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1990 Michigan Wolverines football team

Gator Bowl, W 35–3 vs. Ole Miss
Conference Big Ten Conference
Coaches #8
AP #7
1990 record 9–3 (6–2 Big Ten)
Head coach Gary Moeller (1st year)
Defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr (4th year)
MVP Tripp Welborne
Captain Jarrod Bunch
Captain John Milligan
Home stadium Michigan Stadium
(Capacity: 101,701)

The 1990 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team's head coach was Gary Moeller. The Wolverines played their home games at Michigan Stadium. The team won the third of five consecutive Big Ten championships.[1]


Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 15, 1990 9:00 PM at #1/1 Notre Dame* #4/5 Notre Dame StadiumNotre Dame, IN (Rivalry) CBS L 24–28   59,075
September 22, 1990 12:00 PM UCLA* #7/10 Michigan StadiumAnn Arbor, MI ABC W 38–15   104,992
September 29, 1990 1:00 PM Maryland* #6/7 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI W 45–17   102,894
October 6, 1990 1:00 PM at Wisconsin #3/4 Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI W 41–3   64,359
October 13, 1990 3:30 PM Michigan State #1/1 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI (Paul Bunyan Trophy) ABC L 27–28   106,188
October 20, 1990 12:30 PM #23/19 Iowa #10/8 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI ESPN L 23–24   105,517
October 27, 1990 12:30 PM at Indiana #20/18 Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN ESPN W 45–19   51,948
November 3, 1990 1:00 PM at Purdue #20/18 Ross–Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN W 38–13   41,279
November 10, 1990 12:00 PM #17/15 Illinois #19/17 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI W 22–17   105,343
November 17, 1990 12:30 PM Minnesota #16/16 Michigan Stadium • Ann Arbor, MI (Little Brown Jug) ESPN W 35–18   102,112
November 24, 1990 12:00 PM at #19/17 Ohio State #15/15 Ohio StadiumColumbus, OH (The Game) ABC W 16–13   90,054
January 1, 1991 11:30 AM vs. #15/14 Ole Miss* #12/12 Gator Bowl StadiumJacksonville, FL () ESPN W 35–3   68,297
*Non-conference game. Homecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll / Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Season summary

Notre Dame


Ohio State

Michigan at Ohio State
1 234Total
Michigan 0 673 16
Ohio St 3 730 13


Statistical achievements

Desmond Howard was the Big Ten receiving statistical champion for conference games with 5.5 receptions per contest, Northwestern's Richard Buchanan won the title for all games. Additionally, he won the first of two Big Ten receiving yardage champion for all games with 85.4 yards per game, but he lost the conference games yardage championship to Ohio State's Jeff Graham. J.D. Carlson won the Big Ten scoring championship with a 7.9 points per game average for all games, although he lost the conference per game championship to Michigan State's Hyland Hickson.[4] Elvis Grbac won his first of three consecutive Big Ten passing statistical championships (137.1 passing efficiency in all games), Matt Rodgers of Iowa won the title for conference games.[5]

The team led the Big Ten in rushing offense for all games (264.6 yards per game), although Michigan State won the title for conference games.[6] They also led in passing efficiency for all games (137.7) although Iowa led for conference games.[6] They were the conference leader in total offense for all games (432.5 yards per game), although Iowa won the title for conference games.[7] The 715 yards of total offense in the January 1, 1991 Gator Bowl against Ole Miss stood as the school record until October 17, 2009.[8]

The team earned the first of four consecutive and six 1990s Big Ten rushing defense statistical championships for all games by holding opponents to 104.7 yards per game. Iowa won the title for conference games.[7] The team led the conference in total defense for conference games (289.4), while Iowa led for all games.[9] The team led the Big Ten Conference in scoring defense for conference games (16.9 points per game) and all games (16.5).[10] They were the conference leaders in quarterback sacks for conference games (3.6 sacks per game) and all games (3.6 sacks per game).[10] They led the conference in turnover margin (+0.92) in all games, while Illinois led for conference games.[10] They led the conference in punt return average in conference games (17.4 yards per return) and all games (15.2).[11] The season marked the third consecutive year that the team led the conference in kick return average in conference games (26.5 yards per return) and all games (27.3).[11]

Jon Vaughn set the current school record for career yards per carry (6.29, min 200 carries), eclipsing Rob Lytle's 16-year-old record.[12] Vaughn opened the 1990 season by posting 201 rushing yards on September 15, 1990 against University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish and following it up with 288 rushing yards against the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins on September 22, 1990 at the Big House.[13][14] This feat made him the first Michigan back to rush for 200 yards in consecutive games, a feat not duplicated until Mike Hart did so in 2004.[15] Grbac became the fourth Wolverine to post a 4-touchdown pass performance against Mississippi State, he would become the first to post two the following season and later in his career would post a third such performance. Grbac became the first single-season 20-touchdown passer with 21, eclipsing Jim Harbaugh's 18 in 1985, a record he would extend to 25 the following year.[16]

Awards and honors

The individuals in the sections below earned recognition for meritorious performances.[17][18]



Main article: Big Ten Conference football individual honors
  • All-Conference: J.D. Carlson, Dean Dingman, Tripp Welborne, Jon Vaughn, Greg Skrepenak, Desmond Howard, Tom Dohring, Erick Anderson
  • Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Year: Vaughn (coaches)


  • Most Valuable Player: Tripp Welborne
  • Frederick Matthei Award: Erick Anderson
  • Arthur Robinsion Scholarship Award: David Ritter
  • Dick Katcher Award: T.J. Osman
  • Hugh Rader Jr. Award: Dean Dingman
  • Robert P. Ufer Award: John Milligan

Coaching staff


External links

  • 1990 Football Team -- Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Athletics History
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