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Posted on Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

Your mega guide to Michigan vs. Air Force

By Pete Cunningham


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson stumbles while running the ball against Air Force in the first half.

GAME STORY: Michigan survives a mighty scare from rush-heavy Air Force, hanging on for 31-25 win

GRADE THE WOLVERINES: With polls: What grade do the Wolverines deserve for their performance?

LIVE COVERAGE: Check out our live updating game story on the Michigan football home page beginning at 2:30 p.m., and follow beat writers Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) and Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) on Twitter for live updates during the game.

WHO: No. 19 Michigan (0-1) vs. Air Force (1-0)

WHERE: Ann Arbor.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m.

ODDS: Michigan is favored by 21.5 according to

SERIES RECORD: Michigan leads 1-0.

LAST MEETING: September 26, 1964, Michigan won 24-7 at Michigan.

WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with a 30-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing from the Northwest at 10-15 m.p.h. Game-time temperature: Around 65.

BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: ABC; Radio: Michigan Sports Network (local affiliates).

MICHIGAN: Roster | Schedule

AIR FORCE: Roster | Schedule coverage: Last week the Michigan football team took on defending national champion and then second-ranked Alabama. The Crimson Tide put such a beating on the Wolverines that they were elevated to the top-ranked team in the country while the Wolverines sunk from No. 8 to 19. The weeks leading up to the Alabama game all anyone wanted to talk about was Alabama. The week leading up to Michigan's game with Air Force is similar in that all anyone wants to talk about, still, is Alabama. There have been some Air Force story lines to keep up with as well, so check out our coverage from the past week:

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Fitz Toussaint to start in return from suspension, Michigan coach Brady Hoke says

As difficult as it was for Michigan to play Alabama last week, for suspended running back Fitz Toussaint, it was much harder not to play the Crimson Tide. Coach Brady Hoke announced on Friday that Toussaint will not only return against the Falcons, but has earned the start.

5 keys to victory: Michigan needs to button down tackling against Air Force (with prediction)

What does Michigan have to do better against Air Force than it did against Alabama? In a nutshell: everything. But with the Falcons' unique offensive approach, there will be a premium on sound tackling.

Video:'s Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner preview Michigan-Air Force's Michigan football reporters Kyle Meinke and Nick Baumgardner have written exhaustively all week about the Michigan football team. Now, see what they have to say on video about the Wolverines' matchup with the Falcons.

Who's got the edge? Position-by-position breakdown of Michigan-Air Force

Quarterback...running back...wide receiver. Where does Michigan hold an advantage over Air Force and vice versa? Nick Baumgarder breaks down exactly where the Wolverines will have an edge, and where Air Force might get the best of the Wolverines.

Blake Countess loss provides chance for others, but it's still a devastating blow for Michigan

Sophomore cornerback Blake Countess blew out his ACL during the Alabama game, leaving the Wolverines without arguably their best corner for the rest of the season. His absence now opens a window for someone to step up, but is a devastating blow, regardless.

Air Force beat writer: Falcons' disciplined attack 'drives big-name opponents nuts'

The triple option: It's a little bit weird, it's a little bit fun and it's all Air Force does on offense. Frank Schwab, an Air Force beat writer for The Colorado Springs Gazette, explains how Air Force's unique attack drives teams crazy.


AP Photo

Brady Hoke has some history, and some luck, defending Air Force's triple-option offense

Though Saturday may be the first time any of the Michigan players face Air Force's triple option, Hoke has had his fair share of encounters with it. For the most part, he's been successful.

Brady Hoke discusses Bennie Oosterbaan, says he's decided who will wear his 'Legend' jersey

Michigan "Legend" Bennie Oosterbaan will have his number brought out of retirement on Saturday for the season as part of Michigan's new "Legends" uniform tradition. A senior who exemplifies what Oosterbaan stood for as an athlete and a person will be honored with his uniform number. Hoke said he knows who will be wearing the No. 47, but he isn't telling just yet.

How could Al Borges defend not running Denard more against Alabama?

Michigan football beat writer Kyle Meinke answers readers' questions about play calling, run defense, the Big Ten's national relevance and oh so much more in his weekly mailbag. He also touches on a game you may have watched...Michigan vs. Alabama.

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Air Force head coach votes Michigan No. 9 after big loss to Alabama and other Wolverines links

Michigan slid significantly in the rankings after enduring a shellacking at the hands of Alabama, but Air Force coach Troy Calhoun still views the Woverines as a top ten team, even if the rest of the country does not. The Wolverines slid from No. 8 to 19, but Calhoun only had them dropping one spot to No. 9.

Wolverines Issue of the Week: Fighting through injuries, both physically (Countess) and mentally (27-point loss)

Preparing for Air Force wasn't all about the triple option. The Wolverines had plenty in house issues -- be it injuries or otherwise -- to deal with before they could start worrying about anyone else. Will those issues be dealt with by kickoff on Saturday? Only time will tell

This and That


Michigan fans Gail and Bob Bacon, of Waterford, sing 'Sweet Caroline' as they tailgate outside of Michigan Stadium on Saturday before the Air Force game.

Melanie Maxwell |


Associated Press preview capsule


The Wolverines will get a chance to show they still belong in the rankings after getting beat by Alabama 41-14 last week at Cowboys Stadium. The Falcons have a shot at snapping a 19-game losing streak against teams ranked in the AP poll.


