9 S S
6B - The Michigan Daily - FooTBALL SATURDAY - October 18, 2003
The Michigan Daily - FooTBALL
Predictions AGAINST THE
SPREAD for 10/18/03
Illinois at No. 17 Michigan (-26)
No. 13 Purdue at No. 14 WISCONSIN (No LINE)
Temple at No. 2 MIAMI (-31)
No. 10 Louisiana State (4) at SOUTH CAROLINA
Texas Tech at No. 23 OKLAHOMA STATE (No LINE)
Mississippi State at No. 19 AUBURN (-21)
Florida at No. 11 ARKANSAS (-5)
No. 5 Southern Cal. (-8.5) at NOTRE DAME
No. 15 Michigan State at No. 25 MIESoTA (-6)
No. 7 Florida State (-7.5) at VIRGINIA
No. 9 Iowa at No.8 OHIo STATE (-3.5)
No. 24 Missouri at No. 1 OKLAHOMA (-26)
Texas A&M at No. 18 NEBRASKA (-10.5)
Western Michigan at No. 12 NORTHERN IWNoIS (NO UNE)
No. 6 Washington State (-9) at STANFORD
No. 20 Texas (-16.5) at IowA STATE
Aabamnaanmingham at No.16 TExAs CHRISIAN (-10.5)
Washington at No. 22 OREGON STATE (-10)
Total season record
STRONG BY NECESSITY
After the tragic loss of his niece,
Carl Diggs has had to bounc
By J. Brady McCollough Michigan game Aug. 30. He dropp
Daily Sports Editor football and all his other responsibilit
in Ann Arbor and headed straight;
C arl Diggs looked into 3-year- his home in Warren.
old Auntavia Atkins' eyes, open "He had to go down and keep1
for the last time. Alone in a family together," said Courtney M
Cleveland hospital room with his fami- gan, a Michigan offensive tackle a
ly crying outside, Diggs held his niece Diggs' roommate. "He shed a tear,1
in his arms as the life slowly drained crying wasn't really going to solveI
from her body. problem. He had to be the strong one
"I could just hear her gasping," Diggs Said Bernita, Carl's mother: "AfterI
said. "I just held my niece until her last first game, I had to tell him about1
breath. To me, that's one of the hardest niece ... she would never be righta
things I've ever had to do in my life. I would always be in a vegetable state.
never thought I'd be in that situation." was determined to come back bef
Diggs was in that situation because they pulled the plug. At the funera
Auntavia's mother and Diggs' sister, was a wreck, and he held up for me."
Angel Diggs, couldn't handle being in Diggs would argue that Bernita t
the room when the doctors pulled the been holding up for him since day o
plug on her daughter. Neither could Raising her kids in the Warren proje
Diggs' brother, Grover Diggs. Bernita had to rule with an iron fista
"We asked Carl, 'Are you going to be instill strong family values in her kid
able to do this?'" Grover said. "Carl "I did not play. I did not play," Ber
said 'yeah.' ta said. "It's hard to raise children th
"He was pretty much the heart and days, but it's exceptionally hard to ra
soul of the family that day. Having him a young black man. But they alwa
there made it a lot easier. A lot of people had a job, and I always kept th
couldn't do that." involved in something."
"It was just hard to hold my niece ... The youngest of four siblings, Di
I never thought I'd see any of (my has filled more of an older-brother r
nieces and nephews) go before I did," for his family. Everyone in the fan
Carl said. "I held her in my arms and can't help but be proud of Diggs a
just prayed. I just wanted to be strong respect what he's accomplished, mak
for my sister." a name for himself outside of Warren
Everyone's always counted on Diggs, "His nieces and nephews really lt
even when it would have been easy for up to him; he's at Michigan playi
him to be weak. football," said Morgan, who consid
Diggs, 22, became a father at the age himself a part of the Diggs family. "
of 17. And in the past year and a half, a lot of people where he comes fr
he's had to overcome being shot in the get a chance to go to college and get1
back of his left leg, breaking his right degree. He's the youngest sibling,I
leg and now losing Auntavia. he kind of has to carry the burden
Diggs' friends, family and team- being one of the oldest. He has the o
mates collectively wonder, "How does est-sibling-type responsibilities."
he do it?" Grover says losing Auntavia h
According to Diggs, there's no choice made Carl even more mature than
but to be strong. Otherwise, he "proba- was before - mature, but not immu
bly would have given up everything." to the pain the rest of the family
Crisler s best to clean up 48-60 mark
Anyone associated with Crisler
Arena, or the Michigan athletic
department in general, has run
into Juan Mathews at some
point. Everything from men's
basketball to women's gymnas-
tics to K-Grams events, Math-
ews hassbeen in there-
making sure that you can enjoy
whatever event you are attend-
ing in clean surroundings.
