Favorite Baby Seal Clubbings
Certainly it's always much more fun watching Michigan eke out a tight, fourth-quarter victory over a difficult conference foe, or take some highly ranked opponent behind the proverbial woodshed ala '97 Penn State or '06 ND (or ’93 Ohio!!). But sometimes it's nice to relax and just enjoy watching a tomato can get kicked in, beaten, and squashed--especially after a tough couple of games to start the season. So, I've been thinking back to some of Michigan's more enjoyable baby seal clubbings of the past: games in which the opposing team never had a chance going in, and things played out that way on the field. Here are some of my personal favorites from the past 20 years, with links to Wolverine Historian’s videos:
1) Michigan 52, Minnesota 17 (1995): Scott Dreisbach injured himself earlier in the week by getting his fingers caught in a lineman's jersey during a practice rep, so Brian Griese made his first start at Michigan. I couldn't find anything on the web with stats or a game recap or anything, but I remember Griese connecting on several long passes (to whom I don't recall, but our receivers at the time included Toomer, Hayes, a young Tai Streets, and tight ends Jay Riemersma and Jerame Tuman). However, I did find WH's video.
2) Michigan 65, Bowling Green 21 (2010): Say what you want about RichRod, but you have to admit that watching his offense tear apart weaker competition was football crack. UM racked up 721 total yards in that game; Denard had 129 yards on just 5 carries, and just about everyone on the roster got into the game (unfortunately, that included Devin Gardner, whose UM career may wind up being a year shorter because of it). If you want to relive the magic, here’s Wolverine Historian’s video.
3) Michigan 58, Indiana 0 (2000): One of the most flawless performances I've ever personally seen by a Michigan team; UM scored 45 points in the first half, punted only once all game (and for 67 yards!), and shut-out Antwaan Randle El (who had torched us for massive yardage the previous two seasons, almost beating Tom Brady in a 34-31 shootout in 1999). As always, Wolverine Historian is on it.
4) Michigan 49, Michigan State 3 (2002): If you are thinking, “What? MSU can never qualify as a baby seal!” then you probably don’t remember their 2002 team, which was a trainwreck smashing into the mother of all tire fires. But Michigan, angered (and rightly so) by the Spartan Bob/Clockgate heist from the previous year, showed no mercy to the hapless Spartans—beating them so badly that, when it was over, MSU finally put Bobby Williams out of his misery. This demolition was so incredibly epic that WH had to break up his video into two parts. Here’s uno, here’s dos.
5) Michigan 56, Illinois 14 (2003): Arguably the worst Big Ten team of the ‘00s, Ron Turner brought his Fighting Illini (who would finish the season 1-11) to the Big House for what would be its most lopsided thumping of the season. There wouldn’t have really been anything memorable about this game,except for the amazing Steve Breaston reverse-field 74-yard punt return TD (begins at 9:30 of this punt return compilation by WH, which is much more interesting than the rest of the actual game).
Obviously, this diary wouldn’t have been possible (and by “possible,” I mean “any good”) without Wolverine Historian’s videos. So, thanks be to him. And as always, Go Blue!
Bo did not normally run the score up on someone, but the Coach at Illinois (White, I think) had been a real jerk to a couple of other B10 teams the previous year. Bo made him pay with this game.
That '81 Illinois game was a little before my time, but I always thought it had something to do with the way Illinois treated Moeller when he was the head coach there.
and they replaced him with a dirty cheater in White.
Yeah the 80's saw some epic Michigan beatdowns of the Illini. Bo didn't like the way Illinois unceremoniously fired Moeller after only 3 seasons, essentially because Gary wouldn't condone boosters getting too "involved" in the recruiting process. After that, anytime Michigan got the drop on the Illini on the football field, Bo took them full-on to the woodshed.
1980 / 45-14
1981 / 70-21
1986 / 69-13
1988 / 38-9
That '88 game was one of my best early memories of Michigan Football. Illinois had Jeff George and was 5-1-1 in the Big Ten headed into the game. Michigan was 5-0-1 in the Big Ten, so the game had major Rose Bowl implications and was expected to be competitive. It wasn't.
