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October 09, 2003 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-09

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Thursday
October 9, 2003
www.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

POTeSfiditan aig

LOA

'Wide right'
haunts'Noles
Sooners head to Texas
for Red River Shootout
By Beth Adelson
4For the Daily
You could almost thank the football gods (or the
Minnesota Twins) for the Wolverines' game at the
Metrodome tomorrow, because this Saturday offers
enough exciting rivalry matchups in college football
to occupy and justify a full day on the couch.
No. 2 MIAMI (5-0) AT No. 5 FLORIDA STATE (5-0)
- NOON, ABC: At noon, grab the chips and soda and
take a seat, because the best game of the day is also
one of the first. Second-ranked Miami is riding the
high of last week's dramatic win over West Virginia,
while fifth-ranked Florida State is coming off a bye
week following a 56-7 shellacking of Duke on Sept.
27.
Junior transfer Brock Berlin is poised to start at
quarterback in the biggest game of his short career
at Miami. Berlin completed almost 70 percent of his
passes last week and finished with a spectacular
total of 352 yards. Miami will have problems in the
backfield due to the season-ending injury suffered
by star running back Frank Gore against West Vir-
ginia. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Payton has a chance
to shine in his first collegiate start at tailback, and
Tyrone Moss and Jason Geathers will be other
options on the rush for the 'Canes. Florida State's
defense, which has allowed just 14 points over the
last two games, faces its biggest test of the season
against Miami.
Starting at quarterback for the Seminoles will be
junior Chris Rix, who had his worst game of the sea-
son last year at the Orange Bowl. He'll look to jun-
ior wide receiver Craphonso Thorpe, who'll try to
bounce back from a disappointing game last week.
At kicker, Xavier Beitia is hoping for revenge after
last year's chapter in the "Wide Right" saga.
This will be a close game, and close games
between these two powerhouses have traditionally
gone Miami's way. However, after losing Gore last
week, the Hurricanes are weaker offensively than
they have been in several years. Look for Seminoles
coach Bobby Bowden to tie Joe Paterno with 338
Division I-A wins this weekend at Doak Campbell
Stadium.
Florida State 24, Miami 21
No. 1 OKLAHOMA (5-0) AT No. 11 TEXAS (4-1) -
3:30 P.M., ABC: This year's Red River Shootout
will answer a few questions about both the Sooners
and the Longhorns: Just how strong will the Okla-
homa defense prove against a ranked team? Which
quarterback will Longhorns coach Mack Brown
start?

Big Ten title impossible
without Little Brown Jug

Georgia quarterback David Greene will have to be much sharper if he wants to beat Tennessee.

Will the Sooners finally be able to win a game in
this series?
There's no question who will start at quarterback
for the Longhorns. Senior Jason White has emerged
recently as a Heisman candidate, throwing for 16
touchdowns on the year. Running backs Kejuan
Jones and Renaldo Works and wideouts Mark Clay-
ton and Brandon Jones will be offensive threats for
the Sooners. All-American linebacker Teddy
Lehman already has 39 tackles and will look for
more against Texas.
Either redshirt junior Chance Mock or freshman
phenom Vince Young will start at quarterback for
the Longhorns. Mock started last week's game
against Kansas State, but was replaced in the fourth
quarter with Young, who rushed for the game-win-
ning touchdown. Either quarterback will look to star
wide receiver Roy Williams, who came back for his
senior season, in part, for one more chance to beat
Oklahoma in Dallas.
Oklahoma enters the game undefeated, but the
Sooners haven't played many decent teams this year.
Texas is trying to shake the big-game monkey off its
back, and prove that it isn't soft. However, the Long-
horns aren't going to beat the Sooners this year at
the Cotton Bowl. Better luck next year.
Oklahoma 24, Texas 14
No. 8 GEORGIA (4-1) AT No. 13 TENNESSEE (4-1)
- 7:45 P.M., ESPN 2: The last two meetings
between the Bulldogs and Volunteers have been
decided by a total of seven points. Saturday's
matchup promises to be just as exciting, with Ten-

