Game Day – Michigan vs Air Force 2017

1944 Michigan Football Team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Michigan’s 1944 Football Team played the first game ever on September 16, 1944 in Ann Arbor. Fritz Crisler’s team won a closed game against Iowa Pre-Flight by a score of 12-7. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michgian.

Jim Harbaugh’s “young” Wolverines are off to an excellent start in 2017. Yes, some people are complaining that Michigan hasn’t won their first two games by 60 or 70 points, but they are undefeated! The Maize and Blue footballers have an interesting challenge in Air Force. They run the “Triple Option” offense that usually gives defenses a lot trouble. The Falcons also play hard on defense and take risks – it should be an interesting test for Michigan today.

Before I get into my predictions about Saturday’s game, let’s take a closer look at what has happened so far when Michigan plays on September 16th. Then, we will shift our attention to the brief history of Michigan vs Air Force.

Calendar History: The University of Michigan has played a total of seven games on the sixteenth day of September. So far, the results have been pretty good since they have a record of 5 wins and 2 losses. Here is quick look at what has transpired so far on this date:

  • September 16, 1944. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines hosted a military team called Iowa Pre-Flight which was like a college all-star team. Fortunately, Michigan won the game by a score of 12-7.
  • September 16, 1972. Michigan played the first conference game on this date and defeated Northwester by a score of 7-0. Whew, that was the closest game that Bo ever won against his former employer.
  • September 16, 1989. Michigan loses for the first time on this date after winning the first three contests. Rocket Ishmael blasted off on two kickoff returns and #1 Notre Dame defeated #2 Michigan by a score of 19-24. Ouch, that one really hurt!
  • September 16, 2006. Michigan’s last win on this date took place in South Bend. The Wolverines posted their biggest margin of victory on this date with a 47-21 win over Notre Dame.

So far, the Wolverines have two conference wins (Northwestern and Illinois) on this date and no losses. They have not fared as well against non-conference teams. Michigan owns three wins (Iowa Pre-Flight, Boston College, and Notre Dame) and two losses (Notre Dame and UCLA) on the sixteenth day of September.

Series History: Today’s opponent, the Air Force Falcons are making their third appearance on a Michigan Schedule. So far, the Wolverines are perfect against this service academy foe. Michigan’s record against the Falcons stands at 2 wins and 0 losses.

The first game between Air Force and Michigan was played on September 26, 1964. It was also the first game of Michigan’s Big Ten Championship season. Bump Elliott’s Wolverines defeated the Falcons by a score of 24-7.

Game number two was played on September 8, 2012. Brady Hoke’s Wolverines were still licking their wounds after getting thrashed by Alabama in the season opener (14-41). Michigan bounced back with a good effort, but Air Force kept the game in doubt until the end. Final score: Michigan 31 & Air Force 25.

So far, history is definitely on Michigan’s side as we approach kickoff for Michigan vs Air Force 2017. However, Air Force will present some interesting challenges for the Wolverines. The average score of Michigan vs Air Force after two games is 27.5 to 16 in favor of the Wolverines. I think Michigan’s advantage will be a little bit bigger in this game, but not too much more.

Best Wolverine Performances and “Firsts” on September 16th: Here are some of the best Wolverine performances on this date in Michigan Football History:

  • Defender William Carr had 3 sacks for 23-yards in the 23-13 win at Boston College in 1995.
  • Linebacker Jason Horn had 4 tackles for loss totaling 25-yards in that same win at BC.
  • Prescott Burgess recorded a 31-yard “pick six” at Notre Dame in Michigan’s BIG 47-21 win at Notre Dame in 2006.
  • LaMarr Woodley recorded Michigan’s first, and only, 54-yard “fumble six” against Notre Dame in 2006.

Best Wolverine Performances and “Firsts” Against Air Force: Listed below are some of the best Wolverine performances from the first two games of Michigan vs Air Force:

  • Devin Funchess scored his first Wolverine touchdown against the Falcons on September 8, 2012.
  • Denard Robinson becomes the first Division I-FBS player to record 3 games with at least 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing.
  • Robinson also becomes the first player to record eight career games with at least two rushing and two passing touchdowns in one game. Denard rushed for 218-yards and two touchdowns. He also passed for 208-yards and two touchdowns against Air Force in 2012.

So, some of Michigan’s best players have stepped up with big days and big plays on September 16th and against Air Force. Who will step up for the Wolverines today in Michigan vs Air Force 2017?

Denard Robinson Michigan Football 2012 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Denard Robinson had a huge day against Air Force on September 8, 2012. Who will be the “star” for the Wolverines today? Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today. The football programs at Michigan and Florida are completely different. The academy programs don’t always get the greatest players, but the ones they attract are smart and very disciplined. That, combined with their triple-option offense and varied defenses can give other teams fits on both sides of the ball. The “line” on this game has Michigan winning by 24-28 points. Michigan’s “young” team is gaining experience each week. I think they will iron out some of the problems that they had in the first two game and play very well against Air Force.

My Prediction:

Michigan defeats the Air Force Academy 45-13 and wins game #938 in program history. Air Force will win the “fly over,” but Michigan wins the game! Go Blue! (Michigan Blue, that is!)

 

 

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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