The No.7 Michigan Wolverines (2-0) are coming off a 36-14 win over the Cincinnati Bearcats that they didn’t seem to dominate. On Saturday, the team will host the Air Force Falcons (1-0) in their final non-conference game of the regular season.
Unlike most college football teams, the Falcons run a unique offense called the triple option. In this scheme, the quarterback lines up directly under the center and has three choices; hand the ball off to the running back behind him, roll out and run with the ball himself or toss it back to the motion man behind him like a standard option run.
Last year, Air Force was big on this strategy as they had the most rushing attempts (827) and the second fewest passing attempts (150) of any team in the nation. It was a style of play that led them to a 10-win season.
The Falcons haven’t played since Week 1, when they dominated the Virginia Military Institute Keydets at home 62-0.
The rushing attack is led by Timothy McVey who had 10 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. The senior running back also leads the team in receiving yards (77) while sophomore wide receiver Geraud Sanders leads the team with two touchdowns.
Junior Arion Worthman took most of the snaps in the Falcons’ first game throwing for 172 yards and two touchdowns while running for 33 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 11 carries. However, expect senior Nate Romine, who led the team with 1,206 passing yards last season, to get some game time as well.
Who to Watch
The Front Seven
From linemen Rashan Gary and Maurice Hurst to linebacker Devin Bush, the front seven has shown that they can still dominate as a unit. In their first two games, the Wolverines have allowed just 79 rushing yards on 57 attempts.
However, this group will be facing a a triple option offense that few teams in the country are familiar with. It’ll be important for them to stay ahead of an offense that can give the ball off to a different player at any given moment. The sooner they can neutralize that attack, the easier it will be.
Aside from a career day out of Ty Isaac, many of Michigan’s running backs too a step back in the second game including Chris Evans. After running for 78 yards on 22 carries in the first game, the sophomore ran for just 15 yards on five carries against Cincinnati.
With quarterback Wilton Speight still struggling to find some consistency, it could be up to Evans, as well as Ty Isaac and Karon Higdon, to fight a strong running game with another strong running game.
The junior quarterback did show some improvement in Saturday’s win against Cincinnati,throwing for 221 yards and two touchdowns. However, Speight fumbled the ball twice and lost one of them.
Speight may have an uphill battle ahead as he faces an Air Force defense that allowed just 95 total yards in their lone game this season. He’ll have to prove that he can avoid turning the ball over while showing more consistency in the passing game.
The game can be seen this Saturday, September 16, at 12:oo p.m. EST on the Big Ten Network.