Stats & Info: Rich Rodriguez

In 1968, Michigan lost the final game of Bump Elliott’s tenure as head coach 50-14 to Ohio State. The next year, they brought in Bo Schembechler, who would go on to become a legend coaching the Wolverines.

Flash forward 42 seasons, when Michigan lost the final game of the Rich Rodriguez era, 52-14, to Mississippi State in the Progressive Gator Bowl. Could another Michigan coaching legend be in the wings?

While many of the Michigan faithful are pining for one of Schembechler’s best players, Jim Harbaugh, to come lead the Maize and Blue, regardless of who Michigan hires, they’ll have some work to do to right the ship.

Since Michigan hired Schembechler before the 1969 season, there’s been a grand total of two losing seasons for Michigan football. Those have both come in Rodriguez’s three-year stint.

Under Rodriguez, Michigan hasn’t just been bad compared to Schembechler and the two coaches who sandwiched he and Rodriguez, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr, they’ve been historically bad compared to the program’s history, which dates back to 1879 and the days of one and two-game seasons.

Michigan has given up 347, 330 and 458 points in Rodriguez’s three seasons with the team. Those are the only seasons in Michigan history in which the Wolverines have given up over 300 points.

But things bottomed out this year for Michigan’s defense. The 35.8 points per game allowed was 108th out of the 120 FBS teams.

There were no bright points, the rush defense was ranked 94th in yards per game and the pass defense 112th this season. Somehow, Michigan went 7-6, Rodriguez's lone winning season at Michigan.

Rodriguez’s tenure ends just after three seasons. Since 1930, that’s the shortest tenure for any Michigan football coach. He went 15-22 with the Wolverines, a .405 win percentage that's the worst for any coach in Michigan history.

In fact, the only other coach in Michigan history to post a losing career record was actually a tandem of co-coaches, Frank Crawford and Mike Murphy, who combined to go 4-5 back in 1891.
1. Virginia Tech, 6-0 in the ACC, plays at Miami on Saturday. If the Hokies can beat the Hurricanes, then knock off Virginia on Nov. 27, they'll be the first team to go undefeated through ACC play since Florida State in 2000. That's by far the longest drought for any conference in the FBS. The second-longest belongs to Conference USA, which hasn't had a team go unbeaten through league play since Louisville in 2004.

2. Oklahoma State wideout Justin Blackmon is having one of the greatest receiving seasons in FBS history and is currently streaking toward a record. Blackmon has had at least 100 receiving yards and a TD in all nine of his games this year (he sat out the Kansas State game due to suspension), which is the second-longest such streak all time. Starting in November of 1990 and continuing through November of 1991, Aaron Turner of Pacific (which has since dropped football) had 11 consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards and a touchdown. Blackmon can make it 10 in a row this week against Kansas, the nation's 101st-ranked pass efficiency defense.

3. Currently, the Sun Belt Conference has only one team with a winning overall record. Troy is 5-4 with three games remaining, one of which is against SEC East champ South Carolina. All other Sun Belt teams have at least five losses, making it possible that the conference might not have a team finish the regular season with a winning record. No conference has gone an entire regular season without a team boasting an overall winning record since the ACC in 1964. That year, five ACC teams finished with 5-5 records and none went to bowl games. NC State won the title at 5-2 (5-5 overall).

4. Ohio State fans will be placed in the uncomfortable position of rooting for Michigan on Saturday against Wisconsin. A Badgers' loss greatly helps the Buckeyes' chances of capturing the Big Ten crown and returning to the Rose Bowl. But that's asking Michigan to do something it has never done under Rich Rodriguez -- beat a Big Ten opponent that will finish the year with a winning conference record. Under Rodriguez, Michigan is 0-10 against Big Ten teams that finished with a winning conference record (including Michigan State and Iowa this season). In fact, Michigan’s six conference wins in the last three seasons have come against teams that are a combined 12-31 in Big Ten play (including 2010 current records).

5. Much has been made of Wisconsin “running up the score” this past week against Indiana. It’s also a common accusation against non-AQ teams such as Boise State, which has won its games by an average of 34.8 points this season. But a look at Boise State’s scoring shows that the Broncos don't run up the score. In fact, they do their best not to. BSU has scored a total of 41 points this year in the 4th quarter, which accounts for just 9.6 percent of the team's scoring. That's by far the lowest 4th-quarter scoring percentage among the unbeaten teams.

Wolverines win wild shootout

November, 6, 2010
Triple overtime was needed, but Michigan's 67-65 win over Illinois was the highest-scoring FBS game this season. The previous was 108 points by Auburn and Arkansas, a 65-43 win by the Tigers.

• The 132 points were four shy of the FBS record for points scored in an overtime game. In 2007, Boise State beat Nevada 69-67 (136 points) in four overtimes.

• Since 1997, Michigan now is 6-1 in overtime games. This was the Wolverines first triple-OT game since 2004, a 45-37 win over Michigan State.

• In its last two games, Michigan has allowed 106 points. When Michigan won the 1997 national title, the Wolverines allowed 114 points in 12 games.

• Last week, Michigan allowed 41 points to Penn State. On Saturday, Illinois had 45 points at the end of regulation. Michigan, which has been playing football since 1879, has now allowed at least 40 points in consecutive weeks for the first time in the program's history.

• The 65 points by Illinois is two shy of the FBS record for points scored by losing team (Nevada in 2007 to Boise State).

• In the three other Big Ten games that kicked off at Noon ET (Iowa-Indiana, Minnesota-Michigan State, Wisconsin-Purdue) there were a combined 117 points scored.

• The last three times Michigan and Illinois have met in men's basketball, the two teams did not combine for as many points as the 132 scored on Saturday.

• With the win, Michigan is bowl eligible for the first time in the three-year Rich Rodriguez era.

• Roy Roundtree broke the school record with 246 receiving yards, the first Michigan player ever with more than 200 yards receiving in a game.
It’s just three days before Rich Rodriguez kicks off his third season at Michigan and he still hasn’t said which speedy sophomore will start under center Saturday against Connecticut. Tate Forcier made plays with both his arm and legs for the Wolverines in 2009, but he struggled when defenses were able to keep him in the pocket. In 11 games against FBS opponents last year, Forcier completed more than half of his passes of 15 or more yards when outside the tackles. When Forcier threw the deep ball from inside the pocket, he hit on just under 28 percent of his throws.

While Forcier struggled to work the ball down the field from inside the pocket, Denard Robinson had trouble with nearly every type of throw in 2009. As a freshman, Robinson attempted just 27 passes against FBS competition, completing 11 for 103 yards with four interceptions. When you consider that more than half of Robinson’s completions came on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage, it’s clear that he’ll need to be more effective on deep and intermediate passes as a sophomore if he’s going to unseat Forcier as the team’s primary signal caller.

With just eight wins in his first two seasons with the Wolverines, the pressure on Rodriguez is mounting. 96 FBS teams have won more games than Michigan since 2008 and another losing campaign would give the maize and blue three straight losing seasons for the first time in school history and could mean the end of Rodriguez’s tenure in Ann Arbor. As he debates which quarterback he’ll rely on to right the ship, he’s surely not comforted by the fact that with Steven Threet recently being named the starter at Arizona State, two QBs on the Wolverines roster when Rodriguez took the reins in December 2007 have now locked down starting jobs at big-time programs (in addition to Threet, Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett was a freshman at Michigan in 2007).