The Wolverines lost their season opener to Notre Dame but won ten consecutive games to finish the regular season. Highlights of the winning streak included the defeat of Minnesota by 34 points for the Little Brown Jug and a victory over Ohio State in their home finale.
The team leaders included running back Tony Boles, who rushed for 839 yards, and Michael Taylor, who threw for 1,081 yards. Greg McMurtry was the Wolverine's leading receiver with 41 catches for 711 yards. Schembechler retired after the Rose Bowl, which the Wolverines lost to USC by a touchdown.
The 1990 Rose Bowl was a remach of the previous Rose Bowl in which Michigan won 22 to 14. USC scored the first points in the second quarter with a one yard run by Todd Marinovich. Michigan got a field goal to make it 7 to 3 but the Trojans added another field goal before the half to take a 10 to 3 lead at halftime. Although Michigan tied the score, Ricky Ervins had a fourteen yard touchdown run which clinched the Rose Bowl for the Trojans.
A total of 25 players from the 1989 team went on to play professional football. They are Bobby Abrams (New York Giants 1990-91, Cleveland Browns 1992, New York Giants 1992, Dallas Cowboys 1992-93, Minnesota Vikings 1993-94, New England Patriots 1995), Derrick Alexander (Cleveland Browns 1994–95, Baltimore Ravens 1996–97, Kansas City Chiefs 1998–01, Minnesota Vikings 2002), Erick Anderson (Kansas City Chiefs 1992-93, Washington Redskins 1994-95), Tony Boles (Dallas Cowboys 1991; San Antonio Riders 1992), Jarrod Bunch (New York Giants 1991–93, Los Angeles Raiders 1994), Corwin Brown (New England Patriots 1993–96, New York Jets 1997–98, Detroit Lions 1999–00), Chris Calloway (Pittsburgh Steelers 1990-91, New York Giants 1992-98, Atlanta Falcons 1999, New England Patriots 2000), Joe Cocozzo (San Diego Chargers 1993-97), Tom Dohring (Kansas City Chiefs 1992), Matt Elliott (Washington Redskins 1992, Carolina Panthers 1995-97), Steve Everitt (Cleveland Browns 1993-95, Baltimore Ravens 1996, Philadelphia Eagles 1997-99), Elvis Grbac (San Francisco 49ers 1993-96, Kansas City Chiefs 1997-00, Baltimore Ravens 2001), Leroy Hoard (Cleveland Browns 1990-95, Baltimore Ravens 1996, Carolina Panthers 1996, Minnesota Vikings 1996-99), Desmond Howard (Washington Redskins 1992-94, Jacksonville Jaguars 1995, Green Bay Packers 1996, Oakland Raiders 1997-98, Green Bay Packers 1999, Detroit Lions 2000-02), Burnie Legette (New England Patriots 1993-94), Tony McGee (Cincinnati Bengals 1993-01, Dallas Cowboys 2002-03, New York Giants 2003), Greg McMurtry (New England Patriots 1990-93, Chicago Bears 1994), Doug Skene (New England Patriots 1994), Greg Skrepenak (Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders 1992-95, Carolina Panthers 1996-97), Buster Stanley (New England Patriots 1994, Rhein Fire 1996-97, Grand Rapids Rampage 1999-00), Mike Teeter (Indianapolis Colts 1990, Frankfurt Galaxy 1991, Minnesota Vikings 1991, Houston Oilers 1993–94, Carolina Panthers 1995), Brian Townsend (Cincinnati Bengals 1992), Jon Vaughn (New England Patriots 1991-92, Seattle Seahawks 1993-94, Kansas City Chiefs 1994), Derrick Walker (San Diego Chargers 1990-93, Kansas City Chiefs 1994-97, Oakland Raiders 1999), and Tripp Welborne (Minnesota Vikings 1992).