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Posted on Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10 p.m.

Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14: A comprehensive guide to Gator Bowl coverage

By Jim Knight


Some Michigan fans brought a message to the Gator Bowl.

Melanie Maxwell |

Your serve, Dave Brandon.

The Michigan athletic director has said for weeks that he'll evaluate football coach Rich Rodriguez and his program once the season was over. He said that again Saturday to the Associated Press, noting, "I probably won't have more to say until the back half of the week."

That season ended Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla., with a 52-14 loss in the Gator Bowl to Mississippi State, the Wolverines' worst bowl loss in program history.

Michigan struggled on offense, defense and special teams against the Bulldogs and finished the season 7-6, leaving Rodriguez with a 15-22 record in his three seasons at Michigan.

Staff writers Pete Bigelow and Rich Rezler and photographer Melanie Maxwell covered the game in Jacksonville. Here is your guide to our coverage.

Post-game coverage • The Gator Bowl blowout leaves the future of Rich Rodriguez and quarterback Denard Robinson in doubt, beat writer Pete Bigelow reports.

• So what went wrong in Rodriguez's three seasons at Michigan? It's been a rough ride from the start, Pete Bigelow notes in his column

• Other than Martavious Odoms, there wasn't much special about Michigan's special teams on Saturday, Rich Rezler writes

• Junior defensive tackle Mike Martin supports Rodriguez and wants him back next season, Rich Rezler reports. And Martin plans to tell athletic director Dave Brandon how he feels

• The Michigan defense allowed more than 400 yards of total offense for the ninth time this season. That's just one item in Rich Rezler's notebook from the game

• Just one Michigan player earned a game ball from Pete Bigelow

In-game updates photographer Melanie Maxwell captured the scene before and during the Gator Bowl. Check out her slideshow.

• Once again, there was plenty of scoring in a Michigan football game. We had live updates throughout the game.

• Rich Rezler and Michael Rothstein led the conversation in our in-game live chat. Read the transcript here.

Other bowl action Capital One Bowl - Alabama 49, Michigan State 7: Mark Ingram ran for two scores to break the school record for career touchdowns, and 15th-ranked Crimson Tide rolled past No. 7 Michigan State in the most lopsided game in the history of this bowl. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner had 59 yards rushing against the team he rooted for as a kid, Greg McElroy threw for 220 yards and one touchdown, and Alabama (10-3) pulled most of its starters in the third quarter. Ingram moved past Shaun Alexander's mark (41) with 42 career touchdowns. The Crimson Tide found the end zone on their first four possessions, held the Spartans (11-2) to 171 total yards and sacked Kirk Cousins four times in their most dominant performance all season.

Outback Bowl - Florida 37, Penn State 24: Urban Meyer closed out a six-year run that included a pair of national championships by leading the Gators back from a second-half deficit to beat Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions. Omarius Hines and Mike Gillislee ran for touchdowns, Chas Henry kicked three second-half field goals, and Ahmad Black sealed the win with an 80-yard interception return TD to help Florida (8-5) send Meyer out with a smile. The 46-year-old coach resigned last month because of health concerns. Meyer and the 84-year-old Paterno met at midfield for a postgame handshake that was anything but typical. "He said, 'I love you, kid,'" Meyer said. "He's the only one who calls me kid. And I love him, too."

TicketCity Bowl - Texas Tech 45, Northwestern 38: Leading Northwestern by three touchdowns late in the third quarter, Texas Tech tried an onside kick and it backfired, setting up an exciting finish in the inaugural TicketCity Bowl. The Wildcats rallied to get within a touchdown twice in the fourth quarter and were driving for a tie or win when the Red Raiders intercepted a heave on the final play. Taylor Potts threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns and scored another on a trick play, and Eric Stephens ran 86 yards for a TD to help Tech close its first post-Mike Leach season at a solid 8-5.

Rose Bowl - TCU 21, Wisconsin 19: Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, linebacker Tank Carder swatted down a 2-point conversion pass attempt with 2 minutes to play, and No. 3 TCU completed a perfect season with its first Rose Bowl victory. Bart Johnson caught an early TD pass and recovered a late onside kick for the Mountain West champion Horned Frogs (13-0), who followed up their second straight unbeaten regular season by busting the BCS in dramatic fashion. Dalton passed for 219 yards for TCU, which won't win the national title — that will go to either Auburn or Oregon. They meet in the BCS championship game in nine days.



Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

52-14??? Now you probably yearn for my prediction of 38-21. Even I didn't think it would get this ugly. Actually, I kind-of pity JH if he takes the UM job. There is no way he can possibly live up to the hype that Blue's alum are expecting of him.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

Football is a game that should produce excitement and joy. There is neither in watching Michigan football any more. In fact, it has been painful during the RR years. I hope that Brandon makes a systematic, thorough, and effective selection in the next coach. No more experiments, please.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.

Teams like Alabama also have top-notch defenses which is the polar oppostie of U-M.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

Here's a new theme song for RR..."turn out the lights, the party's over...all good things...." you know the rest. First words that will come from JH on Wednesday morning will be "I'm Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach of the University of Michigan football team....and I am a MICHIGAN MAN" The median salary for NFL coaches is $3MM...interestingly enough the exact amount his brother John is pulling with the Ravens. Money is not an issue here. JH being able to come in an build a legacy is a real motivator. Stay tune for Wednesday pressers....will want to have 1 full day after Stanford victory to tell his players he's moving on. Go Blue!


