"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
It was a pretty uninspiring start, and a fairly lackluster first period. The Wolverines trailed 1-0 late in the first and the LSSU Lakers were on the power play. It would have been natural for Michigan fans to wonder if this was going to be a "let-down" game after a couple of controversy-filled weekends.
But then Matt Rust broke up a pass, took it the length of the ice, cut to the net, and roofed one up over Pat Inglis with just six seconds remaining in the first period. The Wolverines carried that momentum over to the second. David Wohlberg and Luke Glendening scored in the first two minutes of the second period and it was all Wolverines from there.
Michigan outshot the Lakers 17-5 in the period and outscored them 3-0. It was the mid-third before LSSU could get back on the board, but the game was over by that point. Michigan wins 6-2 in a pretty dominating performance, first period aside.
The Lakers got on the board first with a great pass to Will Acton from Matt Cowie. Hogan couldn't get side-to-side fast enough to keep it out of the net. That goal came just seconds after Chad Langlais had rung one off the bar at the other end.
The lone bright spot of the first 19 minutes of the game was that Travis Turnbull and David Wohlberg were jumping. Wohlberg kept feeding him, and Turnbull kept having beautiful scoring chances that he couldn't quite finish. That line could've easily combined for three goals in the first ten minutes of the hockey game.
But despite a lackluster first period (and, at least from the sound on the internet broadcast, a pretty subdued Yost crowd) the Wolverines were able to get out of the first period tied, thanks to Rust's short-handed effort. That was the 7th shortie the Lakers have allowed this season. They're vulnerable back there and Rust made them pay.
Michigan gave the Yost crowd a lot to cheer about throughout the second period. Just over a minute into the second frame, Travis Turnbull fed a wide-open David Wohlberg in front of the net. Wohlberg buried the shot and Michigan led 2-1. And before the crowd could tell Inglis that he's a sieve and it's all his fault, it was 3-1. Ben Winnett won an offensive zone faceoff and Luke Glendening was able to pop it in. My video was buffering at the time, so I don't have much of a comment about that goal. (This would be an ongoing trend. I missed three of our six goals thanks to buffering issues.)
Our top two lines kept buzzing. Hagelin had a pair of chances, then Palushaj just missed. The other line came out and Wohlberg darn near put in another gorgeous feed from Turnbull.
Michigan received a power play (hopefully everyone took a picture) and promptly turned it over in their own end. Hogan made a huge save, and it's a good thing he did, because we came down to the other end and Caporusso scored his nation-best 21st goal of the season. Langlais found him with a cross-ice pass. At that point, shots were something like 13-1 in the second period and Michigan had themselves a 4-1 lead.
Hogan made a couple saves at the end of the period to keep LSSU from gaining any momentum and David Wohlberg had another strong effort on the penalty kill.
The Lakers took an ill-advised penalty just a couple seconds into a power play of their own, and Rusty made them pay again. This time on a 4-on-4. Hagelin fed him. I had buffering issues on this one too. That's five goals for Rust in his last seven contests, after just two in the first 18 games (and those were in the same game). He's on fire right now. This is the Matt Rust we needed to give us a legitimate second line. He's responding and the team is reaping the benefits. Our top two lines have really good chemistry going.
LSSU finally capitalized on one of their numerous power plays. Schofield put a wrister up over Hogan's arm just inside the far post to make it 5-2. That ended a very long PK streak by the Wolverines. We had killed off something like 29 in a row. Even with the goal, the penalty killing was stellar tonight. Hagelin and Rust are so fun to watch when they tag-team opponents on the forecheck. Wohlberg, Miller, Fardig, and of course the defense. Those guys all do a really great job. It's like night and day from the start of the season when we were at the bottom of the national PK rankings.
Hogan made a couple more big stops and then Winnett hit on a breakaway pass to Caporusso, who had just exited the penalty box. Caporusso popped one off the water bottle and the Wolverines pretty much had it in the bag. Caporusso and Rust both had shots at hat tricks, but Inglis made a couple of stops.
All in all, another really solid effort for the good guys. They were off in the first period, but Rust's goal gave them momentum and they kept it going by capitalizing twice early in the second. There was never a moment that I felt like LSSU was threatening to get back in the game after that. Michigan completely dominated the second period.
