=== Wolverines seek redemption in clash with visiting Falcons ===
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - With little time to lick their wounds
following an embarrassing season-opening loss to the defending national
champs, the 19th-ranked Michigan Wolverines get back to action this weekend as
they play host to the Air Force Falcons at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Air Force is 1-0 on the young season thanks to a 49-21 triumph over FCS foe
Idaho State. The Falcons, who are hoping to make some noise in the Mountain
West Conference this year, are seeking just their 17th win all-time in this
their 92nd game against a ranked opponent. Air Force last beat a member of the
Top-25 in 2010 when it got past No. 24 BYU, 31-14, at home. Its last win over
a ranked foe on the road was a 23-21 decision at No. 23 California back in
Michigan's clash with No. 2 Alabama last Saturday night in Arlington, Texas
was supposed to the be the marquee matchup of college football's opening
weekend, but the game got out of hand quickly as the Crimson Tide dominated to
the tune of a 41-14 victory.
Head coach Brady Hoke was obviously disappointed in the outcome, "We didn't
play Michigan football, and that is something that bothers our team, bothers
the coaches. I don't think we played or tackled well enough on defense. We
didn't control the line of scrimmage enough offensively," He continued, "We've
got a lot of work to do. We've got a lot of things to correct."
The Wolverines were without starting RB Fitz Toussaint due to suspension, and
they will be attempting to improve to 110-18-2 all-time in home openers this
week. Michigan has won 15 straight home games during the month of September.
This game marks just the second meeting between Air Force and Michigan on the
football field, with the latter winning the first at home back in 1964, 24-7.
The Falcons are 5-9-2 against Big Ten teams, while the Wolverines are 3-1
against the Mountain West, and 6-0 against clubs that currently call the
Air Force got a sensational individual effort from RB Cody Getz in last week's
season opener against Idaho State, as the diminutive senior ran for 218 yards
and three TDs. QB Connor Dietz added 74 yards and a score on the ground, while
tallying 142 yards through the air. In all, the Falcons churned out 490
rushing yards, and 628 yards of total offense. They did not commit a turnover.
Getz, who became the first Falcon to rush for more than 200 yards in a game
since Chad Hall turned the trick in 2007, wont have it as easy this week
against a more formidable Michigan defense, but don't expect Air Force to
deviate from its plan much as it will stick with the run as long as possible.
While it's true they faced an inferior opponent, the Falcons put forth a
stifling defensive effort against the run last week, limiting the Bengals to
66 net rushing yards. Idaho State did produce 365 passing yards, but that was
done mostly in an effort to play catch-up.
Defensive back Steffon Bates and LB Austin Niklas posted 11 tackles apiece for
the Air Force defense, which was credited with six TFL, which included two
As Denard Robinson goes, so does the Michigan offense. With the running game
pretty much non-existent last weekend, Robinson had to go it alone in an
attempt to keep the Wolverines relevant against what turned out to be a
superior Alabama squad. The talented signal-caller threw for 200 yards and a
TD, but completed just 42 percent of his passes (11-of-26) and was intercepted
twice, one of which was returned for a TD.
Robinson carried the ball 10 times, but managed just 27 net yards. He did
score a TD on a six-yard run late in the second quarter to put the Wolverines
on the board, but they had been trailing 31-0 at the time. Wide receiver
Jeremy Gallon caught four balls for 107 yards.
Robinson, while acknowledging a total team breakdown in the opener, is even
more critical of himself, "I didn't make the throws that I should have made
and I feel that I didn't play as the Michigan quarterback. I've got to step it
up and be more accountable."
The Michigan defense was shell-shocked in last week's opener, as Alabama
scored three TDs in the first quarter to set the tone early. When the dust had
settled the Crimson Tide had amassed 446 yards of total offense, including 247
on the ground. Shoring things up at the point of attack will be paramount to
performing better against another potent rushing team in Air Force.
Safety Thomas Gordon led the UM stand against 'Bama, what there was of one,
with nine tackles, while fellow DB Jordan Kovacs and LB Desmond Morgan logged
eight stops each.
09/05 10:38:32 ET