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

AZ, I agree 100%. Folks like Tater would rather lose a lot and lose big with a state-of-the-art spread offense than win with a more traditional pro-style offense. Teams like Alabama last year prove it doesn't matter what kind of offense you have so long as you have the talent to make it work. However, I give the nod to pro-style offenses because most college players aspire to be pro players someday and that kind of offense best prepares them for the pro ranks. When the pros all start running the spread offense (if it ever happens), I'll change my philosophy accordingly.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

Tater, So now it's okay for Michigan to be just one of the 50% of teams that lost? Big deal? Why do even care who the coach is or cheer for Michigan if you don't even care? You sure cared when Carr lost a game here and there. And, I think it's VERY CLEAR now, that Carr is FAR SUPERIOR to RR. Look not only at their records, but at how competitive they are against top competition, as well as how many NCAA sanctions they had against their programs. Lloyd dominates in every area. You always said you wanted to tell everyone you were with RR all along...does that include when he goes to a new program, which he'll be doing any day now? If you don't care about wins and losses, you might as well, because we 'true' Michigan fans do care, and we have long understood RR was not the coach to bring us the wins we demand. Thank goodness we will soon be getting a coach at Michigan who understands the program and will not only win, but will win with class and integrity and, most importantly, no need for excuses.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

Dismal display of "coaching" in preparation for the game and during the game. Now is the time for RR to pack Denard Robinson into his suitcase, and ride off.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

I admire the fact that we don't know anything right now. It's still just rumor. If Brandon is able to make this kind of move quietly, behind the scenes, without Les-Milesing poor Harbaugh while he's trying to prepare for the Orange Bowl, then he's got far more ability than his predecessor. If Rodriguez weren't on his way out the door, there's absolutely no way there wouldn't have been a show of support by now.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:16 a.m.

The dark age of M football ended yesterday. We move on from here. Reality is just about any coach will be an upgrade for M. We have plenty of chopices and will end up with a top notch coach. Harbaugh, Hoke, Miles, etc. will restore M to being a top football program and that is competitive again.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10:39 a.m.

The loss isn't important, but boy oh boy, had we won this game, you'd have seen poetry and crowing like crazy about how this was the most important game in the history of Michigan football. Comedy Gold!


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10:07 a.m.

The Rich Rod tenure at Michigan is a failure. No matter how many games you give RR and his team to prove that they belong, they just get blown away. When RR loses, he just gets blown away. The offense is very predictable and the team is just mis managed all the way.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10 a.m.

In VietNam we had a Captain that we would walk through fire for. We were a very good fighting unit, steady, effective, encurred some casualties. Our Captain rotated back to the States. We picked up a new commander. He had different ways and a new field manual that was foreign to us. We were no-longer as effective and our confidence wained. I am sorry to say, It Is Time For A New Captain! Oh Captain, My Captain.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:44 a.m.

I've always been of mind to support my coach no matter what. And a loss is taken in stride. However, this is an embarrassment! We were not even close to being competitive. The adjustments during the game came so slow and too late. The stubbornness of the 3-3-5 is beyond comprehention. Senario seen all too often: Miss State is 4th and 4yds, we rush 3, as soon as the ball is snapped our 3 linebackers drop BACK 8 yds! Their QB lumbers to a first down. It is like RR wanted to get fired so he can get out of Ann Arbor.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:01 a.m.

new coaching staff please.enuf said happy new year. damn it


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 8:20 a.m.

What a lousy day for the Big Ten. Watching Michigan, MSU, PSU and Wisconsin lose in rapid succession felt like watching the end of The Godfather. The SEC with the aid of TCU took care of its family business. If Ohio State wins over Arkansas, you'll hear the "Big One and Little Ten" argument from the nation, and if they lose, it's "The Big Ten just isn't Big anymore." @ Tater 52-14, worst bowl loss for Michigan ever and a Gator Bowl-record for a score and it's just a "big bleeping deal?" I know Ben is a die-hard supporter of Rodriguez and he can at least admit to the reality of yesterday's game. You'd rather ignore it and attack the fanbase, which has seen the program sanctioned, penalized, reduced on and off the field under Rodriguez. Denial ain't just a river. The truth hurts but at some point you should face reality. Here's hoping the worst loss of 2011 is behind us. Go Blue


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 5:50 a.m.

Tater, Theo and Lorraine, The eggs on your faces (24 hrs/7 days) are almost as priceless as our accurate predictions and analysis. So, are you three still blindly sticking up for RR?


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

I just erased about 2 paragraphs of info based on statistics and realized that it doesnt matter! The people that love RR like Theo and Lorraine are no different then people still waiting for money from obama from his "stash"! Reality is non existant to these people! There is no substance what so ever to this team now! As soon as Miss. St. scored, and went up on Mich., you knew the game was over! If you didnt see that coming, where have you been the entire season? If only Mich. would have played against UCF, maybe the offense would have been half way decent (I mean maybe catch a ball, hold on to the ball, and throw the ball in play). And maybe the Defense would have only had to have 10 guys on the field seeing how that is what they think is a normal formation anyways! The best quote of the night was by CBS announcer Verne Lundquist at the end of the game (OF THE MICHIGAN GAME) "Well Michigan State really got blown out today by Mississippi State!" Now maybe he was drunk like Lee Corso seemed to be (he sounded like Holtz minus a lisp and plus a fifth of jack!) or the two programs are undistinguishable now! By the way, this team under a well disciplined coach, will be no worse next year! And better the next! Why, because the athletes are in the program, the coaching is not!!!! And you are 100% correct Ben Michigan just got Embarrassed! And I would add Humiliated!!! on national tv!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

Let me be more concise than this lengthy summary: The University of Michigan football team was dominated and embarrassed by a better team.

obama from kenya

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

I hope DB knows what he's doing. This isn't pizza making afterall.