Freshman Donovan Peoples-Jones scored on a 79-yard punt return and Quinn Nordin tied the school record with five field goals, leading No. 7 Michigan to a 29-13 victory over Air Force on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.
Peoples-Jones’ touchdown was the first of his career. Wilton Speight completed 14 of 23 passes for 169 yards as Michigan (3-0) finished off its non-conference schedule. Ty Isaac led the ground attack with 89 yards on 16 carries, and Karan Higdon had a 36-yard rushing touchdown with 1:02 remaining.
Quarterback Arion Worthman rushed for 60 yards on 26 carries and also completed a 64-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Cleveland for Air Force (1-1). All six of Worthman’s other pass attempts were incomplete. Falcons running back Timothy McVey added 62 yards on 11 carries.
People-Jones gathered in Charlie Scott’s 53-yard punt, weaved around defenders and eluded Scott’s tackle attempt at the 10 to give Michigan a 16-6 lead 1:09 into the second half.
The Falcons quickly matched that score with a big play of their own. Cleveland got past safety Tyree Kinnel, caught Worthman’s toss at midfield and raced to the end zone on the 64-yard play.
Nordin’s 29-yard field goal later in the third made it 19-13. He drilled his fifth of the game, a 36-yarder, in the opening minute of the fourth for a nine-point lead.
Air Force’s Luke Strebel missed a 29-yard field goal try with 7:19 remaining, preserving Michigan’s two-score advantage.
Higdon’s touchdown completed the scoring.
The teams traded field goals throughout the first half and the Wolverines emerged with a 9-6 lead.
Nordin’s 35-yard field goal gave Michigan an early advantage. Robert Bullard’s recovery of a Chris Evans fumble at the Wolverines 44 set up the Falcons’ first score, a 37-yard field goal by Strebel.
Speight completed two pass plays of at least 30 years early in the second quarter but Michigan had to settle for Nordin’s 26-yard field goal. A 34-yard scamper by Worthman led to Air Force’s next score, Strebel’s career-best 50-yard field goal.
Nordin’s 49-yarder in the closing seconds put Michigan back on top
NOTES: The Wolverines are now 10-0 against current members of the Mountain West Conference. They lost to Utah in 2008 when the Utes were still in the MWC. … Michigan has defeated Air Force in all three meetings. … The Falcons’ six-game winning streak against nonconference opponents was snapped. … Air Force’s last victory over a Top 10 opponent came against No. 9 Notre Dame in 1995. … Michigan is 8-0 in nonconference games and 15-2 at home under coach Jim Harbaugh. … The Falcons are 4-6 following an off-week under coach Troy Calhoun.