Matt Charboneau: It's never simple preparing to face Air Force and its triple-option offense and MI will get a chance to prove its defense is truly the real deal. The usually unflappable MI quarterback looked considerably flapped late in the third quarter Saturday while an equally flummoxed home crowd booed the Wolverines offense for the second straight week.
MI kicker Quinn Nordin (3) is congratulated by quarterback Garrett Moores (15) and long snapper Camaron Cheeseman (33) after making a point after field goal in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Air Force in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.
The Wolverines came out of the locker room and immediately scored on a 79-yard punt return by freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones to take charge 16-6.
In hitting five field goals, Nordin tied a school record for field goals in a game and bumped his season total up to 11.
Aside from one 64-yard touchdown pass from Arion Worthman to Ronald Cleveland, Michigan's defense was able to hold the Air Force offense in check. Only two seconds remained in a first quarter that roared by like the T-38 Talons in the pregame flyover. "For the most part, with the exception of a few drives, I thought we shut them down well".
Peoples-Jones - relieved in his punt-return duties just a week earlier - busted up the field goal battle like Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier.
His 79-yard flight gave MI separation, at 16-6.
Air Force awakened, making its first pass completion count. The defense remains fierce and entertaining - holding the Falcons to 232 yards of offense and only one touchdown on a busted coverage.
Another shanked Air Force punt set MI up at the Falcons' 43, and the Wolverines drove to the 8.
The two teams traded field goals in the second stanza, including a 26-yarder by Nordin followed by a 50-yarder by Strebel, once again deadlocking the count at 6-6.
It also had a first-and-goal midway through the fourth quarter, trailing 22-13. Nordin will continue to be a savior throughout the season, especially with the red zone woes.
MI sophomore linebacker Devin Bush didn't hesitate when asked if the defense was the identity of the team through the first three games of the season. It won't be enough to plow through a Big Ten slate unscathed.
Wolverines defenders Devin Bush and Mike McCray each had 18 tackles, with Bush adding on a sack.
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