2011 Michigan Wolverines Football
Michigan Wolverines vs San Diego State Aztecs Football Recap
Michigan 28, San Diego State 7
It is as though the San Diego State Aztecs wanted to beat their old coach too badly. A team that craved a statement-making win was so eager to get a result that it forgot to tend to the business of performing. An emotionally frail and evidently nervous bunch of Aztecs played as poorly as they possibly could this past weekend. Their effort level was fine, but their concentration was clearly hijacked by an inability to calibrate their emotions. As a result, a golden opportunity to gain some gridiron glory went flying by into the afternoon.
The matchup for new Michigan head coach Brady Hoke against his former team, San Diego State, went the way of the Wolverines, who showed all the steel and strength that San Diego State had hoped to display. The legs of quarterback Denard Robinson, plus the grit of a surprisingly resourceful defense, led Michigan to a 28-7 victory in Ann Arbor on Saturday afternoon.
It definitely didn’t look good early for San Diego State. After trying to feed star running back Ronnie Hillman three straight times and having to punt, the Aztecs were on their heels quickly. Denard Robinson and Vincent Smith combined to rush for 59 yards on a drive that featured no pass attempts, and Michigan was on top 7-0 early. Then, the Aztecs would move the ball into Michigan territory, something they would do often in the game, before Ronnie Hillman fumbled at the Michigan 39-yard line. Hillman had not fumbled in essentially 16 games, his only career lost fumble on his very first carry as a freshman last season. Three plays later for Michigan, Robinson took an option run completely untouched for a 53-yard score, and the Wolverines were quickly up 14-0.
San Diego State would try to answer, taking the ball to Michigan’s 30-yard line on passes from Ryan Lindley to Dylan Denso 19 and 10 yards on the drive. But Lindley struggled greatly with accuracy all afternoon, and he misfired on both third and fourth downs. On their next possession, the Aztecs took a seven-minute drive to the Michigan 35-yard line, but where whistled for holding on first down. Unable to recover, the Aztecs were forced to punt. With the Aztecs struggling, Fitzgerald Toussaint five times for 28 yards on a scoring drive that ended with a 1-yard Robinson touchdown run just before the end of the half, extending the Wolverines’ lead to 21-0.
The Aztecs would nab an interception from Robinson early in the third quarter, but would give it back three plays later when Hillman fumbled again inside Michigan’s 10-yard line. Luckily, Rocky Long’s defense for San Diego State was keeping the team in the game, as they held Michigan to a missed field goal and then forced a fumble on the next Wolverine possession. With a short field, Lindley would finally get the Aztecs in the end zone, completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Colin Lockett. At 21-7, the Aztecs were holding on to life.
But it just wasn’t to be for San Diego State, who early in the fourth quarter had a 4th-and-1 opportunity at the Michigan 43. A pass play took tight end Gavin Escobar on a short crossing route, and Lindley threw badly behind him for a turnover on downs. If the theme of the game isn’t apparent, it was this: San Diego State had ball 11 times in Michigan territory during the game, and only came away with seven points.
Hillman ended the day with 109 rushing yards, while a rattled Lindley was 23-of-48 for 253 yards. Robinson rushed 21 times for 200 yards for Michigan.