Michigan football team takes note of Wisconsin's 83-20 drubbing of Indiana
Amid a season of struggles under first-year coach Rich Rodriguez, the West Virginia Mountaineers enjoyed one unforgettable bright spot.
They had lost their previous four games before the matchup on November 3, 2001, and would lose their final three afterward.
But on that date, they played the perfect game. West Virginia destroyed Rutgers, 80-7.
The final score, of course, prompted surly rebukes about running up the score, which Rodriguez denied.
“I don’t know if any coach intentionally goes out and does it,” he said Monday. “It just happens. It’s tough when your backups go in I’ve never worried about it. I’ve been on both ends of it.”
Rodriguez reflected on the Rutgers game because this week’s Michigan opponent, Wisconsin, is fresh off an 83-20 drubbing of Indiana that has brought similar running-up-the-score refrains.
“That was a different scenario,” Rodriguez said of his beating of the Scarlet Knights. “That was our first year, and we were struggling at times. Wisconsin is a top-five team and really sharp.”
Saturday’s game (noon, ESPN) pits Wisconsin’s venerable rushing attack, second in the conference averaging 228.2 yards per game, against Michigan’s eighth-ranked rush defense.
The Wolverines haven’t overlooked Wisconsin’s recent outing.
“I guarantee they’re not going to score 83 points on us,” cornerback James Rogers said. “From what I saw, I felt Indiana backed down a little toward the end, and I guarantee that’s something we’ll never do.”
Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.