Michigan Wolverines: afa-mich-090812

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's injury issues grew Saturday as the Wolverines took more hits on defense.

The Wolverines have already lost defensive lineman Chris Wormley and cornerback Blake Countess for the season to torn ACLs and linebacker Kaleb Ringer to a knee injury.

On Saturday, depth took a bigger hit -- temporarily -- with injuries to defensive linemen Brennen Beyer and Richard Ash.

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There were too many possible puns, so freshman tight end Devin Funchess couldn't get away from the media without letting them know what his nickname was.

And while "D-Funch" was his ultimate response, several had hoped it would be along the lines of "Getting Funch-y" or "Bunches of Funchess." Because no one could deny that Funchess had quite the coming-out party on Saturday against Air Force and the public had already begun crowning him with nicknames.

The true freshman, who stepped into the first-string tight end position after senior Brandon Moore suffered a knee injury, became senior quarterback Denard Robinson's go-to tight end. He caught four passes for 106 yards and one touchdown.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- He ran out on the field wearing a new jersey. And by the end of Michigan’s 31-25 win over Air Force on Saturday, Jake Ryan had a career game to go with that new number.

[+] EnlargeJake Ryan, Jordan Kovacs
Rick Osentoski/US PresswireWearing the No. 47 legends jersey for the first time, Jake Ryan had a career-high 11 tackles.
During an afternoon when Michigan struggled defensively and couldn’t make many plays, often being unable to get off the field on third down, Ryan seemed to be around the ball almost the entire game.

Awarded the Bennie Oosterbaan No. 47 legends jersey before the game Saturday, Ryan recorded a career-high 11 tackles, including a tackle for loss and two pass breakups.

“Just wearing it is amazing,” Ryan said. “I’m going to wear it with pride and represent him as well as I can.“

He did that Saturday. Michigan coach Brady Hoke told Ryan about a week ago he was selected to wear the jersey if he wanted it. He accepted it.

And now, Ryan said he feels like he is representing someone else whenever he is on the field, a three-time first-team All-America selection and one of the best players ever to play for Michigan.

“As we looked at the guys who, from a character standpoint and the standpoint of how he goes about his business every day, there wasn’t a better job than have Jake represent Bennie,” Hoke said. “As a staff we came up with that, and that’s the right guy.

“How he played, I think he made some plays in there and got on the ground sometimes. For me to say how he really played, I couldn’t tell ya. I know he played hard.”

Denard Robinson defies the numbers

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
9:02
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The numbers didn't seem to add up on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who rushed for 218 yards and threw for 208 yards, accounted for more offense than what was in the Michigan statistics. His 426 yards of total offense was four yards more than the Wolverines' 422 yards, and while the math worked its way out because of negative yardage from the team and a poor showing from running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, it all sort of seemed to make sense.

[+] EnlargeDenard Robinson
Gregory Shamus/Getty ImagesIn a strange statistical anomaly, Denard Robinson actually accounted for more total yards (426) than the entire Michigan offense (422) against Air Force.
Because people stopped using numbers to define a quarterback who believes he could beat Usain Bolt in a 40-yard dash and a player who has beaten teams singled handedly, even though his arm sometimes has held him back.

But on Saturday, in a 31-25 win over Air Force, Robinson showed a more relaxed demeanor on the field as he handled the Falcons and took what they threw at him.

"I think I calmed down a little more and I just went out there and played Michigan football," Robinson said. "I feel like we still have to improve some, but we went out and played ball today."

Robinson rushed for two touchdowns and added another two in the air on a 14-of-25 passing effort. It wasn't a perfect passing game from any standpoint, but it was enough for a win. He showed some of the passing progress that offensive coordinator Al Borges had spoken about, progress that wasn't seen during the Wolverines' 41-14 loss to Alabama last weekend, when Robinson completed just 11 passes and threw two interceptions.

But not surprisingly for the player who is known as "Shoelace," it was his feet that picked up his longest plays of the game.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan was hoping for a strong rebound performance Saturday against Air Force.

It didn't quite get it. But the Wolverines did get a 31-25 victory in a game that came down to the final moments.

It was over when: Michigan redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan batted down a Connor Dietz pass with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter, forcing a turnover on downs and giving the Wolverines the win. Air Force had been driving with a chance to win. Ryan also had a career-high 11 tackles.

Game ball goes to: Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The Wolverines would have lost without him. He accounted for four touchdowns and 426 total yards of offense. He also was Michigan's sole running producer as starting running back Fitzgerald Toussaint had just 7 yards on eight carries.

Stat of the game: Michigan freshman tight end Devin Funchess had four catches for 106 yards, the first time a tight end has had 100-plus yards for the Wolverines since Sept. 13, 1997, when Jerame Tuman had five catches for 126 yards.

What we learned about Michigan: Michigan could have some major issues on defense. The Wolverines' defensive line struggled with being cut by Air Force's offensive line and then couldn't get around blocks when they weren't. The linebackers struggled to read the Air Force pitch correctly. The Falcons gashed their way to 290 yards rushing and left the Michigan front seven with questions for the second consecutive week. Robinson, though, played a lot better than he did against Alabama. He completed 14 of 25 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

Record performance: Robinson had the fourth 200-yard rushing game of his career. His two touchdown passes gave him 43 in his career, moving him past Steve Smith (42 touchdown passes) into fifth in school history.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a week when No. 19 Michigan was dominated on both offense and defense, the Wolverines needed to show improvement against Air Force.

So far there has been some improvement, but still some concerns as Michigan entered halftime with a 14-10 lead on the Falcons.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. --Michigan redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan is wearing the No. 47 jersey, unretired Saturday before No. 19 Michigan's game against Air Force.

Ryan had five tackles in the season-opener against Alabama.

Bennie Oosterbaan's family was honored on the field before the game, presented with a framed No. 47.

This is the second Legends Patch awarded. Former Michigan receiver Desmond Howard was given the designation last season and his No. 21 jersey was first worn by Junior Hemingway and then this season by fifth-year senior Roy Roundtree. Oosterbaan's No. 47 is the first of four previously retired jerseys to be put back into circulation this season by Michigan.

Oosterbaan is one of two three-time All-Americans at Michigan, earning the honor in 1925, 1926 and 1927. After playing at Michigan, he started coaching at the school, first as an assistant for Fritz Crisler and then as the Michigan head coach from 1948 to 1958.

In that time, he had a 63-33-4 record and won the national championship in 1948. His teams also won or shared three Big Ten titles.

Oosterbaan was also a two-time All-American in basketball in 1927 and 1928.

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BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12