A4 - tpe Micni pDily - 1gndayl1y 26, 1999
Preseason second billing not a su rise for Varsity SPORTS
By Steve A. Rom
Daily Sports Write
Always a lrdestai
What do Miliar
Tom r-dv f t
Most likely it
d and never a defense that held K
to a season-low l
football players State's New Year'
thnson and wttt And wih
hae in com- starting quarter-
tey a ianuary's
eoai saeda :s;re nMiLin's
next fhg c es - thseasonpetei
against Nnch.4 at
Michigans talnt lvl-oeta
Thts, appl cg ue notnough to gar-
ner spetor respt fro pa i pontift-
cators. Three I ste premtier college
foothail pub carrots --Athlnt, Itndy's
and Thc 'Sporting News -hase chosen
Mtahrgat to he hr rdesmaid to Penn
State, who is cop ecd to h e the sole
ectpientothe vostotts seaoon's Big
Michigan's taletit level -one that
has heen plagued y questtion marks,
following the departure of seven of its
starting players frotm a year ago --is
only expected to 'ntp the heels "of run-
away-favorite Penn State, according to
So why the sudden acclamation for
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whro has thren
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thao he has
es at the
helm, it will
surely be the
defense that lea
awake at night in
from Happy Valle
The Nittany Li
last year's co-Big
ule. In addition, t
one significant c
(traveling to Purdu
travel to Madisono
that could be rem
has to do with the son's crash in Columbus, where
defense, the same Michigan was toppled in its lone mean-
dentuckys Tim Couch ingful conference away game of te sa-
4 points, durng Penn son.
Day Outback Bos 1 Providitg hope for a rather large
y- Mi eh ig aon
W nldn n
un nT a bl e
ves opponents lying were ranked in the Top 25 at the end of
planning. last season - is nothing new.
eration given the boys Last season's 0-2 start at the hands of
y was scheduling. Or formidable Notre Dame and Syracuse
the lack thereof (i.e. was succeeded by eight straight wins.
The effort nearly had Michigan
ons manage to avoid smelling roses for the second year in a
Ten and Rose Bowl row. Although the climb was in large
s on this year's sched- part due to the big game threat of San
hey will host all but Francisco 49ers-bound Tai Streets,
onference match-up Michigan does have quite a bit of talent
te). returning at all facets of the game -
Maize and Blue will especially offense.
on Sept. 25 for a game The Wolverines still lay claim to four
niniscent of last sea- of the five staring offensive lineman of
a year ago. Including 296-pound junior,
Steve Hutchinson, who Lindv s rmks as
the best in the nation at the offensise
guard Iosition. The experience of tte
front-five shouldc give ample protetiot
to wlosvr s p aytng quarterhack.
After a 1highly oublicizeel cluarterhack
controscrsy, MIchigan trachl loydlCarr
Ihas conflitrIed i many crrent pubhlica-
tns thait sr strtig player -if at any
timte ret pe1rormseg up to eohes'
expetattons an alewavs lose his job
to an owaiting plover on the depth chart.
This could he especially true when the
player in-waiting hits 460-foot home
runs during the off-season, all the while
thinking about what it will be like when
he finally gets his hands on a pigskin.
Other duties facing the O-line will be
opening bigger holes for Michigan's
running attack, whose 151.3 yards-per-
game last season was its worst in 35
But, as usual, everything boils down
to the fact that no title has ever been won
during the humid month of July. The
honor of champion is fittingly warrant-
ed only after victorious battles on the
fall gridiron - the same place where
'bride's mate' Michigan has defeated
Penn State by a combined score of 61-8
in the past two seasons.
Armstrong delivers Tour de Force
American cyclist, near death two years ago, wins storied French race
PARIS (AP) - Lance Armstrong rode The finish under brilliant skies could-
to victory in the Tour de France on n't have been more different from last
Sunday, capping an amazing comeback year's. The 1998 race ended in rain after
from cancer and becoming just the sec- a disastrous drug scandal nearly ended
ond American to win cycling's showcase the event and placed the entire sport
race. under suspicion.
Near death two years ago, Armstrong In fact, Armstrong was dogged in the
sprinted to the finish line on the Champs- last three weeks by accusations in the
Elysees to claim the inspirational victory French media that he used performance-
that had seemed certain for days. enhancing drugs. Many people couldn't
"The emotion is incredible,' the smil- believe that a cyclist recovering from tes-
ing Texan said. "I never expected to be ticular cancer could prevail in one of the
here. I never expected to win. It's a won- most grueling competitions in all of
derful feeling" sports. There was no proof, however. The
sport's ruling body, which tests the
cyclists during the race, said the only
drug Armstrong used was an approved
prescription cream for saddle sores.
His victory was simply a remarkable
example of grit and determination. "It's
a great honor,"Armstrong said of his vic-
tory ride into Paris. "For American
cycling, and for the cancer community."
The only other American to win the
Tour de France was Greg LeMond, a
three-time champion whose last victory
came in 1990.
Armstrong's mother, Linda, was shak-
ing and waving a small U.S. flag as she
watched her son wave from the winner's
podium. She called his cancer a "minor
setback,' and said "it was never in our
minds" that he wouldn't recover.
Armstrong went into the audience to
hug and kiss his wife, Kristin.
"He worked so hard to get this," she
said. "He deserves it, every last bit."
Armstrong, 27, was diagnosed with
testicular cancer in 1996, and the disease
spread to his brain and lungs.
After four rounds of chemotherapy
and two operations - one to remove a
testicle and one for brain lesions - he
began his comeback early last year.
game at Corner
is Tigers' 500th
DETROIT (AP) -- Tony Clark
homered twice and had four RBI, and
Dave Mlicki pitched a six-hitter as the
Detroit Tigers bet the Boston Red Sox
for the 500th time, 9-1 yesterday.
The contest also marked the final
timre Boston will visit Tiger Stadium, as
the 87-year-old venue will be aban-
doned at season's end.
Clark hit a three-run homer batting
left-handed in the sixth and a solo shot
batting right-handed in the seventh.
Dean Palmer also had a three-run hooer
and Gabe Alvarez a solo shot.
Boston has lost seven of 11 and is 20-
26 since taking a I 1/2-game lead in the
AL East on June 4
Peterson in por
Former Michigan defensive back
William Peterson was sentenced to one
year probation in connection with a drug
possession charge, The Detroit Free
Press reported Tuesday.
Peterson was found with four ounces
of marijuana when riding with sarp
comnerback James Whitley, who W
charged wih driving on a suspended
Peterson was charged earlier in the
year with stealing cash from a stripper's
purse but the charge was dropped in a
M' for State*
Michigan recruitng target Jeff
Smoker, a qurterback from Manhem,
Penn., committed Thursday to play at
Michigan State in the fall of 2000.
Aside from Michigan, Smoker had
been recruited by such high-profile pro-
grams as Ohio State and North Carolina.
"I liked everything about" Michigan
State, Smoker told the Lancsr
Intelligencer Joumnal. "I just felt e~
- From saff and wire reports
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