Air Force vs Michigan: Wolverines' Struggles Reinforce Ranking Outside of Top 10

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Connor Dietz #11 of the Air Force Falcons tries to get past the tackle of Frank Clark #57 of the Michigan Wolverines during a fourth quarter run at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Michigan Wolverines are running out of weeks to get tougher. For now, their 19th ranking in the polls can stay put.

Denard Robinson and his teammates were able to squeak out their first victory of the year over the Air Force Falcons.

Compared to last weekend, they can breathe easier. But not by much.

The Wolverines had a bit more explosion against the Falcon’s defense in Week 2, but still had the same sloppy look they brought into Dallas against Alabama last week

Michigan allowed Air Force to rush for almost 300 yards on the ground in their home stadium. The Air Force should only be able to gain that type of mileage in a plane.

Denard Robinson had to put on his Superman cape once again in order for the Wolverines to pull out the victory.

“Shoelace” threw for 200 and ran for 200, while taking part in every Michigan touchdown. Only four players have accomplished the 200-200 feat since 1999.

If the AP poll was for individual players, Denard would get enough votes to fill up Michigan Stadium, but his teammates didn’t provide enough help to earn the label “team win.”

Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was reinstated for Saturday’s matchup, but no one would know if they watched the game tape. Toussaint rushed eight times for seven yards; the quarterback was Michigan’s only source on the ground.

The Michigan defense didn’t looked revamped like a preseason program would suggest.

A subpar display against Alabama in the season opener is understandable, but turning Cody Getz into the second coming of Eddie George did not calm any nerves in Ann Arbor.

The Falcons were able to control the clock for 35 minutes and convert seven more first downs than the Wolverines. The maize and blue were fortunate to pull out a win looking so soft on the defensive side of the field.

For now, Michigan’s 19 spot in the AP Poll seems about right. The next three out of four weeks they’ll try to improve their squad against other middling opponents, but a showdown with Notre Dame in two weeks would be an opportune time to show a spark.

Forget the national polls, Michigan has a long way to go against the Big Ten if they are unable to make stops consistently on defense.

“Shoelace” can only do so much for so long.