by CFP Staff
January 1, 2011
Michigan suffered the worst bowl loss in its history with a 52-14 drubbing by Mississippi State (9-4) in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. The 38-point difference was 10 points more than the 45-17 Citrus Bowl loss to Tennessee in 2001.
The Maize and Blue led 14-10 after one period, but never scored again as the Bulldogs held Michigan's vaunted offense to 341 total yards.
The Wolverines (7-6) lost their last three games of the season to Wisconsin, Ohio State and Mississippi State by an average of 29 points.
Mississippi State QB Chris Relf threw for 281 yards and 3 touchdowns, and ran for another score. Vick Ballard added touchdown runs of 2, 1 and 7 yards.
Mississippi State bottled up Michigan's FWAA All-American quarterback Denard Robinson, the first player in NCAA history to rush and pass for 1,500 yards or more. After producing 150 yards of total offense and throwing two touchdown passes in the first quarter, Robinson was held to 164 yards and no points for the last three quarters.
During the regular season, Robinson set the NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,643 yards) and became the first player in NCAA history to rush and pass for 200 in a game twice in a season. He was a Heisman favorite in the opening weeks, but injuries took some toll and he finished 6th in the Heisman balloting.
Robinson had no help on this day. The running game, outside of Robinson, contributed 22 yards.
It was a poor showing for a Michigan team that was making its first bowl appearance since the 2007 season. The Wolverines dropped to 19-21 with the loss.
Mississippi State improved its bowl record to 8-6 in Dan Mullen's first bowl game as a head coach. It took Mullen just two seasons to get the Bulldogs in their first bowl game since 2007 and only their second in the last 10 years. It was the Bulldogs' first appearance in a New Year's Day bowl since the 1999 Cotton Bowl, and first trip to a bowl game in Florida since the 1941 SEC champions played in the Orange Bowl.