"Bo Schembechler is looking up at Fielding Yost in football Valhalla!
things go poorly
I was an eight year old boy, sitting next to my mother in the same seats we watched the game last Saturday. It was my first great Michigan memory.
15 years old. Sitting with my brother in section 18. This was the first "greatest play I've ever seen in Michigan history." Thankfully, there've been a few more since then. Incredible memories.
I was just out of school and spent game days helping the Marching Band with whatever they needed. I sat on the sidelines (not the greatest spot for watching the game) most of the time. At the end, we all edged to the sideline to get a better view of the final play. At the time the pass was thrown, I was almost out to the hash mark so I could see. The field had hundreds on it by the time Carter hit the goal line. About fifteen seconds later the students started hitting the field. It was crazy, even without hearing Ufer until days later.
Sitting in family student section seats, and it was my first Michigan game as well as my first great Michigan memory.
It's the only way to really look cool.
Impossible to watch this soundless gif without hearing HONK HONK HONK
Rush the field? Versus Indiana?
Oh yes, Oh yes indeed.
A great moment in Michigan football history.
I rank that up there with Desmond Howard's "The Catch" against Notre Dame in 1991.
Love the knee-high socks on Carter! :-)
I distinctly remember my Dad saying "It's Indiana. Nothing is going to happen."
Won't be at the game today will they? I forgot my M warm-up pants and winter hat at home in Denver!
Wangler dumped it off to Larry Reid. Reid could not score and there really wasn't enough time for him to run out of bounds...he was running on the numbers. We screamed for Reid to throw the ball out of bounds, and damned if he didn't do it! The ball pretty much hit Lee Corso right in the head; and, he pretty much has not been the same since. Corso had a fit, and moments later AC made his day even worse.
Ufer exclaimed it was a game that would be talked about for another 100 years of Michigan football (it was the 100 year anniversary of Michigan football that day).
AC was the best I've seen in a Michigan uniform. He scored a touchdown on the first and last time he touched the ball in Michigan Stadium. Old guy who sat behind me said Anthony was the best since Tom Harmon, which is pretty good, but I betcha they all were thanking Larry Reid after the game.
I have always said; that the play before AC's miracle touchdown was so bewildering, that I had a hard time comprehending Carter's catch and run after the catch, even as an eyewitness. The mood in the Stadium was not so much triumphalism (it was IU, after all) but more like, what did we just see?
It was very nice to see AC, appearing healthy and well, at the MSU game last Saturday.
CARTER, KING CARTER.
Didn't they change the rule about intentionally "fumbling" the ball out of bounds as a result of that play?
Yes, they did. I was already thinking of making a post about rule changes that have been made specifically because of things that happened during Michigan games. Here's my preliminary list:
(1) going back to limited subsitution rules after the 1945 M-Army game;
(2) clock re-starts after a fumble out of bounds, enacted after the 1979 M-Indiana game;
(3) defensive pass interference limited to 15 yards from the line of scrimmage, rather than being a spot foul, after an extremely questionable 45-yard defensive pass interference penalty costs Michigan the 1980 Notre Dame game.
Off the field, there is the suite of rule changes passed by the Big Ten in 1906 that caused Michigan to withdraw from the conference, and obviously the changes to the Big Ten football championship tiebreakers that were passed after the 1973 athletic director vote fiasco.
You forgot the biggest one of all IMO. No longer can home teams select game clock operators because of a certain "Spartan Bob" and his slow trigger hand a few years ago....
Not the "biggest of all," but it certainly belongs on that list! Thanks.
In the 1980 ND game, an ND player jumped on his teammate's back to block a Michigan field goal. The NCAA outlawed that soon thereafter.
Talk about remembering a moment. I was a student in 79 and had foolishly decided to skip this game and went up to CMU for the weekend and was on my way back to campus on 23 N listening to the game on the radio entering AA when the play happened. I had NO idea what was going on (listen to the Ufer recording again and try imagine you DON'T know he scored and then try and figure it out) for at least 30 seconds. Once I realized we had won the game I started honking my horn. I must not have been alone in listening to the game cause literally at that moment EVERY CAR on 23 started honking their horn and when I looked around I saw people pounding their fist into their steering wheel and yelling......just like me.
