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November 13, 2002 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-13

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41

Wednesday

November 13, 2002
michigandaily.com
sportsdesk@umich.edu

SPORTS

4

8

Powered by Kunitz,
Bulldogs lead CCHA

9 Declining graduation
rates concern NCAA

By Kyle O'Nil
Daily Sports Writer
At the beginning of this season, the
media and coaches both picked Ferris
State to finish ninth of the 12 teams in
the CCHA.
Now, a little more than one month
into the season, the
Bulldogs find HOCKEY
themselves tied Notebok
with Miami for the o
league lead at 12
points. Ferris State is the only team with
a perfect conference record at 6-0-0.
"Every year we've been voted ninth,"
Ferris State senior forward Chris Kunitz
said. "We wanted to be a great team
right from the start of the season."
After going 15-20-1 last season and
losing its first game of this season to
Saint Cloud State, Ferris State had won
eight straight - its best run since 1990
- before losing to Wayne State last Sat-
urday. The Bulldogs outscored their
opponents 44-10 during that streak.
Kunitz, who was the CCHA's top
scorer last year, and who leads the
league with 19 points in six conference
games this year, attributes the strong
start to the Bulldogs' offseason condi-
tioning. Kunitz gained 10 pounds with-
out increasing his body fat.
"We really wanted to be better condi-
tioned going into this year," Kunitz
said. "And a big thing is our leadership
and making the underclassmen follow
us seniors."

One of those underclassmen is sopho-
more goalie Mike Brown, who ranks
sixth in the nation with a 1.70 GAA.
"Obviously the coaching staff and
players are depending on me to play bet-
ter than last year" said Brown, who was
named to the conference's all-rookie
team last year.
Although the Bulldogs aren't shocked
by their own success, other coaches are
surprised to see Ferris State jump eight
spots from where it was expected to be.
"I know (Ferris State coach) Bob
Daniels was excited about the fact he
had the leading scorer in the league
returning," Michigan coach Red Beren-
son said. "When they get into the meat
and potatoes of the schedule, are they
still going to survive? Well, they've got
off to a great start. I wouldn't have pre-
dicted it, but I can see why."
GUESS WHO'S BACK?: Just eight days
after he was suspended for academic
reasons, Michigan sophomore Milan
Gajic returned to practice yesterday. The
forward could make his return to com-
petition after missing last weekend's
games against Bowling Green.
"We're not ruling him out, but he's
made significant strides," Berenson said.
"It's amazing what a little motivation
can do for you."
Also getting back on the ice this
weekend was forward Jason Ryznar,
who has been out for all but two games
this year with shoulder injuries. The
sophomore is not guaranteed to play this
weekend, but his return would be wel-

I

TOM FELDKAMP/Daily
Ferris State sophomore Mike Brown's 1.70 GAA ranks sixth in the nation. Brown and
the Bulldogs are a surprising 6-0-0 in the CCHA and sit atop the league standings.

By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor
There has been talk recently within
the NCAA of holding teams account-
able - via scholarship allotment or
postseason eligibil-
ity - for their FOOTBALL
graduation rates. Notebook
Discussion is still
in its preliminary
stages, but it comes as a response to
plummeting graduation rates in many
Division I football programs as many of
those teams disregard academics for the
sake of athletics. Yesterday, Penn State
coach Joe Paterno, who has been coach-
ing in Division I for more than half a
century, weighed in on the issue.
"Obviously it would help us because
we've been pretty good with our gradua-
tion rates," Paterno said. "The thing you
have to be careful about is, it depends on
how they evaluate graduation rates.
Sometimes kids transfer for good rea-
sons, and that counts against a school
which has made an honest effort to do a
good job with him academically. That
should not be held against a coach or a
school. There's some very sophisticated
implications that I think have to be
worked out. I think they have to be care-
ful how they go about doing it.
"Their intention is good. We are here
to do everything we can to see that a kid
has an opportunity to graduate as well
as play good football. If we're doing
some things that deprive the kid of that
kind of opportunity in order to win a
couple extra games, I think we should
be penalized."
HAWKEYESMAN: In this, the most
debatable and wide-open Heisman Tro-
phy race in recent memory, it comes as
no surprise that Iowa quarterback Brad
Banks' consideration is growing from a
whisper to a roar. Banks leads the Big
Ten in passing, having thrown for 2,269
yards and 23 touchdowns. His quarter-
back rating of 167.8 is second only to
San Diego's Eric Rasmussen among
Division I-A quarterbacks.
This week, Banks was named Big Ten
Offensive Player of the Week for the
third time this season. Banks set a Big
Ten record, connecting on all 10 of his
pass attempts for 197 yards and three
touchdowns. Banks moved the chains