-Burlon and Summers were both +3 on the night. How sick is Michigan's defense corps when Mark Mitera comes back? They could put him with Steve Kampfer to have a dominating top two pairings. You know your team is good when Chad Langlais is your #5 defenseman. That's not even fair.
-David Wohlberg is awesome. He was everywhere tonight, had a goal and an assist, and turned in his usual top-notch performance defensively. Rust, Hagelin, Caporusso, and Winnett were all really strong tonight.
-Speaking of Winnett, I've been really hard on him—and Red evidently agreed that he wasn't doing much, since he just benched him for four games—but one thing he does really well is make a breakout pass. He sprung Caporusso on his breakaway goal in the third period, and he also made the initial pass on Brandon Burlon's game-changing goal against FYS at Munn. I didn't see Glendening's goal, but it sounded as if Winnett deserved an assist on that one as well. It's nice to see him getting involved on the offensive end, because he came in with the reputation as a pretty darn good offensive talent.
-Caporusso's 22 goals lead the nation. I posed this question during the chat and no one really had an answer—I didn't either: Who is the Hobey favorite right now? There's no clear-cut choice. Maybe Jordan Pearce? I think you have to have Caporusso in the mix if he keeps this up. He's probably been a little too inconsistent to win the thing, but if he leads the nation in goals, he has to at least be in the Top 10.
-Hogan only faced 21 shots, but he made some top-notch saves tonight. He probably should've had the second goal (though it was a very nice shot), but he made some really big, timely stops.
-Notre Dame knocked off OSU in overtime, which was huge for us (especially since it didn't get to a shootout, so OSU didn't get a cheap point). Brian Aaron basically cost us any chance of catching ND, so it's nice that the Irish won tonight. We go 2 points up on OSU and have moved into a third-place tie with Alaska, who has played 3 more games than us.
Tomorrow night's game is at 7:35 Eastern and can be seen on Comcast 900 in Metro Detroit and the NHL Network in Canada. The game will air on the US NHL Network on Sunday at noon.
The author of this post normally writes at The Blog That Yost Built.
The hosts of this liveblog normally write at The Hoover Street Rag.
There's a Delaware State?
DSU is a historically black college located in Dover (the capital of The Small Wonder). The school has just over 3,000 students, making it slightly larger than Ann Arbor Pioneer. It was founded as an agricultural school for blacks by the Morrill Act when the doctrine of Separate but Equal kept them out of schools for white students.
Who are the Delaware State Hornets?
DSU's athletic teams are the Hornets, and their colors are Cherry Red and Columbia Blue. They compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) of Division 1-AA. Their football stadium, creatively named "Alumni Stadium" holds 7,193 spectators, by far the smallest of any team Michigan has played in the modern era.
Delaware State is not the 1-AA superpower that Appalachian State was in 2007. The Hornets are an average-ish team in the MEAC, and though they went undefeated in conference in 2007 (their only losses on the year were to 1-A foe Kent State and in the playoffs to 1-AA National runner-up Delaware (the first ever meeting between the two schools, something of a controversial topic)). This past year, however, the team went 5-6, missing out on the 1-AA playoffs.
What Should We Expect?
Head coach Al Lavan has brought a new era of respectability to the Hornets' football program, as the 2007 playoff appearance was the school's first ever. He is 35-22 in his four years in Dover, with the only losing season coming last year.
The Hornets finished 94th out of 118 1-AA teams in total offense, but their defense was stellar, finishing 13th in the country. That wasn't just a product of playing awful offenses from the MEAC, either, as many of them finished middle-of-the-pack or better in 1-AA for total offense.
As you'll see in a moment, last year wasn't exactly a rebuilding one for Del State: They will come into this year minus a ton of talent from last year's senior class.
The Hornets' pass offense loses 4-year starter Vashon Winton, and will be breaking in a new signal-caller. In addition, they lose 2 of their top 3 receivers.
Speaking of those receivers, one of them was departing tailback Chris Strother, who leaves, along with the next two top rushers, one of whom was Winton. Though I can't find any definitive info, the rushing yardage for a QB would certainly imply that Delaware State employs some type of spread offense.
