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Posted on Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 1:30 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez's lone win against Penn State one to remember, plus Michigan football injury report

By Pete Bigelow

Rich Rodriguez holds an unenviable record when it comes to facing Joe Paterno.

As a head coach, Rodriguez has lost his only two games against the Nittany Lions’ coaching legend. As a player at West Virginia, he lost his first three games against Penn State before winning his senior season.

That lone triumph, which came in 1984, was one to remember.


Penn State coach Joe Paterno.

Associated Press

West Virginia hosted its first night game in history. The Mountaineers hadn’t beaten Penn State since 1955, but anticipation ran high that they’d have a chance in Morgantown.

“It was a crazy crowd,” Rodriguez said Wednesday while talking about Michigan's upcoming road game at Penn State (8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN).

West Virginia clung to a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter. Penn State drove down the field, and looked poised to either the game or take the lead. But WVU’s Larry Holley intercepted Penn State’s John Shaffer with 35 seconds remaining to seal a 17-14 win.

Fans stormed the field and tore down a goal post. With 35 seconds still on the clock, Paterno waved off the remaining time and congratulated the Mountaineers on the win in a visit to their locker room.

“The town went crazy after that,” Rodriguez said. “For us that were seniors, that had endured three years of losing and many years before that, beating Penn State was one of the goals we had.”

It wasn’t only beating Penn State that was special. It was beating Paterno.

“What he means to college football, and the class he’s exhibited through the years, you just know he has a great respect for college football,” Rodriguez said. “Any time you can get a win over him is something special.”

Injury report Freshman Devin Gardner will travel to Penn State this weekend and function as the Wolverines’ emergency quarterback if something happens to starter Denard Robinson and backup Tate Forcier.

But Gardner’s still not yet fully recovered from a sore back.

“We hope he feels better as the week goes on,” Rodriguez said.

Defensive tackle Mike Martin and center David Molk, who are recovering from ankle sprains, expect to be ready to play against the Nittany Lions. Running back Fitzgerald Tousssaint (shoulder) remains out.

Rodriguez disclosed Wednesday that running back Michael Cox has had “a knee issue” for the past few weeks, and that his growth and practice has been limited.

Pete Bigelow covers Michigan football for He can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via email at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 12:38 p.m.

I am a person who believes in show me. However I need to respond to the excuse question. Some if not all of the statements you made are facts. If you do not feel that these are valid reasons then make up another cliche. What I am saying is that the last 3 guarterbacks were all first year starters. I would have loved to have had a talent like Ryan Mallett stay. do you not feel that this would have made a difference. On offense and defense. Geez the facts are that defensively we cannot. Or at least have not stopped anyone. This is a fact that will soon change. As soon as next year. Martin is the one star on defense. I said star. He will be back this week. Unless someone chops blocks him. He cannot be stopped. With an improved defense and it cannot get any worse. The prospects for the rest of the season and next year are going to be good for Michigan Football. At the beginning of the year I said the only team that will beat Wisconsin. Will be Michigan. Well Michigan State so far is the only one. I also said I was hopeful for an 8_3 season. That looks like a reachable goal if my predication of a win over Wisconsin comes about. Michigan has a new look and a new coach. I have been a Michigan Fan since the Icon. Coach Bo in 1969. I am from Wisconsin, but I bleed Maize and Blue. I love Bo and his staunch defense. He will never begone. But accept the facts that this is a new era. No excuses just facts. Watch what Rich does with his recruits. I also respect the heck of Coach Carr. When a lot of Michigan were hollering for a new look. The new look is here and remember the past. Now live in the present.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:21 a.m.

Blue Fan Honestly, that would make more sense (punished for the suspended licences problem) than being hurt again. I almost wish they'd just say he was inactive for a coaches decision, rather than blame it on injury. Seriously, if this kid ever gets a chance, most folks, myself included, will be expecting him to get injured in short order due to this history he's accumulated. You'll not be able to trust in his ability to contribute. I'm not blaming Rich on this one, I just wish they'd be straight with us.

BLUE fan Az

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

I hate to say it but I think he is fine, just quietly being punished for the driving on a suspended license without making it a media field day and another black eye for RR's program management.


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 11:38 a.m.

