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6B - The Michigan Daily - Football Saturday - Saturday, September 18, 2004
The Michigan Daily - Football Saturda
Man on a Mission
After all Spencer Brinton has seen, sparse playing tin
By Sharad Mattu " Daily Sports Editor
Predictions against the
Spread for 9/18/04
San Diego State (+21) at No. 17 Michigan
Notre Dame (-3) at Michigan State
Kansas (+3) at Northwestern
No. 16 Iowa (+1) at Arizona State
No. 9 Ohio State (-2.5) at N.C. State
No. 20 Wisconsin (-10.5) at Arizona
No. 22 Minnesota (-4) at Colorado State
No. 11 Florida (+3) at No. 13 Tennessee
Nebraska (-4) at Pittsburgh
Indiana (+2) at Kentucky
Oregon (+27) at No. 2 Oklahoma
No. 1 Southern Cal. (-26) at BYU
No. 21 Maryland (+7) at No.7 West Virginia
No. 5 LSU (+1) at No. 14 Auburn
UCLA (-1) at Washington
San Diego St.
San Diego St,
Master Keith Hafner
Martial Arts Guru
Sometimes, when Spencer Brinton
thinks about it, it seems as though
nothing on the football field has
gone his way since he first set foot on
campus in the spring of 2001.
He came to Ann Arbor just days after
completing a two-year Mormon mission
in Durbin, South Africa. The plan was
to spend a year getting back into playing
shape and learning Michigan's offense
while Drew Henson quarterbacked the
Wolverines one last year. Then in 2002,
Brinton and John Navarre would battle
Just before Brinton's arrival, Henson
decided to leave Michigan and sign with
the Yankees. Lloyd Carr needed a quar-
terback right away, and only Navarre,
who had spent two years in Michigan's
system, was ready for the job. The job
stayed Navarre's for three seasons.
In a blowout loss to Iowa at Michigan
Stadium in October of 2002, Brinton
filled in and mysteriously injured his
shoulder. For nearly a year, he played
through excruciating pain before finally
undergoing surgery last September.
He was told by doctors he would fully
recover. Based on that information, he
asked for and received from the NCAA
a sixth year of eligibility, with the hope
that he could replace Navarre at quar-
terback this year at the age of 26.
But Brinton's shoulder refused to
cooperate. Though the strength in his
shoulder is back, he is unable to throw
with the same velocity and accuracy he
once could. He has tried to compensate
by changing his mechanics, but it has
made little difference.
For most college football players,
these developments would likely be
devastating. Eight years ago, Brinton
himself probably would have been dis-
traught. But it is what Brinton has expe-
rienced during that span that has given
him an entirely unique perspective.
Coming out ofTemecula Valley High
School in California in 1997, Brinton
was a top-10 quarterback. Midway
through his freshman year at San Diego
State, with the team just 1-5, Brinton
took over. Though his numbers the rest
of the year -72-of-162 for 1,097 yards,
with six touchdowns and 10 inter-
ceptions weren't phenomenal, the
Aztecs closed out the year 4-2.
The following year, according to
Brinton's father, Merrill, "everything
got out of control - even I got caught
up in it." Spencer was even mentioned
in a San Diego magazine that listed "25
People to Watch," along with the own-
ers of Qualcomm and the Chargers.
But the fun times were short-lived.
Just two games into the year, he injured
his thumb and, though he thought he
could continue to play, was forced to sit
out the rest of the year.
Suddenly away from football, Brin-
ton made two decisions. First, he wot
go on a mission trip, something he h
never been sure he would do becau
he did not know how it would affe
his football career. And, tired of seei
"20,000 people in a 60,000-seat NI
stadium" and believing that his opp<
tunity to start may have passed by,
decided not to return to the Aztecs.
While in South Africa, Brint
spent a large portion of his time in t
township of Umlazi, where the Zu
tribe resides. Every day was filled wi
unique experiences, but one day ear
on in his mission stands out.
Though apartheid had ended, Sou
Africa was still largely segregate
Umlazi was a small area populated I
millions of black people, and for t
most part, they feared all white peop
- especially the 6-foot-5 kind.
As Brinton was walking around,
walked toward a yard in need of clea
ing and went to work. Throughout tl
day, people watched what he was doir
in shock. They had never seen a whi
man assist them before.
"He's the kind of person who nev
really likes to bring attention to hi
and what he's doing," Brinton's wil
" Before every football game this season, two
of the Daily football writers will take the weekend's
matchup to the PlayStation 2.
" Play of the game - On his first play, Michigan
RB No. 24 went 73 yards on a screen pass for a TD.
" Player of the game - Michigan RB #24 who had
124 total yards and a TD that provided a needed spark.
SAN DIEGO ST.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES:
San Diego State coach Gennaro Filice: "Well, RB #22 decided to
play through injury, and I really wish he had just showed up in street
"The 'Darkside Defense' got blasted and embarrassed every resident of
San Diego. Michigan's RB #24 looked like a man among fetuses."
"I want a second shot in the Big House, so I quit. I'm taking over for Iowa
Michigan coach Chris Burke: "The screen pass to RB #24 was a huge play
and it really got us going. I'm not sure why there was an extra football lay-
ing on the 25-yard line, but we dealt with it well."
"I benched QB #12 for our fourth-string freshman because QB #12 couldn't
have thrown a golf ball through the uprights."
"Honestly? I don't think San Diego State will be able to beat anyone the
rest of the year.
"I was disappointed to see K #38 get called for two celebration penalties
after extra points. We'll have to talk about that."
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Union & Pierpont Commons Bookstores
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like gifts and apparel for all students,
alumni, family, friends and kids available
for purchase online.
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