SDSU Puts Scare into No. 17 Michigan in 24-21 Loss
Sept. 18, 2004
By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Braylon Edwards helped No. 17 Michigan avoid a second straight upset.
Edwards caught eight passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the third quarter of the Wolverines' 24-21 victory over San Diego State on Saturday.
The Wolverines (2-1) bounced back after last week's loss at Notre Dame, but it wasn't easy. They committed four turnovers and the Aztecs (1-1), who entered the game three-touchdown underdogs, missed two fourth-quarter field goals that could have tied it.
Edwards' 7-yard TD pass from freshman Chad Henne was the lone score of the second half.
With his fourth reception of the game, Edwards passed Marquise Walker to become Michigan's career leading receiver. He now has 181 catches for 2,562 yards and 28 touchdowns for his career.
"We've had some great receivers here, and (with) those records you have to be durable, you have to be tough and you have to be talented because you have to get open," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "Braylon is a guy who continues to come up with big plays. He's dangerous because he's strong, and he plays without the ball."
San Diego State's "Dark Side" defense, which ranked eighth nationally a season ago, kept the Aztecs in the game, but Garrett Palmer could not convert 46- and 49-yard field goal attempts in the second half.
It's the second straight year the Aztecs played tough against a Big Ten powerhouse. Last year, San Diego State lost 16-13 to then-No. 2 Ohio State at Ohio Stadium. It was the first meeting between Michigan and San Diego State, and the more than 109,000 in attendance was the most ever to see the Aztecs play.
"It hurts. We didn't come here to play tough and earn respect," San Diego State coach Tom Craft said. "I think people know who San Diego State is right now."
Michigan again went with a running-back-by-committee approach, with four backs getting a shot. Freshman Mike Hart came up with the big game the Wolverines needed, running for 121 yards on 25 carries. His 11-yard run on third-and-9 with less than two minutes to play allowed the Wolverines to run out the clock.
Running back David Underwood didn't play after a head injury he suffered early in the Notre Dame game limited his practice this week. Underwood was picked by Carr to start in the preseason, replacing departed Heisman Trophy finalist Chris Perry.
"The first couple of games I was getting one carry and then coming out," Hart said. "This game I was getting a couple of carries in a row. It made me feel real comfortable."
Henne, a freshman, was picked off three times and completed 11 of 24 passes for 162 yards and the two scores to Edwards.
Michigan went ahead 17-7 with less than three minutes left in the first quarter when Roy Manning stripped the ball from San Diego State quarterback Matt Dlugolecki, and Lawrence Reid scooped it up at the 5-yard line, took a couple of steps and dived into the end zone.
San Diego State needed only three plays and 81 seconds to answer. After a 61-yard pass play from Dlugolecki to Robert Ortiz put the Aztecs at the Michigan 12-yard line, Michael Franklin took a pitch, then fired a halfback pass to Jeff Webb in the corner of the end zone to make it 17-14.
Dlugolecki threw a 14-yard TD pass to Ortiz with less than eight minutes left in the half to put the Aztecs ahead 21-17.
Dlugolecki finished 26-of-42 for 277 yards, one TD and one interception. Ortiz caught seven passes for 125 yards, and Webb caught 11 passes for 107 yards.
Franklin, who ran for 39 yards on 16 carries, was filling in for Lynell Hamilton, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago who is still recovering from a broken leg and ankle injury.
The Wolverines scored on their first play from scrimmage when Henne connected with Edwards from 54 yards. Edwards caught Henne's pass at the 15, twirled around and dragged San Diego State cornerback Hubert Caliste into the end zone.