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September 17, 2004 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

September 17, 2004
sports. michigandaily. com



... ....8

Aztecs set to
give 'M' a run

Aggies in search
of needed upset

By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Editor
One week after suffering a crush-
ing 25-23 loss to Notre Dame in 2002,
Michigan played listlessly against an
energized Utah team and eked out a 10-
7 win.
Now, the Wolverines are in almost the
same situation. They will try to put the
Notre Dame loss behind them tomorrow
and get back on track against another
Mountain West Conference team before
the conference schedule begins.
While some mid-major foes in past
years have been intimidated by Michi-
gan Stadium, San Diego State isn't wor-
ried about that possibility.
Last year, the Aztecs lost narrowly
to defending national champion Ohio
State. In front of more than 100,000
at Ohio Stadium, San Diego State out-
played the Buckeyes for most of the
game. Coach Tom Craft believes last
year's experience will help his team on
"We've tried to create an atmosphere
at practice where there is noise, so that
they focus on their assignment and their
technique and not the noise," Craft said.
"We have ways to communicate - a lot
of nonverbal communication. The Ohio
State game last year helped with our
The Aztecs were 32-point underdogs
last year against the Buckeyes, and lost
by just a field goal. This time around
San Diego State is a three-touchdown
underdog, a fact that won't faze them.
"We were heavy underdogs last
year against Ohio State and we felt we
should have won the game," Craft said.

"We are focused on what we have to do
and excited to go back to that type of i
San Diego State features an experi-
enced defense that was ranked in the
top-10 last year. Against Ohio State, the"
Aztecs allowed just 10 first downs and
stopped the Buckeyes on 13-of-14 thirds
downs. They are especially strong at_
linebacker. Matt McCoy and Kirk Mor-
rison, last year's leading tacklers, are
back. After last year's defensive domi-N
nance, the Aztecs' started calling the
unit "The Dark Side Defense."
San Diego State also likes to fre-
quently send blitzes, which will provide{
a test for Michigan's offensive line and
"That conference has really devel-
oped through the years," Michigan |
coach Lloyd Carr said. "San Diego
State has had many great football play- k
ers, and has a lot of tradition. If you ""
look at some of the guys that are in the
Hall of Fame from San Diego State, you
know they have a tradition there.
"As I watch them, they are well-
coached, have great speed and people
who pursue the football. Their defense K.
is really impressive."
The Wolverines found out what the
Mountain West Conference has to offer
two years ago, and if they aren't ready
at kickoff, could easily find themselves
in another fourth-quarter fight.
"I don't know how (Michigan is)
feeling," Craft said. "That's not our,
issue. They will be refocused and play-
ing at home will definitely help, but we
have to go in and worry about how we TONY DING/Daly
are going to play. We put the focus on us San Diego State's defense features fast linebackers who blitz often, mak-
and how we are going to do." ing Saturday's game a good test for Michigan's offensive linemen.
Football Saturday
No. 17 Michigan vs. San Diego State
The Wolverines (1-1 overall) will look to bounce back
from their devastating loss to Notre Dame against
a San Diego State team eyeing the upset.
Here's what's inside this edition of Football Saturday:
- Shoes to fill - Two games into the season, no running back has
come close to filling Chris Perry's void. We examine the candidates.
- Man on a Mission - Spencer Brinton came to Ann Arbor just days after
returning from a Mormon mission in South Africa in 2001. He's struggled
to find playing time, but he's become a valuable member of the team.

By H. Jose Bosch
For the Daily
Week four of the college football
season is approaching fast, so here
are four more games that may tickle
your fancy.
A&M (1-1) - 7 P.M., TBS
In what should be one of the most
electrifying games of the evening,
Clemson takes on Texas A&M and
the infamous "12th man." Both
starting quarterbacks better ice their
arms before this one because it will
be a shootout.
In its opener
Clemson needed P s 5
two overtimes to 1
barely beat Wake0
Forest and in the
process allowed
410 total yards
- about half of them on the ground.
Last week the team didn't fare much
better as the Tigers lost on a fluke
play to Georgia Tech at the end of
the game. The 363 yards of total
offense allowed didn't help much,
The Aggies defense doesn't look
much better by comparison. Despite
holding Wyoming to -3 yards rush-
ing last week, the Aggies gave up
an astronomical 582 yards of total
offense against Utah in the first
game of the season. Three hundred
and seventy of those yards came
through the air, and Clemson junior
quarterback Charlie Whiteurst is
ready to pick the Aggie defense
Whitehurst already has 563 yards
passing with three touchdowns and
four interceptions. The Aggies have
their own superstar signal caller in
junior quarterback Reggie McNe-
al. Not only does he lead the team
in passing with 508 yards and a
touchdown, he also leads the team
in rushing with 24 carries for 128
yards and three touchdowns. The
fans in College Station, Texas, will
be looking back and forth more
often than in a tennis match as both
teams will be running up and down
the field all day.
Clemson hasn't looked convinc-
ing in its first two games. The
Tigers will be entering a brutal
atmosphere where the weather is
supposed to reach 96 degrees during
game day and cool down to a balmy
71 degrees by game-time. It'll be
hot and humid, and Clemson is in
Texas A&M 49, Clemson 35

