At long last, the Michigan football team is back home. The Wol-
verines open their 2012 home schedule Saturday against Air
Force, hoping to rebound from a poor showing in the Cowboys
Classic against Alabama. Redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald
Toussaint is back, and expected to start, so Michigan's running
game might actually get going against the Falcons.
Ben Estes, ZachHelfand, Stephen J. Nesbitt, Luke Pasch
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3 Michigan Legend: Bennie Oosterbaan's
No. 47 jersey will be back on the field
for the first time in over a half-century.
Alabama (Sept.): Michgan's memory needs to
be short after this one. It should be anyway with
some of the hits the Crimson Tide deat out.
Air Force (Sept. 8): Oddly enough, Air Force
likes to stay on the ground in its triple-option
attack. Courtney Avery will catch a break.
Massachusetts (Sept. 15): Easily Michigan's
weakest opponent in the midst of a grueling
schedule. Blowout alert in full effect.
Michigan State (Oct. 20): Wolverines could
snap a four-game losing streak to Sparty. If it
happens, avoid fans' (or players') raging fists at
Nebraska (Oct. 27): Michigan handed the
Huskers a rude welcome to the Big Ten in 2011.
Prime time in Lincoln could be different, though.
Minnesota (Nov. 3): This game was a confi-
dence booster last year - a 58-0 drubbing. The
Little Brown Jug will stay in Ann Arbor again.
Notre Dame (Sept. 22): May as well call this Northwestern (Nov. 10): In a late season
Breaching the Border: The Michigan foot- .showdown an instant classic before kickoff the matchup, we'll find out who scraps harder: a
ball team's success has always hinged on a way this series has gone the past few seasons, wildcat or a wolverine.
specific state: Ohio.
Purdue (Oct. 6): The Boilermakers blasted Iowa (Nov. 17): It's not heaven. It's Iowa - the
Advance: Michigan is on the other side of Eastern Kentucky in week one, and hope to give tJ ij utterly mediocre squad that handed Michigan
8 the equation this week - heavily favored, Michigan a game in the Big Ten opener. one of its two losses in 2011.
with plenty left to prove. Illinois (Oct. 13): Michigan will miss Ron Zook, Ohio State (Nov. 24): The reincarnation of the
* s who was fired after an 0-6 stretch to end last Bo-Woody dynamic, Hoke and Meyer will com-
Cover illustration by Erin Kirkland and Alicia Kovalcheck season. But it might like Tim Beckman more. 101Q ' pete in 'The Game' for the first time at the Shoe.
The Daily football writers pick
against the spread to predict
scores for the top-25 and Big
Ten in the 2012 football season.
No.19 Michigan (-20) vs.Air Force
No.1 Alabama (-37) at W stern Kentucky
No.6 Florida State (NS)vs.Savannah State'
No.7 Georgia (-3.5) at Missouri
No.9 South Caroina (-23.5)vs. E. Caroina
No.11 Michigan State(-24) at C.Michigan
No.12 Clemson (-26) vs. Ball State
No. 13 Wsconsir( 1)at OregonState
No.14OhioState-14.5) vs. UCF
No 15Virginia Tech (NS)vs. AustinPeay
No i6 Nebraska(-4.5) at UCLA
Nos 17 Texas( s-41) v. New Mexio
No. 18 Oklahoma State (-13.5) at Arizona
No. 20 TCU (NS) vs. Gramblingstate
No.21 Kansas State (-6.5) vs. Miami
No.22Notre Dame (-53.)vs.Purdue
No. 23 Louisville (NS) vs. Missouri State
No, 24 Florida at Texas A&M (-2.5)
No. 25 Stanford (-14)vs. Duke
Minnesota (NS) vs. New Hampshire
Iowao(-4) v. Iowa State
Io aStt e
Men's Glee .
Air Force senior quarterback
Connor Dietz was part of a back-
field corps that rushed for a nation-
high 484 yards last weekend. Dietz
finally slowed down this week, just
long enough to sit down for a press
conference in Colorado Springs,
This transcript, courtesy of a Air
Force Athletic Department video,
touches on Dietz's game, his roots
in Ohio State country and more:
Question: Growing up in Colum-
bus, Ohio, I bet you grew up a big
Connor Dietz: Not at all. But I
was never really into the whole
Ohio State-Michigan rivalry. I was
a college football fan, and obviously
it was Ohio State growing up, but
once I came here it's pretty much all
Air Force. I don't really see how you
can be a fan of someone else when
you're playing for another team.
Q: Would you say that your
hatred for Michigan is a little more
close to home than other players on
CD: I guess you could say so
because of my roots, but I've never
really despised them. I've got acou-
ple of guys who played at my high
school that play up there (redshirt
freshman Keith Heitzman). They're
obviously a great college football
team. It's going to be a good chal-
lenge, but as a competitor this is
what you want, and as ateam this is
what we're looking forward to.
Q: In addition to what you do
offensively, how much can the pace
of what you do help you in a game
CD: Ourtempo, our.conditioning,
we're going to have to use every-
thing to our advantage that we can.
