Michigan All-Highlight Team

Submitted by Seth on July 11th, 2018 at 2:07 PM
buttzone

[Fuller]

Previously:

This week: This one is the most fun. I'm looking for the single best highlight produced at each position. It's also going to require the most help from the crowd. If you've got a reel that beats what I've listed, please share in the comments!

Rules: Best single individual highlight, regardless of context, although there's naturally going to be a lot of rivals on here because duh. If there are multiple contributors who made a play great I'll try to have it go to the guy who was most responsible. I might also stretch the rules so that it's not just a "best highlights ever" list. 

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Quarterback: To Kolesar With Love, by Jimmy Harbaugh

A quarterback touches the ball on almost every offensive play, so to avoid having to just pick the greatest play in Michigan history I tried to focus on the quarterback doing something completely magnificent with only a little help from his friends.

Ohio State was climbing back into The Game in 1985 and with a cold stop to bring up 2nd and 7 you could feel the Buckeyes starting to feel like the chips were ready to fall their way. Eager to cash in on that momentum, Earl Bruce called for a safety blitz. What he wasn't counting on was a stone-faced Jim Harbaugh sitting across the table, ready to call his bluff, or, you know, take a safety in the chin while dropping an inch-perfect ball into Kolesar's bucket over OSU's best defender.

Quarterback Again: Shoelace, by Denard Robinson

Shut up I couldn't leave it out. It's his first snap. They start by explaining why his redshirt was lifted. Then you see his smile. Then they're focusing on his shoelaces, like this is the quirk that will define him. Then he drops the snap. Then he picks it up and runs around some, probably to the sideline. Then he cuts, and it's Rookie Mode to the endzone. I've still never seen anything like it.

The debut (grainier version with his introduction)

Honorable Mention: Denard's oeuvre, Henne2Mario, Navarre's buffalo stampede, Henson's rocket, Denard to Hemingway with a Domer DT on his ankle, and a thousand more

[Hit THE JUMP and then hit the comments to let me know what I forgot]

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Running Back: 313, by Tshimanga Biakabutuka

This was a tough one because how many great carries have Michigan RBs had, even if we only count those that made it to easily accessible film? Like, Willie Heston probably did some insane things in his day. I can probably name two Wheatley runs (Washington and Iowa) that were more impressive than anything on this video. Maybe "He doesn't want to go down" at 7:25 below is in the running. Anyway when your full game tape versus Ohio State is a highlight you win:

But if we absolutely MUST follow the rules, I'll go with...

 

Tailback: Wheatley Outruns the Rose Bowl, by Tyrone Wheatley

My god was he fast.

HM: Wheatley Explodes, Wheatley Could Explode, Higdon does it himself vs IU, They'll never catch Tony Boles, Wheatley versus all of Iowa, Hart Picks Up a Fumble, Peak Hart vs MSU 2005, Hart isn't down, Toussaint Total Carnage, UTL Throwback Screen, De'Veon's teleportation touchdown vs BYU

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Fullback: Touchdown Billy Taylor, by Fritz Seyferth

Did I say I was going to ignore context. I lied.

There were a lot of helmet stickers to award for that play (and an RPS for Bo and his staff for having their backup QB prepared to check into a crack speed option if OSU went to a goal line defense this far out). But Seyferth deserves the most credit for outflanking a cornerback and executing a perfect block to spring Billy Taylor into legend. One of the greatest plays by a Michigan player ever by one of the most important men to Michigan ever.

HM: Watch Bunch on this one.

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Fullback Again: Hammerin Panda, by Khalid Hill

Look, fullbacks get the short end of the stick all the time so hell yes I'm going to cheat and include a second fullback in my backfield. Harbaugh. Also I dare you to stand in front of Khalid Hill and tell him this doesn't deserve a spot in this article.

That's what I thought.

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Tight End-U: “Where did everybody go?”, by Aaron Shea

What do you mean he was technically a fullback? This is an off tight end. On the back side no less.

Come for Shea blocking three Badgers. Stay for A-Train looking around like "Shouldn't there be a defender or something?" Stick around for Barry Alvarez's reaction.

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Tight End-Y: The Epitome of Buttdown, by Jake Butt

MGoPhotographer Bryan Fuller got such a great pair of shots of this that I had to use the one before the catch as the lead-in image for the TWISTED BLUE STEEL section of HTTV 2016, and the next page had him making the catch.

