Devin Funchess established himself as a name to remember in the future. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(From here on out during the season the Monday Happy Hour is going to replaced by the MMGW, a look at how Michigan did over the weekend that includes links and some short analysis from yours truly.)
Michigan managed to get past Air Force Saturday in yet another game that taught us almost nothing of substance. That's the thing about playing triple option teams -- the schemes and players are so different than what most programs run out that its almost like playing a different sport. While watching the game yesterday and yelling about how much I hate the option, my roommate (a Virginia Tech grad) just looked at me and smiled. He knew how terrible it was to witness. He has to watch VT play Georgia Tech every single year.
Air Force cut and sliced and pitched its way to nearly 300 yards of rushing at four excruciating yards per carry. It was a constant barraged of misdirection and finely tuned option football. It also means very little. This just isn't the kind of football Michigan is going to see again this year.
That doesn't mean there aren't takeaways. Michigan's defense may have struggled early, but in the final eight minutes it came up with two big fourth-down stops to preserve the lead. And offensively Denard Robinson had an impressive game both as a passer and a runner.
With UMass next up, we are still a couple weeks away from getting a really good look at what kind of team Team 133 really is. Hopefully by then they find that out themselves.
Game links and recaps after the jump...
Hoke talked about getting stops -- especially third-down stops -- coming into this game to get the ball out of the hands of Air Force's grind-it-out offense. Instead, Michigan finished with a 10-minute disadvantage in time of possession.
The Falcons were 12-of-21 on third-down conversions, including converting 9-of-15 in the first three quarters. Time and again, Air Force fooled Michigan defenders with misdirection and finesse.
"I love seeing him catch passes, because it sends a message," Gardner said. "He's really a wide receiver, he just happens to be a little bigger than the rest of us."
Michigan reverts to Robinson-heavy attack to beat Air Force 31-25 -- The Michigan Daily
This is what Michigan football looks like, at least with Robinson, the senior, as the quarterback. For better or worse, the Wolverines live and die by the fortunes of a blurred No. 16 jersey darting across the field - with his shoelaces untied, of course.
This time, Robinson and his receiving corps played the hero, rescuing a shoddy defense from a comeback loss. Michigan led the entire game but needed a stop on the Falcons' final drive to put Air Force away.
Michigan 31, Air Force 25 -- Touch the Banner
The cornerbacks are scaring me. Raymon Taylor was very, very weak in run support. I'm not a huge fan of J.T. Floyd in run support, either, but Taylor looks to avoid contact with blockers whenever possible, and that's a bit scary. Now I'm going to go back to forgetting what the defense did.
What made you decide to go with Joe Bolden at linebacker during the second half?
"Well I think we were trying to play as many guys as we could. Joe had a pretty good feel for the option part of it. At Colerain high school that's all that they run. He saw things maybe a little bit more than we were, but it is more just trying to keep guys fresh and trying to rotate them through."
Air Force Recap: Remnants Of RichRod - MGoBlog (Ace)
Last season's 11-2 record belied the myriad issues Brady Hoke faced upon taking over in Ann Arbor. After two games in 2012, those issues are at the forefront for the Wolverines. The lack of depth on the offensive line means Michigan must move ahead with the current unit-despite its ineffectiveness in the run game-unless they want to insert a true freshman. The defensive tackles will be a sore spot all year; the players expected to relieve that problem are freshmen or not even on campus yet. The offense still leans heavily on Denard, whose style doesn't always mesh well with the offensive philosophy of Borges.After Denard Robinson's interception at midfield, Demens returned to action, but that would be the veteran's final action of the contest. Bolden took every defensive snap of the second half.
True freshmen review - Air Force -- Maize and Blue News
While it may be difficult to lob too much praise at any defensive player in a game where Michigan surrendered 290 rushing yards, the young freshman handled the situation well. He was involved in stopping Air Force's faked field goal, which turned out to be a key play in the game. Bolden finished second on the squad in tackles, with 10 total stops. Six of his tackles were recorded as solo stops, which led all Wolverines.
Air Force Reaction -- Tremendous
I said a score "in the mold of a 31-24" would be cause for concern. The score was eerily close, but I'm not at Defcon 3 yet. I'm surprised Ace played the Rich Rod card post-game, but this individual game was definitely reminiscent of the era: all Denard with a bend about as far as you can without breaking defense who makes big plays at the end.
Dr. Sap’s Decal Club Champions -- MVictors
JAKE RYAN – did #47 proud by making plays at the beginning of the game and on the last drive for Air Force by knocking down their last pass.
Surveying the B1Gscape: Week 2 -- Holdin' The Rope
The youth movement is a cause for excitement, sure, but in the short term is like being served several dollops of uncut consternation. If Michigan is rolling with two freshmen at the inside linebacker positions (Ross and Bolden) in place of a sophomore and a FIFTH YEAR SENIOR in Demens, Michigan's run defense--which was already not something to write home about last season--will take several steps backwards. Unless Demens and Morgan reassert themselves (which seems unlikely given the second half), odds are Wood, Atkinson, and Riddick have a field day against this front seven in two weeks.