Press release. Relevant games: 1986 Notre Dame(W), 1997 Notre Dame(W), 1995 Northwestern(L), 2001 Michigan State(technically a L), 1983 Iowa (W), 2000 Purdue (L), 1998 Rose Bowl (W), 1988 Ohio State (W), 1979 Ohio State (L).
The fall football season of The Big Ten’s Greatest Games is as follows:
- Dec. 29, 1989 – Holiday Bowl – #18 Penn State 50, #19 BYU 39
With BYU marching down the field in the final minute for the potential game-winning touchdown, Penn State’s Gary Brown stripped BYU quarterback Ty Detmer and sprinted 62 yards for the game’s final score. Halfback Blair Thomas led Penn State’s offensive attack with 35 carries for 186 yards and a touchdown. Detmer’s NCAA-record 576 passing yards weren’t enough for the Cougars.
- Aug. 31, 1991 – Champaign, Ill. – Illinois 38, East Carolina 31
Fighting Illini quarterback Jason Verduzco passed for 352 yards and three touchdowns as Illinois handed Jeff Blake and East Carolina their only loss of the season. The Illini jumped out to a big early lead and held on down the stretch as the Pirates’ late rally fell short.
- Sept. 13, 1986 – South Bend, Ind. – #3 Michigan 24, Notre Dame 23
The Michigan defense was on its heels for much of the afternoon as Notre Dame amassed 455 yards of total offense, but forced ND turnovers deep in Wolverine territory. The Fighting Irish failed to convert a golden opportunity with 18 seconds left as John Carney missed a field goal that would have likely won it for Notre Dame.
- Sept. 27, 1997 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #8 Michigan 21, Notre Dame 14
After a two-year hiatus in this storied rivalry, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and Notre Dame coach Bob Davie faced each other for the first time. Notre Dame held a 14-7 halftime edge before the Wolverines eventually gained a 21-14 lead. In the fourth quarter, Notre Dame recovered three Michigan fumbles deep in Wolverine territory, but the Michigan defense held the fort all three times and Michigan stayed on track for the 1997 National Championship.
- Dec. 30, 1986 – Holiday Bowl – #19 Iowa 39, San Diego State 38
Iowa trailed 35-21 early in the fourth quarter before quarterback Mark Vlasic brought the Hawkeyes back with two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion to claim a 36-35 lead. With just 47 seconds remaining, the Aztecs converted a short 21-yard field goal to recapture the lead. But Iowa’s Kevin Harmon ran 48 yards to set up kicker Rob Houghtlin with the game-winning 41-yard field goal in the closing seconds.
- Oct. 7, 1995 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #25 Northwestern 19, #7 Michigan 13
Northwestern defeated Michigan for the first time since 1965, a string of 19 consecutive losses. Wildcat defensive back Eric Collier set up the go-ahead score when he intercepted a pass from Michigan quarterback Brian Griese, giving Northwestern the ball at the Michigan 31. Northwestern quarterback Steve Schnur then capitalized on the turnover by completing a two-yard touchdown pass to Matt Hartl, giving the Wildcats a 16-13 lead, which they would ultimately turn into a 19-13 victory.
- Oct. 12, 1985 – State College, Pa. – #8 Penn State 19, #10 Alabama 17
Penn State came from behind to defeat Alabama 19-17 and hand the Crimson Tide their first loss of the season. The Nittany Lions went on to complete an 11-0 undefeated regular season. After Alabama scored the game’s first touchdown, Penn State climbed to a 12-7 lead, scoring all of their points on field goals. The Crimson Tide sliced the lead to two with a 45-yard field goal, but the Nittany Lions responded with an 11-yard touchdown pass from back-up quarterback Matt Knizer to push the game out of reach.
- Sept. 29, 2001 – Evanston, Ill. – #16 Northwestern 27, #23 Michigan State 26
With a mere 16 seconds left and down 26-24, Northwestern was buried inside its own 15-yard line when Zak Kustok’s “Hail Mary” pass was deflected into the hands of Northwestern wide receiver John Schweighar, who brought the ball within field-goal range. Wildcat kicker David Wasielewski then made a 47-yarder as the clock ran out to lift Northwestern to a 27-26 victory. The difference in the game was a pair of missed extra points by Michigan State, including one with 18 seconds left to play.
- Nov. 3, 2001 – East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State 26, #6 Michigan 24
This controversial game was settled on the game’s final play when Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker threw a touchdown pass to running back T.J. Duckett as time expired. The ending sparked much debate concerning the clock and timing of Michigan State’s winning touchdown. On the final drive, Smoker, who was sacked an astounding 12 times, drove the Spartans 45 yards in just over two minutes to hand Michigan its first conference loss.
- Nov. 27, 1993 – East Lansing, Mich. – #14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37
Penn State trailed by 20 late in the third quarter, but after an interception by Derek Bochna, Penn State’s offense exploded for three touchdowns in a span of about five minutes. Quarterback Kerry Collins had the second-best passing day in Penn State history, with 352 yards and three touchdowns, as the Nittany Lions edged Michigan State.
- Oct. 22, 1983 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #10 Michigan 16, #12 Iowa 13
Michigan kicker Bob Bergeron drilled a 45-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining, keeping the Wolverines undefeated in the Big Ten. Iowa had erased a 10-point deficit by forcing three second-half turnovers, though it was an Iowa turnover that ultimately affected the game. Hawkeye running back Owen Gill fumbled the ball with 1:30 left to play, allowing Michigan to recover, advance and score the winning field goal.