HM: Butt's one-hander vs Northwestern, which made for another all-timer of a photo by Fuller

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Wide Receiver 1/2: Thank You Fielding Yost, by Anthony Carter

I can't improve on Ufer's call and won't try to. You can tell how little Michigan threw the ball that year since they've got a play-action fake on the last play of the game.

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Wide Receiver 2/2: The Catch, by Desmond Howard

In an interview with Greg Dooley for Hail to the Victors 2015, Jerry Hanlon explained Grbac had a sight read to throw to Desmond if he ever got 1-on-1 tight coverage. Apparently Hanlon forgot to say "Unless it's 4th and inches because DUDE!" Didn't matter.

Honorable Mention: TD2 of Braylonfest, Gallon Bowling Pins, UTL1 ending, Kolesar vs IU, Kolesar jump ball vs OSU, Avant vs NW, Darboh vs BYU

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For these offensive line plays I suggest you open them fully and peg the guy first because it can be hard to see the carnage they wrought.

Left Tackle: Derrick Harvey is My Play Toy, by Jake Long

Yeah right I'm not going to find the greatest play ever by a Michigan left tackle. But this one made a lot of rounds before the draft as the 1st overall pick spun the 8th overall pick 180 degrees then used him as a shield to block pursuit.

HM: Lessons in Donkey Hate, by Taylor Lewan vs Air Force, Jon Runyan on "Biakabutuka does the running man" vs Illinois

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Left Guard: Train to 70, by Steve Hutchinson

Again it's hard to do OL so here's the best guard of all time stifling a blitz to give Henson time, then swallowing a linebacker downfield to spring A-Train and turn the tide. Also Jonathan Goodwin (78) might have had an even better play here. This was a good play.

HM: Hutchinson moves Purdue

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Center: Hoard's Shield Wall, by John Vitale

This one didn't start out great: Vitale let the DT, OSU captain Mike Sullivan, get under him. Then strength took over, and he and Mike Husar rode this double all the way to the goal line, at which point they spun Sullivan haplessly away, and Vitale took out Bo Pelini.

HM: Molk erasure, Pick a Payne block from 313, Graham Glasgow quick-react to Florida blitz

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Right Guard: Dennis Bergkamp!, by Patrick Omameh

I'll let the announcer describe this block, because it's an all-timer of a call:

Ik heb ineens een gevoel dat we in de halve finale gaan komen. Met eh balbezit voor Frank de Boer. Frank de Boer speelt de bal, heel goed naar Dennis Bergkamp. Dennis Bergkamp, Dennis Bergkamp neemt de bal aan… DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! DENNIS BERGKAMP! AAAAHHHHHH!

Frank de Boer speelt de bal naar Dennis Bergkamp, die neemt hem feilloos aan en schiet hem er gewoon in! We spelen officieel nog 20 seconden DENNIS BERGKAMP 2-1!

HM: Watch the Hutchinson play again but this time watch RG #78.

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Right Tackle: Caving Penn State, by Maurice Williams

This defensive line convert was really good by his senior season, presaging a really good NFL career. Note that a lot of A-Train highlights ran off to his (and Jon Jansen's) side. Also note that Bill Seymour, a really good blocking tight end, is kind of superfluously outside of this like "You need help? That's a second guy should I seal him? Um, what about the third guy? Oh you got him too. Okay that's cool. I'll, uh, I'll be here if you need a seal or something."

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Nose Tackle: <---Forced a Pitch on a Speed Option, by Mike Martin

He forced a pitch(!) on a speed option(!!) from nose tackle(!!!)

In case you were going to ask, no, speed options never read the nose tackle.

HM: Renes blows up a doubleteam and a fullback on a 3rd and 1, Ryan Glasgow builds a Gopher wall

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Defensive Tackle: Mo Hurst is in Your Backfield, by Mo Hurst

We spent the last several years in this space regularly reminding people that Pro Football Focus adored Maurice Hurst for the chaos he creates by doing this thing regularly. As if you need to be told by some impartial third party that it's awesome when a guy does this:

HM: I mean…pick one. Jibreel Black is faster than Braxton Miller, Morelli dies

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Strongside End: Glenn Winston Shoulda Stayed in Jail, by Brandon Graham.

