Here's our takeaways from the Wolverines' final non-conference game. That is not the type of first-place spot that MI and an offense that pushed the creative envelope a year ago were hoping to hold as they get set for Big Ten play.
For the third straight week, Michigan's offense continued to sputter at best, leaving some questions for the Wolverines as they prepare to enter Big Ten play next week. That sent rookie kicker Quinn Nordin trotting from the sideline for the fourth of his record-tying five field goals on the afternoon. Air Force probably needed to get a touchdown on the drive anyway, but the missed field goal midway through the fourth quarter felt like a near knockout blow for an Air Force offense not known for quick drives.
The Wolverines had four trips to the red zone on Friday and failed to score a touchdown.
Quarterback Wilton Speight threw for a pair touchdowns passes going 17-of-29 passing for 221 yards.
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Speight completed two pass plays of at least 30 years early in the second quarter but MI had to settle for Nordin's 26-yard field goal.
Speight was asked point-blank immediately after the game on the field on BTN about the red zone offense, and he didn't shy away from basically acknowledging that it's a serious problem. "They held the lines well, hats off to both teams' red zone defense". Wilton Speight completed 14 of 23 passes for 169 yards as MI (3-0) finished off its non-conference schedule.
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While A&M's opponent last week, Nicholls State, only had one Texan on its roster , the Ragin' Cajuns feature 16. It was unbelievably hot and humid and miserable, and we could tell they were getting exhausted .
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. He went 5-5 on field goals today, making a 49 yarder look simple in the first half. Wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones has a catch for 37 yards. Next week, the Wolverines head to Purdue to take on a Boilermaker team that has looked like a new program this season under new head coach Jeff Brohm.
MI welcomes Air Force to the Big House for the first meeting between the two since 2012 when No. 19 MI held on to beat Air Force 31-25. The triple option is always a tricky offense to defend, but the Wolverines were prepared for the unique ground game.
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Sophomore linebacker Devin Bush led the defense with 11 tackles and on two occasions smothered a rare pass attempt before Air Force's Arion Worthman had a chance to look downfield.