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Posted on Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 10:34 a.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez dominated Connecticut when he was at West Virginia

By Michael Rothstein

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez will see a familiar opponent Saturday when the Wolverines open the 2010 season.

A lot will be new Saturday, from the look of Michigan Stadium to the majority of the defensive backfield and possibly the Michigan quarterback, but seeing Connecticut on the field could give a measure of comfort to Rodriguez.

Rodriguez coached against the Huskies four times while he was at West Virginia. And none of those games was particularly close.

“We won em all, didn’t we? So they were all good,” Rodriguez said.

“They were always physical games, hard-playing, tough. They were not games where they gave us anything. We had to go and get it. I expect, especially with their veterans coming back, the same type of game.”


Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez has a 4-0 record against Connecticut.

Melanie Maxwell |

Rodriguez was 4-0 against Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, a coach he considers a friend from their mutual days in the Big East.

“It’s been years since we’ve played them,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve grown up and are another team now. I don’t know how much that relates, but we certainly know a little bit about some of the things they do.

“But they changed some defensively, and they changed quite a bit offensively.”

A look at how Rodriguez's West Virginia teams did against Connecticut:

2007: No. 3 West Virginia 66, No. 20 Connecticut 21: West Virginia was undefeated and looking to head to the national championship game in Rich Rodriguez’s final season in Morgantown. The Huskies were 9-2 and having their best season in school history. Rodriguez had his offense going at West Virginia by then, as quarterback Pat White ran for 186 yards and two scores. Freshman running back Noel Devine gained 118 yards and scored a touchdown. The win clinched the Big East championship for West Virginia in a de facto league title game. The next week, playing for a slot in the national title game, Pittsburgh upset WVU, 13-9. Soon after, Rodriguez left for Michigan.

2006: No. 4 West Virginia 37, Connecticut 11: The Mountaineers blew out Connecticut during its homecoming game in East Hartford, Conn., behind 156 yards passing and 102 yards rushing from White. He also had two touchdowns. Rodriguez said after the game that Connecticut focused so much on the run he should have called more passes. Running back Steve Slaton ran for 128 yards and a touchdown to push West Virginia to 7-0. The Mountaineers, after a bye, lost their next game at Louisville, 44-34. They finished the season 11-2 with a 38-35 win over Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.

2005: No. 18 West Virginia, Connecticut 13: White made his first college start against Connecticut, foreshadowing a career that was one of the best in the history of the Big East. He ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns, including a busted double screen pass that White turned into a rushing touchdown. The Mountaineers defense held Connecticut to 90 yards offense through three quarters. Slaton ran for a touchdown as West Virginia blew out Connecticut early. West Virginia even emptied its bench as J.R. House, who had played for Rodriguez for a season after playing minor league baseball, completed his first career pass in the fourth quarter. West Virginia went on to beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, 38-35, and finished 11-1.

2004: No. 16 West Virginia 31, Connecticut 19: In the first meeting of West Virginia and Connecticut - the Huskies joined the Big East in 2004 - Rodriguez’s spread offense caused problems for Connecticut, especially the Mountaineers’ speed. Quarterback Rasheed Marshall ran for 110 yards and threw for 138 yards, complementing a 111-yard effort from running back Jason Colson. Connecticut’s offense did well against the WVU defense as quarterback Dan Orlovsky was 24 of 47 for 268 yards. The Mountaineers lost to Florida State in the Gator Bowl, 30-18, and finished the season 8-4.

Michael Rothstein covers University of Michigan basketball for He can be reached at (734) 623-2558, by e-mail at or follow along on Twitter @mikerothstein


just a voice

Sat, Sep 4, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

I have never been so happy to eat my words

just a voice

Fri, Sep 3, 2010 : 4:15 p.m.

@Micheal - no score in the 2005 game, needs an edit @everyone else - this game will be close, or michigan will get blown out, but it will be the best opening game in a long time as far as not having some chump team scheduled, oh, that hasn't worked to well either


Wed, Sep 1, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

A school can only brag about it's past for so long. Time to start making a new past.


Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

I think UConn is overrated after they squeaked out an OT victory against a weak ND team last season to finish 8-5. Also, despite poor finishes since he's arrived in A2 (2-14 down the stretch over his 2 seasons), RR's teams have done well over the first 4 games of his 2 seasons in town (6-2 combined over the 2 years). I think that when you combine RR's fast starts along with a less than stellar UConn team coming to town, UM will dominate the Huskies to the tune of 45-24 in the home opener. That is my sure lock, absolutely non-guaranteed prediction for the opener.

3 And Out

Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 6:37 p.m.

A man can only live on his past for so long.

Sean T.

Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

I hope he can bring that same intensity he's always had against UCONN but I'm afraid they are two different programs now. I pray we don't lose against UCONN!


Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 3:19 p.m.

White, Slaton and Devine dominated UCONN, I could have coached a victory with those players. Don't forget RR choking at the Pitt game for a shot at the NC. He's under a lot more pressure now than then, he knows his job is on the line. Go Blue!!!!!


Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 12:20 p.m.

Everytime I read a post from Theo I get a good laugh. He call's Rich Rod king after 2 of the dismal seasons in history. Will the name still apply if he loses to UConn? What will the excuse be. I can'r wait to read. This game is a toss up only because it's a home game and what happened while at WVU doesn't matter.


Tue, Aug 31, 2010 : 11:20 a.m.

A lot of things will be 'new' this Saturday. Unfortunately for Wolverine fans, there will not be a 'new' head least not til next season. Looking forward to another year of Michigan athletics, full of systems and schemes that were a 'for sure' thing in the Big Ten and many excuses after the losses start piling up...again...