Now, he is turning his Kaivac
and BetCo cleaning supplies
toward the mess that the Ann
Arbor celebrities have left:
their 48-60 combined record.
Mathews is showing his confi-
dence in Wisconsin - as he
should considering Purdue is
based around a 4-3 defense
and not a choke-an-opposing-
Mathews also has the winning
touch of Tommy Amaker
(whose office, Mathews
cleans) on his side, which is
more than what the football
writers can say.
By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Editor
Things couldn't get m
Illinois. The Illini sit att
the Big Ten, haven't won
Sept. 6 and got beat up
State last weekend. TI
their starting quarterbac
this week. Beutjer has a
injury that will force hin
lines this weekend.
Now Illinois has to
Big House and play
team that's riding hi
ILLINOIS PASSING DEFE
gan's offense has ten
out sluggish this seaso
ly in games that it's
win. But with an ul
receiving trio (Brayl
Steve Breaston and J
that seems to be clicki
terback John Navarre,
start won't stop the Wo
nois' defense is giving
age of 216 passing yal
and safety Marc Jack
Illini's only interceptio
ILLINOIS RUSHING D
Heisman talk has fad
Perry still has impres
- 859 yards and nin
on the ground. His ave
yards per game leads
and ranks sixth nation
run defense ranks nint
Beuj er, Ilini in
ference. Linebacker Matt Sinclair
leads the Illini with 67 tackles and
uch worse for Advantage: Michigan
the bottom of
a game sinceI
hey also lost ILLINOIS PASSING OFFENSE VS.
k Jon Beutjer MICHIGAN PASSING DEFENSE: This
nagging back was Illinois' one bright spot - the
m to the side- Illini's passing offense is third in
the Big Ten and has produced 10
come to the touchdowns. But that was with
a Michigan Beutjer taking the snaps. Senior
igh after its Dustin Ward has five career starts
ing win over for the Illini, but he's still battling
redshirt freshman Chris Pazan for
OFFENSE VS. the job this week.
ENSE: Michi- Michigan's secondary has had at
ded to come least one interception in its last three
n, particular- games, and coach Lloyd Carr is hope-
expected to ful that cornerback Jeremy LeSueur
tra-talented can return from an injury this week.
on Edwards, Advantage: Michigan
ng with quar-
even a slow
lverines. Illi- ILLINOIS RUSHING OFFENSE VS.
g up an aver- MICHIGAN RUSHING DEFENSE: Illinois
rds per game, has the worst rushing offense in the
kson has the Big Ten. It has scored just two
n. touchdowns on the ground, and one
n was a kick return. Freshman running
back E.B. Halsey has the team's lone
rushing touchdown, and leads the
team with 464 yards. Michigan's
defense has the potential to shut
OFFENSE VS. down the Illini - if it shows up.
EFENSE: The Last weekend, the Wolverines
ed, but Chris gave up 424 yards to the Gophers,
sive numbers who scored all five of their touch-
e touchdowns downs on the ground.
rage of 122.7 Advantage: Michigan
the Big Ten,
h in the con-
SPECIAL TEAMS: It's been a roller
coaster ride for Michigan in this
department. Special teams mistakes
cost the Wolverines against Oregon
and Iowa. But it rebounded nicely
last weekend. Michigan went back
to its regular punt formation and
didn't turn the ball over on special
teams, and the game-winning points
came off a field goal. And look out
for Breaston. The shifty punt return-
er has been a thrill to watch in
Michigan's four home games.
The Illini's special teams have
been more consistent. Their streak
of 185 successful extra-point tries
dates back to 1998 (Michigan has
missed two this season alone). John
Gockman has hit 10 field goals in
seven games. Defensive end Derrick
Strong has blocked a field goal and
two extra points this season. Illinois'
punt returning has been futile, but
Halsey has racked up yards while
back yet again
to see her as much as I'd like to," Diggs
said. "She's growing up fast. When I go
home for a break, any time I get a
chance to go home, she's always with
me. I can't go anywhere without her
being right on my hip."
When Deja comes to Michigan foot-
ball games, she can't put the game pro-
"She gets the program and points his
picture out," Bernita said. "It's all she
But when it comes to the time Diggs
does have with Deja, who reportedly
looks just like her dad, football is the
last thing on his mind.
