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May 12, 2013

Weekend Top 10: Beat the streak

A look at 10 of the most impressive streaks in Michigan football history …

Yost's 56-game unbeaten streak

Fielding Yost's squad was nearly untouchable over a 56-game stretch spanning from 1901-1905, amassing a 55-0-1 record. Earning the "Point-a-Minute" moniker by utterly thrashing opponents, the early turn of the century Wolverines captured four-consecutive national championships (1901-04).

Other notable accomplishments during the streak included the inception of the Little Brown Jug rivalry in 1903, a 49-0 decimation of Stanford in the inaugural Rose Bowl in 1902 and a mammoth 128-0 clubbing of a talented Buffalo team in 1901 - and it would have been worse had Buffalo not walked off the field with 15 minutes remaining in the contest. In 1904, U-M would set the record for largest margin of victory in early-NCAA football history in a 130-0 rout of West Virginia.

After starting the 1905 season 12-0, and outscoring opponents 495-0, Yost's squad was finally thwarted 2-0 in the season finale by an Amos Alonzo Stagg-led Chicago team in a contest that was widely considered "The First Greatest Game of the Century" by sports pundits.

362 games and still scoring

Michigan made history in a pair of agonizing losses to end the 2012 season. The Wolverines tied the NCAA record for most-consecutive games without being shutout (361) in a soul-crushing 26-21 loss to Ohio State in its regular season finale, and assured possession of the all-time mark midway through the first quarter of a 33-28 Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina when fifth-year senior kicker Brendan Gibbons converted a 39-yard field goal attempt.

The Maize and Blue were last blanked in 1984 when No. 18 Iowa decimated Bo Schembechler's squad 26-0 in Iowa City. BYU previously held the all-time record at 361-straight games with a score (1975-2003).

33 years of postseason play

The second-longest bowl streak in college football history (Nebraska, 35), Michigan reeled off 33-straight bowl appearances that commenced with a 14-6 loss to Oklahoma in the 1976 Orange Bowl. The Wolverines compiled a 15-18 record during the time period and appeared in 18 BCS-level bowls.

U-M managed just a 4-10 record in Rose Bowls during those years, but earned a signature win in Pasadena in 1997 to secure a share of the national title for the first time since 1948.

The marathon of success came to a screeching halt in 2008 when U-M finished just 3-9 under first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez.

75 years with at least one NFL draft selection

In 1939, guard Ralph Heikkenen became the second NFL draftee in Wolverine history when he was picked by the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 12th round, and Michigan has had at least one player drafted in each and every NFL Draft since.

During the astounding 75-year streak, U-M has produced 343 total draftees, 50 first round picks, and three No. 1 selections (Tom Harmon, 1941; Elmer Madar, 1947; Jake Long, 2008). The Maize and Blue's 344 all-time draft selections ranks sixth in college football.

100,000-plus for 243-straight and counting

Undefeated (6-0-2) and ranked No. 6 in the country, U-M crushed Purdue 28-0 in front of 102,415 fans at Michigan Stadium Nov. 8, 1975. The Big House hasn't drawn less than six figures on a college football Saturday since.

The 243-consecutive games of at least 100,000 spectators is the longest such streak in college football history and, after averaging an NCAA-best 112,252 fans per contest in 2012, expect more of the same immense crowds in Ann Arbor for the foreseeable future.

Desmond Howard's 13-game tear

The future Michigan legend made a spectacular diving catch in the corner of the endzone during a 35-18 romp over Minnesota at the Metrodome Nov. 17, 1990, and would go on to snag a score in 13-straight games - a run that lasted deep into his sensational junior campaign.

Ironically, the game that ended Howard's streak was the birthplace of one of the more legendary moments, and touchdown celebrations, in all of collegiate athletics - Hello Heisman.

Although he was held without a receiving touchdown in the 1991 rendition of 'The Game', Howard helped the Wolverines sprint past Ohio State 31-3 with an iconic 91-yard punt return for a score - capped with a memorable Heisman pose in the endzone - that all but sealed his grasp of the coveted trophy.

Mike Hart's astonishing ball security

The stocky back lost just three fumbles in his collegiate career, and touched the ball a staggering 1,005-consecutive times without losing a fumble in a stretch spanning from his freshman to senior year.

Uncharacteristically, he coughed up the ball twice in his final game donning the winged helmet, but the Wolverines were able to overcome the turnovers in a 41-35 triumph over Florida, then led by current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, in the 2008 Capital One Bowl.

Mike Hart's three 200-yard outbursts

During a late-season period where most rookies are expected to hit the proverbial freshman wall, Hart blasted through the competition, gaining at least 200-yards in three-consecutive victories over Illinois, Purdue and Michigan State.

During the remarkable run, the young workhorse gained 664 yards and carried the ball an eye-popping 106 times (6.3 yards per carry, 35.3 carries per game). He finished his first year in Ann Arbor with 1,455 yards and nine touchdowns.

Hart sits atop the Michigan record books with 5,040-career rushing yards and ranks fourth with 41 rushing touchdowns.

Denard Robinson joins the 2,000/1,000-yard club twice in two seasons

The 2,000-yard passing/1,000-yard rushing club is an exclusive fraternity made up of elite dual threat collegiate quarterbacks such as Cam Newton, Vince Young and Colin Kaepernick. Notable exclusions include former Florida star Tim Tebow.

Denard Robinson accomplished this extraordinary statistical feat twice in a row, and was well on his way to amassing the magical numbers for a third time had he not suffered a midseason injury in 2012. He threw for 2,570 yards and rushed for 1,702 yards in 2010, and stockpiled 2,173 passing yards and scrambled for 1,176 yards in 2011.

In 2012, he gained another 1,297 yards on the ground, making him only the second player in U-M history to rush for 1,000 yards in three-consecutive seasons (Jamie Morris, 1985-87), and he finished his Wolverine career the all-time leader with 10,745 yards of total offense.

Anthony Thomas goes for 15 scores three years in a row

Only four players in Michigan history have rumbled for at least 15 touchdowns in a season, and Thomas did so three-consecutive times from 1998-2000. In 2000, the senior bruiser rushed for 18 touchdowns, falling just one shy of the school's all-time record, and his 1999 output (16 touchdowns) and 1998 total (15 touchdowns) rank fourth and sixth in program history.

Thomas finished his career as the Wolverines' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns (55) and ranks third in career rushing yards (4,472). The Wolverines amassed 41-8 record during his four-year career.


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