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September 09, 2004 - Image 16

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-09

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16A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 9, 2004

Big Ten powers hope to keep on rolling
By James V. Dowd

Daily Sports Writer

Marshall (0-1) at No. 9 Ohio State
(1-0) - Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC
Once an elite program with the likes
of Chad Pennington and Randy Moss,
Marshall fell to a new low Saturday
when Troy State handed it just its seventh
home loss since Joan C. Edwards Stadi-
um opened in 1991. Chosen
by many as the favorites for
the MAC East championship, g
the Thundering Herd will
be looking to set themselves g,
right during a visit to Colum-
bus this weekend.
Marshall managed a lack-
luster 177 yards of total offense last
weekend, its worst performance since
1989. Facing a stingy Buckeye defense
that gave up just two field goals against
Cincinnati in their opener, the Herd
will be lucky to score at all against the
likes of junior preseason All-American
linebacker A.J. Hawk and cornerback
Dustin Fox.
Ohio State's big question mark, soph-
omore quarterback Justin Zwick, per-
formed admirably against Cincinnati,
throwing for 213 yards and a touchdown.
Considering the fact that Marshall sur-
rendered just under 200 yards passing
to the lowly Troy State offense, expect
Zwick to throw for a few more touch-
downs this week.
Prediction: Ohio State 38, Marshall 3.
Arizona State (1-0) at Northwest-
ern (0-1) - Saturday, 12 noon.
ESPN2

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There have been rumors that former
Michigan placekicker Philip Brabbs
received a vote to the College Football
Hall of Fame after reporters watched
Northwestern's opener against Texas
Christian. Wildcats' kicker Brett Huff-
man missed an abysmal five field goals, a
feat that overshadows the record-setting
performance by junior quarterback Brett
Basanez.
Basanez threw for 513
yards and four touchdowns
and rushed for 35 yards, but
the Wildcats lost in overtime.
Senior running back Noah
Herron also chipped in with
94 rushing yards, showing
that the offensive potential the Wildcats
displayed while gaining 357 total yards
in last year's Motor City Bowl was no
fluke.
After losing the Motor City Bowl
due to Marty Morninwehg-esque clock
management, Northwestern was hoping
to open the season on a good note. But
Huffman's kicking ruined any chance at
that. When Arizona State comes to town
on Saturday, the Wildcats are hoping to
finally put together a complete effort and
come away with the victory.
A Northwestern victory will be a bit
of a long shot after the Sun Devils rolled
in their opener. Senior quarterback
Andrew Walter threw for 241 yards and
three touchdowns en route to a 41-9 vic-
tory over Texas-El Paso.
Seeing that Arizona State gave up
almost 200 passing yards to the Miners,
it is possible that Northwestern will score
some points. The Sun Devils intercepted

Texas-El Paso quarterback Jordan Palm-
er four times, so Basanez will have to be
careful in picking his receivers.
Prediction: Arizona State 31, North-
western 23.
Ball State (0-1) at No. 25 Purdue
(1-0) - Saturday, 12 noon.
The Ball State Cardinals were surpris-
ingly well-matched with Boston College
in their opening game last Saturday, losing
by just eight points. In contrast, the Purdue
Boilermakers looked like they belonged
a few classes above the Syracuse Orange,
winning their opener by 51 points.
A fairly unimportant intrastate match-
up will surely give Kyle Orton and the
high-powered Boilermaker offense a
chance to put up some extraordinary
numbers, and live up to the preseason
hype about their unstoppable offense.
Considering Ball State's anemic
running game against Boston College
- where it gained just 64 yards on the
ground - expect the Purdue defense to
come out strong, trying to disprove the
preseason theory that it would challenge
for worst in the Big Ten. The Boilermak-
ers looked solid against Syracuse, holding
the Orange to 197 total yards and coming
up with the big plays any time the Orange
began to threaten their shutout.
Ball State sophomore quarterback
Joey Lynch threw for 147 yards in the
opener. Considering the help that Syra-
cuse freshman quarterback Joe Fields
inexperience gave Purdue, expect a more
experienced Ball State offense to score
at least once. Purdue's defense was solid,
but capitalized on some rookie mistakes

