Big Ten: Connor Dietz
September, 8, 2012
By Michael Rothstein | ESPN.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan was hoping for a strong rebound performance Saturday against Air Force.
It didn't quite get it. But the Wolverines did get a 31-25 victory in a game that came down to the final moments.
It was over when: Michigan redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan batted down a Connor Dietz pass with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover on downs and giving the Wolverines the win. Air Force had been driving with a chance to win. Ryan also had a career-high 11 tackles.
Game ball goes to: Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The Wolverines would have lost without him. He accounted for four touchdowns and 426 total yards of offense. He also was Michigan's sole running producer as starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had just 7 yards on eight carries.
Stat of the game: Michigan freshman tight end Devin Funchess had four catches for 106 yards, the first time a tight end has had 100-plus yards for the Wolverines since Sept. 13, 1997, when Jerame Tuman had five catches for 126 yards.
What we learned about Michigan: Michigan could have some major issues on defense. The Wolverines' defensive line struggled with being cut by Air Force's offensive line and then couldn't get around blocks when they weren't. The linebackers struggled to read the Air Force pitch correctly. The Falcons gashed their way to 290 yards rushing and left the Michigan front seven with questions for the second consecutive week. Robinson, though, played a lot better than he did against Alabama. He completed 14 of 25 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns.
Record performance: Robinson had the fourth 200-yard rushing game of his career. His two touchdown passes gave him 43 in his career, moving him past Steve Smith (42 touchdown passes) into fifth in school history.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final South Florida 10 19 Wisconsin 27 Final Tulane 6 Rutgers 31 Final Iowa 24 Purdue 10 Final Wyoming 14 9 Michigan State 56 Final Northwestern 29 Penn State 6 Final Maryland 37 Indiana 15 Final Minnesota 30 Michigan 14 Final Cincinnati 28 22 Ohio State 50 Final Illinois 14 21 Nebraska 45