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Monday, September 11, 2006

Most painful Michigan loss to ND ever...

In anticipation of this weekend's game between Michigan and Notre, the MZone looks back at some past games in this great rivalry.

I still remember...

The year was 1980 and I was but a youngster. My family and I were huddled around my grandmother's radio listening to the Michigan-Notre Dame game, hanging on Michigan play-by-play announcer Bob Ufer's every word.

Yes, the radio. Because the game wasn't on TV.

This was a Stalin-esque time in college football history when the NCAA only allowed a team two TV appearances a season. And that year, the Michigan-Notre Dame game wasn't one of them.

It's almost hard to imagine today. In a day and age when Michigan-Ball State will be on TV in November and Notre Dame has its "own network," in 1980, the only way to see the Michigan-Notre Dame game live was to have a ticket and be in South Bend.

That day, Michigan - behind quaterback John Wangler who came off the bench - fought back to take a 27-26 lead with just :51 seconds left. The ensuing kickoff went into the Notre Dame endzone. Thus, the Irish would have to drive 80 yards with no time outs left.

Somehow, some way the made it down to the Michigan 34. Time left for one more play. Little know kicker Harry Oliver trotted out to try a 51 yard field goal attempt...into the wind.

Listening to my grandmother's radio all those Saturday's ago, I felt pretty good. That was a looooong kick. And the wind was in his face. Besides, we had fought too hard. But...

ED. NOTE: Does anybody have (or can they make) an MP3 of Ufer's call of this play from the old cassette (not the new Ufer CD as I don't think they have the entire call on it)? If so, if you could email it to us, we'd be eternally greatful. We want to try to put up this clip with Ufer's entire audio before Saturday. Thanks.


fightinamish said...

Can't help you with Ufer's call, but you can download the Tony Roberts call here. Makes these eyes well up with tears every time, as I'm sure it probably does the same for you.

I believe that was Tony Roberts' first ever Notre Dame broadcast. Hell of a way to start out.

LAGuy said...

I still remember it like yesterday. We were in the dorm, listening on the radio. When Michigan came back, we started celebrating and figured the game was over, time to go get dinner. But before we were out the door, well, you know the rest. As bitter a loss as I remember while at Michigan.

Anonymous said...

that one i don't remember well as i was only 7, but the rocket running back two kicks was a kick in the groin for me.

peckhorn78 said...

I remmeber Ufer's commentary of the play, though not verbatim- he basically talked up that it was 51 yards, into the wind, and with an inexperienced (freshman?) kicker. The kick was up, and then I had never heard Ufer deflate so much in one play.....with the crowd noise overwhelming him even over radio.

And wasn't there some kind of questionable pass interference call that got ND into position to attempt the kick?

Anonymous said...

For me 1978 game was one of the best ever. You new Michigan was going to the Rose Bowl that year.

Best plays:
Curt Greer sacking Joe Montana for a safety.

WB Ralph Clayton catching a bomb pass from Leach for a TD and then getting knocked unconscious by the hit in the end zone. He hung on to the ball though.

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

I got it. Now all I need to do is find a cassete player that I can connect to my computer...

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

I remember that play, too. Ufer was so distraught that it took hime three or four tries to get the final score right.

blue2004 said...

how about we talk about greatest WINS over Notre Dame?

1994--why this game isn't ever on ESPN Classic needs to be investigated...basically this game was the same as 1980 with roles reversed--I think ND scored the go-ahead with 50-some seconds left, and we won it with a 42-yarder.

Anonymous said...

I was at the 1980 game. My Dad took me to try to decide whether to go to U of M or ND. (U of M class of 1985.
It was the best game I ever saw, up until the very end. It made for a very long ride home on the alumni association bus.
All the U of M fans were seated in the endzone above the tunnel. The Michigan band did not attend but some Old Blue rigged up a tape recorder with The Victors and broadcast it through an old time stereo speaker he had installed on top of a broomstick. This was back in the day when you could bring anything into the stadium.
He'd crank that sucker up and the whole endzone would erupt in unison with The Victors. The Irish faithful were stunnned wondering where all the noise was coming from. It was great to have that Michigan unity and spirit in the hostile Irish environment.

Brad said...

1980 must have been awful. I didn't start paying attention to CFB until my first year at UM in 1991 (Desmond!), the 1993 loss was crushing to me. That was the year were were supposed to pwn all and ND shocked us and we finished 8-4. One of my best memories was when the little evil leprechaun coach was finally defeated by BC, the whole dorm literally erupted with noise on the game winning field goal.

And of course the 1994 game ruled, but then of course the next week resulted in still the most cruel Michigan loss ever.

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

Yost - I sent the MP3 to the adelphia dot net address. If you didn't get it, let me know.