Skip to main content

1. Florida - 2015 - 41-7: Michigan entered its first bowl game under Harbaugh having lost two postseason contests in a row and seven of its last nine bowl games dating back to the Lloyd Carr era. While the Wolverines were ranked slightly ahead of UF (17 to 19), this was a classic myth-busting type game - the SEC East champion's speed was supposed to be too much for the Big Ten's fourth-place plodder. 

U-M dominated from the start, racing out to a 17-7 halftime lead and piled on the Gators in the second half, outscoring Florida 24-0. Michigan put up 503 yards on a defense that yielded only 295.4 yards per game in its previous 13, and had given up just 16.5 points in those prior contests. Not even mighty Alabama embarrassed Florida (beating UF 29-19 in the SEC title game) as badly as Michigan did.  

2. Notre Dame - 2019 - 45-14: Harbaugh's second win over a Top 10 team, this was a much more thorough beatdown than Michigan's 2016 victory over eighth-ranked Wisconsin (14-7) as U-M easily doubled up Notre Dame's production in total offense (437-180) and points (45-14). We'll get to U-M's offense in a minute, but the defense held ND 270 yards below their weekly average of 450.5, and close to four yards below their season average yard per play of 6.9 (3.0).  

Offensively, on a day when the Irish slogged through the wet conditions, Michigan put up more than 300 yards rushing for the first time in 14 games while posting the team's best passer rating (208.26) of the year and the best since Week 3 of the 2018 season against Southern Methodist (232.27). 

3. Wisconsin - 2018 - 38-13: The Harbaugh effect - wins over quality teams get diminished, but don't forget the Badgers were ranked 15th nationally at the time of the game, and were averaging 480.2 yards of total offense, 287.0 yards rushing and 33.8 points per game. Michigan's defense made Wisconsin feeble, holding UW to 283 total yards, 183 yards rushing and 13 points. 

U-M's offense put up a season-high 320 yards rushing and 6.7 yards per carry, almost 200 yards more than what the Badgers had been allowing (130.2 per game). 

4. Michigan State - 2018 - 21-7: Statistically, this isn't one of Michigan's better offensive games, finishing with 395 yards and just 5.1 yards per play (6.0 is considered "average" in college football). The defense, though, held Michigan State to 94 yards of total offense and 1.8 yards per play in what stands out as the best single-game performance by a U-M defense under coordinator Don Brown. 

Scroll to Continue

Read More

That defense limited MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke to 5 of 25 passing (20.0%) for 66 yards and a passer rating of 42.18 that ranks as the second-worst mark of his 32-game starting career. 

As bad as Michigan State was, the Spartans were 4-2 and coming off a big win over No. 8 Penn State. They were playing at home, and with Mark Dantonio 2-1 against Harbaugh and 8-2 overall vs. U-M, they were playing with confidence. The Wolverines had to buck history and prove capable of handling the relentless MSU front-seven attack that had undone Michigan in 2008, '09, '10, '13 and '14. 

5. Colorado - 2016 - 45-28: The best season by the Buffaloes in a decade-plus - they finished 10-4 and last won 10 games in 2001 - Colorado rose to as high as No. 9 after winning the Pac 12 South. At the time, it was a matchup of a pair of 2-0 teams, Michigan ranked fourth and the Buffaloes unranked. 

A signature game for Jabrill Peppers, the redshirt sophomore viper had 3.5 of Michigan's 10 tackles for loss, two rushes for 24 yards and sealed the game with a 54-yard punt return in the fourth quarter. 

6. Wisconsin - 2016 - 14-7: The final score wasn't sexy, but look at the Badgers' numbers: 71 yards rushing, 2.5 yards per carry; 36.0 percent on attempts, 88 yards passing and three interceptions. Wisconsin averaged 432.6 yards of total offense in its other 12 games, 231.0 yards rushing, 4.4 yards per carry, 59.3 percent on attempts and 201.6 yards passing per game. 

Wisconsin entered play ranked eighth with a pair of victories in the first four games of the season over top-10 teams: No. 5 LSU and No. 8 Michigan State. 

The Best Of The Rest: Penn State - 2018 - 42-7; Iowa - 2019 - 10-3; Penn State - 2016 - 49-10; BYU - 2015 - 31-0.