Air Force beat Michigan 53-19 in a friendly Friday night in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Zoomies made the trip in conjunction with their football team playing the Wolverines Saturday. The football Falcons flew charter, while the Zoomies took military transportation – a C-17
“We try to do that whenever possible,” said Air Force coach Joe Muehlbauer. “That’s why we played Notre Dame last year. We’re going to Army later this year.”
Air Force has loaded up their fall with a full slate of 15s matches, going away from the growing trend of college teams focusing on 7s in the fall. The Zoomies return only three starters from last season and are trying to get as much game time for the new starters and contributors as possible.
Two of those new starters, centers Eric Shreck and Joe Rippe, combined for four tries against Michigan.
“ They really attacked well. Our guys just kind of played off them. They did really well yesterday,” said Muehlbauer of his new centers.
“Both those guys are good 7s players. They just stepped up. Both really good athletes, former football players, and they really took to the game well.”
Serving the centers was flyhalf Austin Halle, one of the three returning starters. He played in the centers last season, but has transitioned well to No. 10.
“ He’s an all around player. He can play anywhere really,” said Muehlbauer of Halle. “He’s played fullback before, he’s played on the wing. Shows how smart I am, when we first got him I was going to make him a No. 8, but he’s a natural rugby player anywhere.”
Air Force still has games lined up with the likes of Glendale and Omaha, among others, this fall, And while there will be lessons to learn in those games, Muehlbauer is pleased with the teams progress to this point.
“We’re kind of where we want to be for right now in the season, so we’ll see.”