Michigan Football: Complete Breakdown Of Win Over Air Force

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

Another pesky opponent dispatched. Worries are somewhat abated, but not totally. Let’s get right into it, with the team, the team, the team.

Related Story: Takeaways from Michigan's win over Air Force


The offensive line continues to make improvements. There weren’t any glaring mistakes that I caught. Protection was pretty good and except for a few blitzes that came through, the young guys seem to be making pretty solid improvement.

We seem to have gotten to a point where Michigan relies too heavily on Ty Isaac. He was obviously in pain late in the game, but they went to the well one more time and he had to leave the field. Hopefully everything is all right with him. Evans and Higdon don’t seem quite ready to shoulder the load, in my opinion. And God knows we don’t need Speight thinking he has to carry the team.


If they looked a little shaky at times, consider that Air Force was leading the country in rushing yards with 459 yards per game coming into this one. The Wolverines had their moments, good and bad.

Yes, there was that one big coverage bust. The first time I watched, I thought it was Tyree Kinnel’s fault. But Matt Millen’s shrewd telestrator work suggested that Metellus was expected to rotate into the free safety spot, and that’s where things broke down. There isn’t a whole lot you can take from a matchup against a triple-option team. I think everything will be looking better next week.

Special Teams

I sure am glad that brilliant head coach decided to put Donovan Peoples-Jones back where he belongs. It was the right decision to hold him out last week and an even better one to put him back in this week.

Somebody taught him how to wave his hand above his head also. I am reminded of what somebody said to Morpheus in “The Matrix”: “Not everyone believes what you believe.” To which he coolly replied, “My beliefs do not require them to.” All right, gloating time over. But I saw something special in DPJ vs. Florida as a punt returner. He is fearless and he is very strong back there. It’s just so crazy, I think it may work out insanely well.


Best. Sleepover. Ever. Wild Thing, you make my heart sing. That’s all.

The Players

Donovan Peoples-Jones: DPJ had that monster punt return touchdown for 79 yards and one other for 25 yards. A pretty decent day’s work. But he also had two wide receiver screens totaling 52 yards, with a long of 37. He is just starting to come up as a weapon, and he’s the kind of weapon that can relieve stress in many other areas.

It seems you have been leading a double life, Mr. Peoples-Jones, one as a shaky rookie trying to figure it out and the other as a budding superstar. Which way will you take it?

Quinn Nordin, aka “Wild thing”: He seems to have the temperament—and God knows, the leg—for this job. After missing two field goals against Florida, he has been a perfect 7 of 7, including 5 of 5 yesterday. That’s good because every time Michigan’s offense gets bogged down in the red zone, he’s there to bail it out.

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Devin Bush: The glue guy, the heart and soul of the defense. His sideline-to-sideline pursuit and gritty inside play continue to be the heartbeat of the defense, which is still the heartbeat of the team. Another good performance.

Wilton Speight: Still a mixed bag, but he has gone a long way in the goal of eliminating the big mistakes (although that delusional hero move of flipping the ball a split second before he was sacked is a symptom of what I think is the biggest problem with Speight). He knows no bounds on wanting to be the hero. Another one was the little flip, almost over the outstretched arms of the defender near the goal line, that could have ended very badly.

Outside influences

Media: The crew of Kugler and Millen was pretty good, as usual. The farther the game went on Millen was more openly rooting for an upset. That guy is just lucky he has to escape the state of Michigan after these games and not the state of Ohio. But, it’s OK. We are civilized in Michigan, and I for one appreciate his fine telestrator work and his homespun, tough-guy wisdom. Outside of that, not much to report here.

The refs: There’s really not much to report here either. There seems to be a bit of an officiating bias when an underdog with quirks in its game gets some free space to operate from officiating crews. This could be for a variety of reasons: they aren’t quite sure how to handle their oddities, they hate to see the little guys get stomped, or quite likely it’s a delusional premise that I dreamed up myself. Hey, that last one has happened before.

My uncle Peter and other relatives: Uncle Peter was away this week—thank God for small favors. But he could very well swoop in when he feels he is needed to save the team from that “sub-par quarterback that Jim Harbaugh can’t seem to rid himself of.”

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Those are his words, not mine. I think Michigan need Speight right now, if for no other reason than to just settle all the young guys in at what they need to do before his inaccuracy and “inner hero complex” takes over. But what do I know?