Falcons’ fullback Michel earns MW honor after three-td showing

BY BRENT BRIGGEMAN brent.briggeman@gazette.com



The Gazette, Colorado Springs



Less than three weeks after receiving word from the NCAA that Emmanuel Michel was cleared to play this season, Air Force received word from the Mountain West that the fullback was the conference’s offensive player of the week. Michel ran a career-high 28 times for 106 yards and three touchdowns in a 39-21 victory over Utah State on Friday night. He also ran in a 2-point conversion, as he accounted for 20 points in the victory. “I’m just blessed to have this opportunity,” said Michel, whose status was in doubt through most of fall camp. He left the academy for the spring semester on turnback. Upon return, the turnback had to be cleared through Air Force and then the NCAA. The official go-ahead to play didn’t come until the Tuesday before the season-opener. Despite the uncertain start, Michel now ranks third on the team and eighth in the Mountain West with 174 rushing yards on 40 carries. Fellow fullback Owen Burk (222 yards) and quarterback Zac Larrier (220 yards) rank third and fourth on the conference rushing list. Michel ran eight consecutive times on Air Force’s final drive on Saturday night, a march that ate 8:43 off the clock. “If we’re on the field and they can’t be on the field, I think we’re in good shape,” said Michel, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga. This was Michel’s second big game against Utah State, as he ran 11 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns in a 4945 loss at Falcon Stadium in 2021. Air Force has taken three Mountain West player of the week honors this season. Linebacker Alec Mock and placekicker Matthew Dapore took the award last week after a 13-3 victory at Sam Houston. The Falcons (3-0) travel to San Jose State (1-3) this Friday for an 8:30 p.m. game.