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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Top Ten Victories in the Lloyd Carr Era: #3

Recently, we started counting down the Top Ten Victories in the Lloyd Carr Era, and continued on through #4.

As mentioned, what makes a win "great" is a subjective thing. But we based our decision on a combination of factors including importance for the program, season impact, intangibles, who the opponent was (let's face it, a thriller against highly ranked arch rival Ohio State is always a candidate) and just the plain ol' excitement factor of the game.

To recap...
10. 1995 #14 Michigan 18, #17 Virginia 17
9. 1999 #16 Michigan 31, #6 Penn State 27
8. 1995 #18 Michigan 31, #2 Ohio State 23
7. 2003 #20 Michigan 38, #17 Minnesota 35
6. 1998 Rose Bowl #1 Michigan 21, #8 Washington State 16
5. 2006 #11 Michigan 47, #2 Notre Dame 21
4. 1996 #21 Michigan 13, #2 Ohio State 9

Which brings us up to...

#3. 2004 #12 Michigan 45, Michigan State 37 (3OT)

What happened: Michigan was dominated in the first half by Sparty, but MSU QB Drew Stanton was injured late in the half after being tackled by LB Lamarr Woodley and U-M only trailed 17-10 at intermission. Yet even without their star QB, MSU's spread offense continued to baffle the Wolverines. And after DeAndra Cobb's 64-yard TD run with 8:43 left, Michigan found itself down 27-10 and the Wolverine not-so-faithful started heading for the exits. This game was over. Or so it seemed...

Following a 24-yard field goal by Garrett Rivas, the Wolverines attempted an onside kick...and recovered. Fifteen seconds and a Henne-to-Edwards pass later, it was a 7 point game. After stopping the stunned Spartans, the Wolverines didn't dawdle with "time consuming" 15 second drives, instead taking just 14 seconds on another Henne-to-Edwards TD pass to tie the game with 2:59 to go. But incredible as it may sound, the game was really just beginning. The Spartans missed a 51-yard FG at the end of regulation following a pass interference penalty on Michigan's Leon Hall with three seconds left. The first overtime saw both teams kick field goals, while each team scored TDs in the second OT. Edwards grabbed his third TD of the game in the 3rd OT and the Michigan defense held for the victory. The crowd, which showed up in T-shirts due to unseasonably warm temps the day before Halloween, was freezing but delirious by the end of the game which didn't end until after 8:00.

Why it made the list:
From a pure excitement standpoint, this game may never be topped. If you are a Michigan fan, it doesn't get any better than coming back from the grave against your in-state rival. From a stakes standpoint, it kept Michigan's league and BCS hopes alive. Led by the remarkable play of Edwards, a true freshmen at QB (Chad Henne) and RB (Mike Hart), the Wolverines improved to 6-0 in the conference on their way to their second consecutive Big Ten title and Rose Bowl berth. Meanwhile, Sparty collapsed, winning only one more game - a victory over Wisconsin which helped put Michigan in Pasadena. But more importantly, it was the most exciting comeback in Michigan Stadium history (sorry, UVA), the longest game in Michigan history (sorry, t-shirt wearers) and one of the greatest individual efforts in maize and blue history in Edwards. The senior All-American had 11 catches for 189 yards and seemed to make one spectacular catch after another in the 4th quarter and overtime. It was as close as you could ever get to seeing a player put a team on his back and lead them to victory. The unsung hero of the game was Hart who rushed for 224 yards on 33 carries. But it's the effort of Edwards that will be remembered from this game, and how a Michigan team that looked dead in the water rallied to keep alive their conference championship hopes.

10 comments:

Reed said...

I feel like this one should be more around number ten. Michigan played like crap for much of the game and likely would have lost if Stanton was not injured. Plus, it did not turn around the season from sure disaster to winning the rest of the games on the schedule like the Minnesota game in '03. And MSU was only 4-3 going into the game, so it's not like they were ranked or anything, rivalry not withstanding. Now, I was not at the stadium, so I'm sure that is impacting how I feel about it. It must have been quite a time in there.

Better get #s 1 and 2 up quickly as I think we all know what they are (albeit, not the order you'll choose - that is certainly open to personal perspective).

Ddub said...

can you tag all of these with something so we can find them all without endless scrolling? thanks for the feature, its great!

Jeremy said...

In case you needed a reminder of the glory of Braylonfest:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SyUimlCCbXU

Chadwick said...

I was pretty angry after Michigan State scored another touchdown to lead the game 27-10 in the 4th Quarter. I was about ready to call my sister and tell her that we are leaving, but I decided to give Michigan one more chance to do something. I am glad I gave them that chance because I would have certainly hated myself for leaving early.

Andy said...

I was there. After watching the wolves fall behind 27-10 and feeling the temp dropped about 30 degrees from kickoff -- I was one of those Michigan fans that wanted to head to the exits. My 12 year old son pleaded with me to stay. He was sure that Braylon Edwards was going to get us back in the game. I agreed.

Henne kept throwing it up...

Sparty couldn't cover Edwards...

...And everyone was happy !!!!

beast in 'bama said...

I remember this game clearly due to my anger at ABC.

While forcing me to watch ALL of Florida St. throttle some poor ACC team, they kept teasing with highlights of this incredible game in Ann Arbor.

Finally with about 2 minutes to go in regulation, they switched to this game. Definitely one of the best finishes of the decade so far of any game in any conference.

Edwards' performance in that game, coupled with his Rose Bowl performance later on that year make me wonder why he is not so dominant at the next level.

Chris of Dangerous Logic said...

Or here (full disclosure - I clipped this)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ja1QAi3ZL8s

Anonymous said...

I might not remember right but i think MSU busted a very long run in the first over time and almost scored a TD

Go Blue Gabe said...

I remember that game like it was last Saturday. I was watching from home and after state went up 27-10 in the fourth I got mad and quit watching the game. awhile later I decided that I would check back just in case. I turned the TV on just in time to see Henne's game tying pass to Edwards. I'm glad I decided to check in. That would have really been disappointing to miss the whole thing. In retrospect that victory was hilarious. Poor J L Smith.

Anonymous said...

Here's the TD to Edwards from my seats in the NE corner, row 2. Awesome moment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRr-45LmX3g