The Wolverine

2014 Michigan Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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THE WOLVERINE 2014 FOOTBALL PREVIEW ■ 31 M Road games are never easy, but back-to- back road games at a rival school — par- ticularly one that just won the Rose Bowl — involve no simple task. At the same time, Michigan isn't backing down from the chal- lenge of heading to East Lansing for a sec- ond straight year. The scheduling quirk of adding teams to the conference and splitting into new divi- sions caused the repeat trip. While it's cer- tainly not a break for the Wolverines, you won't hear anyone complaining about it. Here are a few notes on each of Michi- gan's road trips this season, and how they've fared at the venues in recent years. • Notre Dame — The trip to South Bend is always a challenge, but excess turnovers doom it every time. That's what happened the last time Michigan found itself in South Bend, the Irish turning six U-M miscues in the 2012 contest into a 13-6 loss for the visitors. Quarterback Denard Robinson apolo- gized after that game, just two years after he single-handedly destroyed the Irish in their stadium, with 502 total yards in Michigan's 28-24 win. Overall, the Wolverines are a respectable 2-3 at Notre Dame Stadium over the past decade, including a resounding 41- 27 win by the 2006 Michigan crew. • Rutgers — These teams have never met, so there's obviously no track record on the road. But the Scarlet Knights are coming off a 6-7 season in which they were involved in a host of shootouts, including a 52-51 overtime loss at Fresno State and a 55-52 overtime win at SMU. Rutgers lost in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl to Notre Dame, 29-16, a team Michi- gan defeated in Michigan Stadium. Their only other common opponent was Connecti- cut, whom Michigan beat, 24-21, and Rut- gers fell short against, 28-17. • Michigan State — The Wolverines have fallen on hard times in East Lansing, despite a 2-3 record at Spartan Stadium over the past decade. The Wolverines have dropped three straight to the in-state rival, including last year's 29-6 slugfest. Prior to the present losing streak, Michi- gan had won three straight at Spartan Sta- dium. The Wolverines have never lost four consecutive games at Michigan State, al- though it should be noted that only six of the first 50 games in the series were played in East Lansing. • Northwestern — The Wolverines have won five straight in Evanston, but it hasn't been easy. Just look back to last year and the Wolverines' wild, 27-19, triple-overtime game against the Wildcats, in which U-M needed to pull off a last-second scramble for a field goal just to keep the game alive. Michigan's last loss at Evanston came in 2000, a memorably painful 54-51 shootout in which the Wildcats tortured the Wolver- ines with their spread offense. Michigan still would have prevailed, had a late fumble deep in its own territory not set up the game- winner. • Ohio State — This one represents the flip side of the Northwestern streak. Michi- gan hasn't won in Columbus since 2000, when quarterback Drew Henson's naked bootleg late helped the Wolverines secure a 38-26 win. The Wolverines have come very close (14-9 in 2002, 42-39 in 2006 and 26- 21 two years ago). But deposed, disgraced former OSU head coach Jim Tressel held the upper hand be- fore being exposed for cheating and lying to the NCAA. His successor, Urban Meyer, survived round one in Columbus, his team scoring the only points of the second half. MICHIGAN SCHEDULE FEATURES ROAD CHALLENGES AGAIN This season, U-M travels to face Ohio State in Columbus, where the Wolverines lost 26-21 in 2012 and have not won since 2000. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 8,10-12,14-28,30-32.IMA.indd 31 6/19/14 5:02 PM

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