Almost everyone knew that going into the first home again after a tough loss the week prior to the defending national champions was going to be a tall order for Brady Hoke to get his team to forget the past and play for the future.
And when the next opponent runs a “gimmick” type offensive attack like the triple-option of Jim Calhoun and his Air Force Fighting Falcons, things just might have been harder
Thankfully, the Denard Robinson of old was back to sort-of save the day as #19 Michigan Wolverines (1-1-0) earned a hard-fought 31-25 victory on Saturday in The Big House.
Offensively Denard was again the show putting up 218 yards on the ground and two touchdowns while also completing 14 of 25 passes for two more scores and 208 yards in the air with only one interception.
Freshman tight end Devin Funchess found himself on the end of a Robinson 30-yard TD pass and the back-up quarterback Devin Gardner caught his second touchdown pass in as many games.
Unfortunately, Robinson didn’t get much help in the running game as the next highest totaling running back performance went to returning senior Fitz Toussaint and his 8 carry 7-yard game.
The defense had its hands full with Air Force running back Cody Getz who put up an efficient three touchdown, 26 carry, 130-yard day. Along with Air Force quarterback Connor Dietz and the rest of the running back crew, the Fighting Falcons compiled 290 total yards on the ground.
Michigan’s defense did have momentary success throughout the game stopping the Air Force attack but could not consistently prevent them from earning first downs. Air Force won the first down battle 26-19. What was most significant is Air Force converted more than half of their third down attempts 12-21.
The Wolverines were led on defense by the newest “Legend” linebacker #47 Jake Ryan who was honored with the jersey number prior to running out oft he tunnel onto the field. The #47 was formerly worn by legendary Wolverine Bennie Oosterbaan and is the second such former Wolverine to have this honor attributed to his name.
Jake did the honor proud leading the Wolverines on defense with 11 combined tackles (7 solo) and made some big stops down the stretch on Air Force’s final drives to help secure the win.
When asked about the performance of his defense on the final two drives, Brady Hoke commented that, “Our guys went out and made a couple stops that they had to make.”
Those stops saved the game.
During the gam