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Biakabutuka, Michigan Crush OSU's Rose Bowl and Championship Hopes

Column by Bo Light
Associate Sports Editor

Hello all, and welcome back from your Turkey Day break. And what a break it was. The events of Thanksgiving weekend were surprising, to say the least, but definitely gratifying. But enough about my weekend, let's look at the world of sports.

Gridiron Update

In one of the most exciting games of the weekend, the Detroit Lions won their annual Thanksgiving game, a 4438 shootout with the Minnesota Vikings. How bad were the defenses in this game? Well, the quarterbacks for both teams (Scott Mitchell and Warren Moon) turned in two of the top five passing performances in the NFL this season. No fewer than three of the ten total touchdowns scored in the game were a direct result of blown coverages. And to top it off, when Moon threw the ball out of the end zone to end the game, the Lions defense managed to get a penalty, giving Minnesota one more chance to win the game. By the way, both teams are now 66, and tied for last in the NFC Central.

On the college front, Ohio State went into Saturday's game against Michigan undefeated, with Rose Bowl and national championship aspirations. They also went in with one win in the last six years against the Wolverines. Well, make that seven years. Michigan, behind the running of Tim Biakabutuka (313 yards), fought their way to a 3123 victory. The good news is, this means that the Bowl Coalition will actually have a 1 vs. 2 bowl for the national championship (barring a Florida loss to Arkansas this weekend). The bad news is, Northwestern playing in the Rose Bowl is widely held by scholars to be the third sign of the Apocalypse.

Meanwhile, Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier had a lackluster day despite the Huskers' 370 trouncing of Oklahoma. This, combined with Eddie George's unspectacular day for the Buckeyes, clouds the Heisman picture somewhat. Ideally, a Heisman candidate should close his season with a bang, and the glut of excellent players this year makes consistent excellence even more important. The EA Sports candidate for the trophy: running back Troy Davis of Iowa State. Davis is only the fifth player in college history to rush for over 2,000 yards in a single season. The other four 2,000-yard men all have Heisman trophies to their name; Davis should make it 5-for-5.

Hoops Report

Quote of the week: "They fought back like a good team is supposed to fought back" - Marcus Camby, on the Kentucky Wildcats. Marcus, spend a little more time in English class. By the way, Camby scored 32 points and blocked five shots, and the Minutemen upset No.1 Kentucky, 9282, after blowing a 19-point first-half lead. This marks the third time in three years that Massachusetts has beaten the top-ranked team in the country early in the season.

In the NBA, the born-again Chicago Bulls, featuring the born-again Michael Jordan and the born-to-be-bad Dennis Rodman, have jumped out of the blocks with an 112 record and a three-game lead on the division. But the team really striking fear into the hearts of opponents is the Orlando Magic. Behind Penny Hardaway, the Magic have compiled a 122 record... without Shaquille O'Neal, who is currently out on tour promoting his new rap album (or maybe he hurt his thumb, I don't remember). Once Shaq returns, Orlando could be an unstoppable force, as long as he and Hardaway can share the ball.

On The Ice

The EA Sports NHL Review just keeps on truckin'. This week, we check out the Central Division, where the Detroit Red Wings continue to reign supreme. The Motor City Monsters once again sit on top of the division, and with Mike Vernon safely relegated to backup goalie, Detroit should have no trouble getting a top seed in the playoffs. Behind the Wings, Toronto, Chicago, and Winnipeg fight for high playoff seeds. Look for all three teams to finish with 90+ points. The Pacific Division is so weak that the entire Central could make the playoffs, but Stars and Blues fans shouldn't get their hopes up. Dallas has some talent, but no consistency. Meanwhile, Mike Keenan has become about as unpopular as Old Milwaukee beer in St. Louis, as his iron-fisted coaching and rash trades have completely shaken the Blues' team chemistry. If Mike isn't replaced mid-season, this team is headed for the cellar.

Next week: Last and least, the Pacific Division.

Trivia Question

What running back holds the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a season? (Hint: it's not Troy Davis.) Send answers, along with comments and tickets to the Poulan Weed Eater Independence Bowl to easports@the-tech.mit.edu.

Answer to last week's question: The NHL single-season points record is 215, set in the 198586 season by - who else? - Wayne Gretzky. Correct answers were sent in by Rick Collarini '72 and Sung S. Kim '99.