GoblueinNE_PA -- Toussaint is from Ohio too. With him being hurt all the time, one would think he was from Florida and took a few hits in the hardest hitting and nastiest football league in the whole world. /sarcasm


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

I can't friggin' believe that Toussant is out! I mean it was just this week that they said he was fine. I keep thinking that Toussant will be the one that pulls our running game out of the toilet, but the kid just can't stay healthy. Either he's way too brittle or has gotten into the dog house in a big way. It's a shame. He's got a lot of talent, but can't get on the field this year. I expect that will change next season though.


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 7:02 a.m.

Too bad Roy Orbison is not avaialbe to portray Joe Pa.


Thu, Oct 28, 2010 : 3:42 a.m.

^ We have Special teams coaches?


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 10:39 p.m.

Pee Wee Herman could play our Special Teams Coordinator.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 9:16 p.m.

The jerk in the big chill is the classic Goldblum. But he was a good fly. Paterno always reminded me of Peter Falk. That's a real bummer about Toussant, may as well just call it off for him this year. D. Gardner in the beginning, had to be there just in case Tate wasn't going to accept a back up role. But, Tate did the right thing and got over it and stayed positive with the team. I also hope Forcier comes in some early when we're ahead, and Gardner in the end for a couple of mop up TDs.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 7:36 p.m.

lol @ heartbreak. i loved that movie, one of the few that could bring a tear to my eye.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 7:30 p.m.

Jim Abe Vigoda would be a good pick, because Abe is actually 5 years older than JoePa. Can you imagine someone being older than Joepa? Although young joe paterno actually looks alot like Jeff Goldblum (That guy from the fly movie)


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 7:06 p.m.

Hey Jim Pryce! Classic movie and great choice for actor. Now, we'll see if the moderators allow your comment to stay (similar ones from me have been deleted). Who will play Bo and Canham? Can we call it "Something for JoeP!!"?

Jim Pryce

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 6:48 p.m.

This is a bit off the path, but if they make a movie about JoePa wouldn't a good choice be Joe Pesci. After seeing My Cousin Vinny rerun this past weekend, whenever he was on screen the first person who popped into my mind was Paterno.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

Richie is truly showing his SHADY ways......... For Devin to want to stick around and back up Drob his going to be huge Richie is already laying the foundation.............. BUT BUT BUT his back hurts and he could not play. What joke the king is. Why even play him the first game coach? The excuses are are a never ending cycle. WE ARE YOUNG, WAIT TILL HIS PLAYERS ARE HERE, EVERYONE PRACTICES MORE, DROB DIDN'T THROW THOSE PICKS WE WOULD BE #5,IT'S ALL CARRS FAULT, I LOST MY RED WRISTBANDS, ARE SPEEDSTERS ARE REALLY FAST BUT THEY JUST NEED TO GET BIGGER........... The excuses never stop


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 5:15 p.m.

"Rich will win this the last football game between him and Coach Jo Pa" I think it may be the last season for both coaches.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

That explains where Cox has been. Too bad about FT. I think DR's ability to break runs depends on how disciplined PSU plays. If they stay home, closing off lanes, like Iowa and MSU did, DR will be just like those games. If they overpursue, he will have a huge game. But one hit may do him in, with both a knee and shoulder injury that he's getting over. I can see him getting better results than the last 2 games, given PSU's performance so far this year.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 3:32 p.m.

@Aaron Wrong. A win makes Michigan bowl-eligible for the first time since 2007/08. It's a big deal.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 3:01 p.m.

Coach Rich will win this the last football game between him and Coach Jo Pa, thats how you want end a series with a great coach.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

Too bad a victory over PSU wouldn't be a big deal this year.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

He has a pretty good chance to pick up a win. I hope that if Denard is unable to break out for a few of his long runs after the first quarter and a half, that Rich puts Tate in to give him a chance to move the ball down the field enough times.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 1:25 p.m.

Wow, Toussaint was healthy for 3 days before getting hurt again! Might be the first time in history that someone was hurt, got better, and got hurt again all in the same bye week!


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 1:22 p.m.

You see, pwants need boff wata and wight to gwoh...


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 1:06 p.m.

Injuries prevent full out practice which prevent growth as a player. Pretty clear to me.


Wed, Oct 27, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

Please explain how Mike Cox's growth has been limited.