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8B - The Michigan Daily - FOOTBALL SATURDAY - November 16, 2002
The Michigan Daily - FOOTBALL
By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor
Wisconsin began this season expect-
ed to compete for the Big Ten title and
commenced the Big Ten campaign 5-0
and ranked 15th in the country.
Things went downhill from there.
Wisconsin is 1-5 in the conference,
with its lone victory coming against
lowly Michigan State. The story of the
season for the Badgers has been the
absence of star wide receiver Lee
Evans; after weeks of "Lee Evans will
return soon," Wisconsin gave up on
getting back its superstar, and is finish-
ing a season that has been nothing if
As if playing short one skill posi-
tion star wasn't enough, running back
Anthony Davis - who is among the
Big Ten's best - was involved in a
domestic altercation two weeks ago in
which his girlfriend stabbed him in
the thigh. Quarterba
Bollinger also sat out'
game last week against I
Both Davis and B
expected to play agains
ines, but Wisconsin c
Alvarez is hesitant to bla
his team's failure.
"I'm not putting blame
but that would give yo
start," Alvarez said."
starters, a couple of star
there, the guys that touc
most, that may have a lit
to do with it. I would not
excuse ... may have be
know. All we can do is
and try to correct thing
and play better."
For Michigan, this ga
sary hurdle on the way
next weekend. The se
against Ohio State is a]
not an excuse
ack Brooks and is made more so this year because
Wisconsin's the Buckeyes are currently ranked No.
llinois with a 1 in the BCS standings.
But the Wolverines insist that they
ollinger are are focused on the task at hand.
t the Wolver- "We know what we have to do
coach Barry against Wisconsin," senior wide receiv-
ame injury on er Ron Bellamy said. "We are not wor-
ried about Ohio State or a bowl game.
e on anybody, It is just Wisconsin this weekend.:
u a place to Last year's matchup in Madison
"When your proved to be one of the most bizarre
ters, aren't in and exciting games in recent memory.
h the ball the Two blocked punts by Wolverines Mar-
tle something lin Jackson and Marquise Walker kept
use that as an Michigan in the game, the former
en - I don't resulting in a 43-yard touchdown
try to reload return by Jackson.
s and refocus Michigan won the game on a last-
second Hayden Epstein field goal
me is a neces- after Brandon Williams recovered
to Columbus an Epstein punt that bounced off a
eason finale Badger.
ways special, "Either team could have won,"
Alvarez said. "You know, they're smart
enough to understand that they didn't
make the plays and Michigan did."
This time around, the key matchup
is between the Wisconsin secondary
and Michigan's receiving corps. Safe-
ty Jim Leonhard leads the nation in
interceptions with eight, and corner-
back B.J. Tucker has five snags so far
Michigan quarterback John Navarre
has been just the on-field engineer that
the Michigan offense has needed,
throwing for more than 2,200 yards
and 19 touchdowns while remaining
nearly interception-free. If the Badgers
AP PHOTO are going to keep the game close,
d plateau this Leonhard and Tucker will have to pick
nd. away at Navarre's confidence.
Critical week as
season winds down
The most significant moves of
this week are those by Joe Smith.
What will Smith do? Are these his
pick or are these his opposite
picks? Meanwhile the three other
football writers - David Horn, J.
Brady McCollough and Jeff
Phillips - look to maintain an
unprecedented group finish of
having three writers above .500.
Horn has closed the gap to just
one game between he and McCol-
lough - a gap that was once as
big as six games.
Contrary to popular belief (read:
ESPN), Harvardvs. Penn is not
the most important game of the
week. In fact, the football writers
don't believe that it is one of the
most important 15 games this
week, and consequently they are
not picking that game.
But they are picking a variety of
tough close games this week.
Among them are several games
where the away team is the
favorite - an always troubling
choice in this world of college foot-
ball. It istworth noting that Horn is
sticking to his guns and again tak-
ing his horse: Southern Cal.
WEEK in SELECTIONS
ALL PICKS MADE AGAiNST HE SPREAD. David J. Brady Jeff
HOME TEAMS IN SMALL CAPS. Horn McCollough Phillip
PurdeM(.3)At M$HA NSTTE P 7rdue PA :urdue> M ..AAAich.....
