Game Day: Michigan’s offense could fly to new heights vs. Air Force

Air Force Head Coach Troy Calhoun opened up his weekly press conference earlier in the week with a three-word summation of his next opponent: A “great football team.”

Calhoun and the Falcons won their season opener 62-0 over VMI but face a very different opponent on Saturday (noon) when they fly into the Big House to take on the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines. VMI clearly isn’t a “great football team.”

“You look at (Michigan) offensively and they are going to have games where they have 50 points just with their size,” he said. “They are extremely electric across the board especially with their backs and receivers, and they also have a veteran quarterback.”

Calhoun, who along with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh are two of 14 head coaches in the FBS leading their alma mater in 2017, said he doesn’t believe the Air Force Academy has ever played a program with as many four and five star recruits.

“They are well prepared and just a terrific football team and their size up front will be a big challenge,” he said.

As noted on the Air Force web site, Michigan’s offensive line averages 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds while the defensive line averages 6-4 and 285 pounds. Air Force’s offensive line averages 6-2 and 282 pounds while the defensive line comes in at 6-2 and 272 pounds.

Size and speed have been Michigan’s two big weapons on offense in their first two wins.

Ty Isaac is on a record pace so far in 2017. The senior running back set career highs in carries (20) and rushing yards (133) against Cincinnati after he matched a career high with 114 yards on 11 carries against Florida in the opener.

“He’s just … he’s progressed,” said Harbaugh during Monday’s press conference. “He’s capitalized on opportunities. He’s always — he’s been a good football player, now he’s better, which has been good. He’s taken his opportunity, he’s taken the bit, and he’s run with it.”

The quarterback also is progressing.

Wilton Speight tossed a pair of touchdowns vs. Cincinnati, completing 17-of-29 passes for 221 yards and completed 11-of-25 passes for 181 yards and one TD in the opening win over Florida.

And Harbaugh likes what he’s seen up front, although there is always work to do and always ways to get better.

“I think our first thought coming off the game was we were a little sloppy at times,” he said. “We didn’t get into our rhythm. But looking at the film, there was a lot of good things and some of the things that we can improve are easily fixable.”

This will be the third meeting between Air Force and Michigan and the first since 2012 when the Wolverines won 31-25 in Ann Arbor. Michigan is the highest ranked team Air Force has played since taking on No. 4 Michigan State in 2015.

Air Force is 5-11-2 all-time against teams in the Big Ten.




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