Lloyd Carr's 10 Most Important Games

In the same spirit as Brian's all-time Lloyd Carr offense, I decided to put together the top 10 wins of the Lloyd Carr era. These are the biggest wins that Lloyd had during his head coaching career in terms of games that were most impactful to his overall legacy as Michigan's coach.

With a little help from YouTube sensation WolverineHistorian, I give you Lloyd Carr's 10 most important games.

Michigan - 31
Ohio State - 23
Lloyd's first win in his first season over Michigan's biggest rival. You could argue that any win over Ohio State should get into the top 10, or maybe all of his wins...but this one was his first. Biakabatuka ran for 313 yards, the largest per game rushing effort in Michigan history...and led to him setting the single season rushing record. Freshman Charles Woodson had a breakout game covering OSU standout WR Terry Glen. OSU came into this game a top ranked team, sporting such stars as Eddie George, Bobby Hoying, Orlando Pace and Mike Vrabel.

Michigan - 47
Notre Dame - 21
Notre Dame was ranked #2 in the country on September 16, 2006. By September 18, they were much much lower. Michigan humbled the Irish with dominating defense and an aerial assault that led to 3 touchdown passes to Mario Manningham, easily his best effort in a Michigan uniform. But most importantly, it was Lloyd's most impressive win against the Irish.

Michigan - 38
Minnesota - 35
Michigan was down big early on the road in the Minneapolis Metrodome in 2003. They were down 28-7 with just over 14 minutes in the 4th quarter. Two quick scores made it 28-21. Minnesota scored again to put Michigan down 14 again with 10 minutes left. Freshman Garrett Rivas nailed a 33-yard field goal with less than a minute left to go ahead 38-35. The defense held on and gave Michigan their biggest comeback in history.

Michigan - 45
Michigan State - 37
A 3-overtime thriller against our "Little Brother" that finally ended under the temporary lights at the Big House. The biggest game of superstar Michigan WR Braylon Edwards. Also the breakout game from freshman Chad Henne. 04 wasn't the best year for Michigan, but maybe that's what makes this game stand out from the crowd.

Michigan - 18
Virginia - 17
What else can I say? Lloyd's first win. And I was luck enough to be there. It was late August. About 120 degrees on the field, and Michigan played like crap for 46 minutes. With 12 minutes left, Michigan was down 17-0. Freshman Scott Driesbach made a statement by leading Michigan back. Ending the game with a 15 yard touchdown to Mercury Hayes in the corner of the endzone as time expired for a heart-stopping one point win.

Capital One Bowl
Michigan - 41
Florida - 35
Lloyd was able to bookend his career with memorable wins. Maybe one of the most satisfying wins he ever had. Michigan broke the stereotype that the slow and stodgy Big Ten couldn't keep up with the fast and nimble SEC. Florida came into this game with their superstar Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and left with their head's spinning. Michigan was finally healthy enough to put all the pieces of their senior-led offense together for one last game. Every key position player was playing well, as well as the defense...slowing down Florida just enough to give the offense a chance. They carried Lloyd off the field. What a great way to go out.

Michigan - 35
Ohio State - 21
The 100th installment of the greatest rivalry in sports was Lloyd's last win over the team from down south. It was a blowout by normal UM-OSU standards. The game was never really close. But given that it was a historic game, and Lloyd's last win, I have to put it here. The 2003 edition of the Michigan football team was a very talented bunch, but for whatever reason never really put a complete game together until this game. John Navarre played very well as did Chris Perry.

My apologies, WolverineHistorian did not have this game.

Michigan - 20
Ohio State - 14
These matchups usually never produce high scores. Defenses are typically pretty stout (2006 being the anomaly). This game had every fan of both teams on pins and needles. Michigan was ranked #1 and undefeated. OSU had upset on their minds. But Michigan's defense played very tough. Charles Woodson won the Heisman on this game. With a punt return for a touchdown and a key interception in the endzone, he single-handily demoralized the OSU offense and gave Michigan the biggest win against OSU, maybe ever. After this game, Washington State stood no chance.

Orange Bowl
Michigan - 35
Alabama - 34
The first year of the infamous BCS saw Michigan take on Alabama in the Orange Bowl. This was Michigan's first overtime game. Tom Brady had a career day, throwing 4 touchdown and 369 yards. Michigan came from down 14 points twice to pull out an overtime thriller. A missed extra point in the first OT gave Michigan the somewhat surprising victory. This is easily one of Lloyd's career games as a coach.

Rose Bowl
Michigan - 21
Washington State - 16
No mystery here. Michigan takes down Washington in the 1998 Rose Bowl for their first National Championship since 1948. They capped off a dream season in the greatest bowl venue there is. Michigan entered the game 11-0 and had newly crowned Heisman winner Charles Woodson. Lloyd was named the national coach of the year, and his defensive coordinator Jim Hermann was assistant of the year. Michigan was pretty much unstoppable in this game. The score was close, but every Michigan fan knew there was no other way this game would end. The only shame is that Lloyd peaked so early. The last 10 years have seen many ups and downs, but maybe that's what has made this game so much sweeter looking back.


  1. Having had the good fortune to hear Lloyd speak to a small group of people at function our firm held during the summer of 2005, we had an opportunity to ask him a number of questions. The question I asked him was what was the best memory he had and it was the 1997 Ohio State Game, not the Rose Bowl and certainly not the Orange Bowl. It could be argued that the 1998 Rose Bowl should stay #1, but there is no question that the 1997 Game should be no worse than #2, and Lloyd may even say #1.

    By the way, it was obvious at that time that there was something wrong with Lloyd. I didn't learn what it was until later, but I noticed that he had some bad twitches and habits concerning his hands as he spoke. When I later found out that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's, it all made sense. Watch the You Tube video from Bo's funeral at the Stadium. The odd mannerisms with his hands are on full display.

  2. Anonymous5:52 PM

    BTW, the 2003 score was UofM 35 - OSU 21...not UofM 31 - OSU 23 as you posted.