The first 0-2 start at home in 48 years.
The first four-game losing streak in 40 years.
The worst margin of defeat in 39 years.
The second most yards allowed in a single game in the program’s 100-plus-year history.
No matter how you measure it, things are going south for the Michigan football team fast.
Saturday’s 39-7 home loss to Oregon dropped Michigan to 0-2 and affirmed most people’s fears from last week about the Wolverines.
With a game against winless Notre Dame looming on Saturday and a freshman quarterback at the helm, Michigan is looking to get back on its feet after two straight embarrassing losses.
At least one person is sure the team will get back on track.
“We’re going to win next week, there’s not a question in my mind,” senior captain Mike Hart said. “I guarantee we win next week.”
But to win next week, the Wolverines will have to forget about what happened on Saturday.
They’ll have to forget about Dennis Dixon. Forget about his 292 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Forget about his touchdown and 76 more yards on the ground. Forget about him embarrassing the entire defense with a fake Statue of Liberty play Boise State’s Jared Zabransky would applaud.
Add in Jonathon Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson’s 200 additional yards on the ground, and that’s a lot to forget.
“We need a better performance from everyone,” running backs coach Fred Jackson said. “No one can point fingers. Nobody is going to drop their head and talk about other players. Every guy can play better.”
It looked easy for both teams early. Michigan and Oregon (2-0) moved the ball with ease in the game’s opening half.
There was just one punt in the first half, and even that came after a sack and delay of game penalty pushed the Wolverines back 15 yards and out of scoring range.
But while more than 300 of the 697 total yards in the opening half belonged to Michigan, yardage means nothing if you can’t convert it into points.
“We knew we had to come out here and score points,” said Hart, who rushed for 127 yards. “I think we came out, we moved the ball, we did what we wanted to do. We just needed to put the ball in the endzone. When you don’t score points, you’re not going to win.”
A Chad Henne interception, a Carlos Brown fumble, a Jason Gingell missed field goal and a loss of downs inside the 10 all served as first-half drive-stoppers for the Wolverines.
As halftime arrived and the boo birds came out louder than ever, the scoreboard read 32-7. For all intents and purposes, the second half was nothing more than a formality.
But for a mere formality, boy was it an ugly one.
Henne never even left the locker room in the second half after suffering an apparent lower leg injury. He’s “very doubtful” to start next week according to Michigan coach Lloyd Carr.
True freshman quarterback Ryan Mallett, whom the student section called for in the second quarter, saw his first action as signal caller for the Wolverines.
What followed were fewer than 60 yards, two turnovers and zero points in six second-half possessions.
And – though it seemed impossible – there are even more questions for a team that had its fair share entering the game.
“We obviously have a challenge in front of us,” Carr said. “But we’ve got good kids. They’re hurting and they should hurt. That’s what losing does.”