:... .: ..... . .n.. .
Iowa (-10.5) at MINNESOTA Iowa Iowa
......:............................. .. . ). .r:i . t
Penn State (-21) at INDIANA Penn State Penn State Pen
A..... ....:: ..: "": .:..':..n",,y:ix.A'i4:'i:'A.
North Carolina State (-7) at VIRGINIA North Carolina State North Carolina State North Ca
... .:... ..::( A , ~ '
TEXAS A&M (-9.5) vs. Missouri Texas A&M Texas A&M Texa
: ......... .::: i"na:. .r ~ x ..iY .;:: a .. .:... ...:.....:. :::^::..:. '
FLORIDA (-14.5) vs. South Carolina Florida Florida Fl
COLORADO (-7.5) vs. Iowa State Colorado Colorado Co
............................ AA .A' A 'A A A ... . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. .
Maryland (-4.5) at CLEMSON Maryland Maryland Ma
GesgA2)eAPenrgtateAAora G '
Best bet Penn State Colorado
Wisconsin running back Anthony Davis has already hit the 1,000-yar
season. Davis was stabbed in the thigh two weeks ago by his girifrie
A Michigan Tradition Since 1934
Before every football game this season, two of the Daily football writers will
take the weekend's matchup to the PlayStation 2.
But this week, Michigan wide reciever Ronald Bellamy decided he wanted in
on the action, and took on Daily football writer Joe Smith in a battle of a guy
who has actually played football (for Michigan, no less) and a guy who has a
varsity letter in basketball from Sterling Heights High School (that's Joe).
Bellamy took the helm of his own Wolverines and Smith coached Wisconsin.
Wide receiver Tyrece Butler also took on J. Brady McCollough in last week's
Minnesota-Michigan game, with Butler running Michigan. That game was
won by McCollough and Minnesota 35-14. But there was not room in the
Daily last week to run Procrastination Station, because Thursday the athlet-
ic department ... yeah.
Finally, tight end Bennie Joppru waltzed in thinking he could unseat Daily
football writer David Horn as champion and overlord of all things Madden. He
couldn't, and fell to Horn and the Buckeyes 28-21.
The Michigan Daily 3, University of Michigan football 0
Play of the three games - In the Wisconsin game, Michigan coach Ron
Bellamy decided that not only should Michigan WR No. 19 and Michigan WR
No. 9 return all punts and kicks, but they should also be the primary and
secondary options on all offensive plays. While Michigan WR No. 19 and
Michigan WR No. 9 played well enough on special teams, Coach Smith and
his Badgers deserve play of the game honors for responding to the unortho-
Most unrealistic play of the three games - Probably when time stopped in
the middle of the Joppru-Horn matchup. Joe's PlayStation froze with three
minutes left in the game, and Horn and Ohio State leading 21-13. Horn and
Joppru agreed to restart, and play just three minutes, thereby simulating the
game's end. After a successful Joppru drive and two-point conversion, the
game was tied with 1:17 remaining (3:17 remaining). Ohio State stalled out,
and Horn was forced to punt. His special teams exepertise left Michigan
and Joppru pinned on its own 5-yard line, and instead of taking a knee and
playing for overtime, Coach Joppru decided to go for it. An interception by
Ohio State CB No. 7 set up a last minute Ohio State touchdown and a victo-
ry for Horn.
Player of the three games - Michigan TE No. 83 caught 10 passes for 280
yards and two touchdowns in the Ohio State-Michigan game. When the
PlayStation froze, Coach Bennie Joppru was heard to remark, "Damn. Now
I'm not going to be player of the game." The coach obviously feels a special
kin with his players.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES:
Wisconsin head coach Joe Smth: I'd have to say that Ibwas quite shocked when
Coach Bellamy immediately decided to switch his playbook from the Michigan
offense to the University of Florida's. I thought the new offense in Ann Arbor was
supposed to be more wide receiver friendly?But Coach Bellamy just chuckled at
the thought, and subsequently watched his spread offense sputter.
