Freshman tight end Devin Funchess. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Ahh, the good old ways. I'm already completely over the Alabama loss, and all you Michigan fans should be too. It's been written about to death on how no one's scored more points than Michigan did vs. this Alabama defense a year ago, Denard didn't play as bad as we all thought, and well, missing a legitimate running back option really hurt Michigan's cause. So I won't discuss that.
Let's talk about Air Force. Denard Robinson, who all those fair-weather fans were hating on just a week ago, threw for 208 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 218 yards and another 2 touchdowns. He was close to a 75% complete rate before a couple key drops made him finish with an underwhelming 56% completion rate, but he did account for 98% of the Michigan offense against Air Force. His only interception was a tipped ball that should have been caught and would have been caught if the intended receiver wasn't 5'7". A final score of 31-25 may not be pretty to look at it, but seriously, how long did Michigan have to prepare for that ridiculous triple-option offense? Six days? Six days. Not bad. Not to mention we have a new player to get excited about other than Devin Gardner. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to true freshman tight end Devin Funchess. Looks like this year's offense will revolved around the 3 Ds: Denard, Devin, and Devin. At least I hope it will. Funchess had his first career catches (4) for 106 yards and a touchdown. Talk about a coming-out party. No freshman tight end has eclipsed 100 yards for Michigan since 1997. It's funny to watch Denard actually have the option of passing to a tight end. That has never existed in his career.
It won't be until next week's game against UMass that we really see what this year's Michigan defense is all about. We got to see some of the offense, although truth be told, I don't think Denard will have 20 carries every game this year. He'll get his yards, as always (except against Alabama), but I think 20 carries will be a lot for him to average every game going forward. I'm thinking between 12-15 carries will try and be the norm for him. I'm pretty happy that Michigan plays UMass before Notre Dame; it should be a nice buffer game. Then again, Notre Dame is of course (again) overrated, barely scraping by Purdue (!) Saturday 20-17, after dismantling Navy in their first game. Side note: UMass just got their butts kicked Saturday 45-6 by Indiana. Yep, Indiana. We should be 2-1 going into the Notre Dame game, and frankly, I think we should be 3-1 going into the B1G schedule.
Speaking of the B1G, man do they look ugly so far this season. Penn State is 0-2, and Wisconsin is 1-1 after losing 10-7 to Oregon State Saturday. When's the last time you saw such numbers from a Wisconsin offense? Running back Montee Ball's TD streak was also broken, effectively ending his Heisman run. Let's not forget about Iowa, who lost 9-6 (at home) to rival Iowa State. It was Iowa State's first win in Iowa City in 10 years. Nebraska somehow lost to UCLA, who finished 6-8 last season. Taylor Martinez and co. tricked all of us after that spectacular season opener. And to top it all off, Illinois got their butts kicked by Arizona State. No wonder the national respect for the B1G is on the decline. So if you thought Michigan played poorly...take a look at the rest of the league. Out of the 12 B1G teams that played Saturday, five lost. Unacceptable.
Other interesting tidbits: Alabama only (!) scored 35 points vs. Western Kentucky, which is only interesting because they scored more points against Michigan in the season opener. With Alabama blanking Western Kentucky and USC allowing Syracuse (who lost to Northwestern in their season opener) to score 29 points on them, I think it's clear Alabama is the #1 team in the nation. Arkansas (#8) lost to Louisiana-Monroe. I really don't even know what that means. I don't care if you're playing with your 8th-string QB. And maybe most interesting of all? Rich Rod's Arizona team beat 18th-ranked Oklahoma State 59-38 (remember those numbers?). Our biggest rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State, continue to roll as they're both 2-0. What intrigues me the most though is the commentary during every Ohio State game, in which Miller makes "Denard-like" plays constantly. Please.
Here are some commit/recruit reactions from the Air Force game Saturday:
QB Shane Morris: "I honestly have no clue what happened besides freshman Funchess and Bolden playing well, and Denard being Denard."
DB Dymonte Thomas: "The game was good, our D held it down when they needed to. It's hard to stop a triple option; my high school team runs it and teams struggle against us. So it was good to get a win. And D. Robinson did work in the game. Overall, great game."
DL Taco Charlton: "It was a game they had to grind out, but all that matters is that they got the win."
OL Logan Tuley-Tillman: “It was great for our guys to be able to get back on the field so fast, it makes you focus and forget about last week.”
TE Khalid Hill: "I thought they played well. I like how they used the tight ends all over the field. I also thought it was great to see them play the true freshman [TE Devin Funchess] which is a good sign, so it was exciting!"
LB Michael Ferns: "I didn't get to catch the game at all, but it's nice to hear Joe Bolden had a great game, being a fellow Ohio guy."
WR Laquon Treadwell: “It was a great game. The offense played well from everything I saw.”