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November 10, 1995 - Image 14

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-10

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14- The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 10, 1995

If the real Blue defense stands up, Purdue won't be a problem

By Ryan White
Daily Sports Editor
Tomorrow's contest between No. 13
Iichigan and Purdue comes down to a
coin toss.
Not so much to decide the winner of
the game, but to figure out which Wol-
verine team will show up.
; If the Michigan that blew out Minne-
sota shows up, the Boilermakers won't
be a problem.
:.But if the Wolverines that traveled to
East Lansing last weekend show up at
Michigan Stadium tomorrow, this one
will be close.
Purdue is coming off of its first Big
Ten win of the season, a 38-27 victory
at Wisconsin, and boasts the No. 2
offense in the conference.
Michigan, in spite of last weekend's
collapse against the Spartans, still has
the top-ranked defense in the league.
The Wolverines shouldn't have much
trouble moving the ball the ball against
the Boilermakers, but Michigan will
have stop Purdue if it wants to win this
one.
Michigan rushing offense vs.
Purdue rushing defense:
While scoring points hasn't been a
problem for the Boilermakers, stop-
ping their opponents from doing the
same has.
Purdue has allowed 28.4 points per
game and more than 400 yards in total
offense.
The Boilermakers have been allow-
ing opponents 180.4 yards a game on
the ground, and that shouldn't change
tomorrow.
Michigan tailback Tshimanga
Biakabutuka has had three games over

190 yards rushing this season -Michi-
gan State (191), Indiana (196) and
Northwestern (205) - and is the first
Wolverine to accomplish that feat.
Last week against the Spartans,
Biakabutuka went over the 1,000-yard
mark for the season. He has 1,188 yards
so far in 1995.
Nationally, Biakabutuka is just be-
hind Alstott as the ninth-rated runner in
the country, and he should rush for 180
yards himself.
Advantage:
Michigan passing offense vs.
Purdue passing defense:
Remember that coin we tossed at the
beginning? Flip it again. This time to
try to guess which Brian Griese will
show up.
Two weeks ago against Minnesota,
Griese threw for 271 yards and four
touchdowns.
Last week against Michigan State,
though, Griese looked tentative and un-
sure while throwing for just 140 yards
and one score.
Griese is helped, however, by receiv-
ers Amani Toomer and Mercury Hayes,
who have proven that they make up of
the most dangerous duos in the country.
Both have caught four touchdown
passes this season, and Hayes' 20 yards
per catch is slightly above Toomer's
16.8.
Purdue's Jamel Coleman, Derrick
Winston and Derrick Brown each have

two interceptions this season, but the
Boilermakers are allowing more than
240 yard a game through the air.
Again, Purdue's strength is scoring
not stopping.
Advantage:
Purdue passing offense vs. Michi-
gan passing defense:
The Boilermakers' Rick Trefzger is
averaging almost 157 yards a game
through the air, but has only tossed four
touchdown passes in seven games.
Trefzger's favorite target is junior
Brian Alford. Alford, who is from
nearby Oak Park, is averaging 72.1
yards a game in receptions.
More impressively, Alford is averag-
ing over 20 yards a reception. He's
liable to keep that up against the Wol-
verines.
For most of this season, Michigan's
much-maligned secondary ofa year ago
appeared to have been left in the past.
Against Michigan State, however, the
Wolverines had a relapse.
The Spartans moved the ball al-
most at will, and the Michigan de-
fense, which had won a number of
BOILERS
Continued from page 12
consummate source of stability, ex-
celling in every aspect of good play
- pressuring the quarterback, stop-
ping the run and defending against
the pass. Yet against Michigan State
last weekend, the Wolverines couldn't
hold two fourth-quarter leads in the
28-25 loss.
Some of the problems harked back
to the unglory days of 1994 - always
an inch behind making the big play,
not being able to keep up with the
scrambling antics of the opposing
quarterback.
"We have to play better," Carr said.
"We had a few guys who did not play
their best games."
The good news for Michigan,
though, is that the run defense contin-
ues to get the job done. Michigan
State averaged only 2.4 yards per
carry, and for the season Michigan's
opponents have averaged 2.2. The
only running back who has even
feigned success against the Wolver-
ines is Northwestern's Darnell Autry,
way back in the sixth game of the
year.