I still remember my car back then too. A bright yellow 76 Pointiac Venture Sprint with a black stripe down the trunk and hood. Had a 260 V8 pushing something like 180 HP and three speed floor mounted transmission. A bad ass ride back then (kidding)....
"Pounding their fist into the steering wheel" sort of like how I reacted to last week's game winning field goal.
Awesome story. I've always wondered what it was like to hear that play live on the radio. That and the Cal vs. Band play.
My parents still rank this as their favorite Michigan moment ever.
Listening to the Cal Stanford band play on radio would have been so confusing. "The band is on the field! He is going to go into the endzone!" Probably would have no idea who won until they actually came out and said it.
...is a bad ass ride now!
She doesn't give a shit about football, but even she got excited at that play.
Clearly Don, she gives a shit more than she wants you to believe.
Sadly, you could not be more mistaken.
I took her to the 1977 Ohio State game, and she was so bored she took out a book and started reading it before halftime. As a UM grad she roots for UM just on general principle, but truly caring about sports isn't in her.
Which means she's always surprised to find out there's a home game in the fall, like it's some new and unexpected development.
I was too young to remember it live, but I remember my Dad showing me footage of that clip and hearing Ufer and the crowd going nuts. I couldn't help but wish I was there to see it live!
Those of us in Section 4 on the 15 yard line had the best view in The House. Now every time I take that same seat I mentally replay the throw, catch and run to savor it all over again--followed immediately by a mental replay of the winning TD against ND last year.
Please keep sitting there. You bring us good luck.
Unless we're playing Colorado and Kordell Stewart.
I'm not saying it wasn't memorable ... just overrated. It's just like the Marcus Ray Sports Illustrated cover from '97. On the plus side:
* I agree that it was one of the great individual plays in Michigan football history. AC would make many more like it at Michigan and as a pro.
* I also agree that it was historically significant in that it may have awakened Bo to the possibility of gaining yards through the air. (Still, it's not like that was the first forward pass completed under his watch. Look at the yards-per-catch numbers for -- I think -- Jim Smith in the mid-'70s. 20+)
* I believe it was also one of Carter's first big plays.
* A "walk-off" play for the win is always good.
- - -
Here's what people forget:
* The game was tied. Michigan didn't come from behind on that play. Seriously -- poll the UMich fans old enough to remember the play and I'll bet 1/3 of them will remember incorrectly.
* Michigan wasn't playing Ohio State or anything like a traditional football power. No -- they were playing perennial doormat Indiana. The Hoosiers were having a fine season, but they had *no* business staying in the ring with a much more talented team while playing on the road. Being tied at that point was embarrassing.
* If Bob Ufer isn't trying to break the microphone on the audio, the play loses some of its fame.
- - -
I believe it's outranked by these plays (and possibly some others I can't remember), not necessarily in any order:
* Henne to Manningham against Penn State, '05: Michigan was trailing and Penn State, while fading, was a traditional power. It was a season-turning game for UMich.
* Mercury Hayes, '95: Again, Michigan was *trailing*. It was Lloyd Carr's first game.
* Phil Brabbs, '02: Game-winner at the buzzer. Washington was like Penn State in '05 (fading, but still respectable).
* Tate Forcier to Greg Matthews, '09. Game winner, traditional rival with a national (and undeserved, I guess) reputation.
* Denard to Roundtree, '11. On this one in particular, I'd really like to know how the AC play can outrank it.
* Gibbons, last week. I'm serious. Come-from-behind, long-time rival, much on the line ...
- - -
Ask yourself this: If Norfleet breaks a tie at the end of the game on a spectacular jet sweep against Iowa in a couple of weeks, do you think people will be talking about it in thirty years? I'm sure a lot of people will remember it, but it won't have GREATEST PLAY EVER !!! attached to it.
Neg me if you want and please let me know what I'm missing.
You raise an excellent point here and my guess would be it occupies a perhaps undeserved slot in Michigan lore from a purely analytical standpoint but I think I know why. It was the first such play most of us (even us old farts like me and Don) remember seeing. Look at your list....any plays on it before 1979? And as I think back into my game memory (which goes back to 68 and the great Ron Johnson) I can't remember another game we won in such dramatic fashion. I'm sure there were some but boy I cant recall any.