From 1980 until he was head coach, he was back at Michigan during those games against Illinois. It's amazing how many position groups he coached at Michigan. Bo was clearly grooming his replacement pretty early on.
I mean, who goes from QB coach, to DC to OC in a matter of 7 years at a program?
I wasn't able to watch many seasons of Michigan football during the Moeller era (being in the Navy and deployed on a submarine takes away huge chunks of TV watching in the pre DVR era) But I remember when I graduated in 1989 and new Bo was picking him that we had the right guy to start trying for National Championships, instead of just going to the Rose Bowl. Ironically, it ended up being Lloyd, but with all of Moeller's players.
According to John U. Bacon, Bo once said, "There are a few teams where scoring 100 points on them is not enough. And Illinois is three of those teams."
Bo respected MSU and OSU, but he hated Illinois.
That game was the first I saw at Michigan Stadium at the ripe old age of 5. Sat in row 3 and high fived AC on his way out of the tunnel. What is amazing is that Michigan was down 21-7 at the end of the 1st quarter and came back to perform a clubbing.
While I've heard these excuses, Bo denied running it up, saying that MIchigan just ran it in the middle and Illinois didn't stop it.
I was at this game and it was great. Just going from memory I think IL was up 14-0 or something similar, which makes the end result that much more impressive. Once we got going it was a non-stop TD parade.
This is a fun list. Thanks.
I remember that Indiana game being an absolute beat down. If only we had been able to match up one of our great offenses in the early 2000s with one of our great defenses in the mid-2000s, we could have had something amazing.
Also, is it literally true that the Bowling Green game might cost Gardner his redshirt? If so, that decision was wildly stupid (and/or self-serving). I'd imagine that Rodriguez, who was understandably worried about job security, wanted to give us something to be excited about for the future, but that move was obviously not in the best interests of Gardner's career.
Gardner played against Notre Dame in 2010 as well. Week 2. Don't blame Bowling Green for Gardner's burnt redshirt. Blame an irresponsible QB from California and a coach in Arizona.
Devin also played in week 1. He, not Tate, came in to spell Denard when he got hurt. I can't remember if the play was blown dead or if he actually executed a handoff before Denard came back though.
IIRC he ran at least one play.
The Bo years with the Big 2 and little 8.
Whole seasons were a bloodbath until the last game.
Last year's Minnesota game was pretty hilarious.
I'm pretty sure Michigan scored on every drive. Denard stayed in for most of that game too, maybe a lot of kinks in the offense were getting worked out.
Looking forward to seeing a lot of the future of Michigan getting a workout tomorrow.
Much like the 2010 Bowling Green game, RR's offense was rolling with a second-string crew of Denard and Vincent Smith. 727 yards of total offense, 461 on the ground. And David Cone: 3-3 for 54 yards.
I remember that their band's halftime show was quite good.
Still remember two things: Nick Sheridan couldn't covert two 3rd-and-short in the fourth quarter; and Delaware State's half-time show was all about Michael Jackson.
That WAS a great halftime show. That band had soul. Other than that and being pumped to see the Coner play live, I just remember being cold and wet.
This. Cold and wet, yet excited for Cone. Also the first game my wife agreed to go to with me. She has yet to go back after that horrid weather and me refusing to leave early.
My dad always talks fondly of what I believe was his first Michigan game as a student. They played Duke and, IIRC, the score was something like 70-0. He said it was a blast. Doesn't really mean anything historically, but anybody's first game at Michigan stadium is a big one. Also, hearing about the days when he was able to bring in a cooler with which to get trashed during the game makes me wish that was still allowed. Way to go Dave "The Brand" Brandon.
/obviously Brandon had nothing to do with this.
Michigan beat Duke in 1978 52-0. I only remember because this was the first Michigan game my Dad took me to see.
38-0... and it was probably more lopsided than the score. It was 31-0 at the half, Jimmy Clausen was running for his life all day, and ND finished with 79 total yards, including -6 (!!!) yards rushing.
I'd say they qualify as a Baby Seal because they finished that year 3-9.
