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SPORTS WEEKEND | WEEK 3 PRIMER

Be Sure to Stay Tuned for Last Play

September 12, 1997|CHRIS DUFRESNE

It's hard to picture taciturn Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr getting misty-eyed about the end of a football relationship, but sometimes breaking up is hard to do.

"I don't remember a rivalry like this being established in such a short period of time," Carr said this week. "It's a shame it's going to end."

Saturday marks the final installment of a three-game deal between Colorado and Michigan.

In recent years, the schools have provided some of the game's most dramatic moments:

Act I: 1994. Ann Arbor. Who could forget Kordell Stewart's last-play, 64-yard heave to Michael Westbrook to give Colorado a 27-26 victory? The play was to the 1990s what Doug Flutie's miracle pass against Miami was to the 1980s.

Act II: 1996. Boulder. Colorado nearly pulled out another miracle, but this time Koy Detmer's last-second, potential game-winning pass was deflected in the end zone to preserve a 20-13 Michigan victory.

Saturday's rubber game in Ann Arbor will have the usual national implications. Colorado needs the victory to prove it is, once and for all, a serious national title contender. Michigan needs to prove there's more to life than ruining Ohio State's national title hopes. The Wolverines, 8-4 last season, again face one of the nation's most daunting schedules.

A loss Saturday and another to Notre Dame in two weeks and Michigan's season is cooked.

Expect the usual. Colorado, led by senior quarterback John Hessler and receiver Phil Savoy, will try to air it out and score 50 points. Michigan will play it tight and try to grind it out with a functional, but not flashy quarterback in Brian Griese, named the starter this week over Scott Dreisbach.

* The Line: Michigan by 1.

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