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October 21, 2004 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-21

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# i'"°.

October 21, 2004
sports.michigandaily. com



Astros and Cards,
ready for spotlight


Michigan's Jeremy LeSeur (21) sacks Purdue's Kyle Orton during Michigan's 31-3 route of the Boilermakers last season.
Desperate Purdue set to face Blue

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor

Purdue was just moments away
from seriously thrusting itself into the
national championship race. Last Satur-
day, the then-fifth-ranked Boilermakers
had a defense that was stifling No. 10
Wisconsin and a composed Heisman
front-runner in quarterback Kyle Orton
protecting a 17-7 lead midway through
the fourth quarter.
And then the Boilermakers lost it all.
Wisconsin marched down the field for
a quick touchdown to cut the lead to 17-
14, and then the seemingly-untouchable
Orton made a huge mistake. Running
a naked bootleg with two-and-a-half
minutes left in the game, Orton was hit
and fumbled. Scott Starks picked up
the loose ball and sprinted 40 yards for
a touchdown that eventually gave the
Badgers a stunning victory.
"I think after the game, (Orton) was
not a happy camper," Purdue coach Joe
Tiller said at his Tuesday press confer-
ence. "My opinion as a coach is that if
you lose easy, you lose often."
So now, No. 12 Purdue (2-1 Big Ten,
5-1 overall) finds itself in desperation

mode - and that only makes things
that much harder for No. 13 Michigan
(4-0, 6-1) when the Wolverines head to
West Lafayette for a colossal Big Ten
showdown on Saturday.
"Anytime you lose, it's hard to bounce
back," said Michigan linebacker Scott
McClintock about Purdue's loss to Wis-
consin. "I'm sure they're going to be ready
to get that taste out of their mouths."
Last year's result will also fuel the
Boilermakers' emotions this time
around. Purdue entered Michigan Sta-
dium ranked No. 10 in the nation, only
to suffer a 31-3 embarrassment at the
hands of the Wolverines. In that game,
Michigan completely suffocated Orton
and the Purdue offense, notching three
turnovers and seven sacks.
It's an effort that the Wolverines
will have to repeat this year against a
Boilermaker offense that is averaging
just under 38 points a game - tops in
the Big Ten conference and ninth in
the country. That offense is led by the
duo of Orton and wide receiver Taylor
Stubblefied, who has 38 catches for 608
yards and 11 touchdowns this year.
"It's going to be a great challenge
- probably the greatest challenge that

we've seen so far this year," Michigan
defensive back Leon Hall said. "They
have a lot of good receivers, so we're
going to have to have the (cornerbacks)
step up for this game.
"We need to have career games to
come out with a win."
The mindset on the other side of the
ball is a similar one. With last year's
massacre fresh in their memories, the
Boilermakers are well aware of what
Michigan - specifically Michigan's
defense - is capable of.
"They're great athletes - physical,
big and they really make a lot of plays,"
said Orton of Michigan's defense.
"The best part of their defense is the
secondary, and they do such a good
job of coming up and disrupting the
routes early."
Purdue also has to worry about the
emergence of Michigan's running
game - including last week's perfor-
mance when freshmen Mike Hart and
Max Martin combined for more than
300 yards on the ground as Michigan
defeated Illinois 30-19.
That ground attack, combined with
the Wolverines' talent and depth at wide
receiver, means that Michigan's defense

won't be the only one with its hands full
heading into Saturday.
"I think that (Michigan is) a much
more dangerous team today than (it)
was a month ago," Tiller said. "The
reason for that is (Hart). I thought that a
month ago, they were more one-dimen-
sional than they are today. As a result, I
think a month ago, you could load up on
the pass game and now you can't.
"They're the best team on both sides
of the ball in the conference, and we
look forward to the game."
Purdue's loss to Wisconsin last week
means that the Boilermakers are behind
the eight-ball when it comes to the race
for the Rose Bowl - especially with
the Badgers holding the head-to-head
tiebreaker over Purdue. Still, if the
Boilermakers win out, they'd be a near-
certainty for a BCS game. The same
goes for Michigan, which is tied with
the Badgers for first in the conference.
Regardless, Saturday's game is one
of the Big Ten's biggest this season.
"We have to really bounce back in a
big way, and this would be a great way
to do it, by beating Michigan at home,"
Orton said.

