Michigan limps past Miami of Ohio 16-6
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)—Rich Rodriguez walked off the field as a winner for the first time at Michigan.
Not that he was in a particularly victorious mood.
Brandon Minor’s 15-yard touchdown run with 8:12 to go finally put away Miami of Ohio, helping the Wolverines to a lackluster 16-6 win Saturday.
“I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty,” Rodriguez said.
Michigan lost to Utah in Rodriguez’s greatly anticipated debut, then struggled to improve to 24-0 against Mid-American Conference teams.
The former West Virginia coach knew it would be a rebuilding season, but that doesn’t make him feel any better after his first two games.
“Very frustrated. Exasperated,” Rodriguez said. “But we’re not going to quit grinding away.”
Michigan (1-1) was favored to beat Miami (0-2) by more than two touchdowns and seemed en route to meeting expectations with 10 points on its first two drives.
The RedHawks, though, trailed by just four points entering the final quarter and had a shot at ending the MAC’s skid against college football’s winningest program.
“After we spotted them that 10-point lead, we went toe to toe with them for the other 56 minutes,” Miami coach Shane Montgomery said. “I’m proud, but we can’t be satisfied. There are no moral defeats.
“We feel like we had a chance to win that game. You have to give Michigan credit. They made a few plays when they needed to.”
The Wolverines had opportunities to make plays that might’ve broke the game open, but Steven Threet misfired on throws to wide-open receivers to keep the game close and the Michigan quarterback situation in flux.
“It’s frustrating, not hitting those passes,” Threet acknowledged. “There were some plays I’d like to have back.”
Threet finished 6 of 13 for 63 yards and ran for 26 yards, including a 9-yard TD to cap his first drive.
Nick Sheridan entered the game in the first and second halves, completing 4 of 5 passes for 40 yards and leading the Wolverines’ second TD drive.
Rodriguez was hoping Threet or Sheridan would’ve played well enough to emerge as the undisputed No. 1 quarterback entering the next game at Notre Dame.
“It’s like a Clint Eastwood movie, `The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,”’ Rodriguez said. “I was hoping one of them would play so well we wouldn’t have to (rotate).
“But it’s not just them.”
Michigan ran the ball better than it did in last week’s setback, but lost starting left tackle Mark Ortmann to an elbow injury, depleting a line that was already thin. Minor also left the game with a groin injury.
Sam McGuffie gained 74 of the team’s 178 yards rushing and the freshman had a 27-yard reception to set up Minor’s TD.
Miami’s Daniel Raudabaugh was 20-of-33 for 191 yards with a fumble before being knocked out in the fourth quarter, getting sandwiched by the Wolverines on a running play. The RedHawks weren’t sure if Raudabaugh had a concussion, but the QB said he was OK.
Nathan Parseghian, a great-grandnephew of famed Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian, kicked two field goals to make it 10-6.
Raudabaugh regretted that Miami didn’t score TDs on those drives. “When you’re down there walking to the bank, you have to cash your check,” he said.
The game was not a sellout and drew 106,724 fans, the smallest crowd at Michigan Stadium since it was expanded in 1998.
After the win, the Wolverines sang “The Victors” in front of the student section in what Rodriguez hopes will become a welcomed ritual.
“Is that all right with everybody?” Rodriguez joked, jabbing at those who have questioned his commitment to Michigan’s tradition.