- Oct. 7, 1995 – Minneapolis – Minnesota 39, Purdue 38
With less than two minutes to go, Minnesota quarterback Cory Sauter scored on a one-yard run and then completed a pass to Ryan Thelwell for the two-point conversion, as Minnesota rallied to defeat Purdue 39-38. The Golden Gophers had trailed 17-7 at halftime.
- Oct. 2, 2004 – Evanston, Ill. – Northwestern 33, #7 Ohio State 27
Noah Herron’s 1-yard overtime touchdown run was the difference in Northwestern’s 33-27 shocker at Ryan Field in Evanston. Though the Buckeyes rallied to score 10 points in the final nine minutes and force overtime, Northwestern handed the Buckeyes their first loss in Evanston since 1958. Herron scored three touchdowns and Mark Philmore had 134 yards receiving and a touchdown.
- Oct. 28, 2000 – West Lafayette, Ind. – #16 Purdue 31, #12 Ohio State 27
Purdue quarterback Drew Brees rallied his team for 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to Seth Morales with 1:55 remaining. Brees passed for 455 yards and three touchdowns. Purdue had three players with at least 100 receiving yards including Tim Stratton, Vinny Sutherland and Morales.
- Oct. 27, 2007 – Iowa City, Iowa – Iowa 34, Michigan State 27
Iowa freshman and third-string running back Jevon Pugh scored on a 1-yard run in double overtime, helping Iowa to a 34-27 victory over Michigan State. Hawkeye Albert Young had 179 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes were able to recover from a 17-3 halftime deficit.
- Oct. 28, 1989 – Minneapolis, Minn. – Ohio State 41, Minnesota 37
Ohio State trailed Minnesota, 31-0, but staged an incredible comeback and defeated the Gophers 41-37, tying the record for the largest deficit overcome by a Division I-A team. In the first half, Buckeye quarterback Greg Frey completed just two of eight passes for 35 yards, and his two fumbles and an interception led to 17 Minnesota points. But in the second half, he was 18 for 23 for 327 yards. He also scored a touchdown and completed a pair of two-point conversion passes in the second half to spark the comeback.
- Oct. 10, 1981 – Madison, Wisc. – Wisconsin 24, #18 Ohio State 21
A sell-out crowd at Camp Randall Stadium saw Wisconsin end a 21-year losing streak against Ohio State. In the final minute before halftime, the Badgers used two Buckeye fumbles to turn a 14-6 deficit into a 17-14 lead. Quarterback Jess Cole found Marvin Neal for a 24-yard touchdown strike with 18 seconds remaining in the half. Moments later, on the half’s final play, Wendell Gladem drilled a 50-yard field goal. The Wisconsin defense intercepted Buckeye quarterback Art Schlichter three times.
- Jan. 3, 2006 – Orange Bowl – #3 Penn State 26, #22 Florida State 23
Two college football legends matched wits in the 2006 Orange Bowl as Joe Paterno and Penn State faced Bobby Bowden and Florida State. The Nittany Lions secured a 26-23 victory in an triple-overtime thriller. Penn State’s Kevin Kelly, who missed two earlier game-winning attempts, nailed a 29-yard field goal in the third overtime to win the game for the Nittany Lions.
- Oct. 12, 2002 – Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana 32, #23 Wisconsin 29
Indiana scored the game’s final 22 points to defeat Wisconsin for a second straight year. Hoosier quarterback Gibran Hamdan completed 24 of 36 attempts for 310 yards and four touchdowns, including a 20-yard scoring strike to Glenn Johnson with 2:16 remaining. The Hoosiers’ defense held Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger in check for much of the game, limiting him to just 113 yards on 11 of 23 passing.
- Oct. 7, 2000 – West Lafayette, Ind. – Purdue 32, #6 Michigan 31
Purdue erased a 28-10 halftime deficit behind quarterback Drew Brees, who completed 32 of 44 attempts for 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns to shock sixth-ranked Michigan. The final push in the Boilermakers’ comeback came from kicker Travis Dorsch, who had missed the go-ahead 32-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the game. Dorsch recovered to kick a 33-yarder with four seconds to play to complete the comeback.
- Jan. 1, 1998 – Rose Bowl – #1 Michigan 21, #8 Washington State 16
Michigan wrapped up an undefeated season and captured the 1997 National Championship with a 21-16 victory against Washington State and quarterback Ryan Leaf. Michigan quarterback Brian Griese was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after throwing a Michigan Rose Bowl record three touchdowns and completing 18 of 30 passes for 251 yards. Tai Streets caught four passes for 127 yards, including a career-best two touchdowns, while the defense was led by Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.
- Jan. 1, 2000 – Citrus Bowl – #9 Michigan State 37, #10 Florida 34
Michigan State kicker Paul Edinger booted a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give Michigan State a thrilling 37-34 victory against Florida under interim coach Bobby Williams. Spartan wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught a career-high 13 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns.
- Nov. 19, 1988 – Columbus, Ohio – #12 Michigan 34, Ohio State 31
It appeared as though Ohio State might deny Michigan a trip to the Rose Bowl after coming back from a 20-point halftime hole to take the lead with less than two minutes to go. But Michigan wide receiver John Kolesar returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards for a touchdown to lift Michigan to a 34-31 victory. The teams combined for 968 yards total offense.
- Nov. 17, 1979 – Ann Arbor, Mich. – #2 Ohio State 18, #13 Michigan 15
Ohio State’s Jim Laughlin and Ernie Andria teamed to block a Michigan punt midway through the final quarter and Todd Bell returned the bouncing ball 18 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Unbeaten and second-ranked Ohio State won despite two long touchdown receptions by freshman wide receiver Anthony Carter from Michigan quarterback John Wangler. All-American Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter threw for 196 yards.