Time to move on.

That’s the slogan that Michigan has adopted this week in
preparation for Saturday’s game with San Diego State. The
Wolverines saw their dreams of an undefeated season fall by the
wayside last week in a disappointing 28-20 loss at Notre Dame and
are in need of a victory over the Aztecs before the Big Ten season
starts next week against Iowa.

Michigan is a 21-point favorite.

 

Michigan passing offense vs. San Diego State passing
defense:
In theory, the Michigan aerial attack should have an
advantage over any defense that it comes up against. And that holds
true against the Aztecs this weekend. Freshman quarterback Chad
Henne — who will likely start — was 25-of-40 for 240
yards against Notre Dame last weekend. Meanwhile, across the
country, San Diego State was giving up 352 passing yards to Idaho
State, a team that isn’t even in Division I-A. If the
Wolverines need to pass, they should be able to, despite the fact
that the Aztecs boast much experience in the secondary.

Edge: Michigan

Michigan rushing offense vs. San Diego State rushing defense:
The leading rusher for the Wolverines, David Underwood, has
just 61 yards this year — and he only played two plays
against the Irish, registering one carry. As of yet, no one has
stepped in and taken control of the Michigan running back
situation. That could be trouble this weekend, because the San
Diego State front seven is solid up the middle, with two returning
starters on the line and a veteran linebacking corps. Kirk
Morrison, Matt McCoy and Stephen Larsen are as good as any group of
linebackers in the Mountain West, and could pose problems for the
sputtering Wolverines’ ground game — and that’s
regardless of who carries the ball for Michigan.

Edge: San Diego State

San Diego State passing offense vs. Michigan passing defense:
Michigan’s secondary played Two-Face last week —
the Wolverines were spectacular in stuffing the Irish through three
quarters, but Notre Dame threw the ball with ease in the final
stanza. Still, the Wolverines are loaded in the defensive
backfield. Aztecs’ quarterback Matt Dlugolecki was 16-of-27
for 233 yards against Idaho State’s defense last week —
not terribly impressive numbers against a less-than-stellar team.
At wide receiver, the Aztecs love to look to 6-foot-2 Jeff Webb on
most passing downs, but Devin Pitts and Robert Ortiz combine to
give San Diego State a decent trio.

They’d have to play out of their minds to exploit the
Wolverines this weekend, though.

Edge: Michigan

San Diego State rushing offense vs. Michigan rushing
defense:
The seemingly strong Michigan run defense was
exploited to the outside by Notre Dame’s Darius Walker, and
the Aztecs wouldn’t mind doing the same thing. But sophomore
running back Lynell Hamilton — a 1,000-yard rusher last year
— won’t play this weekend due to an ankle injury he
sustained last season. This means that the Aztecs will ride the
shoulders of the diminutive Michael Franklin. The 5-foot-7 junior
put up 101 yards on 12 carries last week, including a 67-yard
touchdown run on the first play of the game. But the Aztecs’
line is inexperienced, and Michigan should be itching to bounce
back.

Edge: Michigan

Special teams: It’s the battle of the Garretts at
the placekicking spot. For Michigan, Garrett Rivas, is coming off a
4-for-4 field goal game against the Irish. Meanwhile, the Aztecs
gave their starting kicking spot to freshman Garrett Palmer, who
hit his only field goal last week. Michigan needs to shore up its
punt blocking and cover kicks like it did last week. Don’t be
surprised if Steve Breaston finds some room to run against the
Aztecs.

Edge: Michigan

Intangibles: For San Diego State, it’s one of those
games where a team has nothing to lose. On the road against a
ranked team, you can be sure the Aztecs will let it all out. But
the Wolverines are coming off a loss and are desperate to get
rolling before Iowa comes into Ann Arbor next week. That means
Michigan will probably come out with a decent — though
possibly not great — performance.

Edge: Push

Pick: When it comes right down to it, Michigan might have
its hands full for a little while against the Aztecs — who
will be trying to pull off a huge upset in its first-ever game
against Michigan. But, again, the Wolverines have a lot to prove
after last week’s second-half collapse against Notre Dame.
There’s a good chance that San Diego State will keep
Michigan’s rushing attack in check, as the Aztecs have a much
better linebacking corps than people might realize. But
there’s no one that can really cover the Michigan receivers
— if they get a chance to catch the ball. And the Michigan
defense should be able to slow down the Hamilton-less Aztec
offense.

Michigan 37, San Diego State 13

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