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October 29, 2002 - Image 8

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0

Tuesday'
October 29, 2002
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SPORTS

8

Phantom second no
longer an issue for 'M'

DAVID
HORN

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
Ask Michigan fans, and they'll say
it's a finalist for the most devastating
second of their
lives - one that
wasn't supposed to FOOTBALL
occur in the first Notebook
place.
Ask Michigan coach Lloyd Carr about
the final play in last year's Michigan
State game, and he'll give a stern look
and say "I don't care to replay things that
happened a long time ago."
But ask several Michigan players,
and they'll state that the "phantom sec-
ond" and timekeeper controversy in
last year's heart-breaking, 26-24 loss to
the Spartans was "overhyped" by the
media and fans.
"I think it's extremely overplayed,"
Michigan captain Bennie Joppru said.
"You should never be in the position to
have anyone take the game away like that
from you. And that's the bottom line."
The controversy surrounding Jeff
Smoker's last-second, game-winning
2-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Duckett
last year led to a Big Ten rule change.
Now a television timeout coordinator
handi'es the official time - instead of
a person hired by the home school in
the press box.

But, more importantly for the
Wolverines, the burning motivation to
avenge last year's defeat to the Spar-
tans this Saturday helped them push
their embarrassing loss to Iowa - the
program's worst since 1967 - out of
their minds.
"This Michigan State game is the
best thing that's going to happen this
week to get over the Iowa loss," offen-
sive tackle Tony Pape said.
Ever since the Iowa game ended, the
only thing the Wolverines have been
focusing on is the green and white flag
that has hung in their locker room for
nearly a full year. The flag not only
symbolizes the painful loss to their
intrastate rivals, but also the turning
point in a once-promising season that
fell apart after that game. Michigan
went on to lose two of its final four
games, including a 45-17 shellacking
in the Citrus Bowl.
This year's strong senior leaders said
there's no way such a collapse will
occur this time around.
"We're not going to let what hap-
pened last year happen again," Pape
said. "I promise you that."
FINLEY FACTOR: Sophomore punter
Adam Finley has overcome surgeries
on both his knees since coming to
Michigan three years ago to become
Hayden Epstein's replacement at kick-

0

If its in the game: On the

pus anai spot

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily
Last year, Jeff Smoker led the Spartans to a dramatic last-second victory over the
Wolverines. Smoker will miss Saturday's matchup after being suspended last week.

er and punter. But now Finley will
finally get the chance to handle all
placekicking duties, Carr said.
Finley nailed a 40-yard field goal -
the first of his career - in the third
quarter on Saturday. He also punted
eight times for an average of 43 yards
per punt, and pinned Iowa inside the
20-yard line four times in the first half.

CATO UPDATE: Carr said Michigan sen-
ior safety Cato June was released from
the hospital Sunday morning after his
collision with Dan Rumishek against
Iowa knocked him unconscious.
"All of the reports came back posi-
tive," Carr said. "It was a concussion,
and he's going to be fine."
June's status for Saturday is unknown.

The 2002 Anaheim Angels have
won the World Series, and while
their grit and determination are
admirable, I can't help but long for the
Angels of my youth: RBI Baseball's
California (Ca).
Gary Pettis (Pettis), Doug DeCinces
(DCincs), Wally Joyner (Joyner), Reggie
Jackson (Jacksn), Brian Downing
(Dwning), Bobby Grich (Grich), Dick
Schofield (Schfid) and Bob Boone
(Boone) filled out the roster of one of
the more formidable teams on the clas-
sic game for Nintendo.
Rick Burleson (Burlsn) and George
Hendrick (Hendrk) could match up
inning for inning with Minnesota's Frank
Viola (Viola) and Bert Blyleven
(Blylvn), or even Houston's (Ho) Nolan
Ryan (NRyan) and Mike Scott (MScott).
California had it all, and was one of the
more underrated teams (there were just
10) on the Greatest Video Game Ever.
If my mother did not have such a pas-
sion to send me out "into the merry sun-
shine" when I was 9, and I wasn't trying
to go to law school now that I'm 21
(which gets me out of the house and into
the classroom), my entire life would
have been spent playing RBI Baseball.
Oh, it has its competition for the title
of Greatest Video Game Ever. Tecmo
Bowl deserves an obvious mention, but
for games of that era (mid-'80s), charm
lay in the game's nuances. RBI Baseball
had the random errors, easily tired
bullpens and first base throw away (and
the best musical score in the history of
video game scores). Tecmo Bowl, the
grandfather of three generations of sim-
ulation games, was almost too polished,
too ahead of its time. And when run 1
didn't work and you had to go to run 2
or - heaven forbid - a pass play, terri-
ble things could happen - especially if
your buddy Mikey over there on the
couch had wandering eyes.
But RBI Baseball and Tecmo Bowl still
stand out against the rest of the NES field.

