A look back at DSU’s 63-6 loss at Michigan.
Got back late last night from Ann Arbor and DSU’s 63-6 loss to Michigan.
If you are interested in how the Michigan side saw it, good stuff from the Detroit Free Press.
From me – a couple of quick nuggets of info and thoughts:
First, some personal impressions on playing at the Big House. The 106 thousand plus on hand were not as loud as I thought they’d be. This may be because it was DSU and not Ohio State or Penn State, but even when they came to life when the Wolverines scored or they were trying to stop DSU in the red zone, I did not think it was overly intimidating. My cameraman, Paul Parmelee says its much louder at Happy Valley for Penn State games. Still, it is definitely a big time college football atmosphere and a great place to watch a game.
As for the game, yes, the Hornets were totally overmatched – falling behind 49-0 in the first half, and yes, Michigan clearly took its foot off the accelerator at that point. BUT, I do give DSU credit for answering Head Coach Al Lavan’s halftime call to show their character by going back out and playing a strong second half. They did not allow Michigan to score in the third quarter -and twice stopped them on 4th and short in the red zone to accomplish that feat. They also got the offense going a bit – totaling 159 of their 216 yards after the break.
The loss was a big one , but it was not an all-timer at DSU. It did not even approach the 105-0 loss at Portland State back in 1980. And they have had more lopsided losses in recent memory to FCS/I-AA schools (68-0 to Hofstra in 1998 and 65-7 at James Madison in 2005). They did set a DSU record for yards allowed in a game (727 – also a Michigan record for yards gained), eclipsing the old mark of 629 set in a 49-0 loss to Florida A&M in 1997.
If you are looking for silver linings, there were those 2 fourth down stops in the third quarter, the fact DSU went 2-2 in the red zone (2 FG’s) and the fact they committed fewer penalties than Michigan 8 for 78 yards vs. UM’s 9 for 93) and fewer turnovers (0 to UM’s 1). Yeah, that’s kinda grasping at straws, but you take what you can get.
And finally, on the issue of where or not DSU should have signed this game or consider similar ones in the future. I have a few comments. Clearly, DSU should not take a game like this without having all its ducks in a row. Having to forfeit their North Carolina A&T game to play Michigan was embarrassingly wrong, and Al Lavan said yesterday that DSU did not take the game knowing it would have to forfeit a MEAC game and would never take a money game under those circumstances. Having said that, Lavan, his players and AD Derek Carter all said yesterday, other than the forfeit, they had no regrets and would gladly play Michigan or a similar team again. Some people have an issue with that. I do not, as long as you have a plan when it comes to taking these games. DSU did not have an AD when it signed this game, and it showed. The man in charge now, Carter, says the money the school receives and the experiences the players take away from games like this are positives – he just wants to be more careful about who they play in any given year. He says he will look at where the program is at, what kind of talent they have, and then look for possible match-ups that fit. Which, by the way, is essentially what Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said from the other side of the fence when he was asked about playing a team the caliber of DSU. Its a fact of life that schools like DSU can really use the money they walk away with from these games (in this case, its now a reported 550 thousand – a net of 450 thousand or so after the fine it paid the MEAC and other expenses). Just do it right. Don’t mess up your league schedule – or don’t bail on games you already signed (like Furman did to UD this year, creating the UD-DSU game).
I have some game highlights we shot up Monday –and of course, our full piece on the trip on “First” this Friday night at 10pm.