Best "Drops" in U-M Football History

Submitted by BlueFish on September 13th, 2009 at 12:29 PM

An earlier post (about LaTerryal Savoy) made me think this might be a fun exercise for the Sunday after a big win.

Best "Drops" in U-M Football History (in no particular order):

T. Butterfield, Virginia, 1995

3rd down on the UVa 15, 0:08 left, no timeouts, U-M down 17-12. S. Dreisbach hits Butterfield, blanketed by a defender, in the hands at the 11; the ball bounces straight over his head (and the defender) to the turf, 0:04 left. Three other defenders immediately arrive on the scene. Butterfield would surely have been tackled after a catch, and the clock runs out. Instead, on the next play, Dreisbach hits M. Hayes in the back corner of the endzone, without an inch of green to spare between Merc's toe and the white paint of the sideline, for the 18-17 win as the clock expires.

(Side note: has it ever perplexed anyone, like it has me, that Butterfield wore the #1 jersey? Carter, G. McMurtry, D. Alexander...then Butterfield?)

S. Breaston, Penn State, 2005

3rd and 4 at the PSU 10, 0:06 left, no timeouts, U-M down 25-21. C. Henne checks down to Breaston near the sideline at the 5, blanketed by PSU CB J. King, but the ball glances off Breaston's hands and incomplete as the defender swarms and Breaston goes to a knee; 0:01 left. PSU LB P. Posluszny closing in as the play ends. Even if Breaston doesn't go a knee, he very likely wouldn't have broken the tackle and reached the endzone, and the clock likely runs out (if not for a quick-reacting clock official). Instead, on the next play, Henne hits M. Manningham on a slant in the endzone for the 27-25 win as the clock expires.

L. Reed, Indiana, 1979

3rd and 1 at the U-M 44, ~0:12 left, score tied 21-21, no timeouts. J. Wangler hits Reed on a screen, and Reed "fumbles" (laterals) the ball 18 yards to the sideline as he's going down, directly in front of IU HC L. Corso; clock stops with 0:06 left. Corso is livid. On the next play, Wangler hits A. Carter on a crossing route at the IU 20, Carter breaks a tackle and hi-steps into the endzone for the 27-21 win as the clock expires.

L. Savoy, ND, 2009

1st and goal at the ND 4, 0:22 left, no timeouts, U-M down 34-31. T. Forcier scrambles through the chaos of the ND DL, eludes sack, and flips to Savoy near the endzone sideline. Pass is ever-so-slightly tipped by a defender, causing Savoy to mishandle it upon arrival; 0:16 left. On the next play, Forcier hits G. Mathews at the goal line for the go-ahead TD. Savoy's drop isn't of the "would've gotten tackled and the clock would've run out" variety, but chews up 0:06 that could've given J. Clausen and his all-world WRs one more chance at a Hail Mary (how appropriate?). Instead, Jimmah hits G. Tate on a crossing route, and he's tackled in-bounds at the ND 46 by J. Floyd as the ball bounces out of bounds and the clock expires. U-M wins, 38-34.

Anyone like to add some other notable and fortunate "drops" to the list?

(HT: WolverineHistorian)



September 13th, 2009 at 12:43 PM ^

but even with 6 more seconds, Golden Tate threw the ball out of bounds and either should/would have gotten a penalty for doing that or the refs would have ruled him down and in bounds and they never would have gotten to the LOS to spike the ball in time.


September 13th, 2009 at 1:22 PM ^

Savoy's drop isn't of the "would've gotten tackled and the clock would've run out" variety, but chews up 0:06 that could've given J. Clausen and his all-world WRs one more chance at a Hail Mary (how appropriate?).

You know, I always thought that Notre Dame had invented the Hail Mary pass - it kind of seemed obvious from the name. But that great knower of all things that is wikipedia says otherwise:

A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary play in American football is a term made famous when "Hail Mary" was used by the press to describe the game winning touchdown pass by Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson, in the 1975 wild card playoff. It is now a common term often used to refer to any forward pass made in desperation, with only a small chance of success (colloquially speaking, it "has a prayer's chance"). The term Hail Mary pass is often used for any long completed forward pass thrown near the end of a game.
The phrase became popular after it was reported that Staubach stated, "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary prayer." [1] This play is also sometimes called a "long bomb."

FTR, Roger Staubach went to Navy, so there's really no connection to Notre Dame at all. I figured I'd post this in case anyone else had the same misconceptions.


September 13th, 2009 at 2:48 PM ^

regarding the issue with butterfield wearing #1, the entire "elite reciever wearing #1" deal didn't really become a tradition type of thing until david terrell and braylon edwards wore it. remember, there were a ton of great michigan WRs who didn't wear it - desmond howard, tai streets, marquise walker, mercury hayes, amani toomer, etc. it was just a number WRs wore. lloyd carr used the jersey as a motivational tool - i.e. you want it you earn it. those guys, esp braylon (with his endowed scholarship) made sure it stayed as a special jersey number.