Rockford's Quinn Nordin kicked five field goals to lead the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines past Air Force 29-13 in a battle of unbeatens at Michigan Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Here are some takeaways from the game.
While the Wolverines are still undefeated, they have a lot of work to do on offense.
Some Michigan football players will head to the NFL, and the players from Air Force will go into the military. Wilton Speight didn't throw for many yards and the running game could've been better. Worthman found wideout Ronald Cleveland behind a MI defense creeping forward, the play going 64 yards for a touchdown to make it 16-13 at the 11:54 mark. In the red zone, their struggles have played out for all to see and Speight didn't hide his feelings in one, raw moment Saturday. The only offensive touchdown of the game was a 36-yard run by Karan Higdon in the closing minutes. The rushing attack added 190 yards, which sounds better than it actually looked.
Instead of criticizing his team's lack of production in the red zone, Jim Harbaugh gave credit to Air Force's coaching. "They held the lines well, hats off to both teams' red zone defense". Air Force routed VMI 62-0 in its season opener and hopes to ride the momentum to its first win against a Big Ten opponent since beating Northwestern in 2003.
The two teams traded field goals in the second stanza, including a 26-yarder by Nordin followed by a 50-yarder by Strebel, once again deadlocking the count at 6-6. Nordin will continue to be a savior throughout the season, especially with the red zone woes.
The Wolverines caught a huge break to keep it a two-score game, after Air Force drove from its own 15 to the Wolverines' 5. "I changed the field a couple of times, and they did a great job of blocking and not holding - it made my job very easy". While former coordinator Jedd Fisch was breaking out the 11-man "snake" I-formation at his new gig at UCLA, the Wolverines lacked the type of ingenuity that inspired those types of interesting looks and the Big Ten's most productive offense (40.3 points per game) last fall. Having a good special teams unit is a key asses in being a successful team.
Fifth-year senior tailback Ty Isaac (16 carries, 89 yards) got MI rolling on the first possession of the game, breaking off a 32-yard run.