its gaming
The field?
Ice Hockey and Blades of Steel intro-
duced a generation of NES players to
the misunderstood world of hockey. The
former offered the fat guy/skinny guy
debate that captivated video game hock-
ey players for years. Bases Loaded gave
RBI a run for its money on the virtual
diamond. John Elway's Quarterback was
the first football simulation to offer the
shotgun set, and 10-Yard Fight was a
game only a wedge buster could love.
Jordan versus Bird - which pitted
Larry Legend against His Airness in a
game of one-on-one - was a dark-
horse favorite of mine.
What all these games lacked, though,
was true interaction. One year for
Chanukah, my parents bought me the
Power Pad, which allowed players the
opportunity to run as fast as they could
on a touch-sensitive plastic sheet. The
speed of the animated player on the
game corresponded to how quickly you
ran. It was fun as hell for about three
hours that wonderful Chanukah night.
Then the Power Pad was crumpled up
and stuffed in a cabinet in my basement,
until a Labrador puppy who will remain
nameless found, chewed and digested
that novel piece of gaming equipment.
There were other tools offered by
NES, such as the Power Glove and the
Zapper Gun. But don't get me started on
Mike Tyson's Punch-out (for which the
Power Glove was best-suited). That
deserves an entire column all to itself.
I would also like to suggest that play-
ing marbles is a sport; so too, for that
matter, is duck hunting.
Anyway congratulations, Anaheim.
Your story is great, but your team will
always be an RBI team to me. The game
of baseball is made up, in no small part,
by the ... nevermind. I've got next.

Honors unimportant for Wisconsin s Penney

By Chare. Paradis
Daily Sports Writer

CHICAGO - For the second straight year, Kirk
Penney sat alone at a table at Big Ten Media Day,
fielding questions about himself and the rest of the
Wisconsin team.
Penney, whose thick New Zealand accent and affa-
ble attitude make him one of the most charismatic
players in the conference, sat by
himself, while some other BASKETBALL
schools sent as many as four Notebook
players to represent their teams.
But this was only fitting for Pen-
ney, who has been one of the few constants for the
Badgers in the last three years.
The only returning first-team All-Big Ten player
from last season, Penney was an obvious choice for
both the coaches and the media as a preseason all-
conference selection. But the 6-foot-5 guard does not

let the early accolades go to his head, or even think
about them much for that matter.
"It isn't something you really want to dwell on,"
Penney said. "You are a part of a team, you're not an
individual and if you ever think that's not the case,
then you are subtracting from what the team is trying
to accomplish."
As a senior, Penney is ready to lead and teach the
younger players on the team, something his experience
and personality make him more than qualified to do.
Penney "doesn't do anything half-way," Wisconsin
coach Bo Ryan said. "In personality, socially, he's an
A. Work habits, he's an A. Leadership, he's an A. He
just does everything well ... The rest of the players
look at him and say 'Wow, that's what it takes to be
pretty good.' I'm hoping all of them say, 'This is what
we have to do."'
Penny was the first Badger to be named a first-team
All-Big Ten selection since Michael Finley in 1993.
Last February against Minnesota, en route to a share of

the Big Ten title, the Badgers first since 1947, Penny
poured in a conference-best 27 second-half points.
GoLDEN Boy: Rick Rickert was there when Penney
took over in the second half against Minnesota. As a
freshman, he watched as the Badgers avenged the loss
to the Golden Gophers a month before. But now, a
year older and a little bit stronger - Rickert put on 10
pounds in the offseason - the Big Ten coaches tabbed
Rickert as the preseason conference player of the year.
But like Penney, Rickert does not concern himself
with any preseason recognition.
"That's a great honor," Rickert said. "It is something
to look at and say, 'Yeah that's great.' But the goal, the
focus is obviously my team, not me. I've got to keep
that in perspective and focus on my team."
Last season's Big Ten Freshman of the Year has got-
ten even better, a scary thought for opposing coaches.
"I've gotten a lot stronger and fitter," Rickert said.
"I've put on some weight, and I've gotten quicker. Just
every aspect seems to get better every year."

David Horn can be reached at
hornd@umich.edu.

IU

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