It's not that Michigan State didn't plan to block Brandon Graham. It's that they never got around to it. And for one second the avatar of MSU's prison-to-play program got to feel what it's like to be on the other side of the potluck.

HM: Don't make Rashan Gary angry

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Weakside End: Not Around My Edge, by Mark Messner

Michigan's defense was a 3-4 back then and Messner gets listed as a tackle, but he was something like 6'2"/235 when he played. Also nobody held the edge of a defense like him. I chose a case example. That's a 4th down play and a sneaky misdirection play, and dude just stands up his blocker, stays outside another, and makes the play himself.

Another thing from that video: Nose Guard Billy Harris should have been an All-American.

HM: Woodley runs it back

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SAM: Peekaboo Peekaboo Peekaboo Peekaboo Actually I AM the Boogieman, by Jake Ryan

This side, no that side, no not that side, just stop.

A fullback wouldn't have been able to block him either.

HM: Crable gives Brady Quinn some helmet flair, Jake Ryan: Nose Tackle, Jake Ryan: SDE, Jake Ryan: Spacebacker (of Space), Jake Ryan: Rush End, Jake Ryan: Instrument of Death, Jake Ryan: Don Brown Edge

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MIKE (Middle Linebacker): That One Good Thing from 2008, by Johnny Thompson

at 2:26

HM: Kenny Demens ends 2010, Devin Bush runs down a play he was nowhere near, Sword outta nowhere

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WILL: Ohthankheavens, by Desmond Morgan

Let's not think about what could have happened if this didn't.

Let's just look back and remember that it did.

HM: Dhani Jones INT vs Colorado, Jake Ryan: Nose Tackle

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Viper(!): The Edge is Closed This Year, by Jabrill Peppers

After that the edge was closed.

HM: Is he still alive?, What did I tell you about the edge this year LJ? Maybe block this guy? Oh that doesn't work either. For dignity.

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Strong Safety: The Boston Massacre, by Marcus Ray

David Boston was a big talker. Before the game he said "[Qualifying statement], we should beat them by two or three touchdowns. We're going up there and upset them. I think we're better than Michigan." He got into it with Woodson on the third snap, dropped his first few passes, then caught a long ball on a rare defensive breakdown, turned around, and taunted Woodson while back-stepping into the endzone. This earned him a scolding on air from Keith Jackson. And a little something else.

I've told you before: Marcus Ray is as intelligent as he doesn't appear to be on TV. And Michigan used that intelligence to great effect by making him the "rat" in their one-high (to the non-Woodson side) 4-3 under. That let Ray roam around the middle and find trouble, or interceptions. At 7 minutes left in this 20-14 sphincter-clencher, Joe Germaine rolled right and looked for Boston. Now, at times like these, when the quarterback's internal timer is screaming "Get rid of it!" and the quarterback's favorite target is decelerating into a soft spot, Ray liked to temp a throw and pick it off. This time however he had another reaction in mind.

Take that! [8:45]

Marcus Ray knows his business. And David Boston knows what it's like to lose to Michigan. Feel free to ask him about it sometime.

HM: Jacob Stewart, Kovacs decapitates Carder,

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Free Safety: Suck It Woody, by Thom Darden

The Touchdown Billy Taylor touchdown drive gave Michigan a 10-7 lead in the 1971 Game but left enough time on the clock for Ohio State to answer. The Buckeyes returned the ensuing kickoff to the Michigan 30 and a few plays later were in Wolverine territory and threatening to get into field goal range. A sack at the 50 yard line then forced OSU to line up and throw it without reading the defense. And Thom Darden went up. And up. And up and up and up and up and up.

In the aftermath Ol' Woody Hayes tried to get a phantom PI, got run out, and got to sit in the locker room wondering if the ceiling was going to cave in while the Michigan faithful celebrated over him.

HM:  Julius Curry read you, Thomas Gordon ends Northwestern, Stevie Brown did a good thing

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Cornerback (1/2): You Know the One, by Charles Woodson

There is zero suspense for what makes the top two cornerback plays. You know the one.

That game was juuuuust starting to get annoying before that happened. Also you know the other:

Cornerback (2/2): You Know the Other One, by Jourdan Lewis

Remember back when Jourdan Lewis was one of two snakebit young Michigan cornerbacks who watched perfect passes drop into the inch they left open, or perfect interceptions clang off their hands and into Thomas Gordon's? This was the player fortune promised. And this was the only way that defensive Top Ten slugfest could end.

