Notre Dame, 17-10
Saturday’s loss may have been a first at the Big House for many players and fans here at Michigan, but it was not the first time for coach Lloyd Carr. And it was definitely not a first in Michigan’s history – the Wolverines have lost 103 times in Michigan Stadium. In his 11 years as Michigan’s head coach, Carr has amassed 96 total wins and only 30 losses, losing just seven in the Big House. He has won one National Championship and has claimed five Big Ten Titles. His teams have never lost more than one game at home in a single season.
Preseason Ranking: No. 13
What went wrong? The homecoming crowd left the Big House disappointed after No. 13 Iowa crushed No. 8 Michigan, 34-9. The Wolverines saw a glimmer of hope in the third quarter when they were down just 10-9, but Michigan sophomore cornerback Markus Curry fumbled the ball on a punt return, and the Hawkeyes never looked back, scoring 24 unanswered points. The Wolverines earned just 171 yards of total offense, and Michigan senior quarterback John Navarre was the leading rusher with 18 yards. It was the Wolverines’ worst home loss since Oct. 16, 1967 (34-0, Michigan State).
Final Record: 10-3 overall, 6-2 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan defeated Florida 38-30 in the Outback Bowl.
Ohio State, 26-20
Preseason Ranking: No. 12
What went wrong? Michigan welcomed the Buckeyes into the Big House with one thing on the line – a share of the Big Ten Title. One man stood in the way – Buckeyes senior tailback Jonathon Wells. Wells scored three touchdowns in the first half to give Ohio State a 21-0 lead. After Michigan cornerback Todd Howard intercepted a pass in the end zone, the Wolverines gave up a safety to end the half down 23-0. Michigan scored on its first drive of the second half on a catch by senior receiver Marquis Walker. With 2:26 to play, quarterback John Navarre sent another touchdown pass to Walker to make it 26-20. But the Wolverines could do no more and fell just short.
Final Record: 8-4 overall, 6-2 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan lost to Tennessee 45-17 in the Capital One Florida Citrus Bowl.
Preseason Ranking: No. 7
What went wrong? The No. 9 Wolverines were feeling pretty comfortable with a 27-7 lead in the third quarter. But then the unranked Fighting Illini scored four touchdowns in the last 18 minutes of the game. After Illinois took the lead 28-27 with 2:42 to play, the Wolverines fell apart. Starting at his own 20 yard line, quarterback Tom Brady led the team down the field. But on second-and-five at the Illinois 28, they lost 25 yards on a ball snapped high above Brady’s head. Michigan then turned the ball over on an interception, leading to another Illinois touchdown.
Final Record: 10-2 overall, 6-2 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan beat Alabama 35-34 in overtime at the Orange Bowl.
Preseason Ranking: No. 5
What went wrong? Still reeling from a crushing road defeat at the hands of Notre Dame, No. 13 Michigan returned to the Big House for the first time since winning the National Championships. The explosive Donovan McNabb was too much for the Wolverines to handle, and they quickly fell behind 24-0. Quarterback Tom Brady threw an interception on the opening drive, leading to the Orangemen’s first touchdown. Michigan trailed No. 19 Syracuse 38-7 with seven minutes to go in the game. Even the 21-point comeback that followed wasn’t enough to save them.
Final Record: 10-3 overall, 7-1 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan beat Arkansas 45-31 in the CompUSA Citrus Bowl.
Penn State, 29-17
Preseason Ranking: No. 12
What went wrong? Sloppy play by No. 16 Michigan ensured a 29-17 victory for No. 11 Penn State. The Wolverines outgained the Nittany Lions 390-353, but Michigan’s five turnovers gave Penn State too many opportunities to score. With the Nittany Lions leading 29-17 with 4:42 remaining, quarterback Brian Griese replaced Scott Dreisbach in hopes of a late comeback. Griese moved Michigan to the Penn State 29, only to be intercepted in the end zone on first down, sealing the win for Penn State.
Final Record: 8-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan lost 17-14 to Alabama in the Outback Bowl.
Preseason Ranking: No. 14
What went wrong? Turnovers cost No. 7 Michigan a 19-13 loss to Northwestern. The Wildcats, who hadn’t won in Michigan Stadium since 1959, capitalized on three of the four Michigan turnovers, scoring 13 points off the Wolverines’ mistakes. In the fourth quarter, Northwestern safety Eric Collier intercepted Michigan quarterback Brian Griese’s pass at the Michigan 35-yard line to set up the Wildcats’ winning touchdown. Griese completed just 14 of 34 passes for a mere 92 yards.
Final Record: 9-4 overall, 5-3 Big Ten
Postseason: Michigan lost 22-20 to Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl.