Preview: Michigan vs. Delaware State, October 17, 2009 – Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
When You Crave Irrational Exuberance On A Level That Only Brett Musberger Can Deliver:
“We’re here LIIIIIIIVE in the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan in front of what may not be 100,000+ fans in the stands here for the first time since 1975!! We’ll soon see! This will be the first meeting ever between these two schools on the gridiron. Delaware State is only the second FBS opponent to play Michigan in this great stadium. The last FBS team to come in here, you might ask? That was Appalachian State, and they shocked a 5th ranked Michigan team 34-32 back in 2007 during Lloyd Carr’s final season here…and what a great game that was!!! Well, although Michigan is 4-2 now and coming off two straight road defeats against likes of Michigan State and Iowa, the probability of a third straight defeat of Michigan appears to be very remote indeed. Delaware State is 1-3 and ranked 7th in the 9 team Mid-Eastern Athletic conference. The Hornets lone win came on the road against a decent Hampton team (3-2) by a score of 21-6. Delaware State has some talented players, but they’re going to have to fight and claw with every fiber of their being just to avoid getting pulverized by a Michigan football team that is favored to win by something like 5 touchdowns today!”
This football game is important for Michigan for the following reasons:
1. This is essentially a scrimmage game for Michigan, but it is not meaningless. A win over the Hornets places Michigan at 5-2, just one victory away from a .500 season and almost certain bowl eligibility.
2. The DSU game should allow Michigan to experiment with some new plays and sets offensively and defensively. It should also provide Michigan’s 2nd and 3rd string players with ample playing time in the 3rd and 4th quarter.
3. From an experience, talent and player rating standpoint, Delaware State really has no business sharing the same field with Michigan. Though Michigan is 0-1 versus FBS football teams in the modern era, Delaware State is not a national champsion ship caliber team like Appalachian State was. The Hornets would need to play a perfect game themselves and then at the same time call upon an avalanche of help from the Wolverines to pull off an unthinkable road upset.
4. Michigan should get to rep and then rest it’s starters in this game. The Wolverines can then sit back and watch the other Big Ten teams bash each other over the head with a shovel this weekend.
Three Great Reasons to Wipe That Ridiculous Smile Off Of Your Face:
1. Hornets Quarterback Anthony Glaud (if healthy)
In 2008 Delaware State had a spectacularly-named senior quarterback, Vashon Winton, who was almost single-handedly responsible for 99% of the Hornets’ offense, throwing for 1,321 yards and 8 TDs, and rushing for 486 yards, including 10 rushing TDs on his own. When Winton graduated, the full weight of responsibility guiding DSU to move the ball in 2009 shifted over to junior quarterback Anthony Glaud. Glaud will be the first truly mobile quarterback that the Michigan defense will face this year. While Glaud is certainly not Armanti Edwards, his moves and escape skills make him a dangerous and rather essential weapon for Delaware State’s offense. After only 4 games Glaud’s passing exploits include connecting on 65 of 113 throws (58%) for 578 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His rushing stats are no where near Vashon Winton’s. Glaud averages only 2.3 yards per carry and has scored only 2 rushing touchdowns. Glaud’s forte is throwing more than running, which has lead to problems. He’s already been sacked 5 times for -28 yards this fall. Unfortunately, word around town today (Thursday) is that Glaud is hurt and may not be 100% going into this game with Michigan. His backup is Nick Elko who first played last week in the loss to Bethune-Cookman. Elko was 5 of 15 for 39 yards and 1 INT.
2.) Delaware State’s Awesomely-Named Wide Receivers and Running Backs
I don’t know, man. I just like these guys because they all seem to have really cool names like: Darius Jackson, Larrone Moore, Zacharri Charles and Eric Jones. Each of these DSU wide receiver dudes has over 10 catches this fall, but only 1 has caught a touchdown pass: Zacharri Charles. OK, so what’s the big deal? Isn’t this the part where we all yawn, shake our heads, grab a beer and turn the channel to the OU-Texas or USC-Notre Stain game instead? Hell no! What I’m trying point out here is that Delaware State offensively went from a run-oriented, QB centric team to a pass-first QB centric team this year with Anthony Glaud. DSU definitely spreads the ball around to different playmakers on offense. These four receivers are averaging 7.5 yards per catch and have contributed 517 yards of DSU’s total offense so far. These receivers ARE Delaware State’s offense!
DSU’s running backs - one of them possessing perhaps the coolest name of all -Tahree McQueen, and Jason Randle, are the Hornets’ leading rushers. However, they’ve only contributed 328 rushing yards and 1 touchdown after 4 games. McQueen is small but packs a punch at 5-10, 194 lbs. and a 4.8 yards per carry rushing average. His accomplice, Jason Randle, is the Hornets’ fullback. Randle is of similar stature to McQueen, and wears the unlucky No. 13 on his back. It’s unlucky for opponents as Randle has literally dragged tacklers along for 152 yards this fall, at a 4.1 yard per carry clip and scoring 1 of DSU’s 4 total rushing touchdowns this year.
