How the Wolverines fared in 2004: 9-3 overall, 7-1 Big Ten
(Links to USA Today game stories)
Sept. 4 – MICHIGAN 43, Miami (Ohio) 10
Sept. 11 –NOTRE DAME 28, Michigan 20
Sept. 18 – MICHIGAN 24, San Diego State 21
Sept. 25 – MICHIGAN 30, Iowa 17
Oct. 2 – Michigan 35, INDIANA 14
Oct. 9 – MICHIGAN 27, Minnesota 24
Oct. 16 – Michigan 30, ILLINOIS 19
Oct. 23 – Michigan 16, PURDUE 14
Oct. 30 – MICHIGAN 45, Michigan State 37
Nov. 13 – MICHIGAN 42, Northwestern 20
Nov. 20 – OHIO STATE 37, Michigan 21
Jan. 1 – Texas 38, Michigan 37 (at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.)
Sept. 3 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Sept. 10 – NOTRE DAME
Sept. 17 – EASTERN MICHIGAN
Sept. 24 – at Wisconsin
Oct. 1 – at Michigan State
Oct. 8 – MINNESOTA
Oct. 15 – PENN STATE
Oct. 22 – at Iowa
Oct. 29 – at Northwestern
Nov. 12 – INDIANA
Nov. 19 – OHIO STATE
Starters returning: 16 (8 offense, 7 defense and 1 kicker)
Coach Lloyd Carr: Entering his 11th season as a head coach and at Michigan, Carr is 95-29 overall and has the best Big Ten record (63-17) among active coaches in the conference.
Versus Wisconsin: Wisconsin is a painful 10-47-1 against the Wolverines, who have won the last six contests. After a two-season break from each other, Michigan comes to Wisconsin for the first time since Nov. 17, 2001, when the Wolverines defeated the Badgers 20-17 on a last-second field goal from Wolverine Hayden Epstein. The Wolverines last defeated the Badgers 21-14 in Ann Arbor Nov. 16, 2002.
Wolverines' 2004 in brief
Michigan visited archrival Ohio State with an outright Big Ten championship and an undefeated conference season on the line — and promptly took one on the chin, 37-21. Still, a 7-1 mark in conference play and a 9-2 regular season record is nothing to scoff at. And as a conference co-champion, the Wolverines qualified for the Rose Bowl, where they lost 38-37 to Texas on a last-second field goal.
Those two season-ending defeats may have left a bad taste in the Wolverines' mouths, but 2004 was still a very strong season. Michigan finished the year ranked No. 12 in the final coaches poll, and No. 14 in the final Associated Press poll. UM enjoyed sparkling seasons from an array of players, including tried and true veterans such as Braylon Edwards, David Bass and Marlin Jackson and freshmen sensations Chad Henne and Michael Hart.
Edwards won the Biletnikoff as the nation's best receiver, after putting up astounding numbers: 97 receptions, 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns. He was also named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
Henne was not supposed to be a true freshman starter, but he stepped in after Matt Gutierrez went down with an injury and he stepped up in a big way, completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing for 2,743 yards and 25 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.
Hart was just as impressive as his classmate, rushing for 1,455 yards and nine scores.
Looking ahead to 2005
Michigan is among the legitimate contenders not just for the Big Ten championship but for the BCS championship game, played at the Rose Bowl this season.
The Wolverines should be loaded on offense, with sophomores Hart and Henne as the headliners. The offensive line should be exceptional and the receiving corps is scary good, even without Edwards, who was the third overall pick in this spring's NFL Draft.
The defense may be a work in progress all season, especially without All-Americans Jackson and Ernest Shazor, who left early for the NFL, patrolling the secondary. But the front seven should be fairly stout, led by arguably the Big Ten's best defensive lineman in Gabriel Watson and one of the league's many elite defenders in end Lamarr Woodley.
Watch out for Tim Jamison, a sophomore outside linebacker/rush end who could make a big splash this fall.
The Wolverines need to replace punter Adam Finley, kickoff specialist Troy Nienberg and long snapper Ross Mann, but they return a very good kicker in Garrett Rivas and one of the league's best return men in receiver Steve Breaston.