San Diego State: this team all hinges around its defense. They were 8th in the nation last year. Their record was 6-6, but they played well in the horseshoe at OSU. San Diego State is a good, sound football team that will be aggressive defensively.
They beat Idaho State last week, 38 to 21. They had a 31-0 lead at the half and then substituted freely in the second half. They had 581 yards total offense.
On the ground San Diego State had 209 yards rushing last week. Lionel Hamilton (who Michigan recruited hard) is still out, this time with an ankle … Michael Franklin (5-7, 180) is the tailback, and Alex Thompson (6-0, 215) as well.
Michigan has to hold SDST to less than 100 yards on the ground. Michigan can't let them have any little success … like Notre Dame last week, any success they have will build their confidence.
Matt Dlugolecki (6-4, 235) is their quarterback. He's a junior. Michigan looked at him for a little while when he was in high school … I remember Brady Hoke and I watching his film. He signed with Illinois the year they won the Big Ten Championship, and he transferred to San Diego State when Jon Buetjer transferred to Illinois from Iowa. Dlugolecki was 16-27 last week … he's not bad.
San Diego State will try to run the ball, win the time of possession battle … they will try to hang around by controlling the clock. As I said, Michigan has to hold them to under 100 yards rushing.
If their defense gets them some field position they will stay in it for a while.
Which leads us to the San Diego State defense. They return eight starters -- and this is a defense that DOES attack.
They have good linebackers. Their leading tackler is linebacker Matt McCoy (6-0, 220) , who we looked at recruiting when I was at Michigan. And the leader of their defense is another linebacker, Kirk Morrison (6-2, 240).
San Diego State will have watched last week's Notre Dame film, and the Oregon film from last year. They will put 8-9 men on the box, stop the run and force Michigan to pass, and come after the passer.
They are going to blitz, mix some things up, and come after Chad Henne.
If they can stop the run … the game could be close.
Remember the Utah game two years ago? Michigan came off the Notre Dame loss in 2002 and came home to play a Utah team with a strong defense … Michigan beat Utah, but the score was 10-7.
Well, this San Diego State team is more athletic than that Utah team was, and they will be more aggressive than Utah.
The SDST offense will be passive, they will try to control the ball, keep the clock moving, win the time of possession, and depend on their defense to make a couple big plays. So the things to watch are:
- will SDST run for 100 yards?
- will they win time of possession?
- if they do these two things then you have a ball game. The longer they stay in the game …
Michigan will win, but I'm saying 20-7.
Michigan will win because:
- this Michigan team will score 20 or more points a game in every game this year.
- it takes big time players to make big time plays, and Michigan does have those players.
But – this game will tell us a lot about this Michigan team … what kind of character do they have. Will they come back from last week?
Ouimet's San Diego State Preview
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