The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - November 17, 2003 - 5B
(k e) 0'S
.. sMichigan Daily Sports Editor Kyle O'Neill is not a collegiate athlete, nor is
.a .he a collegiate coach. But he was a starting wide receiver for his winless
team at Garber High School, was third in Bay County in receptions his sen-
ior year and claims to know something about the game of football. So each
game, we'll let him and his 5-foot-10, 158-pound frame break down why
Michigan either succeeded or failed.
3 Observations Key play: First-and-10; 5:00, Second quarter
1. Someone might as well say
something nice about North-
western. Quarterback Brett
Basanez played well enough
to not have to lose by 31
points. He did try to run too
much, but that was due to his
receivers' inability to make
2. LaMarr Woodley was scary
good in the second quarter.
His hit on Basanez to force a
fumble and a loss of 12 yards
was just vicious. His most
impressive play, though,
came when - after sacking
Basanez for a four-yard loss
- he broke through a one-on-
one block on the line and
forced the Northwestern quar-
terback to scramble for just a
two-yard gain, ending the
Wildcats' first-half drive.
3. It was disappointing, but
understandable, to see Matt
Gutierrez pulled out so quick-
ly. I say understandable,
because when Northwestern
pulled within 24, it was a
score that was seemingly
safe. Of course, anyone who
saw the Indianapolis/Tampa
Bay Monday Night Football
game a few weeks back
knows not even that lead is
safe. Quarterbacks coach.
Scot Loeffler said that while
Gutierrez is the best man for
the backup spot this season,
there would be a battle for
next year's starting job
between Gutierrez and Clay-
'- S ADAMS
. 0 SB EDWARDS
B SB AVANT
Explanation: It would be nice to diagram his actual catch, but Jason Avant's touchdown reception
on Saturday was as beautiful as the execution that preceded it. Two things happened before the
pass was even completed that allowed Avant to be wide open. The first happened on the previous
touchdown when Braylon Edwards caught the score. This made Northwestern safety Jarvis Adams
commit to Edwards' side of the field. The next part of the play was the execution of the play-
action. Both of the Wildcats' right defensive backs bit on the fake - to the point where Navarre
could have hit Brian Thompson in the flats with an easy run into the endzone. What all this did was
leave Northwestern's Marvin Ward on an island with Avant. As soon as the sophomore broke into
his post route, he had Ward beaten - and the rest is ... well, a SportsCenter highlight.
Ohio State fans
xg FPenn State
game last year
- Lloyd's proud
r MEYou'll be a fine
on 3rd down
- Von cell phones
We may have heard louder
crowds in our day, but any time
a group of fans on the road
overtakes the home crowd, it
is a good day.
Some Michigan fans stopped
us on the way to the game and
asked us for directions to Ryan
Field. When we didn't know
Continued from Page 1B
look to Edwards' Northwestern
postgame comments unfairly.
If Ohio State's secondary pro-
duces anything, it won't be because
of Chris Gamble or any of that
crew. Anything that the Buckeyes'
defensive backs or linebackers
make will be due to the front defen-
sive four - the warm front.
Michigan's Chris Perry said he
didn't know whether the Wolver-
ines would be able to run against
the other half of the Big Two -
and he shouldn't know. Ohio
State's defensive linemen, Will
Smith and Darrion Scott, are the
same type of playmakers that
Edwards and Avant are - they just
don't have the stats that the wide-
outs have. But the seven players
behind them do.
Each of the fronts had their
strongest precipitation going for
them on Saturday, as both Avant and
Edwards had a touchdown grab, and
Ohio State's Allen and Tim Ander-
son forced a fumble that resulted in
the Buckeyes' only touchdown of
So now comes the showdown:
Michigan's offense versus Ohio
Not to imply that Ohio State's
offense nor Michigan's defense
won't come into play, but unless
Maurice Clarett is coming back, the
Buckeyes won't be taking too many
risks, especially with their special
teams and defense producing points
Continued from Page 1B
offense. The Wolverines led 31-3 at
halftime, after Chris Perry ran in
two touchdowns and sophomore
receiver Jason Avant made a spec-
tacular one-handed catch in the end-
zone. Michigan's other first-half
points came on a field goal and a
touchdown pass that Braylon
Edwards caught after Northwestern
fumbled a kickoff return. Michigan
scored 24 unanswered points in the
The Wolverines added another
field goal in the second half before
Northwestern finally found the end-
zone. Brandon Horn broke free for a
13-yard touchdown run that made it
34-10 with 9:41 left in the game.