Lol at George Rushing begging for a flag.

HM: Now we have a problem. Diving Leon Hall vs ND. Donovan Warren Indiana fans are still pissed about it. Marlin Jackson mirroring Reggie Williams. Jourdan Lewis's other great interception. Woodson in the endzone.

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Are we done? Nope we're not done. Special teams are important, and some specialists who don't normally get to make these teams deserve some recognition for adding their glory to the Michtape.

Punter: And the Ref Too!, by Mike Gillette

The UFR for this one has to give Gillette (+4) credit for breaking tackle attempts by three Spartan gunners and a ref, and a textbook stalk block by Tripp Welbourne.

HM: The 98-yard punt by Blake O'Neil that would have won it before he lost it

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Kicker: The Longest Leg, by Bob Bergeron

Up through the 1970s kickers didn't have the running start we now take for granted, so by the time of Bob Bergeron, even as the step process had taken hold, a 45-yard field goal was thought of like a 50- or 55-yarder is today. Also Bob was tiny—like 5'8" and 165 sopping wet. After he sent the 45-yard game-winner through the uprights to give 1983 Michigan a homecoming 16-13 win over Iowa, reporters learned Bergeron wasn't on scholarship, and one remarked to Bo "At least you could give the kid a pizza."*

The story got so famous that Sports Illustrated printed a photo of Bergeron enjoying a pizza in the (basketball team's) hot tub for its 1984 preview edition. Anyway here's the kick:

*[Bo acquired a Domino's franchise from Tom Monaghan in early 1982 after turning down a $1 million+ offer from Texas A&M]

HM: Third Time's the Charm by Brabbs. Gillette does it to Iowa too. Carlson down the middle. Remy from 42.

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Long Snapper: Jareth Glanda

Yes this team has a long snapper. Of course it has a long snapper. How could you forget?

Welcome to the stat sheet, long snappers.

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Holder: The Dileo Slide, Drew Dileo

This wasn't the M00N game but it was just as stupid. With the Wildcats in the most ridiculous uniforms in college football history and a pouring rain that kept swirling around the stadium instead of just going the to ground like gravity intended, the dumbest part of Michigan-Northwestern 2013 wasn't even an Al Borges two-minute drill. It was the fact that this went in to force overtime.

And it's all thanks to Dileo, who had to sprint across the field, slide into position, and still got the ball settled for the tying kick. Also thanks to the officials' rugby tossing to get the ball in, the fire drill line change, Glanda holding until the last possible second so the offense wouldn't draw a flag, and Greg Dooley (guy in black jacket) running around like a maniac under the goalposts.

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Punt Returner (tie): Hello Heisman, Hello2Heisman

Aaand we're done here.

Comments

CalifExile

July 11th, 2018 at 2:50 PM ^

For DT I would go with Branch's game against PSU where he was the QB killer.

For LB: Crable, where he went into the backfield, forced the play to reverse and then ran back diagonally to catch up and make the tackle.

ST3

July 11th, 2018 at 3:08 PM ^

QB: If we’re allowed to include the “Dennis Bergkamp” voice-over, it has to be his long TD run against ND. That vaulted Denard into the Heisman race for a couple weeks.

Ali G Bomaye

July 11th, 2018 at 3:13 PM ^

Awesome picks.

Not that I would ever want to vote against 313, but the most highlight-worthy single run I can think of has to be Wheatley's 88-yarder to open the second half in the revenge Rose Bowl against defending national champs Washington:

 

He accelerated so damn fast that when Washington's safeties come into the screen, they're 10 yards ahead of him, and he splits them without being touched.

dragonchild

July 12th, 2018 at 12:08 PM ^

That was fun and Woodson jumped high to get it but by then we all knew he could do that.  The pressure on Leaf forced him to throw on the run and he threw a wobbly duck that Woodson plucked with ease.  The stakes were one thing, but that was probably one of his easier picks.

The MSU pick. . . that was a throwaway.

dragonchild

July 12th, 2018 at 12:13 PM ^

Hear hear!  Smith wasn't a burner but he was responsible for some of Brian's best wordsmithing, like "nuclear-powered icebreaker" and "Godzilla vs. the fishing village".  He had his own ways of dealing with DBs.