Michigan's front seven against Air Force's option offense. After the Wolverines were pounded by the Crimson Tide's straightforward approach on the ground, they will have to adjust to a lot of deception on the ground with what coach Troy Calhoun calls a tailback, zone-running scheme.

Air Force: RB Cody Getz, one of 13 first-time starters, made the most of his best opportunity to carry the ball in four years by running for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries in last week's 49-21 win over Idaho State.
Michigan: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint, the team's top tailback has been cleared to play by coach Brady Hoke, who suspended him for the opener after he pleaded guilty to drunken driving. He is expected to start.


Michigan beat Air Force 24-7 in 1964 at home in their only previous meeting. ... Air Force hasn't defeated a team in AP poll since beating No. 23 Cal 23-21 nearly a decade ago on the road and its last win over a Big Ten team was in 2003 against Northwestern. ... The Wolverines will unretire No. 47 by a player to be announced Saturday, putting Bennie Oosterbaan's jersey back in circulation with a Michigan Football Legend patch. ... Michigan has the longest active streak of avoiding a shutout — scoring in 338 straight games since being blanked at Iowa in 1984 — and Air Force's 234-game scoring run ranks fourth. The Wolverines' scoring streak trails only the NCAA record of 361 that was set by BYU from 1975-2003 and snapped by Utah. ... The Falcons have played in a program-record five straight bowl games.

Around the Big Ten

  • No. 11 Michigan State (1-0) at Central Michigan (1-0) (Preview | MSU Coverage)
  • No. 13 Wisconsin (1-0) at Oregon State (0-0) (Preview)
  • Central Florida (1-0) at No. 14 Ohio State (1-0) (Preview)
  • No. 16 Nebraska (1-0) at UCLA (1-0) (Preview)
  • Purdue (1-0) at No. 22 Notre Dame (1-0) (Preview)
  • Illinois (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0) (Preview)
  • Vanderbilt (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0) (Preview)
  • Indiana (1-0) at Massachusetts (0-1) (Preview)
  • Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0) (Preview)
  • Penn State (0-1) at Virginia (1-0) (Preview)
  • New Hampshire (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0) (Preview)

Pete Cunningham covers sports for


Terry Star21

Sun, Sep 9, 2012 : 1:17 a.m.

BREAKING NEWS; Ann Arbor, Michigan.....a stealth bomber flew over the Big House Saturday afternoon, but the Air Force was grounded after that. Although a very suburb football team, they were no match for Denard Robinson's speed and the Michigan defense. Michigan now has it's first win of twelve in a row as it prepares to run the table. MgoBlueForTiM.......great time to be a Michigan football faithful.


Sun, Sep 9, 2012 : 1:49 a.m.

Did the Stealth bomb the Big House with Kool Aid?


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11:36 p.m.

Well, that's it: not only did Michigan just manage to eke out a win versus AF, the last 4-1/2minutes of the game were cut off - which deprived paying subscribers of seeing the full game THEY PAID TO SEE. Congrats to Michigan football: you won the game but at the same time made this season a long one. Now it's going to take a lot more to earn back the respect you've lost. (And we Michigan fans will be hearing about it for a long time to come.)


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.

Game over: Keys to the win was the Mich defense stopping AF on the last three drives. No running back stepped up so Al Borgess let Denard be Denard. WOW! That performance was very impressive. 400+ yds of total offense. What happened to Fitz Toussaint? Most ineffective. It was obvious Borgess had no option but to let Denard run. Other missing offensive player was Roy Rountree. Really good to see Devin Funchess step up. I think we'll get a break next game against U-Mass. Go Blue!!

Jon Saalberg

Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11 p.m.

Oh man. This defense is going to cause a collective coronary among the Michigan faithful. I will be shocked if this team finishes at .500.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

Let's not jump off the ledge too soon. Seems like Notre Dame had a real dog fight w Purdue.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 10:51 p.m.

Is it just me or did ABC switch to the USC game midway through the fourth quarter? They switched back but I think I lost 5 or 6 minutes of the game? Frustrating...


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 11:54 p.m.

Seems that it was the last 4 min., 30 sec. they cut off and switched to the other game. Also seems like we're due some compensation since it was a close game and the last score happened to be included in the time after the cut off. I see no logic in that action: cutting off the end of one game to catch a beginning or earlier part of another game makes no sense. Michigan is supposed to be "the most televised " college team, so I wonder why Michigan isn't making it clear they want all 60 minutes of their games provided to fans / viewers. It should be determined who it was who made that decision so that "appropriate" action can be taken. Was it the network?


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.

Another unimpressive week of football for UM. Do you think they'll stay in the top 25?


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

Half time: this... is not going well. Michigan needs to bury Air Force. They now have one half to do it in.


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Yahoo Sports quote: "No team in America needs a quick and impressive start this week as badly as the Wolverines do." - I'd say that about sums it up. Except to add that Air Force has a win under their belts and won't want to just lay down for Michigan. Colorado Springs: amazing how time flies -- 70 years ago, my father took his Air Force training (actually, it was USAAF in those days) in Colorado Springs and my mother came down and they got married there. Whatever - that was then, this is Ann Arbor NOW -- GO BLUE!!


Sat, Sep 8, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Go Michigan, beat those bus drivers from Colorado Springs!