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October 21, 2005 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-10-21

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Friday
October 21, 2005
sports.michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily. com

PRheTfiCSigSn Bilg

9

Running
game key
for Varsity
At the beginning of this year, many thought these two
teams would be fighting for a spot in the Rose Bowl - or
at least a Big Ten Championship. But Iowa lost a noncon-
ference game to Iowa State, and Michigan, well, Michigan
has lost every other game this year - putting the Wolver-
ines on pace for another loss this week. Here's how the two
teams match up.
Michigan rushing offense vs. Iowa rushing defense:
This will probably make or break the game this week.
Michigan is going to try desperately to get the running
game started. Mike Hart is off his pace from last year, but
* he has still rushed 117 times for 567 yards and four touch-
downs. The offensive line, which struggled with injuries
early, has come together to form a cohesive unit.
But the Iowa linebackers might be the best in the coun-
try. Iowa likes to crowd the middle and force running backs
to the outside, where linebackers Abdul Hodge and Chad
Greenway can roam freely. The pair has already racked up
173 tackles this season.
The Wolverines will try, but it might prove difficult to
establish the running game this week.
Edge: Iowa
Michigan passing offense vs. Iowa passing defense:
Last week, when the offensive line held strong against
one of the best front sevens in college football, the result
was a good game from quarterback Chad Henne - 21
for 36 for 212 yards, no interceptions and two touchdowns.
The receiving corps is hitting its stride too. Co-captain
Jason Avant has been solid all year, and he's third in the
Big Ten in receiving yards per game. But the emergence of
freshman Mario Cashmere Manningham and the return
of Steve Breaston have made this unit one of Michigan's
strengths. Manningham has just 16 catches this season, but
five of them have gone for touchdowns.
The Iowa secondary is adequate, holding teams to an
average of 240 yards per game and just once has the unit
allowed more than 300 yards. Its five interceptions helps
but isn't indicative of much. The bottom line is that if
Henne has time to throw, it's going to be difficult for Iowa
to stop the receivers.
Edge: Michigan
Iowa passing offense vs. Michigan passing defense
Drew Tate was tabbed as the Big Ten preseason Offen-
sive Player of the Year. But he sustained a concussion in the
Hawkeyes' loss to Iowa State and then struggled in the loss

N ICE HOCKEY
Icers set to renew
rivalry with Sparty

Sophomore Mike Hart's impressive rushing may not be enough to overcome the Hawkeyes' defensive line.

to Ohio State. But on the season, he has completed 63 per-
cent of his passes and thrown for 11 touchdowns against
only three interceptions. Senior receiver Clinton Solomon
has helped Tate this season, reeling in 20 catches for 434
yards and six touchdowns. He has been the Hawkeyes'
deep threat, averaging almost 22 yards per catch.
Although it's hard to believe with the loss of Marlin
Jackson and Ernest Shazor, Michigan leads the Big Ten
in passing defense. As a unit, the defense is giving up just
181 passing yards per game. Junior cornerback Leon Hall
has spurred the secondary this season, locking up on the
opponent's No. 1 receiver week after week. Michigan will
be without at least one of its starting safeties - Willis Bar-
ringer - and possibly strong safety Brandent Englemon.
Although their replacements played well, look for Iowa to
try and challenge youngsters Jamar Adams and Brandon
Harrison.
Edge: Push
Iowa rushing offense vs. Michigan rushing defense
Last year, the Hawkeyes were decimated with injuries
to their running backs. But this season, Iowa has sopho-
more Albert Young toting the rock. Young has been the
Hawkeyes' No. 1 option, rushing the ball 121 times for 738
yards and five touchdowns.
In past seasons, Michigan was stout against the run, but
soft against the pass (rememberthe nicknamed "Suspects").
This season, the rushing defense is struggling while the
pass defense leads the conference. The Wolverines have
surrendered 155 rushing yards per game, and it would be

worse if not for their showing against Eastern Michigan.
That said, the front seven have played better since games
against Wisconsin and Minnesota. LaMarr Woodley and
David Harris will have to contain Tate's scrambling and
lead the charge against the shifty Young.
Edge: Iowa
Special Teams:.
Garret Rivas has been up and down this season. But he
hit a 47-yarder to put Michigan up 21-18. Once again, Steve
Breaston showed why he is one of college football's best
special teams players. With the game on the line, Breaston
came up with a 42-yard return to set up the Wolverines'
game-winning drive. If it comes down to a field goal, Iowa
would be in good hands; kicker Kyle Schlicher has hit 9-of-
10 this season.
Edge: Michigan
Intangibles:
Iowa has won 20 straight home games at Kinnick Sta-
dium, and it'll be tough to reverse that trend on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes are urging their fans to "paint it black"
by wearing black to the game, and, knowing Iowa fans,
it shouldn't be tough to get rowdy for this game. Both
teams have something to prove, but it's Iowa that has the
fan support. Plus, Michigan will have to dress in those
pink locker rooms.
Prediction: Iowa 31, Michigan 27