3.) DT Fabian Dunn, DT Tyron Hurst and LB Mike Gable
I’m not saying these guys will be busy on Saturday. In fact, if they are busy in any way shape or form, then I’m sorry, but Michigan has some serious issues to work out before facing Penn State’s defensive line next week. If this game pans out as it should, then the only Delaware State players making tackles at all should be the cornerbacks and free safeties. In some ways, this has already been the case for DSU this season as two defensive backs, Avery Grant (25 tackles, 3 TFL) and Jerome Strums (23 tackles) are ranked pretty high on the tackle action already. The reason I mention the DT’s Dunn and Hurst is because both have done well to get backfield penetration against spread offense opponents this fall and both have registered 2 sacks so far.
The best defensive player for DSU, however, is senior linebacker Mike Gable who seems to be omnipresent on the football pitch with 30 tackles, 2 TFL and 1 sack. If Michigan’s offensive line gets to the second level frequently versus DSU, particularly to Mr. Gable, then it will be “off to the races” on a regular basis. While the DSU offense has struggled to put points on the board all year, the Hornets’ defense has done a relatively good job against sub-par FBS opponents in scoring defense, allowing only 16 points per game.
Mike Gable says: "Have your epinephrine at the ready."
When Carcajous Attack! On Defense:
Michigan’s secondary gave up 601 yards passing in the last two games against largely passing offenses of MSU and Iowa. Michigan’s defense also gave up about 25 points in each game on average (which is sort of par for Michigan this season). In terms of rushing defense, Michigan had its best performance since the Western Michigan game, allowing Iowa only 63 yards rushing. Most interesting perhaps was Michigan’s improved ability to apply pressure on the quarterback and get sacks (2) against what many believe was the best offensive line in the Big Ten and the entire Midwest last Saturday. Something appears to be churning on defense for Michigan. I’m not sure what the results are going to be in the end, but with Woolfolk and Warren now at corner, more man and press coverage should yield some better results for the Wolverines. Michigan’s horrendous safety and linebacker play observed thus far this season should take a siesta break this weekend at least to some degree.
Michigan Cornerback Donovan Warren
Michigan’s talent and speed advantage over DSU is so great, it will be disappointing if the 2nd and 3rd string Wolverine defensive lineman are not getting significant pressure on Glaud and stuffing the Hornets’ rushing attack convincingly. Delaware State has repeatedly struggled to move the ball, and has shown a great deal of difficulty getting into scoring position. However, I for one will not be surprised one iota if two things happen:
1.)Anthony Glaud somehow has a remarkable day throwing the ball against Michigan's LBs and secondary on Saturday.
2.) MSU quarterback Kirk Cousins rushed for 11 ypc and 75 yards, and so does Anthony Glaud.
The Michigan defensive ends and linebackers will be challenged to contain Glaud. The Wolverines defense should get some nice preparation work in for Penn State's mobile quarterback Darryl Clark next week.
When Carcajous Attack! On Offense:
With the exception of David Molk’s leg injury and Tate Forcier’s mild concussion, Michigan is going to be pretty much at full-strength on Saturday. This means tailbacks Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown likely return to the lineup. There will be frequent trucking over hapless defensive backs, not to mention ridiculously long touchdown runs. I don’t mean to be flippant or disrespectful of the DSU football team. I’ve already mentioned above that they do have some play-makers on defense. But Michigan’s worst opponent this year by far this fall was Eastern Michigan, and the Wolverines won that game handily 45-17. Delaware State would call themselves fortunate to lose by such a margin this Saturday.
The Last Time:
There never was a meeting between these two schools before and I doubt there ever will be again. Michigan fans should enjoy the offensive fireworks of Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, and Denard “Shoelace” Robinson in this one and then stick around at half-time to watch two amazing marching bands.
What to Expect
Michigan is going to score over 40 points in this game, but not much over 50. We’ll see a lot of great plays by Brandon Minor, Carlos Brown, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson, as well as the Michigan defense (sacks, INTs), etc. as things might get way out of hand by the third quarter. We should expect some new plays and greater emphasis on the downfield passing game. In this game Greg Mathews, Junior Hemingway and Martavious Odoms should give nice performances. Mathews and Hemingway have been very quiet over the last 5 games. That needs to change not only in this game, but in preparation for bigger contests in the coming weeks.
By the 3rd quarter the Michigan scrubs will get significant playing time and things should get slightly more interesting.
For those of you who said they never want to see Nick Sheridan take another snap from center at Michigan ever again, well….I’m sorry.
WCA Prediction: Michigan 48, Delaware State 3