I know that NDs 03 team finished better than 3-9 (although I couldn't tell you the actual record), but if we could count them as a baby seal then the 2003 game is my favorite 38-0 beating of ND. Early in the fourth ND had -50 (!!) yards rushing and I don't think they had crossed midfield. That was Brady Quinn's first action in mop up duty I believe. It was also one of my first games at the Big House and I grew up near South Bend so this one was special for me.
I could still be happily watching that game. Not a replay, mind you. Just a five-year long curb-stomping of the Irish. Yes, that would be just fine.
I was at the famous Illinois beating featuring some of AC's greatest hits. It was my first game at the big house. Funny thing was I recall the Illini going up something like 14-0 in the first quarter. It went downhill from there as Bo turned the dogs loose on them. It was a great first game for me.
And ignoring things like the MSU revenge game, for real soup can games, I liked the 1992 Houston game. They had brought in the run and shoot and liked running up the score against bad teams. In '89 they put up 95 on a post death penalty SMU, 84 on Eastern Washington in 90, 73 On Louisiana Tech in '91. So they come up here in 1992 with just a horrible reputation, and we pound them 61-7. And we were taking knees at the end, to show them how it should be done. All of college football was happy about that one.
The program kinda fell apart after that till Sumlin got there.
That Houston game was the second game I ever attended. I don't know who they had played prior to us, but I remember seeing in the game program that their RB was averaging over 10 ypc on the season and Klingler had thrown for a billion yards, so 10-year-old me thought this must be some kind of awesome team. Once the game started it became abundantly clear how not-awesome they were.
And never let up when they were playing crappy teams they kept putting up ridiculous numbers and sending bad quarterbacks to the Heisman ceremonies.
IIRC - Houston had run up the score on Illinois the year before. They may have even lauched a TD bomd with under a minute left. We took a bit of revenge for the Big 10. Of course, Houston got us back through Andre Ware's work with the Lions.
They actually beat Illinois the game before ours 31-13. (Though they did lose the year before to them 51-10).
after that game the houston coach started running his mouth about how they were going to come into Ann Arbor and beat the best team in the big ten... the mood was set early when tyrone returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a TD...
I thought of the 1992 Houston game right away. Best part was watching QUARTERBACK Jay Riemersma throw a touchdown pass to Toomer.
A game my Freshman year
The Aggies had trounced highly rated Texas Tech in Lubbock the week before to become the fifth-ranked team in the national polls. They had an improving defense and, more impressively, enough offensive weapons to make NATO envious: David Walker, a heady senior quarterback; Curtis Dickey, the leading all-purpose runner in America (172.3 yards a game); Tony Franklin, who was averaging three field goals a game and George Woodard, a massive fullback who blasts into the line with the impact of a boulder hurtling down a steep slope.
A&M ran 273 pound fullback George Woodard into the center of the line 39 times.
named Ole Miss in the 1991 Gator Bowl. Ricky Powers and Jon Vaughn rushed for 100+ yards and the FBs combined for another 100+. The entire OL was named VP.
1975 Northwestern game.
Michigan 69 Northwestern 0
Rob Lytle, Gordon Bell, and Harlan Huckleby all went for 100 plus yards. I was in pure Bob Ufer nirvana that day.
Bo be Bo. Michigan had 573 yards on the ground that day and 32 yards passing.
My sophomore year as an undergrad and Wisconsin rolled into town 5-0 believing they had a chance. The UW chapter of my fraternity sent a large contingent to Ann Arbor for the game and camped out in our house. It was my first exposure to massive beer consumption at 8AM. I'm was surprised most of these guys made it to the stadium.
Anyway, the game was an epic 56-0 beat down. The offense ran wild and the defense was on fire that day. Wisconsin lost all their remaining games to finish the season at 5-6.
Wake Forest 31-0
I take exception with the OP's entire premise. Baby seals rarely go out clubbing. In fact, they are quite studious and generally opt for the library and avoid the club scene altogether.
86-0. Twas quite a fun affair at Regents Field, as the villainous Buckeyes were again defeated.
Than you sound.
MI 58 MN 0 last year