games itself, couldn't stop Michigan
State when it needed to the most, on
the final two drives.
The Wolverines also lacked the con-
sistent pass rush that had helped the
secondary through the first eight games
of the season.
Michigan's pass rush will be back,
but Purdue will still move the ball.
Advantage:

he's got sophomore tailback Edwin
Watson (5.6 yards per carry) and senior
Cory Rogers (5.9).
Michigan has been downright nasty
against the run, even last week, when
the Wolverines held Michigan State to
just 73 yards on the ground.
Defensively, Michigan's attack
against the ground game is led by Will
Carr, Jarrett Irons, Trent Zenkewicz
and Jason Horn, who have a combined
216 tackles.
Alstott will hit 100 yards, but not
much more.
Advantage: even

Purdue rushing offense vs. Michi-
gan rushing defense:
The Boilermakers advertise senior
fullback Mike Alstott as "the nation's
top fullback."
Well, those folks at Purdue are pretty
smart.
Alstott not only leads all fullb'acks in
the country in rushing, but most
tailbacks as well.
His 135.2 yards per game is good
for eighth in the country in rushing,
and three yards better than
Biakabutuka.
Purdue is averaging just over 252
yards a game on the ground, and when
Trefzger isn't handing the ball to Alstott,

Q I

Michigan State's 70-yard punt return
last week.
Both Toomer for Michigan and
Darnell Howard for Purdue lead their
teams in punt returns with averages
around 11 yards per runback.
The Boilermakers' Brad Bobich has
missed only one extra point and two
field goals this season.
Remy Hamilton is 26 of 27 in point-
after-attempts for the Wolverines, but
he's also missed four field goal at-
tempts.
Advantage: even
Overall:
Carr proved that he could regroup the
Wolverines after they lost to North-
western earlier in the sea'son.
Recovering from a loss to Michigan
State is a more difficult task, but not
impossible.
If the Wolverines' defense, which
last week couldn't have tackled a fourth
grade math problem, returns to its ear-
lier form, this game won't be close.
Either way, it should be high scoring,
and another loss for the Boilermakers.
Prediction: Michigan 35, Purdue 27

Special teams:
What does it mean when a team lists
its punter as a defensive leader?
Usually it means he's pretty good.
The Boilermakers' Rob Deignan,
who's booted the ball 31 times this
season, is averaging 41.5 yards per kick.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr is chang-
ing punters this week from Nate DeLong
to Paul Peristeris.
Carr didn't feel that DeLong was
getting enough hang time on this punts,
and that was partly responsible for

_9 I

Scott Darren Antoine Ryan
RTON VERSON ITTS VVHITE
Picks are made against the spread.
Purdue (+13 1/2) at Michigan Purdue Purdue Michigan Purdue
Michigan St. (-3 1/2) at Indiana Michigan St. Michigan St. Michigan St. MihiganSt
Iowa (+8 1/2) at Northwestern Northwestern Northwestern Northwestern Northwestern
Illinois (+19) at Ohio State Ohio St. Ohio St. Ohio St. Ohio St
Miami (Fla.) (-7) at Boston College Miami Miami Miami Miami
Florida (-20) at South Carolina Florida Florida Florida Florida
Nebraska (-24) at Kansas Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska Nebraska
Florida St. (-18 1/2) at N. Carolina N. Carolina Florida St. Florida St. Florida St.
Oregon (-2) at Arizona Oregon Oregon Arizona Arizona
Washington (+4) at UCLA Washington Washington Washington Washington
Best bet Miami Ohio St. Northwestern Michigan St.
Last week 6-4.600 6-4 .600 5-5 .500 3-7 .300
Overall 48-41-1 .539 52-37-1 .583 49-40-1 .550 47-42-1 .528
Best bets 6-3 .667 6-3 .667 5-4 .556 6-3 .667

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AND COTTON HATS.

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