And while we're talking about Smiths, Vincent's blitz pick-ups were some of the most beautiful plays I'd ever seen, because I'm the kind of guy who sees beauty in a crushed ribcage.

Blau

July 11th, 2018 at 3:25 PM ^

RB: The Brandon "Minor is Major" run in 2008 I think? Not the greatest play but the commentary and that phrase was going to get said by some sportscaster eventually.

MGoStrength

July 11th, 2018 at 4:59 PM ^

That Brandon Graham hit was one of my all time favorites.  I'm happy for the guy to win a SB last year after that 2008 debacle.  He was the shining star of that team that was otherwise hard to watch.

Shop Smart Sho…

July 11th, 2018 at 5:10 PM ^

Are all of the honorable mentions supposed to be links to videos?

I'm only asking because I had to refresh three times to get the embedded videos in the post to show up in the right order, so I'm not sure if something even screwier is going on.

Also, I love the list, and can't believe my only nitpick is that you've somehow overrated Woodson.  Lewis passed him with that interception. The difficulty meter was even higher, and it was against a good team.

Salinger

July 11th, 2018 at 5:12 PM ^

That Dileo hold still astounds me. That they were able to pull that off and not get a false start is incredible. When you watch the clip it seems like it's on fast forward. And yet...

stephenrjking

July 11th, 2018 at 5:59 PM ^

Not for much but the ref's call on that Woodson interception was sensational. Made exactly the right call on a super-difficult-to-see play and made the dramatic first-down call with tons of flair. Maybe the best ref call I've ever seen.

Mr.Jim

July 11th, 2018 at 6:19 PM ^

Love seeing the Jimmy Harbaugh to John Kolesar 77-yard TD bomb against. My best buddies and I had been able to get season tickets that year and we were in attendance at that OSU game...will never forget that play. The stadium crowd just erupted when Kolesar caught that pass from Jimmy. What a moment. On the flip side, makes me kind of sad to know that there have been so few sweet moments against the hated Buckeyes over the last 15 years. Sickening, really. 

bluepow

July 11th, 2018 at 7:13 PM ^

AC '79, Grbac to Howard, and GOAT vs. MSU immediately came to mind.  Once again a reminder that born in '71, raised in Ann Arbor, and attending school in the early 90's...well, there is a reason I am a hopeless, life-long fan of the greatest college football program in the world.  Let's fucking get back on that train...right?  GO BLUE!!!!

buddha

July 11th, 2018 at 10:59 PM ^

Woof...As someone whose wife has cancer, I don't know if I would go that far...

But - yeah - I had to log into the site on my laptop just to post my frustration about the mobile experience with this page. A couple of immediate pieces of feedback:

  • The entire UI for me - whether vertical or landscape would not optimize the videos. They dragged way "off the edge" and were non-responsive
  • The videos wouldn't close out. Meaning, if and when I would close a video window, it would re-open at least 1x or 2x (and - in some cases - displayed previous videos that I had already closed out)
  • The scrolling for a page this long was just a bad UX
  • When I would watch a video, and close the frame successfully, I was taken back to the top of the article (rather than being taken back to the same position I had been on the page...more scrolling)
  • Since I am on an iPhone X, each time I closed a video out, I would be re-prompted for my Face ID...kinda annoying
  • A few others but those were the main ones. I love this site, and I love the hard work you guys put into the content, but these types of posts (which are great on desktop) are truly brutal on a mobile device

Red is Blue

July 11th, 2018 at 9:07 PM ^

Jehu Chesson knocking down 3 ND tacklers.  Speaking of ND Denard last second come back UTL using invisibility cloak.  My favorite part of that is the ND announcer's tone.

Eng1980

July 14th, 2018 at 8:55 PM ^

I love that play for many reasons.  One of which it was one of the few big plays that was apparent to me from the nearly the beginning.  As I watched Gallon run that I route I was thinking, "Oh my, our kickoff returner is in position to get the ball in an open field."  And, "Geez, get him the damn ball!"

rdlwolverine

July 11th, 2018 at 11:24 PM ^

Tom Harmon highlights - the run at about 2:10, the punt return vs. Cal at about 3:30, and the run which finishes with juking the drunk fan who came on the field at about 5:00.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eICuBpAaqto

And Billy Taylor was a tailback, Seyferth was the fullback.  There should be some good Leroy Hoard and Rob Lytle highlights for the fullback spot.