- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- He ran out on the field wearing a new jersey. And by the end of Michigan’s 31-25 win over Air Force on Saturday, Jake Ryan had a career game to go with that new number.
During an afternoon when Michigan struggled defensively and couldn’t make many plays, often being unable to get off the field on third down, Ryan seemed to be around the ball almost the entire game.
Awarded the Bennie Oosterbaan No. 47 legends jersey before the game Saturday, Ryan recorded a career-high 11 tackles, including a tackle for loss and two pass breakups.
“Just wearing it is amazing,” Ryan said. “I’m going to wear it with pride and represent him as well as I can.“
He did that Saturday. Michigan coach Brady Hoke told Ryan about a week ago he was selected to wear the jersey if he wanted it. He accepted it.
And now, Ryan said he feels like he is representing someone else whenever he is on the field, a three-time first-team All-America selection and one of the best players ever to play for Michigan.
“As we looked at the guys who, from a character standpoint and the standpoint of how he goes about his business every day, there wasn’t a better job than have Jake represent Bennie,” Hoke said. “As a staff we came up with that, and that’s the right guy.
“How he played, I think he made some plays in there and got on the ground sometimes. For me to say how he really played, I couldn’t tell ya. I know he played hard.”