Each week we scout Michigan's opponent. We'll start with the basics, and then explore some relevant match-ups. For those that want to know more, we'll sprinkle in a mixture of history, reflection, and philosophy for a comprehensive look.
Delaware State (1-3) at Michigan (4-2)
|Delaware State Schedule:
(L) at Florida A&M 21-12
(L) at Delaware 27-17
(W) at Hampton 21-6
(L) Bethune Cookman 9-7
(W) Western Michigan 31-7
(W) Notre Dame 38-34
(W) Eastern Michigan 45-17
(W) Indiana 36-33
(L) at Michigan State 26-20 (OT)
(L) at Iowa 30-28
Delaware State Players to Watch:
As much as you'd like to caution yourself, Delaware State is not Appalachian State. They're not the defending National Champions; they're not the defending MEAC Champions; they don't have a single player on the Preseason MEAC 1st Team. The offense has as many turnovers as touchdowns, and Saturday they face their first FBS (formerly Division 1-A) opponent.
This won't be the first time Delaware State has played in Michigan. They are 2-0, winning a game against Grambling at the Silverdome in 1992 and beating Florida A&M at Ford Field three years ago. The nearly 30,000 in attendance is the largest crowd to witness the Hornets until Saturday. The most people to watch Delaware State play in a single season is 111,096. Attendance at Michigan Stadium is expected to fall just short of that record season.
Head Coach Al Lavan is in his sixth season with the Hornets. If the name is familiar he was an assistant at Eastern Michigan and became the interim Head Coach for the Eagles in 2003 after Jeff Woodruff was fired. Lavan won two of the team's final three games as the Eagles finished with three wins on the year. Lavan would not win the job and took over the Hornets as Head Coach. Lavan has an impressive NFL resume that includes a Super Bowl Ring with San Francisco, and was a running backs coach for Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Priest Holmes and Roger Craig.
The Hornets are 1-3 this season, and they won't be coming to Michigan Stadium riding any wave of momentum. Last week, Delaware State lost their home owner to previously winless Bethune-Cookman 9-7. The Hornets only score came 16 seconds into the ball game. Jaashawn Jones (So. #45) scored on a 2 yd plunge right after Travis Tarpley (Fr. #15) returned the opening kickoff 85 yds. Starting Quarterback Anthony Glaud (Jr. #8) was 5-10 for 32 yards and an interception before leaving the game with a head injury. Glaud, who has two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns this season, is questionable for Saturday's game.
"I expect him to take some snaps in practice this week, but if he can't go, Nick Elko is prepared to lead the football team, Lavan said at this week's media luncheon in Delaware. "Regardless of Anthony's status, Nick will get more snaps in practice this week."
Elko (Fr. #12) finished the game 5-15 for 39 yards and an interception as well. The Hornets offense managed only 166 yards of total offense. Jones led the team with 71 yards rushing while the team's season-leading rusher Tahree McQueen (So. #32) missed the first quarter for violating team rules and had just seven carries.
Delaware State runs the spread offense and Lavan admits that most of his offense is borrowed from Rich Rodriguez. "I wish I had the players he has," Lavan said to WTKA Ann Arbor's Ira Weintraub. It's only been four games, but the Hornet offense has managed to only score six touchdowns on the year, and unfortunately the field goal unit is even less potent. Riley Flickinger (Sr. #42) has had more kicks blocked than made. Flickinger is only 1-6, hitting a 42 yarder while two of his attempts have been swatted.
If Glaud can't go, this offense shouldn't generate a point against Michigan's first-team defense.
At least the defense can score. The Hornets have two interceptions returns for touchdowns this season highlighted by Jerome Strums (Sr. #29) 71 yd interception return versus rival and Wolverine look-a-like, Delaware. Last week the defense was on the field for more than 41 minutes, yielding 350 yards but only gave up nine points.
Even though the Hornets usually play in front of just a few thousand at home and have never been in a stadium anywhere near the size of Michigan Stadium, linebacker Kevin Greene (Jr. #2) has been, as a member of the Purdue Boilermakers before transferring. He's been offering advice to his new teammates.
"You're going to feel that shock when you walk out there and look around. You might get nervous and freeze up a couple times. But after the first couple plays, it'll be out of your system."
Ironically, Tarpley seems to be more worried about the crowd in Michigan Stadium than the Wolverines.
"Really I don't know how, just hopefully won't get shell shocked when I get out there and look up and see all these people. Of course I've played against people of this caliber before, these types of athletes before. So it shouldn't be too bad. I'm good myself, and it's an opportunity for Delaware State to show the caliber of program and athletes we have here too."
Again, Delaware State isn't Appalachian State, but if the Hornets were to pull it off, it would be Biblical.
"They're the Goliath and we're David," said Lavan. "We got to find an answer for our Goliath."
ENJOY THE GAME!