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Brady was the picture of dignity after the game. He stood before a cluster of reporters and didn't complain when they asked him over and over to relive the touchdown. He didn't complain about being left out on an island by the frequent blitzes, either, or about playing with a strained ligament in his right knee. Every so often a teammate came by and told him to keep his chin up.
"We're tremendously close," said Wisconsin defensive lineman Mike Thompson. "We love each other, and we don't point fingers. We win as a team, we lose as a team."
Then, with disgust, Thompson added, "And we tie as a team."
WHATEVER HIS NAME IS
Although tailback was supposed to be Michigan's deepest and strongest position going into this season, doggone if the Wolverines didn't appear to be weak at that spot heading into last weekend's game against Purdue. Starter Tyrone Wheatley was out with an injury, and backup Jesse Johnson had quit the team a few weeks earlier. Ricky Powers was available, but he couldn't carry the load alone, and besides, he had shown a recent propensity for fumbling. So Michigan coach Gary Moeller decided to give the ball to a freshman who had had only seven carries for five yards. Tshimanga Biakabutuka—or "whatever his name is," as Purdue coach Jim Colletto referred to him after the game—responded by gaining 140 yards on 24 carries in the Wolverines'25-10 victory.
Biakabutuka (pronounced bee-OCH-ah-buh-too-kah) was born in Zaire in 1974. In 1980 his family moved to Montreal, where he took up football and, after watching Desmond Howard on television, became a Michigan fan. Sportswriters in Quebec dubbed him Touchdown Tim because of the 12 touchdowns he scored last season for Vanier College, a high school in Montreal. He came to Moeller's attention two summers ago when a coach from Montreal drove Biakabutuka to Ann Arbor so he could participate in Moeller's summer football camp. Moeller was impressed enough to offer Biakabutuka a scholarship.
Biakabutuka, who wears Howard's number, 21, displayed some moves against the Boilermakers that reminded some observers of the former Wolverine. "He would've rushed for 250 yards if he had played before," said Michigan assistant Cam Cameron. "He missed some little cuts, but he did O.K."
He also did O.K. in his interview with the press after the game. Biakabutuka speaks four languages: English, French and two African languages—Tshiluba and Lingala. When asked by a reporter to spell the names of the African languages, Biakabutuka obliged by writing them in a notebook. Then he smiled and said, "You want me to spell French?"
It just wouldn't have been right if Chris Vargas's last home game had ended any other way. Last Saturday, Vargas, a senior at Nevada, burnished his reputation as the best clutch quarterback in college football by engineering an 18-point comeback in the last 8:49 to give the Wolf Pack a 46-45 win over San Jose State. It was the eighth time in his career that Vargas had rallied Nevada to victory in the closing moments. Last season, for instance, he led the Wolf Pack to 20 points in the final 5:14 against Utah State, and the year before that to an NCAA-record 35-point comeback against Weber State. Said Vargas after Saturday's win, which ran Nevada's record to 6-3, "This was the perfect way to end my last game here."