That sent Michigan's starters back
in the game for a little while, but the
reserves came back out in time for
backup running back Jerome Jack-
son to run in a seven-yard touch-
In his first game after carrying 51
the passenger remarked,
"There isn't anyone from Illinois
here." That was nice to hear,
as was the 13,000 that filled in
Tailgating, "Go Blue!" chants
and overall presence were dom-
inated by the maize and blue ...
something not to be overlooked
as you approach Ohio State.
Also, the postgame-tailgate
around the buses washigh-
quality. Incorporating the Pur-
due/Ohio State game out into
the tailgate brought the play-
ers' excitement over the
Next week is the moment we
have been training you for all
season. We have ridden you
hard at points, but even we
will admit your progress is
undeniable. Judging from the
Purdue game, there is a
chance you can reach the
level of pandamonium seen in
Columbus last year. Get a
good night's sleep on Friday,
and fire up the grill early on
game day. It's only the biggest
game of your life and the defin-
ing moment of your time at
the University of Michigan.
the way they are.
But as paper matchups, talk of
how all this game means as a senior
and media blowups of player's com-
ments increase, the real focus of the
rivalry will emerge.
To keep with the recent trend, this
game will be more truth-telling than
In 1995 and 1996, Michigan
proved that Ohio State wasn't ready
to be amongst the nation's elite. In
1997, the Wolverines proved that
they were. The following season,
the Buckeyes showed they could get
revenge. In 1999 and 2000, Michi-
gan proved John Cooper wasn't the
answer. The past two seasons, Jim
Tressel has shown he is.
In this rivalry, everything is
exploited. Light winds become hur-
ricanes, sprinkles become torrential
When Saturday comes around,
one front will overtake the other.
Either Scott and Allen will flood
John Navarre and Perry in the
backfield all day or Edwards, Avant
and Breaston will blow through
Gamble and crew. There will be no
draw in this. The truth will come
out, and one of the powers will rise
above the other.
No matter what happens, be sure
to bring an umbrella.
- Kyle O'Neill would like to tell all
those who believe Michigan State is
Michigan's biggest rival that they
haven 't seen anything yet. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
times against Michigan State, Perry
ran for 122 yards and two touch-
downs. John Navarre threw for 288
yards and two touchdowns. Defen-
sively, the Wolverines had one inter-
ception, by freshman cornerback
Leon Hall, and recovered two fum-
bles on their way to holding the
Wildcats to 261 yards of offense.
"I think this is the best our team
has played all season," Navarre said.
"I think that is a sign of how good
our team is playing right now. If I
just do my job, our team is going to
play well. If everyone else does
their job, we are going to do great
Michigan has won five straight,
starting with its wild comeback over
Minnesota on Oct. 10, and has
outscored its opponents 193-82 dur-
ing that streak.
With the pesky Wildcats out of the
way, the Wolverines can finally turn
all of their attention to bigger things.
"Now," Carr said, "we can get
along with what awaits us next
Scouting report: Buckeyes know how to win
EDITOR'S NOTE: In preparation
for The Game, the Dail scouted the
competition to find out the reason Ohio
State continues to pull out close games.
By Jim Wbw
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS - Brutus the Buckeye was speech-
Chris Gamble had just dropped the potential game-
winning interception in overtime with Ohio State
leading Purdue, 16-13.
What was going on?
The Buckeyes always made the right moves in tight
Even Brutus couldn't watch anymore - covering
his eyes after Gamble's uncharacteristic drop.
Not to fear. Just three plays later, Purdue kicker Ben
Jones missed a 36-yard field goal to give Ohio State
the win - its fifth this season by a touchdown or less
and 12th in the last two years.
The defending national champion Buckeyes (10-1)
will come to Ann Arbor next week for the 100th Ohio
State-Michigan game sitting tied atop the Big Ten and
ranked second or third in the BCS standings with a
legitimate shot at the Sugar Bowl.
Ohio State players and coaches were as talkative as
their mascot in regards to bulletin board material for
the Michigan game. Both had nothing but positive
things to say about the Wolverines and next week's
game. They even maintained straight faces while they
talked about the tough atmosphere in the Big House.