Minnesota head coach J. Brady McCollough: It is tough to comment on my 21-
point victory against coach Butler. I stopped paying attention at the end of the
first quarter. Minnesota QB No. 8 was unstoppable on the ground and through the
air, and once I established my mobile quarterback, I could see the dejection in
coach Butler's eyes. He kept trying to throw deep to get back in it, but my cor-
ners were just too good. Outstanding, in fact.
Ohio State head coach David Horn: I'll admit that I was a bit intimidated by the
trash talking coming from Coach Joppru. And all the double teaming of Michigan
TE No. 83 didn't seem to do the trick. But nobody - and I mean nobody -walks
into Joe's house and beats me at PlayStation. Except Joe, who did it two weeks
ago in the Michigan State game.
Badgers' slide won't end Saturday
By Jeff Phillips
Daily Sports Editor
By the end of each football sea-
son, every team has sustained its fair
share of injuries. But this season is
especially bad for Michigan and
Wisconsin, as both teams have
injuries in key positions. It may not
be the more talented team that wins,
but the one with the more talented
MICHIGAN PASSING OFFENSE VS. WIS-
CONSIN PASSING DEFENSE: In the past
two games, the Michigan offense has
been relentless and ruthless, putting
up 49 and 41 points against Michigan
State and Minnesota, respectively.
Quarterback John Navarre has con-
tinued his stellar season with five
touchdown passes in those two
games, finding wide receiver Ron
Bellamy for three scores.
Despite the play of defensive back
Jim Leonhard - who leads the Big
Ten in interceptions - the Badgers
feature the worst pass defense in the
Big Ten and the Wolverines will take
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WISCONSIN PASSING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: With Jim
Sorgi at the helm in replacement of
Brooks Bollinger, Wisconsin has
mustered fewer than 300 yards and
zero touchdown passes in its past
two games combined. The return of
Bollinger should add a spark to the
tired passing game and his mobility
should give Michigan problems.
Last week Michigan's secondary
and linebackers played well through
injuries and shut down the Gophers'
elusive quarterback Asad Abdul-
Khaliq, who is a similar threat as
Bollinger. If Michigan can force
Bollinger to throw, it will win this
WISCONSIN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE: The
Badgers expect running back Antho-
ny Davis to be healthy enough to
play against Michigan after he was
sideline with a stab wound in his leg.
Running back Dwayne Smith rushed
for 122 yards and two touchdowns in
Davis' absence, but that performance
came against the porous Illinois
The Wolverines shut down Min-
nesota's powerful running game and
looks do the same to the Badgers.
The Wolverines' defensive line has
been playing as well as it has all
season and should continue its qual-
SPECIAL TEAMS: Although the
Wolverines blocked their first punt
of the season against Minnesota, the
special teams unit still failed to shore
up its holes. Kicker Adam Finley
missed another field goal and punt
returner Markus Curry called for a
fair catch inside the Michigan 5-yard
Wisconsin's kicking game hasn't
been spectacular, but Scott Campbell
and Mike Allen have combined to go
14-for-21 on the season, which is far
better than the Wolverines. Leonhard
is second in the conference in punt
INTANGIBLES: Unlike last season,
Michigan has not disappointed down
the stretch, pummeling Minnesota
and Michigan State. Wisconsin on
the other hand, has collapsed. After
starting the season 5-0, the Badgers
are 1-5 in the Big Ten and will need
to win one of their last two games to
qualify for a bowl game - quite a
change for a team that has been at
the top of the conference in recent
Wisconsin is in a tailspin and will
need a lot to happen to get a season-
saving win against the Wolverines.
Linebacker Zach Kaufman (37) will not
(24) will try to continue to carry a depli
MICHIGAN RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
WISCONSIN RUSHING DEFENSE: With
Chris Perry still not 100 percent, B.J.
Askew has played well to make up
for his absence. Askew strung
together back-to-back 100-yard
games and has found the end zone
The Badgers allow nearly 150
yards per game on the ground, sixth
in the Big Ten, and allowed Illinois'
Antoneo Harris to rush for 160 yards
last game. Askew is similar to Harris
as both are bruising backs that pun-
ish their tacklers.
1119 S. i
Michigan 38, Wisconsin 24