Being aware on offense of where
we're going, when we're going
there. Trying to keep the tempo up
is going to playa crucial part, that's
It's not one of those games where
it's going to be a first-quarter game
or a second-quarter game. We're
looking to play four quarters, and
that's what we think it's going to be.
Q: Michigan has big-play ability.
Is this the kind of game where you
try to hang with them, and the lon-
ger you hang with them the better
chance you have of winning?
CD: Any time you're in a big
game, you want to come down in
the fourth quarter and have it be a
one-possession game. From there,
anything can happen on any given
Saturday. We're going to play our
game, be us. Michigan hasn't seen
us, we haven't seen them. We're
gonna go out, be the best we can be
for three quarters, and then in the
fourth quarter see where we are.
Q: How would you assess your
play last Saturday (in Air Force's
49-21victory over Idaho St.)?
CD: I played OK. It's nice to come
out the first home game and get the
nerves out and get the first win out
of the way, but I didn't playtoo well.
I could have been a little smarter
with some of my throws. In a game
like this, coming up, some of those
throws we're goingto have to hit for
home runs instead of 30-yard gains.
Some of my rushes, I could have
ran a little harder, maybe broken
one or two more tackles. ... There's
a lot of things when you come back
in on Monday and turn the film
on. It's a whole new game; it's like
you didn't even play the last game,
you're watching something brand
Q: When you look at the sched-
ule, people say, 'Oh, this is Michi-
gan.' Is it hard to just tell yourself
this is asnormal game?
CD: It's kind of hard. Obviously,
we've all been looking at this game
since last January - me especially,
being from the Midwest. It comes
down to: It is another game. They
were talking to us about the crowd
and everything, but they play every
home game there in that kind of
atmosphere, so I think we can go
in and play one game there. A lot of
guys on this team have had expe-
rience going into big-time games
like this - Oklahoma, Notre Dame
- so it is another game and we can
only control what we can control.
There's no use worrying about
Q: Is it dangerous to face a team
like Michigan when they're com-
ing off a game they feel a little bit
CD: I think facing a team like
Michigan is dangerous no matter
how they feel or whatever game
they came off of.
"They have playmakers on both
sides of the ball, more than one,
obviously. There's not really a good
time or bad time to catch them;
every time you playa team like that
it's going to be a four-quarter grind
and you've got to come to play with-
your hard-hat on.
Q: Are you goingto have to match
Denard Robinson step for step for
your team to have a chance this
CD: (laughs) Nah. I never really
understood why people compared
quarterbacks ... because you never
play againsteach other, so I never
understood why it's a quarterback
versus a quarterback thing. I think
it's Air Force offense versus Michi-
"And while Denard Robinson is
a huge part of Michigan's offense,
it's Michigan's offense against Air
Force's defense. So I'm not going to
try and focus on anything like that,
I'm going to try to focus on my job
with our offense.
The Air Force football team celebrates its victory over Idaho State last weekend.
OHIO CONT. It's easy to find stats that
From Page 6 show how strong of a state
From _Page_6 _ Ohio is football-wise. In
Rivals.com's national high
Unsurprisingly, Thomas school rankings, only Florida,
and others have heard it Texas and Georgia have more
from their friends and other than the four teams that Ohio
locals, all of whom chide boasts in the top 50.
them for going to That School According to ProFoot-
Up North. But that has done ball~eferencecom, Ohio is
nothing to sway them. tied with Georgia for having
"I still feel great about it," produced the fourth-most
Thomas said. amountof players currently
in the NFL. It's more diffi-
* - cult to put your finger on why
Ohio is so good at football.
Sure, there's population -
it's the seventh-largest state
in the country by that mea-
sure. But New York, Illinois
and Pennsylvania all have
bigger populations, and none
match Ohio's football prow-
ess (though Pennsylvania
nearly does). Michigan and
North Carolina come close to
Ohio's population figure, but
they don't hold a candle to
the quality of Ohio's football
either. When you talk to high
school coaches - the ones
who see the interest more
acutely than anyone else,
who feel the pressure more
strongly than anyone else -
you find that even they don't
have a firm answer.
The only possible expla-
naiton is passion.
"When you go to a game,
there's 8-10,000 people in the
stands," Trivisonno said. "It's
a tougher state, blue-collar
state, that people work hard
at and enjoy football, love
football. There's great tradi-
tion, obviously, with the Hall
of Fame and all that.
"I just think it's a state that
loves the game of football."
As Hoke said, Friday nights
matter in Ohio; think Friday
Night Lights, but without the
apparently permeates the
culture in Texas. That pas-
sion manifests itself in one of
the besteconcentrations of tal-
ent in the U.S., in some of the
most diligent anddetermined
coaches inthe country, and in
a visceral, almost indefinable
tie between communities and
In some ways, the history
of Michigan football is the
history of an Ohio foundation.
That foundation includes two
of three Heisman winners,
two of the previous four head
coaches - including the most
iconic - and some of the best
players in Wolverine history.
That foundation includes
Hoke, and his focus on Ohio
- a focus that has yielded
results unmatched in recent
years. And there's no reason
to believe the run in Ohio
2 FootballSaturday - September 8, 2012
TheMichiganDaily.- www.michigandaily.com 7