There are no moral victories for the Air Force Falcons this week. They went into Ann Arbor, Michigan and had their chances to beat the fabled Wolverines, but in the end the maize and blue prevailed 31-25. Air Force had 6 different possessions inside the Michigan 20 but could only come up with 3 touchdowns and a field goal. The Falcons failed on an 11 play opening drive of the game that ended with a 36 yard missed field goal by Parker Herrington. They also had a 12 play 65 yard drive late in the third quarter that ended with a failed fake field goal inside the Michigan 5 yard line.
Credit must be given to Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson who was the difference maker with a 79 yard touchdown run on the Wolverines second offensive play of the game, and a 58 yard run on the first play off the second half for another score. The Air Force defense struggled to tackle let alone contain the Heisman Trophy candidate who piled up 218 yards on 20 carries and was 14 of 25 for 208 yards passing and 2 touchdowns through the air.
The Falcons do walk away from this game knowing that they are not going to face another quarterback with Robinson's ability the rest of this season. With the next week off Air Force can review the game film of this one. It will help them realize what mistakes they made in their assignments that allowed Robinson to run all over the place and then take it out onto the practice field and get ready for the rest of the season.
The biggest contrast from week 1 against Idaho State to week 2 against Michigan is that the fire on the defensive side of the ball was there. Linebacker Alex Means came up big many times with 7 tackles; 1 for a loss of 8 yards and 3 pass break ups. Safety Brian Lindsay led the way with 8 tackles; 1 for a loss. The Falcons were playing with a passion that kept them in the game with a chance to win late.
Offensively, the coaches can be proud that the Falcons didn't have many problems moving the ball down the field in their standard option offense. Air Force will not face a bigger or stronger defense the rest of the season than the battle-hardened Wolverines. Cody Getz again showed off his play making abilities with 3 more touchdowns on 26 carries for 130 yards. Getz now has 6 touchdowns through 2 games.
Quarterback Connor Dietz once again showed great execution completing 10 of 19 passes for 127 yards to go along with 14 carries for 61 yards on the ground. However, on the drive in the third quarter that ended on a failed fake field goal, Dietz had a pass to receiver Ty MacArthur over the middle for 32 yards that should have gone for a touchdown. Instead MacArthur misplayed the ball off his facemask and fell down reeling it in at the Michigan 30 yard line with no defenders within 10 yards of him.
The Falcons had their chances and should come away from this game knowing that they can play with anyone on their schedule this season. No crowd will be too intimidating and no opposition will be too imposing. They could have beaten Michigan, and they know it. The question will be can they take this loss and use it as motivation to go out and work that much harder to play better football? They have a bye this week and you can bet that they will be itching to get back out on the field next week against UNLV.