Vanderbilt provides U-Ms 12th football opponent
Michigan has filled its football schedule with a seventh home game for the 2006 season. The Wolverines will play Southeastern Conference opponent Vanderbilt at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 2 in the season opener for both teams. The Ball State contest, previously set for the opener, has been moved.
The Wolverines will now take on Ball State on Nov. 4, originally an open date. U-M will play a full 12-game regular-season schedule, approved by the NCAA this past year.
The Commodores finished 5-6 in the 2005 season, thus not participating in a bowl. They did post some eye-opening victories over bigger-name SEC schools.
They opened the season with four straight wins, including a 28-24 victory at Arkansas. Vanderbilt also recorded a 31-23 win over Ole Miss, but dropped six straight games after its hot start. In addition to a blowout loss against LSU (34-6), the Commodores dropped three straight heartbreakers – at South Carolina (35-28), at Florida (49-42) and against Kentucky (48-43).
They finished their season on the upswing, delivering a blow to Phil Fulmer and the Tennessee Volunteers. Vanderbilt went into Neyland Stadium and pulled off a 28-24 win over the Volunteers, helping keep Tennessee home for the holidays.
Vanderbilt featured several players that earned special attention this year, including freshman wide receiver Earl Bennett, who garnered Freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News. Bennett set an SEC and Vanderbilt freshman record with 79 receptions in 2005. He made five touchdown catches in Vanderbilt's narrow loss to Kentucky.
The Commodores lose senior quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw for 8,697 yards in his four-year career. This season, Cutler passed for 3,073 yards and 21 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Michigan's 2006 football schedule now shapes up as follows:
Sept. 2 – Vanderbilt
Sept. 9 – Central Michigan
Sept. 16 – at Notre Dame
Sept. 23 – Wisconsin
Sept. 30 – at Minnesota
Oct. 7 – Michigan State
Oct. 14 – at Penn State
Oct. 21 – Iowa
Oct. 28 – Northwestern
Nov. 4 – Ball State
Nov. 11 – at Indiana
Nov. 18 – at Ohio State