Observations on the win over San Diego State, 24-21!

1-It was a very interesting and entertaining game: an offensive first half and a defensive second half. The two teams were well-matched, and either could have won. Each team created three red zone opportunities, and each had one of those three created by their defense. The Aztecs cashed in on all three for their 21 points while Michigan only managed 10 points in their red zone opportunities. The Aztecs had 3 turnovers to the Wolverines 4, but took advantage with 14 points off turnovers. The difference was an eighty yard drive to begin the second half, and the Wolverine defenders made it stand up by thwarting a dangerous Aztec offense in the second half. They held them to only 5 first downs and 2 of 9 in 3rd and 4th down conversions in the second half, and our offense managed as a result to gain a time of possession advantage of 7 minutes in the second half.

2-Dlugolecki was 26 of 42 for 277 yards, but had only 76 yards in the second half and was 10 of 17. Ortiz had 7 catches for 125 yards and a TD while Webb has 11 catches for 107 yards and a TD. They are two of the better receivers that I can remember us facing with great one-handed catches. Franklin has rushed the ball 16 times for 38 yards, and a rushing TD while throwing for one as well; however, we really shut down the little guy in the second half.

3-Henne looked stronger in the second half, but obviously has a long way to go. He was 11 of 24 for 162 yards, but 3 picks and 2 TDs. He was sacked 5 times to the mighty Aztec defense. Braylon Edwards had 8 catches for 130 yards and 2 TDs. Our running game was led by Michael Hart with 25 carries for 121 yards. It looks like he'll get the most carries the rest of the year. Underwood didn't play most likely because of his concussion last week. We have 20 first downs and 7 of 17 in 3rd and 4th down conversions. We were forced into 5 punts.

4-Our special teams were adequate, but not spectacular. Rivas was one of three in field goals. Again, the kickoff coverage is excellent with Nienberg and company doing a great job including excellent tackling by Grant Mason and Chris Graham. Breaston did break one great return, but then we missed the field goal. Our coverage improved in the second half, but the Aztec punt coverage downed us twice inside the 10 in the second half. The two teams were very even in special teams; it was two long missed field goals by the Aztecs that kept the game from being tied and possibly sent to overtime.

5-McCoy led a strong Aztec defense with 18 tackles, Morrison had 8 and Underwood had 7 including a pass break up and a forced fumble. Lobel had 3 sacks out of his 5 tackles.

Our defense was led by Markus Curry with 8 tackles, McClintock and Shazor had 7 tackles each. Our defense has created 4 forced fumbles, but the Aztecs only surrendered two.

If anything, the Aztecs showed a lack of team discipline in 13 penalty calls with two declined by us for 94 yards that gave us 2 first downs.

6-We outgained San Diego State by 327 to 311 yards, and it was a very even game from start to finish. Either team could have won. The sad thing is that the Aztecs are a good team, but probably won't win their conference or go to a bowl game. We have a long way to go.

7-Kolodziej started at right tackle, but Long played most of the game. Woods did not start for the second game in a row. Neither Paul, Jamison nor Stewart played on defense. We used Alijah Bradley as a flyer on punt coverage. I thought Grant Mason really played well when he came in for much of the second half at cornerback, and he played well on kickoff coverage (both ways), too.
Observations on the first half with the Aztecs, 17-21!

1-Well, what can one say other than we've been outplayed, outhustled by a faster, quicker and more physical team. They are ahead because they deserve to be ahead. They have played poised, physical and smart football while we look very mediocre. They created three red zone opportunities and cashed in with 14 points off three Wolverine turnovers. They outgained us 243 yards to 189, and dominated time of possession by one minute.

2-Dlugolecki is 16 of 25 for 201 yards and Ortiz has 6 catches for 126 yards and a TD while Webb has 5 catches for 55 yards and a TD. They aren't scared of us and they are making the most of the opportunities we've created for them. Franklin has rushed the ball 10 times for 31 yards, and a rushing TD while throwing for one as well. The Aztecs are 3 of 8 in 3rd down conversions; they have been forced into 4 punts (one on 3rd down thanks to poor officiating).

3-We have a lot of players rotating at Quarterback and Tailback. Henne and Richard have combined for 8 of 18 for 103 yards and one TD with 2 picks (both by Henne) and 2 sacks. Our passing game is weak and our running game is led by Michael Hart with 8 carries for 51 yards. 4 running backs have combined for 86 yards in net rushing with 19 carries for 98 yards. We have 11 first downs and were only one of seven in 3rd down conversions while creating zero red zone opportunities. Our defense created one red zone opportunity and we promptly turned the ball back. We have been forced into 3 punts.