(2-0) - 1 P.M.
The Bulldogs' defense looked
weak in its first game as it allowed
348 yards and 28 points against
Georgia Southern. In its second
game, the defense spotted South
Carolina 16 points.
After a game and a half of vaca-
tioning, the defense finally came
back and held the South Carolina
offense under wraps in the second
half - including two stops in the
red zone. So Georgia squeaks past
N.C State 20-16 and now must face
the Thundering Herd.
After an embarrassing loss to
mighty Troy, Marshall actually
had a respectable game on the road
against Ohio State. The Buckeyes
needed last second heroics to defeat
the Thundering Herd.
Georgia senior quarterback and
Heisman hopeful David Greene
should be licking his chops for this
one. The Thundering Herd are hor-
rendous defending the pass, allow-
ing 257 yards-per-game. Against
Ohio State, they were torched for
318 yards. Greene has already got-
ten himself off to a good start, com-
pleting 28 of 52 for 374 yards, three
touchdowns and just one intercep-
tion. Georgia knows what happens
when it takes an opponent lightly,
and after Marshall narrowly missed
a huge upset win, the Bulldogs aren't
about to let Marshall win in Athens.
Expect this to be a stat-padding day
for Mr. Greene.
No. 3 Georgia 37, Marshall 7
MIAMI (1-0) - 1 P.M.
Louisiana Tech is off to a fast start
this year after defeating Nevada and
Louisiana Lafayette. They are aver-
aging a lofty 296.5 yards-per-game
on the ground with junior running
back Ryan Moats putting up PS2-
like numbers - 67 carries for 514
yards and four touchdowns.
But Moats did this against Nevada
and Louisiana Lafayette, so it's nat-
ural to wonder if he, or this team, is
for real.
Enter the University of Miami.
These two teams met last year in a
road showdown for the Hurricanes
and Miami proceeded to beat the
tar out of the Bulldogs, 48-9. Senior
quarterback Brock Berlin completed
14-of-28 passes for 203 yards, two
touchdowns and a pick. Junior run-
ning back Frank Gore just sneezed
and he blew through the defensive
line with 21 carries for118 yards.
Five Miami runners hit double
digits in rushing yardage. Against
Miami, no one rusher carried the
ball more than five times for the
Bulldogs. Moats, the leading rusher,
amassed 44 yards on just three car-
ries. In other words, Louisiana Tech
struggles when it isn't playing the
junior varsity football teams of D-I
college football. This game will be
a sleeper, and Miami fans may have
to tune into something else that is
more interesting. Oh, wait - this
game isn't being televised.
Miami 49, Louisiana Tech 6
(1-1) - 7 P.M.
This intra-state matchup may
actually be a better game then what
it looks to be on paper. Despite
being clocked by Alabama in the
first game of the season - allowing
not one but two players to rush for
ll-yard - the Aggies took care of
business against Idaho. Now Utah
State has momentum heading into
tomorrow night's game against rival
Utah and nothing would make its
season better than spoiling the Utes'

chances of making a BCS bowl.
Aggie senior quarterback Travis
Cox is 36-of-58 for 376 yards, four
touchdowns and four interceptions
on the season. In their first game
of the season, the Utes allowed 437
yards against Texas A&M - not
exactly your 1997 Michigan defense.
Anything can happen in this one and
if the Utes do not watch out, they'll
end up being the nerdy boy whose
car breaks down before he can pick
up his hot date to the prom. Sorry
Utah fans, the BCS babe will dance
Utah State 20, Utah 16
i .u m Aas v





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