nessee looking for revenge after falling sh
comeback effort during the fourth quarter 1a
The SEC East lead is at stake, as is a chanc
on the fast track to a conference championshi
Georgia is coming off a sloppy win against,
ma and can't afford to play as carelessly again
nessee. Junior quarterback David Green
connect with a variety of wideouts, and r
freshman running back Michael Coope
missed last week's game, will be eager to get
bench. The vaunted Georgia defense has a
more than 10 points just once this season, an
omore linebacker Thomas Davis is hop
improve on his two sacks against Alabama.
Vols quarterback Casey Clausen will havea
chance at the Bulldogs after sitting out last s
contest with a collarbone injury and a 26-24
2001. Following last year's loss, he said, "
have played on one arm and we could've de
beaten them but (the doctors) didn't want tor
His comments incensed the Tennessee squ
have Georgia ready to compete as well. Ten
needs a solid effort from both leading rusher
Houston and wide receivers James Banks
Brown and last week's star Chris Hannon.
Georgia's taken the last three games
series, but Tennessee's home-field advantag
negate the Bulldogs' streak. Both quarte
have proven to be great gainers and will ba
the very end. Georgia's defense, though, wi
the war.
Georgia 34, Tennessee 28

COURTNEY LEWIS
The Daily Grind
rom the beginning, the Little
F Brown jug has meant more to
Minnesota than to Michigan. In
the 1903 game between the Gophers and
the Wolverines in Minnesota, the game
had to be stopped with two minutes still
left on the clock because the Minnesota
fans couldn't hold back any longer, and
they rushed the field. The reason for
their jubilation? The Gophers had pulled
6 into a tie with the Wolverines. True, one
of Fielding Yost's "point-a-minute"
teams was on the field. But still, the
AP PHOTO story shows the difference, traditionally,
between Michigan and Minnesota --
they've been on two different levels.
ort in a The exchange of the trophy started
st year. after that 1903 game, and yes most
e to be Michigan fans know Michigan-Min-
p. nesota as the Little Brown Jug game,
Alaba- and it's neat to be tied to the oldest tro-
nst Ten- phy in college football. But Michigan
ne will leads the series 65-23-3, and the
edshirt matchup usually doesn't register on the
r, who Big Game radar of Michigan fans -
off the they've always had bigger things in
allowed mind.
d soph- Minnesota coach Glen Mason exhib-
ping to ited the importance of the game for the
Gophers earlier this week when he was
another asked, "Is Friday night what it's all
eason's about?"
loss in "You know who we're playing Friday,
'I could don't you?" Mason responded. "No real-
finitely ly, think about it. Who are we playing?
risk it." We're playing the Yankees. That's exact-
ad and ly right. We're playing the New York
nnessee Yankees. We're the Twins. And that's not
Cedric saying anything bad about the Twins or
, Tony the Gophers. We're playing the Yankees.
"You're talking about the University
in the of Michigan ... I mean you look
ge may through their press guides and it's histo-
rbacks ry after history after history after history.
attle to Murderer's row, that's what we've got
'ill win here, really. That's why I've got so much
respect for them."
By the sound of it, you'd think Min-

nesota will be honored just to be on the
same field as Michigan, and that the
Gophers will feel fortunate just to
escape in one piece.
That's a nice try by Mason to paint his
team as the hopeless underdog, but the
fact is the tables are turned a little bit
this season. Michigan will enter the
Metrodome on Friday as the underdog
as far as the oddsmakers are concerned
(the Gophers are narrowly favored). The
Wolverines are also well behind the
Gophers in the national polls.
Minnesota comes in with a 6-0 record
(Michigan hasn't won six straight since
1998), while Michigan is 0-2 on the road
and 1-2 against nationally-ranked teams.
Granted, Minnesota wasn't tested in its
nonconference schedule and opened the
Big Ten with wins against a struggling
Penn State squad and lowly Northwest-
ern. But both Minnesota and Michigan
were picked as preseason threats in the
conference, and so far the Gophers are
the ones living up to the hype.
A couple weeks ago, there was still
talk among the media that this would be
a huge game for Minnesota, much big-
ger than for Michigan. And as a chance
to upset the "Yankees," you'd expect as
much. But the unexpected thing is that
Michigan needs this win just as badly as
Minnesota does, probably more.
"It is a Big Ten championship game,"
Michigan defensive lineman Grant
Bowman said.
And he's right - the Wolverines need
to win out to have a chance at the Big
Ten title. But this year, the Little Brown
Jug holds more than title hopes. Lose it,
and the Wolverines will lose a little of
that Michigan aura that Mason alluded
to. Michigan will have lost to Minnesota
for the first time in 15 years and will
likely drop out of the top-25 for the first
time in 64 games, ending the longest
streak in the nation.
The implications of the game and the
apparent talent of the unproven Gophers
should be good for the series. If the
Gophers win, Minnesota-Michigan still
won't be elevated to the level of Red
Sox-Yankees in the minds of Michigan
fans. But at least the Gophers will have
fared better than the Twins.

4

4

Courtney Lewis can be reached at
cmlewis@umich.edu.

* I

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