"I can recall us going out to Chuck
E. Cheese's sometimes," Grover said,
"and people will come up to Carl and
say, 'Good game,' but he'll say, 'I
appreciate it, but I'm with my family
now.'It will be in a nice way, and they'll
understand. They're fathers, too."
Diggs is comfortable with being a
father now, but when he first found out
his high-school girlfriend was pregnant,
he wasn't so calm.
"It was a big shock. I was nervous,
especially with me wanting to go to col-
lege," Diggs said. "Me and (Deja's)
mother talked, and she gave me the go-
ahead. It was the best thing for me to do,
having a baby, to further my education.
Give our daughter a better opportunity."
Diggs has five credits left before he
can graduate with a degree in sports
management and communications,
which has been his No. 1 goal since he
arrived at school.
"I remember a time where he said, 'I
don't know if I can do this,' " Grover
said. "Go to school, get a degree and
play football. It was a goal he didn't
think he could do."
Diggs had Deja to make the decision
"She's five years old, so she under-
stands what Daddy's doing up here," he
said. "If we're going to have a better
future for her, I have to get that degree."
Bernita will never forget the day she
and Carl were driving home from foot-
ball practice when he was 15.
"He just said, 'I want to use my God-
given talent, go to college and be the
best that I can,' " Bernita said.
"All Carl has to take care of is Carl
and Deja. No one else, though."
The Michigan football team has also
witnessed Diggs' unwavering mentality
the past five years.
In May 2002, Diggs (left leg) and
teammate Markus Curry (back) were
shot outside an off-campus party.
Diggs, in line to play significant min-
utes at inside linebacker, had to devote
himself to getting his leg ready for the
opener against Washington.
"(Me and Markus) kind of joke
about it a lot," Diggs said. "We knew it
could have been worse, especially for
Markus. If the bullet were an inch high-
er, he could have been wounded pretty
badly. It's a lesson that we learned, and
we just moved on"
Diggs would have to move on again.
After starting most of the season at line-
backer, Diggs suffered a broken right leg
against Ohio State. He needed surgery to
be ready for opening day this season.
"I think Carl is an inspiration with
how he just keeps it rolling," Morgan
said. "He was shot, he's broken his leg,
and a lot of people could have quit and
just given up. You don't see him hang-
ing his head a lot."
Diggs inspired his teammates
enough to be named captain for his sen-
ior season. And when he spoke up after
Michigan's 30-27 loss to Iowa - a rare
occurrence for the soft-spoken Diggs
- people listened.
"He just basically set the record
INTANGIBLES: Two words: Inex-
perience and rejuvenation. Illinois
has the former; Michigan has the
latter. Twenty first-year players have
seen action for the Illini this season,
and they lost their top four receivers
from last season. Michigan got new
life from its comeback over the
Gophers. The Wolverines know they
have to win out to win the Big Ten
title, but they're happy to still be in
the hunt. -
Michigan 38, Illinois 7
Angel Diggs, 29, was just starting to
get her life together when Auntavia
died. For the past year, Angel's three
children had been living in a court-
approved foster home, but Diggs' moth-
er, Bernita Diggs, said Angel was on
her way to getting her kids back in the
Angel's children were put into the
hands of 40-year-old Ethel Wilbert-
Bethea of Cortland, Ohio. The Diggs
family is accusing Wilbert-Bethea of
"The things that were done to her
caused her death," Bernita said.
A representative from the Warren,
Ohio, Court of Common Pleas said the
State of Ohio is charging Wilbert-
Bethea with four counts of endangering
children, one count of felonious assault
and one count of murder. Wilbert-
Bethea is being held in the county jail
on $1 million bond. The pre-trial hear-
ing is set for Nov. 4.
Diggs first heard about Auntavia's
serious condition after the Central
"Still to this day right now, it's hard
for me to deal with," Diggs said. "Her
name pops up in my mind at weird
times, and I just think about everything
that went on. I get on my knees and just
pray to God"
A different kind of responsibility
Since Auntavia's death, Diggs has
called Grover or Bernita just about
every day to check on his five-year-old
daughter, Deja. Because Diggs can't be
in Warren to take care of her, he's forced
to live vicariously through his mother
and siblings where Deja is concerned.
"Everyone basically has to give a
helping hand and add Deja into their
schedule," Grover said. "When he's
away at school, I make sure the stuff she
needs gets to her. Like when she has
plays in school, I'll go watch them, or
I'll go to her parent-teacher conference."
On Deja's first day of kindergarten,
Diggs made sure Bernita, whom Deja
lives with, watched her and took a pic-
ture of her going into school.
"It's hard at times because I don't get