Goin' to Work
esterday, you had the most
anticipated game in base-
ball history.
And you had some National
League game.
So, maybe tonight - now that
the Red Sox have completed their
Hell's-frozen-over, pigs-are-flying
comeback - people will finally
turn the television on and watch
Houston play St. Louis.
What? You forgot about that
Well, it's time to pay attention
because the "other Game 7" is
tonight, and the Astros and Cardi-
nals have spun a pretty intriguing
web of their own - just the sixth
National League championship
series to go the distance in 20
years, three come-from-behind
wins, two walk-off home runs and
an extra-inning game.
It's been as entertaining of a
series as you could possibly ask for
and no one's even noticed.
Now, to be fair - and before
every Yankee or Red Sox fan starts
writing furious e-mails to me
- the American League series was
simply mesmerizing.
Obviously, when one of the
greatest rivalries in sports history
plays a too-ridiculous-to-believe
series, then it's worth taking note
and watching.
But - and it's possible that I
just didn't get the memo - when
did the National League become
the Godfather III of the sporting
Unless the Cubs or Mets are still
alive, or Barry Bonds is batting, no
one gives a hoot about what hap-
pens in the N.L.
I mean, let's just think about the
situation that's happened with the
Astros' pitching rotation in this
series. Roger Clemens was slated
to start Game 6 for Houston - a
game that could have clinched a
World Series berth for the Astros
- but instead, the future Hall-
of-Famer was benched and Pete
Munro (a four-game winner this
year) took the mound to save Cle-
mens for Game 7.
Can you imagine the coverage
that would have gotten if Clemens
was still pitching in Boston or New
What if the Yankees had
benched Clemens in last year's
playoffs and started, oh I don't
know, let's say Jeff Weaver? The
New York papers would have pub-
lished a special section shredding
manager Joe Torre. SportsCenter
would have relocated to the Yan-
kees' bullpen.
Not this year. This year, nobody
outside of Houston or St. Louis
even blinked.
Clemens goes from New York to
Houston and suddenly it's like that
scene in "Back to the Future" when
Michael J. Fox starts disappearing

- it's as if Clemens barely exists
It's not just Clemens in this
series either.
As a matter of fact, there are
arguably three of the top five play
ers in all of baseball this season
playing in the National LeagueFe
series. It features Carlos Beltraii
(whom the Yanks wanted at the
trading deadline), Scott Rolen,
Albert Pujols and plenty of other.
talented players stacked up and
down both lineups.
It's not like 1998 when San
Diego won the N.L. and was a
sacrificial lamb for the Yankees:.
The winner of tonight's game has a
very legitimate shot of winning the
World Series.
But I guess that's the other thing
these epic Red Sox-Yankee play.
off matchups do - eliminate any.
future discussion of what actually
happens in the World Series.
Do people remember that the,
Yankees had to rally from two
games down to beat L.A. in 1978,.
Of course not - they remember-4
Bucky Dent's home run that elimi,
nated the Red Sox.
Ten years from now, do you
think people will be talking about
Josh Beckett's World Series'
clinching performance for Floridwa,
last year? Probably not - not .
when they could remember Aaroni.
Boone's home run that, again, sent
the Red Sox home crying. 6
These playoffs battles between.
New York and Boston have become
so big that they've almost tran- K
scended anything else that happens
in baseball during those seasons:'
Case in point: this is a column e
about how good the Astros-Car-
dinals series has been and I just
talked about the Yankees and Reds
Sox for three paragraphs.
Or take both series' fifth gam.
While Boston and New York a
battled for 14 innings on Fox, the
Astros and Cardinals were engaged
in a spectacular pitcher's duel 1
- with two one-hitters going into.
the ninth.
Except that game was on FX
everywhere except for Houston and
St. Louis. That's the same FX that
shows reruns of "Cops", "Buffy'the
Vampire Slayer" and "Fear Factor"
We're not exactly talking about
prime coverage here.
And so I'm stepping in, right
now, to ensure that this situation
gets resolved tonight.
Chances are that the 2004 World
Series won't be as good as either
of the league championship series
- I honestly don't know how it
could be, unless they play a best-
of-15 series or every game goes 25
innings. So tonight's game seven is
the last chance to pay some atten-
tion to something other than the
Yankees-Red Sox series for at least
one day.
Because - as good as that Yan-
kees-Red Sox series was - this
other one has turned out to be pret-
ty good, too. And it'd be a shame if
everyone missed it.
Chris Burke thought for sure Tony
Clark was going to hit a series-end-
ing home run in game six and can be
reached at chrisbur@umich.edu

