JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Chris Relf threw three touchdown passes, Vick Ballard ran for three scores and No. 21 Mississippi State overwhelmed Michigan 52-14 Saturday in the Gator Bowl.
The 38-point drubbing was the worst bowl loss in Michigan’s storied history and may have sealed the fate of Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez. His three-year tenure has been tainted by consecutive losing seasons, NCAA sanctions and late-season slides.
Michigan (7-6) was out of this game early, done in again by a defense that made a middle-of-the-pack Southeastern Conference offense look like a juggernaut.
Relf and Ballard posed problems all day. Relf completed 18 of 23 passes for 281 yards, and added 49 yards on the ground. Ballard ran for 77 yards. The Bulldogs (9-4) finished with 485 yards and punted twice.
Denard Robinson, the Big Ten’s offensive player of the year, played every snap for Michigan and was dynamic as usual. He threw for 256 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 58 yards. But he got little help.
Now, he might get a new coach.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon has not offered any public support for Rodriguez, who fell to 15-22 and 1-11 against ranked teams.