

JENISON FIELD HOUSE
Who: Michigan (6-4 Big Ten, 10-7 overall) at
Michigan State(4-6, 11-6)
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Latest: In the first match, Michigan fell behind
2-0, before storming back to win 3-2. Michigan
has not won in East Lansing since 1999.
Neither the Spartans nor the
Wolverines have lost on, their home
courts in the past two years against
each -other, so history isn't in,
Michigan's favor. But the Michigan
players and coach Mark Rosen
don't seem to be, paying much
attention to history. Saturday night
at Cliff Keen, Michigan upset No.
11 Penn State in three straight
games. Before that win, the Nittany
Lions had beaten the Wolverines
five years in row. The Spartans lost
to Penn State in straight games last
week..
"Our win against Penn State defi-
nitely gave our girls a great boost of
confidence, and we should have a
lot of energy going in," Rosen said.
"The key to winning the match is

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