Michigan: Five things we learned vs. Air Force

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Here are some of the key takeaways from Michigan’s victory over Air Force:

Wild thing: Quinn Nordin is more than just a cool haircut. He has been so productive he’s tied for the lead nationally in field goals per game (3.67) and has been responsible for 42 points so far this year. He made kicks from 26, 29, 35, 36 and 49 yards against Air Force, tying a record for most field goals in a game by a Michigan kicker. He is 11 of 13 on field-goal attempts this season. Remy Hamilton holds Michigan’s record for most field goals in a season with 25 in 1994. 

■ Catch me if you can: Freshman receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones electrified Michigan Stadium on his 79-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Wolverines’ victory. It was the first punt return for a touchdown since Jabrill Peppers’ 54-yard return on Sept. 17, 2016. Peoples-Jones returned two punts for 104 yards against Air Force, and he recorded his first college receiving yards — 52 on two catches, including a 37-yarder on his first reception. “Feel like great things will happen for Donovan Peoples-Jones,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game.

More: Michigan drops one spot to No. 8 in both polls

No friend of the bench: Tailback Chris Evans fumbled on his third carry of the game after gaining nine yards. That gave Air Force the ball at Michigan’s 44 and 12 plays later the Falcons tied the game with a field goal. Evans was the starter in the season opener, and lost that job to Ty Isaac, who started the next two games. Karan Higdon was the second-leading back in the game with 12 carries for 64 yards, including the lone offensive score on a 36-yard run with 1:02 left. Evans returned on that final scoring drive and had three carries for 12 yards. He finished with 30 rushing yards on six carries.

■ Tone-setting linebacker: Perhaps Michigan could use linebacker Devin Bush to help the offense break through its red-zone issues. OK, so that’s not going to happen, and Bush will be left to do what he’s doing on defense. He had 11 tackles against Air Force, tied for the team lead with Mike McCray, and a sack. Bush is a disruptor, a lightning strike when he hits an opposing player, which he has done for a team-leading 25 tackles, including 16 solo. He has been credited for 4½ tackles for loss this season.

■ Don’t sleep on Purdue: Michigan learned its Big Ten opener at Purdue might be a tad more interesting than anyone thought heading into the season. The Boilermakers are coming off a 35-3 upset of Missouri and have caught the attention of Big Ten observers. Meanwhile, Michigan dropped a spot in the rankings that, as we all know, mean zilch right now, except maybe to a team like Purdue that has another upset on its mind.