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Turning point of the game: Special teams takes over

While the Michigan defense made a large difference in this game, it was ultimately a pair of individuals on Michigan's special teams that won the Wolverines the game.

NCAA Football: Air Force at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Another week, another underwhelming win at home for Michigan.

The Wolverines topped Air Force on Saturday 29-13 in a game that was once again close until the fourth quarter when Michigan was heavily favored.

Defensively, Michigan was once again very solid, stuffing the triple-option attack that the Falcons offered all afternoon. The offense on the other hand still looks puzzled more times than not.

This week, the changing moment in the game came from an unexpected unit: special teams.

Here's a look at what the Wolverines special teams units were able to do to change the game.

Peoples-Jones has his moment

With a talent like Donovan Peoples-Jones, time seemed to be the only element in the way between him and that first big play.

On Saturday, he finally got that moment.

After the Michigan defense forced a quick 3-and-out, the Falcons were forced to punt while trailing by just three.

Peoples-Jones was back deep to receive the punt and he had a lot of space in front of him. He later said that “it opened up like the Red Sea.”

His speed and elusiveness was on full display as he started going left and then cut back right until he was running along the sideline.

It was only the punter left in front of him and he shook off the tackle and kept his balance to stay inbounds, eventually finding the end zone.

It was a 79-yard punt return that gave Michigan a 16-6 lead and would essentially be the game-winning touchdown.

The first half had a vanilla feel to it and that touchdown sparked life into the stadium.

NCAA Football: Air Force at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

However, Air Force would quickly shift the momentum back in its favor. The Falcons went on a 64-yard touchdown drive within two minutes after Peoples-Jones punt return touchdown.

That set up another moment that won Michigan the game.

A key opportunity missed, literally

With the game starting to shift in Michigan's favor after another Quinn Nordin field goal, the Wolverines took a 22-13 lead nearing the midway point of the fourth quarter.

Air Force was able to put together a nice drive, getting inside of the red zone and really pushing to make it interesting.

The Michigan defense stood tall and forced a 7-yard loss on a Timothy McVey run, essentially setting up a field goal attempt.

With a chance to keep things close and make it a game until the end, the Falcons couldn't get the job done.

NCAA Football: Air Force at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Strebel pushed his kick wide from 29 yards out and locked up a victory for Michigan.

Strebel hit 37 and 50-yard attempts earlier in the day but couldn't come through in a key moment of the game.

It truly showed how big of a different maker Nordin was in the game, making all five field goals he was asked to put through the uprights.

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In a game full of defensive plays and changes, in the end it was the legs of Nordin and Peoples-Jones that made the difference for the Wolverines in week three.

Up next

Michigan (3-0) will start Big Ten play as they go to West Lafayette, Indiana, to take on Purdue. The Boilermakers (2-1) are coming off of an impressive 35-3 win over Missouri on the road.

Kick-off will be at 4 p.m. from Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23.