Also look at the gap in your list from 79 to the next one you list which occurs in 95. That's a long time for people to enlarge the play's significance in their memory with nothing else to replace it. Nowdays these types of wins are more commonplace - back then they werent for some reason.
I think that's why.
You are correct in that it was an horrible game for Michigan. The team was listless, mistake prone on offense, and seemingly bored on defense. I mean Michigan could not stop Indiana! Indiana!!
It was homecoming, and Michigan was going to tie freaking Indiana!? Holy crap! Michigan always won homecoming games. Period. So the dramatics of the end game were made even more impressive and improbable in light of the game. It was so exciting because it was so unexpected. Back then the ref's made you "finish" a game by kicking the extra point even when the clock had expired and there was nothing on it. They could not clear the field to kick the point, and after much hand wringing, they finally said the hell with it. According to Ufer, it was the first time that had ever happened.
The games you refer to were all high up on the list, but all of those were "possible" in terms of a winning result. This game was on the impossible scale because of the way it all came down and the need for a touchdown (it was too far out to attempt a field goal). Anthony had established himself as brilliant even though he was only a freshman. But even for Anthony, this was impossible.
Then you've got Bo. Bo just could not seem to come up with the game winner type play. You knew or sensed very early that Bo was gonna win or lose...obviously there are a few exceptions, but I can't think of another where Michigan needed a touchdown to win with only a few seconds left and Michigan gets it done.
So I get your ranking, but if had seen all that like I did, and Larry Reid saving the day much to Corso's chagrin, and an incredible play (I mean he was tackled and then the guy...more than one... completely whiffed), you knew then you had never seen a play like that, and you had never seen a player like that. There was no comparison. Probably won't ever be.
EDIT: Bo started the season with BJ Dickey at QB, a running QB. By this game he had switched to Wangler, a throwing QB to take advantage of AC.
I certainly won't neg such a well thought out post, but I will respond to your call to let you know what you were missing:
First, the "game was tied" argument would not have held any water for people who were there. A tie was as big of a disaster as a loss, and people were in shock after Indiana scored to tie it up in the last minute. The drop in the polls would have been exactly the same, and the effect on the Big Ten standings (OSU was undefeated) would have been the same.
Second, all of those plays you list were great, but none of them met both of the following criteria at the same time: (a) last play of the game, (b) distance to score either right at the edge or even outside the quarterback's range. Name some games in college football history that match both criteria--Flutie, Cordell Stewart, Stanford Band. Among the most memorable games ever.
Game winning field goals are not the same excitement level as game-winning touchdowns. Touchdowns with 10 seconds left are not the same excitement level as touchdowns with 0 seconds left. Touchdowns from 15 yards are not the same excittement level as touchdowns from 45 yards. That's just the way it is, but I guess excitement can't be specifically measured, so maybe the TD in the UTL game holds more of that for you. I can understand that, especially since it's undeniable that the UTL game was much more of a roller-coaster than a game played in 1979 could possibly have been.
I think there's a difference between an exciting last second win and a PLAY that results in a last second win. Last week was a good example. A fairly routine middle distance field goal resulted in a nearly last second win when it split the uprights. Most if not all of the great plays you reference were catches in the end zone, e.g. Roundtree's catch last year that outranks AC's play in your mind.
The 1979 Indiana win was unique in that it required a perfect throw, a great catch and an even better run to the end zone. After going up for the catch Carter still had to elude two defenders who were within tackling distance and run about 15 yard to the goal line--all with no time left on the clock.
All walk off wins are not equal--some result from plays that are more exciting and require more pure athletic skill than others.
Agree. It's the degree of difficulty of the AC play that makes it stand out. The other plays mentioned were relatively common plays that happened to occur at the end of a big game. Field goals and 10-yard TD passes happen on a weekly basis. Those plays are memorable because of the context, not necessarily because of how they unfolded. It's like Rumeal Robinson's free throws. Wangler to Carter was an unbelievable ending to a game in which it looked like we had little chance of breaking the tie.