By Daniel Levy
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan-Michigan State is always a
big hockey game, regardless of the rank-
ings. But when the two teams face off
on Saturday night at Yost Ice Arena, the
national expectations will add fuel to the
already heated in-state fire,
since both teams come into .....
this game ranked in the top
10.
The Spartans (2-0-0 over-
all) beat No. 8 North Dakota M
last weekend to claim the No.
10 spot in the polls. Michigan ''$
(4-0-0) grabbed an impres-
sive 3-2 win over then No. 5
Boston College on Saturday
and followed that up with a 9-
2 rout of Merrimack on Sunday to earn the
top spot in the nation.
Michigan was preseason No. 1 last year
before losing its first game to Northeast-
ern. Then the Wolverines claimed the No.
1 ranking in the middle of the last year but
lost their next two games to No. 3 Min-
nesota and No. 2 Wisconsin to drop a few
slots in the polls. So maybe it is the les-
sons learned from that experience that has
Michigan coach Red Berenson telling his
team to ignore the early season opinions
of the voters.
"We've addressed the ranking thing,
and how fickle that is this time of year,"
Berenson said. "Every weekend, two more
games go by, and someone moves up or
someone moves down depending on those
gaines. So, the ranking doesn't matter."
Last season, the Wolverines were
2-1-2 against the Spartans. Both wins
came early in the year, and in both
games the Wolverines found the net
with relative ease, scoring a com-
bined nine goals. However, Michigan
State goalie Dominic Vicari was much
tougher the next three times around
and allowed just four goals total. Not
surprisingly, the Wolverines didn't
fair too well, going 0-1-2 in those con-
tests. Vicari's ability to steal a game
was evident last year when he made 82
saves to will his team to consecutive
ties with the Wolverines, and it hasn't

escaped Berenson's mind.
"He is one of the better goalies in the
league, and he can make the difference
in the game," Berenson said. "We've had
games where we may have outplayed them
or out-shot them, but we couldn't score."
Much has been made about Michigan's
group of freshmen this year, but Michigan
State has a pair of tal-
ented youngsters as well.
Justin Abdelkader, who
was drafted in the second
tate at ' " " round by the Red Wings,
and Tim Kennedy have
given the Spartans a lift
this year.
"I like the two fresh-
______ man that they have in Ken-
nedy and Abdelkader,"
Berenson said. "These are
skilled players."
The freshmen have combined with
captain Drew Miller and alternate captain
Colton Fretter to key the Spartan offensive
attack. Miller and Fretter are averaging a
point a game so far this season.
"The guys who will be key players for
them will be Miller - he's one of the top
players in the league - and Fretter, who
is a good veteran," Berenson said. "I think
they have more high-end skill than last
year."
An X-factor in Saturday night's game
may be which team is able to stay at full
strength the longest. Each team will be
eager to lay some big hits to send a mes-
sage to its rival, especially considering
each teams has at least 13 players on its
roster from the state of Michigan. The loud
atmosphere of Yost, the hatred between
the two teams and the fact that officials
have been calling games more tightly this
season could result in a lot of penalties
- especially early on when the refs will
want to make sure the game doesn't get out
of hand. So whichever team is able to play
under control and avoid costly mistakes
should have a big edge in the game.
"You've got to be ready with your pen-
alty killing, powerplay and discipline."
Berenson said. "It's not going to be a pen-
alty-free game, but you have to try to keep
your emotions under control and make
sure the penalties don't hurt you."

Blue
snaps
skid in 2
OTS
By Anne Uible
Daily Sports Writer
Snap.
That was the sound of two streaks end-
ing last night under the bright lights of the
U-M Varsity Field.
The Michigan men's soccer team (7-5-1)
finally ended its four-game skid by defeat-
ing the No. 25 Wisconsin-Milwaukee
(8-3-4) last night in double-overtime with
a score of 2-1. Consequently, the contest
marked the end of the Panthers' impressive
five-game winning streak.
"Sometimes opportunity presents itself
in the form of temporary defeats," Michi-
gan coach Steve Burns said. "And that was
certainly the position we were in coming
into this game."
Michigan took the field like a team
fresh from training camp. The Wolver-
ines altered their lineup and implemented
a two-forward formation instead of their
normal three-man front.
"I thought Trai (Blanks) and Steve
(Bonnell) did a good job in the two-point
forward position," Burns said. "They had a
lot of support from our midfield players."
For the first time in the past few weeks,
the Wolverines were able to mount offensive
attacks and create more open chances at the
goal. However, it wasn't enough to stop the
Panther from creeping up on them.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee went up on the
Wolverines, 1-0, in the 53rd minute when
sophomore Martin Castro caught a cross
from the left side of the field and centered
it to freshman Adam Skalecki, who high-
kicked the ball above senior goalkeeper
FAI~h 1±1

