|« MVSU Delta Devils Release 2009 Schedule||UT Chattanooga: Huesman’s Salary in Middle of SoCon Pack »|
FBS Michigan adds Delaware State to Football Schedule
Wolverines to open against Hornets in Ann Arbor.
DOVER – Al Lavan called it “easily the biggest game in the history of Delaware State.”
And no, the Hornets’ football coach was not talking about a potential matchup against the University of Delaware, though the opponents’ helmets will be strikingly similar.
The University of Michigan athletic department announced Friday that it will host Delaware State in a nonconference football game Oct. 17 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
“Michigan is arguably one of the top three to five programs in the history of college athletics,” Lavan said. “To have that opportunity in front of us is something that is very special.”
Michigan athletic director Bill Martin indicated the Wolverines were running out of time in completing their schedule for next season.
“I am happy that we were able to announce the completed football schedule for this year,” Martin said. “We discussed the open date with multiple schools and were able to reach an agreement with Delaware State.
“It’s very difficult to line up an opponent this late in the process and we appreciate the efforts made by each institution that we spoke with.”
Lavan said that he played an integral role in helping to put the game together and that it would be a “revenue game” for Delaware State. DSU would not say how much money the Hornets will get for the matchup.
“Sometimes you keep turning those rocks over and you find a nugget,” said Lavan.
Delaware State officials have not announced the rest of the school’s football schedule.
The Hornets, a Division I-AA team that plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, have played against a handful of Division I programs in the past. But nothing on the scale of Michigan. In fact, DSU has never played a team from Michigan’s conference, the Big Ten.
Many people laughed when former DSU president Allen Sessoms suggested that the Hornets should move up to Division I football and play teams such as Notre Dame.
Well, this is close as the Hornets have ever gotten to that dream.
“It is the ‘Big House’ [stadium] there at Michigan and I think they are 110,000 [fans] strong in there every week,” said Lavan, a former Eastern Michigan assistant. “It will be quite an adventure.
“We’re very excited. I think it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to play at Michigan in that type of game to see how far that we’ve come in our program and certainly where we need to go.”
Lavan wasn’t issuing any predictions of a Hornets’ upset over Michigan.
However, I-AA Appalachian State played at Ann Arbor in the 2007 season opener and pulled off a stunning upset. DSU will be Michigan’s second I-AA opponent.
“Your goal always is to win, just find a way to win,” Lavan said. “Certainly we’ve never even come close to playing this caliber of team before. It will tell us about our team and how we’ll respond to the challenge.
“Year after year, Michigan is one of the top 10 or so teams in the country. So it’ll certainly be a monumental challenge.”
Michigan had also called Delaware about that date, which would have made for quite a spectacle, considering the teams’ matching helmets.
Delaware’s 2009 slate was already full, and Delaware had no interest anyway, athletic director Edgar Johnson said.
Delaware does not make a habit of pursing big-money I-A visits, except for periodic trips to Navy and the 2008 opener at Maryland, because its home games are lucrative enough.
Michigan adds DSU to football schedule
By Mike Finney, The Delaware News Journal
Blue Hens spurned Michigan invite
By Kevin Tresolini, The Delaware News Journal