Icers leave Yost behind, bit thle
road for Lake Superior tonight

By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan hockey team still has one No. 1
ranking under its belt - thanks to the CCHA pre-
season polls - and it is looking to
hold on to it a little longer than it did -
its USCHO ranking. Tonight's game at TON
Lake Superior State will open confer-
ence play and will give the Wolverines Mich
another crack at life away from Yost.k
Last season, Michigan struggled Time:7
through the road portion of the sched-
ule, failing to secure a win in any of its T A
last four CCHA away games. The team
narrowly clinched the CCHA regular -
season title before losing in the post-
season tournament.
"This team has to play better on the road than it
did last year," Michigan coach Red Berenson said.
Despite needing to build off of last season's
struggles, Berenson was quick to point to the pres-
ent issues facing his hockey club.
"We can't worry about what happened last year,"
Berenson said. "Our emphasis is on how we are playing."
Along with last year's road woes, Michigan has
struggled this season to play solid hockey for an
entire game. Even in the team's two wins, soft goals
and turnovers were a prevalent problem.
Junior Andrew Ebbet noted that the team hadn't played
up to its potential for a full 60 minutes before Saturday.
"I think that was the push we needed," Ebbet said.
Easing into the schedule is not an option for Mich-
igan. The Lakers are 0-2, but both of their losses


were one-goal defeats away from home. With Mich-
igan State not making the trip to Sault Ste. Marie,
tonight's matchup could prove to be the biggest home
game of the season for Lake Superior.
"Lake Superior will be a hard working, close check-
ing, physical team," Berenson said. "They
are not going to be pushed off the puck."
Aff Michigan does have some things
going for it. The Wolverines are 6-
nat.. 0 against the Lakers in the last three
orState seasons, meaning that not one member
5 p. on the Michigan roster has lost a game
to Lake Superior.
"The nonconference games are real-
;.int ly important," Berenson said. "But they
- - don't show up right now - they show
up in your win-loss record at the end of
the season. This is when the standings start."
NYSTROM AT CENTER: Senior captain Eric Nystrom
looked close to 100-percent during his first two
games of the season. After sitting out the Lefty
McFadden Tournament and most of the captain's
practices with a rib injury, Nystrom returned to the
Wolverines' lineup on Friday.
Along with getting himself back into action, Nys-
trom was also adapting to a new position. A winger all
his career, Nystrom has become the center between
senior Jason Ryznar and sophomore Mike Brown.
"It was good to get back out there," Nystrom
said on Friday. "It will take a few games to get
back into game shape."
Nystrom's ice time didn't indicate that Berenson
was holding him back. The feisty forward played
significant time on special teams and scored two

Junior Andrew Ebbett handles the puck.
goals on the weekend.
"You don't really feel it - you just go out there
and throw the body around," Nystrom said. "Any-
thing to get the team going."
ANOTHER DROP: Michigan fell to No. 4 in the
USCHO rankings after Friday's 4-4 tie with
New Hampshire. The Wolverines were ranked
No. 1 to open the season, but weak showings on
back-to-back Fridays dropped the Wolverines
down three spots.

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a 40 .r

Showdown in Texas coming this weekend

By H. Jose Bosch this season and he'll face a Red Raider
Daily Sports Writer defense that has allowed 142.2 rushing

Kansas (1-2, 3-3) at No. 2 Oklahoma
(3-0,6-0) - 1p.m.
--e- - +,,,]--d .,+ ~t

Adam Barmann has thrown for
1,212 yards, 11 touchdowns and six

mass meeting:

Tuesday Oct.26 at 5pm in
the Student Publications
Buiildingi (420 Mavnard)


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