M MEN'S TENNIS
DePietro nothing but smiles

Dan Feldman
For the Daily
Freshman men's tennis player Mike DePietro gets a lot
of teasing from his teammates during practice, but it has
nothing to do with his tennis skill. He has plenty of that.
Rather, they constantly kid him about his smile.
"The kid is always smiling, no matter what we are
doing," freshman Scott Bruckmann said with a laugh. "We
could be doing an extremely tough fitness workout and you
can look over and see Mike smiling during the middle of
it. It's quite comical."
DePietro, however, is unapologetic about his ever-pres-
ent grin.
"They tease me, and that makes me smile more," DePi-
etro said. "Honestly, I'm having a great time. It's always
been my dream to play tennis at Michigan, my favorite
school. Now that I'm doing it, I'm really happy and always
smiling."
A Bloomfield Hills native, DePietro is the lone player
on the team from Michigan. His dad had football season
tickets and going with him to the games made him a huge
football fan. His brother, who is seven years older than
him, went to Michigan, which added to DePietro's support
for the school.
Although his early love for Michigan sports centered
on football, being immersed in Wolverines athletics gave
DePietro a head start on the expectations of being a Michi-
gan tennis player.
"I personally take a great pride in representing Michi-
gan as a hometown kid," DePietro said. "The older kids
understand it more than my fellow freshman, but there's
a great pride in representing Michigan. I understand the
responsibility, the responsibility that comes with being

an athlete in Michigan, from watching them growing up.
Michigan strives for excellence at every sport and I grew
up knowing that. Take pride in your individual sport and
make it the best it can be."
While the other freshmen may need a little more time to
appreciate Michigan athletics, they are certainly grateful
for DePietro's Michigan roots for another reason.
"He took us home this weekend so we were able to get
some home-cooked meals and were able to get away from
college for a little bit," Bruckmann said.
This weekend, DePietro and Bruckmann will play doubles
together in Wilson/ITA Midwest Regional Championships.
"We're looking to get as far in the tournament togeth-
er as possible," DePietro said. "We just want to work on"
being a better doubles team, working on our technique and
our strategy. Hopefully that will result in success in the
tournament."
As usual, during the matches this weekend DePietro
says he'll be much more serious than in practice.
"I think there's a difference between enjoying myself
around the guys than in a match format," DePietro said. "In
a match format, it's time for your game face. You can smile
sometimes, but have to focus hard to win the match."
Said Bruckmann: "You can definitely tell that he
becomes much more competitive (during matches). He is
very tough on the court. It's like he turns into a different
person once he steps foot on the court."
But thinking further, Bruckmann admits DePietro's
cheerfulness does slip through a little bit during matches.
"Well, I wouldn't say he completely covers up his per-
sonality once he starts a match. Throughout a match, he
will manage to crack a few smiles," Bruckmann said.
Playing for a school he grew up idolizing, who could
blame him?

A header by senior Tral Blanks clinched the Wolverines' overtime win last night.

Peter Dzubay's head.
The Wolverines were able to tie the game
in the 82nd minute when freshman defend-
er Chase Tennant booted the ball above the
head of the Panthers' freshman goalkeeper
Grant Fernstrum and into the net.
"As soon as you saw it leave his foot,
you knew it was going in," Burns said. "He
scores those kinds of goals in practice all
the time, so it was great to see him finally
do that in a game."
The Panthers came close to ending the
game after a corner kick in the 106th min-
ute during sudden-death second overtime.
Junior Panther Steve Sperl received a corner
kick at the left side of the goal and attempt-
ed to head the ball into the Wolverines' net.
The ball went just over the crossbar.
"When (the Panthers) had the corner
kick, I felt my heart jump," Burns said. "I
thought, 'no way they can't do it,' this is our

game."
The attempt on their goal sent the Wol-
verines into an emergency-attack mode
and, in the 109th minute, Blanks tore down
the right side of the field with the ball.
Senior Adam Bruh quickly turned and sent
the ball flying back to Blanks who was then
at the right flank of the goal. Blanks con-
verted the shot with a header.
"I was wide open and the ball just hit off
my face and went in," Blanks said. "It was
an awesome feeling. It always is when you
score for Michigan."
After Blanks' shot was securely lodged
in Milwaukee's net, the entire Wolver-
ines bench rushed the field and embraced
Blanks and the rest of the players.
"It felt great," senior captain Ryan Sterba
said. "We've been feeling so empty after
the past few games so this was really sweet
for us to get the win."

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