Leading tackler Kevin Conner has graduated (along with fellow linebacker Jackie Watkins), and defensive back Avery Grant is the returning leader in that department. He is also the team's returning leader in tackles for a loss (that's right, as a DB), with a whopping 8.5. The defensive line loses a pair of stalwarts as well, with Ronn Spinner Jr. And Akiel Russell mobing on. The remaining starter at linebacker, Joe Mendes, led the team in sacks last year.
The distribution of statistic would lead me to believe that the hornets imply some form of spread defense, likely a 3-3-5 with Grant, the team's star, at Rover/Bandit.
This has been a first glance at the Delaware State Hornets, and I'm sure both Brian and I will give them a more thorough treatment over the off-season and leading up to the game.
The author is the publisher of Varsity Blue.
Michigan has announced its 12th opponent for the 2009 season. The Detroit News is reporting that Delaware St. will fill the remaining open spot on the schedule.
Luckily, it's not Delaware. Way too confusing with helmets. Delaware St. is a FCS school known mainly for the controversy of Delaware not scheduling them for a regular season game.
While a part of me wants to express outrage over scheduling a middling FCS team, a less indignant part of me would prefer a win by any means necessary. Western Michigan could be a tough game to open the season, and Notre Dame, in spite of horrible coaching, has solid talent. If Rodriguez can't up his win total a significant amount there will certainly be a bunch of business at Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork. I'm coming down on the side of this being a necessary evil and another easy $4 million for the Athletic department.
What do you guys think? Is Michigan at a point where it should try to be above the fray or should the schedule reflect the fact that this is still a rebuilding process?
There will be an informative update in a bit. There's actually a blog that covers Delaware St.'s conference. Awesome.
At the top of his press conference Rich Rodriguez basically went through the list and talked briefly about each commit. A lot of it was coach-speak and praising the high school coaches, but there was quite a bit of useful information (as opposed to Lloyd Carr press conferences, which were awesome in their own way) on most of the players. One interesting thing in general is that Rodriguez let us know who the lead recruiter was for each player, and for just about everyone from Florida it was Rod Smith. I guess that's why need a de facto third QB coach. On to the players:
Coach mentioned that the staff is really tight with Youngstown Liberty coach Jeff Whittaker. It's not that stacked of a school, but seems to produce a bit of talent on a regular basis. He said that Bell would start competing as a safety, but if he can put on enough weight, may move up to outside linebacker.
Looking at depth chart would probably tell you this too, but Rodriguez said that Campbell will play defense only and will compete for playing time right at the outset. Campbell got the instant impact tag from the coach. Will said himself that his goal is to start his freshman year. Even though he is a really funny, kind of goofy guy, I get the feeling that he's super competative; I sure as hell wouldn't want to be a RB/QB playing against Michigan in two years. Campbell is now doing the full Barwis workout and says the toughest part was the running because since the all star game he's been relaxing and "got fat."
Coach said he could play either Safety position and will probably be moved around to positions of need.
Apparently in the Spring, Jason Forcier was in town and talked with Rodriguez. He basically said he'd recruit Tate for Michigan. I just can't help but wonder how different this last year would have been if Forcier hadn't transferred... Oh well. Obviously will come and compete right away for time at QB. When a reporter asked Rodriguez if he was confident that he'll end up with a really good quarterback he responded that "we'll have a really good competition." Tate says he works much more on accuracy and a quick release than arm strength. In some passing drills he claims he hit Mike Cox and Kevin Koger in the back of the head because they weren't expecting the ball to get there as quickly as it did. After his interview with the TV crews at the press conference, most reporters were surprised at how well he handled himself. He really seemed like a pro.
For some reason, I got the feeling that Rodriguez is especially excited about Gallon, but I'm probably just projecting my own excitement. Coach said he'll compete immediately at slot. Tim has made this argument that Odoms is a pretty good slot receiver, but the concept of the slot receiver may be more appealing than Odoms himself. Rodriguez also mentioned that he'll immediately be in the mix for returning kicks. Obviously, Coach didn't talk about grade issues in specifics, but he mentioned that there are about 2-3 recruits who haven't been approved by the Clearinghouse and that all of those recruits of realistic plans to follow that will allow them to qualify. Rodriguez didn't really seem to worried about grade issues.
Check out Varsity Blue throughout the day for the tidbits on the rest of recruits.