Rich Rodriguez: 10 Games at Michigan That Led to His Inevitable Demise
Rich Rodriguez's three-year reign over the Michigan Wolverines has come to a screeching halt. He has been anything but successful in his time there, taking a storied program and running it into the ground time after time.
It's hard to single out just 10 bad games in Rodriguez's Michigan career, but read on for my attempt to do so.
October 11, 2008: Toledo 13, Michigan 10
On October 11, 2008, Michigan lost to Toledo. It was the program's first-ever loss to a team from the Mid-American Conference and, even worse, it came at home in Michigan Stadium.
The Wolverines were coming off a huge loss to Illinois, which was significantly more understandable.
Michigan carried a 10-7 lead into the locker room at halftime, but the offense failed to score a single point in the second half while Toledo kicked two field goals to take the eventually insurmountable lead.
K.C. Lopata missed a field goal in the final minute and the Wolverines failed to force overtime, slipping to 2-4, the worst start in 41 years.
October 18, 2008: Penn State 46, Michigan 17
Coming off the disappointing Toledo loss, the Wolverines had a chance to bounce back and knock off Penn State for the 10th consecutive year. That would prove to be little more than a pipe dream.
Michigan got absolutely smoked in this one behind 32 unanswered points in the second half for the Nittany Lions.
Everyone knew by this point that the Michigan defense was rather inept, but the supposedly potent offense only put up 87 yards in the second half.
October 25: 2008: Michigan State 35, Michigan 21
Now coming off the two aforementioned losses, Michigan traveled back to Ann Arbor with a chance to beat the Michigan State Spartans for the seventh straight time.
Michigan State scored early when Brian Hoyer hit Blair White for a 61-yard score just three minutes into the game.
The game was close throughout, tied through three quarters at 21. But then the Spartans offense took over and scored 14 unanswered points in the final quarter to win 35-21.
Michigan fell to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play. I'm sure that's not what RichRod had envisioned when he took the job.
November 22, 2008: Ohio State 42, Michigan 7
The one game that Michigan coaches have to win is the big rivalry game against Ohio State.
The Wolverines had lost four in a row going into this matchup and Rodriguez was determined to change that.
The game was never even close as Michigan scored just seven points on a Brandon Minor one-yard touchdown plunge. They allowed 42 points throughout the game, though, in their fifth straight loss to the Buckeyes.
Michigan ended the season at 3-9, the single worst record in the 129 years that the program has been around.
September 12, 2009: Michigan 38, Notre Dame 34
It seems rather strange to have one of the rare Rich Rodriguez wins on this list, but the one against Notre Dame deserves to make it.
The game was the highest-scoring contest in the history of the rivalry, but Michigan came out on top. It was, however, marked by scandal.
During the game, Michigan linebacker Jonas Mouton punched a Notre Dame player in the face. Rodriguez denied that the punch ever happened and refused to punish Mouton.
The Big Ten decided otherwise and suspended Mouton for one game, making Rodriguez look quite bad in the wake of his practice time scandal.
October 31, 2009: Illinois 38, Michigan 13
Illinois finished the 2009 campaign with a 3-9 record, but the Illini still managed to get a blowout win against Michigan.
Even worse for Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines, the team failed to score in the entire second half yet again.
Arrelious Benn opened the scoring for Illinois with a three-yard touchdown scamper, but then Michigan scored the last 13 points of the half.
The second half became the second-straight in which Michigan was held scoreless and the Wolverines came out of Champaign with their first loss at Illinois since 1983.
November 7, 2009: Purdue 38, Michigan 36
The 2009 Purdue Boilermakers went 5-7 and were a team that Michigan was absolutely supposed to beat.
The Wolverines went into halftime of the game with a seemingly insurmountable 24-10 lead, but were outscored in the second half (surprise, surprise) 28-12 with only one touchdown to be found for the Wolverines.
Purdue quarterback Joey Elliot scored on an eight-yard run in the final quarter to take the two-point lead, but then Brandon Minor responded with one of his own. When Tate Forcier failed to scramble into the end zone on the two-point conversion, Michigan had lost to Purdue at home for the first time since 1966.
November 21, 2009: Ohio State 21, Michigan 10
Once again, Rich Rodriguez lost to the one team he couldn't afford to lose to: the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio State was ranked No. 9 in the country and despite the fact that the game was at Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes were the heavy favorites in the minds of everyone except Michigan fans.
The Buckeyes held the lead throughout the game and were never really tested by Michigan. Tate Forcier, the Wolverines quarterback, nearly doubled his seasonal interception total by throwing four in the game. He also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter.
With the loss, Michigan failed to become bowl eligible with a 5-7 record.
November 27, 2010: Ohio State 37, Michigan 7
With this loss to the Buckeyes, the Wolverines extended their losing streak against their arch-rivals to seven games, the longest such streak in the history of the program.
It also marked the third-straight loss in three attempts by Rich Rodriguez.
After a scoreless first quarter, Ohio State flooded the scoreboard with 24 points in the second quarter. The Buckeyes never looked back en route to a 37-17 win.
Losses to Ohio State are never good for Michigan, but 30-point losses hurt a lot.
January 1, 2011: Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14
The 2011 Gator Bowl was the first bowl game during Rich Rodriguez's tenure and will be the last.
It didn't exactly go as planned, except for in the first quarter. Michigan led 14-10 after the opening period but failed to score again the entire game while watching Mississippi State find the end zone six more times.
The Gator Bowl went down as the single worst bowl game defeat in the history of Michigan football.
It will most likely be the last game that Rodriguez coaches at Michigan.