I think you could put the 64-yard pass to Gallon against ND up there with it - another play that completely changed the complexion of game at the end.
Thanks, everyone, for responding. Some points (all good) made, in summary:
* There weren't many memorable plays in that era so it stood out more. The refs seemed to agree.
* Bo in particular wasn't known for big strikes.
* Unlike the other plays I listed, it was a *long* score (in distance).
Historical context is obviously important and it didn't have it in mind when posting.
For what it's worth, I would've put Remy Hamilton's field goal of '94 in the list. Wouldn't have changed my post too much ...
that freshman AC came into the huddle before the play and said, "Wangs, throw the ball to me." Bo said later that the Hail Mary bomb had little chance of success against the 3 deep zone Indiana was in so he called the shorter route for AC to run it in. Amazing set of circumstances. Plus it was Bo and AC.
In retrospect, it marked a change in philosophy to a throwing QB offense. Obviously, M still ran a lot, but the die was cast. After that all UM QB's had at least a cup of coffee in the NFL. Before, not hardly at all.
I was there on the 20 with the play right in front of me. As Carter caught the ball, I was thinking "Get down, call time out!", but he very gracefully eluded the three defenders. NO, NO, ok great play.
The play just had elements that made it iconic. Carter sliding through a last grasp at his shoestrings, high stepping into the endzone with those knee-high white socks, arms aloft. as a tie that would have been as good as a loss was turned into an escape. An all-time great doing one of the things that made him an all-time great.
I was 12, we were visiting some friends of my parents' in Lowell. Listened to it on the radio.
But at least one of us on this thread was 5 years old (nearly 6) and attending his first Michigan game. Sitting in his grandmother's student seats (returned for BFA), directly behind the band, that 5 year old who was already a Michigan fan was crestfallen to "lose" ... or maybe just overwhelmed by the transitive emotions of the people around me.
And then all holy, happy hell broke loose. The band spun their hats. Chaos, sweet chaos ensued. And a young boy gained a new hero. Plus, dad took me down to the field. I walked the hallowed ground at my first game, and one which i was probably taken to because it would be meaningless and an easy victory.
I've seen a few iconic moments since then. I was low in the corner for Desmond's catch against ND. I was there for Bo's last game. And there were others. But that one is etched in my soul for all other moments to be compared to. I won't pretend to speak for any of the 100K+ who saw it with me, most of them weren't 5. Still, i expect i'm not alone.
Back then there was no overtime. A tie would have been a major upset (in a bad way for us).
I agree some of those other plays were great. Nice to have many plays that made our hearts race and dogs run.
I saw that catch live with my dad -- I was 7 years old, and still remember it. LIke many Michigan fans that day, we were heading towards the extis. But, I remember my dad and I walking up the benches backwards so we could watch the last play as we headed out. I don't remember what either of us did after AC scored, but I do remember a guy near us taking an full beer, shaking it up, and chucking it into the air as AC crossed the goal line.
My family was neighbors and very close friends with Bob Ufer's step son and his family (still are). We used to go over to Ufer's house occasionally. In Ufer's study, along with tons of other memorabilia, was a series of photos of the AC TD vs. IU. It has lines drawn on it depicting the time, how long it took the pass to get to him, and for AC to run to the endzone. I used to love looking at those photos and thinking, "I was there."
There is no doubt that it was that play that turned my blood Maize and Blue!
It was great to see AC on the sidelines last week vs. MSU.
We can certainly be sure that it hurt Corso's feelings all the same, but that's football...
Mom was pregnant with yours truly during this game. (I popped out 4 months later.) But I never get sick of hearing the call.
If Ufer made it better, so be it. Even Wangler and Carter loved hearing his call later that day...
Thank you for posting that clip. Such a nice trip down memory lane for me.
Watching the replay, it struck me how close Carter was to falling down after the first tackle attempt. He did a great job keeping his balance. And then he dodged the final tackle. That's the remarkable thing - if either IU guy manages to trip him up, the play becomes completely forgotten.
I would be woken up hearing Ufer's play-by-play highlights.
Hearing him call Wangler to Carter is one of the best moments in sports radio history.
"They aren’t even going to try the extra point. Who cares? Who gives a damn?"