No. 22 Michigan beats San Diego State 28-7

San Diego State assistants and players shook hands and hugged

Brady Hoke one by one after he beat them.

Instead of being bitter about Hoke bolting the beach to coach at

the Big House, the Aztecs were praising him and raving about

Michigan’s future.

”Brady will win a national championship here,” Aztecs coach

Rocky Long said after No. 22 Michigan beat San Diego State 28-7

Saturday. ”I don’t know how long it will take, but he will win one

here.”

Hoke helped San Diego State beat Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl

last year for its first bowl win since 1969 and led the program to

nine wins for the first time since 1977.

The Aztecs put pictures of Hoke and other former assistants on

cards they used to signal plays in what they intended to be a sign

of respect.

In the days before the game, Hoke publicly downplayed facing his

former players. Hoke, though, didn’t treat the postgame like just

another one with warm embraces and encouraging words.

”That part of it is, I guess is being a human being,” Hoke

said.

San Diego State (3-1) did not make its players available for

interviews after the game.

The Aztecs allowed quarterback Denard Robinson to run for three

scores in the first half to give Michigan a three-touchdown lead

and let him finish with a season-high 200 yards rushing.

The Wolverines (4-0) sputtered on offense after halftime because

Robinson struggled again in the passing game. He completed just 8

of 17 passes for 93 yards and two interceptions, leaving Long

wishing he had started with a different game plan.

”We are a very aggressive defense and in the first half, we

were too aggressive,” Long said. ”That was my fault.”

Though the Wolverines forced three turnovers, they turned the

ball over four times and were fortunate Ryan Lindley couldn’t hit

open Aztecs.

After Lindley missed a teammate on fourth down midway through

the fourth quarter, Robinson’s 30-yard sprint set up Vincent

Smith’s 7-yard run to give Michigan a 28-7 lead.

San Diego State won its first three games for the first time

since 1981, then became the first team to not start strong against

the Hoke-led Wolverines this year.

”I thought we played a terrible first half,” Long said. ”They

had a lot to do with us playing poorly.”

The Aztecs avoided a shutout when Lindley made a 16-yard pass to

Colin Lockett with 4 seconds left in the third, taking advantage of

Michigan’s third turnover in the quarter.

The Aztecs, though, failed to maintain momentum on their next

drive and settled for their sixth punt after Lockett dropped an

over-the-shoulder pass deep in Wolverines territory.

Lindley, who fumbled once, completed 23 of 48 passes for 253

yards and a TD. Hillman ran for 109 yards on 21 carries and fumbled

twice.

Long hoped the Aztecs didn’t get too fired up to show Hoke what

he was missing.

”If it wasn’t just another game for our players, then the

players made a huge mistake,” he said. ”If you let emotions get

in the way, you’re making a mistake.”