JACKSONVILLE, FLA., JAN. 1 -- Elvis Grbac threw a career-high four touchdown passes, including two long throws to Desmond Howard, as Michigan rolled up a Gator Bowl-record 715 yards today in a 35-3 rout of Mississippi.
The 12th-ranked Wolverines scored their final three touchdowns in the third period, the last one on Grbac's 31-yard pass to Derrick Alexander. Michigan, which shared the Big Ten title with three other schools, totaled 563 yards in the first three quarters.
"They are the best football team we've ever played at Ole Miss, ever," said Mississippi Coach Billy Brewer. "They kept us spread out, and we didn't expect them to throw as much as they did."
Howard caught touchdown passes covering 67 yards and 50 yards from Grbac, who also threw seven yards to Jarrod Bunch for a score. Bunch scored a second touchdown on a five-yard run. Howard, a sophomore, caught six passes for 167 yards to set a Michigan bowl record, topping Anthony Carter's 141 in the 1979 Gator Bowl.
Michigan (9-3), which traditionally favors the run, had 324 passing yards. Grbac completed 16 of 25 for 296 yards before he was taken out in the fourth quarter.
No. 15 Mississippi (9-3) scored with eight minutes left in the first half when Brian Lee kicked a Gator Bowl-record 51-yard field goal. Lee had missed seven straight tries coming into the game and was just three of 13 on the season.
Mississippi, shooting for its first 10-victory season, drove to the Michigan 4 with 4:50 left before Russ Shows's pass was intercepted in the end zone.
The Wolverines failed to convert several scoring opportunities because of penalties and turnovers, including a fumble by Ricky Powers at the Mississippi 1 early in the final quarter.
Jon Vaughn rushed for 128 yards and Powers added 112 for the Wolverines, who were ranked No. 1 early in the season and finished with six straight victories. The Wolverines rushed for 391 yards and totaled a Gator Bowl-record 35 first downs.
Both clubs were hampered by turnovers. Mississippi lost the ball six times and Michigan three times. On its first drive, Michigan marched to the Mississippi 23 before Grbac was intercepted at the 7 by Tyrone Ashley. Ashley returned the interception 50 yards to the Michigan 43, but the Rebels' Ed Thigpen fumbled at the 30.
Grbac riddled the Mississippi secondary for 169 yards by halftime, hitting 12 of his first 15 attempts before three straight incompletions on the Wolverines' final drive of the half.
The Wolverines also lost a scoring chance on their opening drive of the second half. After reaching the 21, the Wolverines were called for holding on a trap play when Bunch's 21-yard scoring run was called back. The officials tacked on a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty that put the ball back to the Michigan 49.