Michigan survives a mighty scare from rush-heavy Air Force, hanging on for 31-25 win
ANN ARBOR -- It wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy and it didn't come without nerves.
But for Michigan, it was a win. And for now, that's good enough.
The 19th-ranked Wolverines let Air Force rush for 290 yards and stay in the game from wire-to-wire, but in the end, Denard Robinson and company were too much for the Falcons -- just barely, as the Wolverines held on for a 31-25 win at Michigan Stadium.
Robinson combined for 426 yards (218 rush, 208 pass), accounting for all but seven of Michigan's entire offensive output.
Air Force had a chance to take the lead on its final possession of the game, but Jake Ryan batted a Connor Dietz fourth-down pass with 1:28 to play, clinching it for Michigan.
-- Denard Robinson wasted zero time showing he still knows how to run the football, ripping off a 79-yard touchdown run on Michigan's second play from scrimmage. He finished the game with 20 carries for 218 yards. He opened the second half with a 58-yard touchdown run, and also wasn't too shabby throwing either -- going 14-for-25 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
-- Michigan may have found its answer at tight end. With starter Brandon Moore injured this week, the Wolverines got a major boost from freshman tight end Devin Funchess. The 6-foot-4, 229-pound Funchess had three catches for 80 yards and a score before halftime. Funchess finished the game with four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown.
-- Devin Gardner looked much more collected this week at wide receiver, running crisp routes and showing strong hands. Gardner and Funchess were easily Michigan's top wide receivers Saturday, as the converted quarterback finished with five receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.
-- Michigan's defense looked absolutely lost on the edge against Air Force in the first half, as the Falcons used the triple-option pitch over and over again, racking up 155 yards on the ground in the first half alone. The Falcons were 12-for-21 on third down, and finished with a whopping 290 yards on the ground against a very young, and very confused Michigan defense.
-- Fitz Toussaint's return to the field wasn't exactly sparkling. The junior running back returned to action after sitting out last week due to suspension. Toussaint started, and gained just eight yards on six carries in the first half. Toussaint wasn't much better in the second, and finished the game with just seven yards on eight carries.
-- Roy Roundtree's 2012 season has not started out well. Not at all. Roundtree once again wasn't targeted much, and never really looked open. He finished the game with just one catch for five yards. Jeremy Gallon was quiet, too. Making just one grab for seven yards.
ISSUE OF THE WEEK
-- Funchess obviously looks like he has a bright future as a pass-catching tight end. A run-blocker, though? That remains to be seen. In any event, he more than picked up the slack for the loss of Brandon Moore. As for the injury to Blake Countess? Michigan started junior Courtney Avery, and while he wasn't completely lost in pass coverage, he wasn't exactly stellar against Air Force's option pitches.
Denard Robinson proved he's still got it, but Michigan's defense was absolutely torched on the ground for a second straight week. How concerned are you about Michigan's defense, especially its run-stopping unit?