The press conference was so boring that at one point,
quarterback Craig Krenzel even used his microphone
as a headrest for his forehead.
Though Ohio State rarely looks impressive in victo-
ry, Michigan knows first-hand how tough it is to beat
the Buckeyes. Last season, Michigan lost, 14-9, and in
2001, the Wolverines lost, 26-20.
How does Ohio State continue to pull out close vic-
tories? Even coach Jim Tressel doesn't appear to have
When asked if he was surprised by the fashion in
which Ohio State won again Saturday, Tressel replied:
"Are we amazed it was a battle? No." When pushed
further for some disbelief at his team's fortune, Tressel
looked around the room for a minute searching for
words. When he couldn't find any, he answered with a
dumfounded, "No comment."
But the impact Tressel has made on Ohio State is
obvious: he has eliminated the losing culture that sur-
rounded John Cooper's teams that struggled in big
games. As evidence, his teams combined to go just 5-
18-1 against Michigan and in bowl games.
No one knows about the change of mentality more
than fifth-year senior Ben Hartsock. The tight end
played under Cooper for two seasons. Both years,
Ohio State lost to Michigan.
"I guess we have been on both sides of the scheme,"
Hartsock said. "As a redshirt freshman, you go up (to
Michigan) hoping to get a win and things don't go
your way ... Back then we would have folded up shop
if things didn't go our way and we'd say, 'It wasn't
meant to happen.' Whereas, now we go up there with
a confidence, a swagger that no matter what we get
ourselves into, we're supposed to win these games.
"I think everyone is excited because we have won at
Ann Arbor before. I think to go in there and to know
what the atmosphere is like and to go in there to get a
victory in a tough environment like that, everyone will
be hungry for that. And they will know what to expect
if things don't quite go your way."
Winning is ingrained in defensive back Nate Salley,
a sophomore who has lost just once in his collegiate
"That is the thing about this team, we have a feeling
deep down within that we are going to win, somehow,
someway," Salley said. "I think at Wisconsin when
that didn't happen, it was like, 'Wow, we lost. We can't
do that anymore.'"
It might sound simple minded, but winning really
does seem just that easy for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has been so clutch that it might even
psyche out opponents that have great opportunities to
win like Purdue did Saturday.
Said Hartsock: "It could be a little bit of a factor. I
think they are on their sideline thinking, 'Oh, they
have been here before, and we don't really know what
Actually, by now opponents should have a pretty
good idea of what to expect.
Although coaches and players had nothing but
good things to say about Michigan, the fans weren't
nearly as polite, singing a rousing and inebriated
version of "We don't give a damn about the whole
state of Michigan" as Ohio State players left the
field Saturday like the fans had already moved past
the Purdue victory.
Maybe they had.
After all, it was just another miraculous victory for
ae ician aig
Predictions AGAINST THE
SPREAD for 11/15/03
No. S Michigan (-17.5) at NORTHWESTERN
No. 21 Michigan State at WISCONSIN (-3)
Syracuse at No. 14 MIAMI (FLA.) (19.5)
No. 19 Minnesota at No. 20 IowA (No LINE)
Indiana at PENN STATE -19)
No. 15 Florida (-6.5) at SOUTH CAROLINA
Mississippi State at No. 9 TENNESSEE (-23.5)
No. 12 Virginia Tech (-26) at TEMPLE
No. 21.Northern Illinois (-2.5) at To.Eo"
Cincinnati at No. 10 TEXAS CHRISTIAN (-6.5)
/hin C +ta
Lewis is only one
dancing this week
After an unexpected bye week
from staff picks, it was quite
apparent who used their time off
wisely: Courtney Lewis.
"I pretty much just laid around the
house and focused on the Kobe
Bryant trial," said Naweed Sikora,
a former staffspicks leader.
"I'll be honest, the bye week caught
me off guard," said Kyle O'Neill, who
turned in his second five-win per-
formance of the year. "I spent more
time complaining to the media
about J. Brady McCollough breaking
my stride by calling for the week off
... whatever, I'll bounce back."
"I really don't feel like dancing
after this," said Damon "Disco"
Talley. "Besides, beating Sikora
and O'Neill wasn't that challeng-
ind I mean I'm the diiv who cnn