No defense for Rich Rod at Michigan

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.

Maize and Blew Away
Michigan Defense This Season

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.

Worst Win Pct
All-Time Among Michigan Coaches

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.