via the ground game as well, rushing for
54 yards on five carries and notching
another two touchdowns.
Banks and the Hawkeyes are fighting
with Ohio State for the Big Ten title, but
the two teams do not play each other this
season. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel
expressed relief.
"We have Brad Banks on film," Tres-
sel said. "We've played some teams after
Iowa has played them, and he's an amaz-
ing guy. He can throw the football. He
can run the football. He gets Iowa in and
out of the plays they need to be in and
out of. They're a well-oiled machine."
MICHIGAN STATEMENT: After Michigan
State coach Bobby Williams was fired
last week, there was question as to how
his Spartans would respond to new inter-
im coach Morris Watts. Question no
more. The boys from East Lansing put
up not one, not two, but 56 points
against Indiana, and made their new
interim coach pleased as punch.
"I'd just like to say how pleased I was
at how our football team reacted to the
adversity that faced them all last week,"
Watts said. "They were able to channel
their emotions and maintain their focus
through the game, especially in the sec-
ond quarter - where we put up 35
points and dominated on defense."
Meanwhile, quarterback Jeff Smoker,
who left the Spartans three weeks ago to
seek substance abuse treatment, is
preparing to confront the media in the
near future.
"Jeff is back in town," Watts said. "I
think in a short time he will be coming
out with a statement to the news media.
He is looking forward to his future, and
is. looking forward to dealing with the
media ... He will not play the rest of the
year. That's official."
HANG 'EM HIGH: Paterno makes no
secrets about his disappointment with
Big Ten officiating this season. In what
is thought to be a prank, an effigy of a
referee was found hanging from Pater-
no's home in State College on Sunday.
Paterno released no statement immedi-
ately following the incident, but made a
quick remark yesterday on the issue.
"I don't even want to get into that for
crying out loud," Paterno said. "The
whole thing is ludicrous."

comed, as the Wolverines were bitten by
the injury bug again last weekend. For-
wards Jed Ortmeyer and Dwight Helmi-
nen both came out of this weekend's
games against Bowling Green with knee
problems. And while Helminen (hyper-
extended left knee) could be back as
early as today, Ortmeyer is out for 4-6
weeks with a torn MCL in his left knee.
"Losing Jed is a big disappointment,

but we've got a lot of good players and it
just means everyone's got to pick it up a
bit,' Ryznar said. "When I come back I
need to bring a physical presence. I defi-
nitely wish I could have been in there
(Saturday night)."
Ryznar alluded to Saturday's 1-1 tie
with Bowling Green, in which 22 penal-
ties and multiple scuffles all took place
in the first two periods.

Stickers begin defense of tite against Tigers

By Brian Schick
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan field hockey team will meet a
familiar foe this weekend in the opening round of the
NCAA tournament.
The 16-team bracket was unveiled yesterday, and
the fourth-ranked Wolverines will begin their defense
of the national championship by taking on Princeton
in State College on Saturday. Michigan (6-0 Big Ten,
18-3 overall) played the Tigers in last year's semifinal
match, defeating them 4-2 to advance to the champi-
onship game. The West region is rounded out by
Penn State and Kent State.

Princeton's loss to Michigan should be fresh in the
the Tigers' minds. Last year was the first time the two
teams met, and Princeton (7-0 Ivy League, 11-6 over-
all) returns all of its players from last year's roster.
"We're happy (with the bracket)," Michigan coach
Marcia Pankratz said. "They're a great team and we
know their personnel very well."
Playing in State College is nothing new for the
Wolverines, having already played two games there
this season. Michigan beat Penn State 3-1 on Oct. 25,
and lost a neutral-site game to No. 1 Old Dominion
the following day.
"We've done well on Penn State's field, and we
play there every year, so we're used to their surface,"

Pankratz said.
In addition to familiarity with Bigler Field, three
Wolverines hail from the Keystone State - mid-
fielders Jessica Rose and Krista Meckley and for-
ward April Fronzoni.
"Penn State is another home turf for us," Fronzoni
said. "I'm hoping a lot of friends and family come
out to see me play."
Should Michigan advance to the second round, the
Wolverines will face one of two teams that are
ranked in the top 10 nationally. Kent State is fresh off
winning the Mid-American Conference Tournament,
and Penn State will attempt to rebound from its 3-2
loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament.

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