by Fields, and it's unlikely the Boiler-
makers will be able to sustain their shut-
out play for another week.
Prediction: Purdue 59, Ball State 10.
Indiana (1-0) at Oregon (0-0) -
Saturday, 6:30 p.m.
Oregon's Autzen Stadium is known as
one of college football's most challenging
venues for the visiting team. With Duck
fans hoping the prophecies of Oregon
contending for a Pac-10 title come true,
it will surely be rocking on Saturday
for the season opener against Indiana
- much like it was during the Ducks'
dismantling of Michigan last fall.
The Hoosiers bullied Central Michi-
gan in their opener, winning 41-10,
despite giving up more yards than they
gained. Indiana piled up 203 yards on the
ground and, facing an Oregon defensive
line with three new starters, it will likely
try the running game before looking to
historically-shaky senior quarterback
Matt LoVecchio.
Oregon has high hopes for its offense,
which has six of its seven top pass-catch-
ers returning. Junior Kellen Clemens has
finally won the starting quarterback job
for the Ducks and, after getting substantial
playing time behind Jason Fife, should be
able to get the job done for Oregon.
Look for Indiana to unravel when the
Autzen earthquake strikes before the
Ducks even take the field. Indiana needs a
win to give them confidence as it tries to
reach a bowl game for the first time since
1993, but perhaps it will have better luck
next week at Kentucky in game three.
Prediction: Oregon 24, Indiana 13.
Penn State (1-0) at Boston Col-
lege (1-0) - Saturday, 8 p.m.
As legendary Penn State coach Joe
Paterno's career winds down (or so we
think), the Nittany Lions are looking
for one last run for glory, or at least a
bowl game. After going 3-9 last year,
Paterno was able to rally the troops
for a 48-10 season-opening blowout
against Akron.
Penn State quarterback Zack Mills
was 9-for-ll with two touchdowns despite
throwing for a paltry 108 yards. The high-
light of the opener was the running game
- the Nittany Lions had two 100-yard
rushers and a total of 352 rushing yards.
Whether Boston College can manage
to stop Penn State's running game like it
was able to do against Ball State is a key
to whether it will be able to come away
with a win in the home opener.
The Eagles managed 340 total yards
against Ball State, but won by just eight
points. The Nittany Lions provide more
of an offensive threat and a new confi-
dence after an opening-game blowout,
and it will be difficult for Boston College
to compete with them.
Prediction: Penn State 17, Boston Col-
lege 7.

0

AP PHOTO
Astros pitcher Roger Clemens and his team hope to keep up their winning streak.
wild card hopes aliv.e

HOUSTON (AP) - With two
World Series rings and plenty of post-
season experience over his 21-year
career, Roger Clemens knows a lot
about winning.
But the Houston Astros' furious
push for the playoffs has left even The
Rocket at a loss for a comparison.
Clemens got his 326th win to tie
Eddie Plank for 11th on the career list,
and the Astros hit four first-inning
home runs to beat the Cincinnati Reds
5-2 yesterday and tie a team record
with their 12th straight win.
"I've been on clubs throughout my
career who've won quite a few in a
row," Clemens said, "but 1 don't know
if it's ever been like this."
Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig
Biggio and Mike Lamb homered in the
first off Jose Acevedo (5-11), sending
Houston on its longest winning streak
since taking 12 in a row from Sept. 3-
14, 1999.
Houston has won 20 of 23 since
Aug. 15 for the best record in the major
leagues over that stretch.
"We're on a nice roll right now,"
Bagwell said. "It's kind of been amaz-
ing to me, all the home runs we're hit-
ting. I've never seen it quite like this."
The Astros, who began the day a
half-game behind the Chicago Cubs in
the NL wild-card race, tied Tampa Bay
(June 9-22) for the longest win streak in

the major leagues this season. Cincin-
nati continued its late-season swoon,
losing for the 10th time in 12 games
Clemens (16-4) won his fourth
straight start, allowing four hits in
seven innings. He gave up his only run
in the first on Sean Casey's sacrifice
fly, and Cincinnati managed only three
singles over Clemens' next six innings.
The Rocket finished with six strikeouts
and two walks.
"Give credit to the hitters. They've
come alive and made it ... easier for the
pitchers," Clemens said.
Chad Qualls, Mike Gallo and Russ
Springer pitched in the eighth, with
D'Angelo Jimenez hitting an RBI
single off Springer, and Brad Lidge
got three outs for his 21st save in 24
chances. With runners at the corners
and two outs, Lidge struck out Juan
Castro to end the game.
Biggio hit a leadoff homer, and
Bagwell and Berkman hit consecutive
drives with one out in the first. Jeff
Kent walked, and Lamb connected for
a 5-1 lead.
Acevedo lasted just one inning, and
six relievers combined to keep Hous-
ton scoreless the rest of the way: John
Riedling, Phil Norton, Ryan Wagner,
Mike Matthews, Todd Van Poppel and
Danny Graves.
"We took a breather," quipped Hous-
ton manager Phil Garner.

AP PHOTO
Ohio State's quarterback Justin Zwick looks for an open receiver during the first quarter against Cincinnati last Saturday.

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