Michigan looks to stay unbeaten after losses under Brady Hoke
ANN ARBOR -- Michigan is facing adversity after failing to score a touchdown the past two games, losing its starting quarterback to injury and dropping last week's matchup to Nebraska.
On the bright side: Michigan has been at its best after losses under coach Brady Hoke. Perfect, in fact.
The Wolverines are 4-0 following a loss the past two years and have lapped the competition, doubling up opponents 142-66 after a setback.
They followed a loss this year to Alabama with a 31-25 victory against Air Force, and a loss to Notre Dame with a 44-13 rout of Purdue.
Michigan lost two heartbreaking games last year, first getting out-toughed against rival Michigan State, then missing on four red-zone throws in the final seconds against Iowa. They bounced back both times, though, drubbing Purdue 36-14 and Illinois 31-14.
That's prevented seasons from snowballing, which was a problem during former coach Rich Rodriguez's tenure. Michigan was 5-14 after losses in the three years preceding Hoke's arrival.
The Wolverines got off to fast starts in 2009 (4-0) and (2010 (5-0), but one loss seemed to bleed into another and those seasons were lost.
Center Elliott Mealer says Michigan's sharpness after losses the past two years starts with Hoke, who never gets too high after wins or too low after losses.
"It's one of those things he's very good at," Mealer said. "Put that game behind you, learn from the mistakes and let's get on. He comes out to practice (after a loss) fired up, like we're playing for the Super Bowl or something.
"He's comes out laughing and it kind of makes players realize, 'You know what? It's not tense, oh my gosh, we lost, what are we going to do?' It's, 'All right, we're a football team, let's get back to it, let's stay loose. And at the same time, get focused back on the game we play that week.'"
This week, that game is Minnesota (noon Saturday, BTN), where Hoke will look to avoid the first losing streak of his 21-game Michigan tenure.