Michigan barely glides over Air Force in home opener

Football is back in Ann Arbor! After a jersey un-retirement for the Legends here at Michigan, and a B-2 Stealth Bomber flyover, at the Big House, Michigan prevailed just barely against the Air Force Falcons.

The Big House treated them well with the students and fans behind them the whole game, the Wolverines prevailed 31-25.

Denard Robinson led the way today, unlike last week and scored two touchdowns with 218 yards over 20 carries.

The Wolverines returned running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark, fresh off a one-game suspension from the opening game. Toussaint wasn’t as much of a factor in today’s game, but Clark was, at least at the very end of the game, preventing Air Force from gaining any yards on their last drive.

“He never had a chance to get started,” said head coach Brady Hoke. “It was more up front, we didn’t block.”

Robinson looked much better in the air too, with 14 completions on 25 attempts and 208 yards, throwing two touchdowns and one interception that was tipped on a sure catch by running back Vincent Smith.

The Falcons countered the Michigan offense very well. Connor Dietz led the way for the Falcons, passing for 127 yards with 10 completions on 19 attempts. Running back Cody Getz led the way in the rushing department for the Falcons, with three touchdowns on 26 carries and 130 yards. Matt DeWitt also had 15 carries for the Falcons, as did Dietz.

Dietz and the bulk of the Falcons offense came from option shovel passes, which worked for most of the game.

“It takes about a quarter to get used to their speed,” said Hoke. “You gotta give Air Force a lot of credit. Their tempo was good.”

The Wolverines defense looked a little lost early on, but settled down in the second quarter. The offense performed really well, in which we had a new name emerge as a possible target heading into next week’s game against Massachusetts and possibly the whole eason. Devin Funchess, freshman tight end emerged as one of the top receivers on the day for Robinson. He caught four passes for 106 yards and one touchdown. Devin Gardner also caught five passes for 63 yards and one touchdown.

The ball was spread around a lot too, Jeremy Jackson, Jerald Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, and Roy Roundtree also had catches on the day too. It looked like a better display of football from what we have seen in the past.

Sophomore linebacker, Jake Ryan, who formerly wore number 90, was awarded the number 47, in honor of Bennie Oosterbaan, a Michigan Legend. “It’s an honor,” said Ryan. “He’s really athletic, a Michigan man.”

Ryan also had a career day with seven tackles, one especially at the end of the last drive that pinned the Falcons deep in their own end. “We prepared all week, coming out of the Alabama loss, it was tough,” Ryan said of the defense.

“There’s still room to improve,” said Robinson. “I calmed down a little more,” as he spoke of his display comparing last week’s performance to this week.

Robinson scored on second play of the first drive, a 79-yard touchdown run. The crowd erupted, expecting a huge day, and a huge day they got from shoelaces. In fact, he lost his right shoe on his other 58-yard touchdown run. He went from shoelaces, to shoeless. That run gave the Wolverines a 21-10 lead at that point.

Air Force didn’t give up though, as they fought back to within three points at the end of the game. A two-point conversion was good after a touchdown and it was silent in the Big House. Luckily, the Wolverines defense stepped up, sacking Dietz and blocking a pass on fourth down. “We still have some improving to do, and if we improve each week, we have a good shot at the B1G Ten Championship,” said Hoke.

That is still in their sights, and the Wolverines (1-1) will continue their pursuit of that next week against the Massachusetts Minutemen (0-2) at 3:30pm at the Big House. That can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Go Blue!

To read the original article that appeared in the first issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org

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