Ufer's Call, Wangler to Carter - Michigan Replay 1979

Submitted by Mike Damone on November 16th, 2018 at 11:31 AM

Most people on this Board know that 39 years ago in 1979, Michigan hosted Indiana for Homecoming, and the underdog Hoosiers overcame a 21-7 4th Quarter deficit to score two touchdowns with less than a minute left.  Despite no OT back then, IU Head Coach Lee Corso (yes, that loudmouth) decided to just play for the tie, and opted kick the extra point instead of going for two, to make the score 21-21.  Michigan had only 51 seconds to move down the field, and had one play left at IU's 45 with 6 seconds left.  And the last play is legendary - Johnny Wangler hit freshman Anthony Carter on a post pattern, and Michigan won 27-21 as time expired.

I watched a terrific video clip from the 1979 Michigan Replay show, with a young Jim Brandstatter (looking sweet in his brown jacket and 70's hair) hosting Bo Schembechler, and watching the Wangler to Carter TD with Bob Ufer's radio call in the background.

For those of you young Mgobloggers who never got to hear Ufer do a game, it was absolutely incredible.  There was, and will never be, anything like it.  He truly had Maize n Blue blood running through his veins.  Even Bo knew was in awe that Bob Ufer and his love for Michigan football.  And Ufer's call of this play is so much damn fun to listen to.

As a pump up for hosting Indiana tomorrow, thought y'all may enjoy it:







November 16th, 2018 at 11:41 AM ^

after 10 years in the wilderness, if we blow out IU and then put it on ohio next week, this board will explode and everyone on it will have to breath into paper bags to stop the joyful hyperventilating. 

could happen.  hold on to your hats boys and girls, because this is like a roller coaster ride where we are getting to that final 'tick, tick, tick' at the top of the big hill, before we plunge over to the other side, screaming our heads off, hopefully with an enthusiasm unknown to man kind.




November 16th, 2018 at 11:48 AM ^

I was there (senior year) and the stadium went nuts.  Johnny Wangs to AC was poetry in motion all season.  Special game right there and Ufer was always awesome - people brought their radios to games to tune into Bob, he was that good at calling a game.

True Blue Grit

November 16th, 2018 at 11:57 AM ^

I was too.  It was up to that time, and for a long time afterwards, the loudest I have ever heard it in the stadium.  Most younger fans today would look at the replay and think, eh, what makes that one play so special?  First, at that time, games generally weren't won on last second pass plays because it was still largely a running era.  And that was especially true for Michigan.  Add to that an unusual electric player like AC who Michigan fans weren't accustomed to.  Second, if you had sat through that game, it was a real drag for the fans who had expected a one-sided game.  Combined with the cold, nasty weather, there had not been a lot to cheer about for much of the game.  I think when The Play occurred, everyone just let everything out - Bob Ufer included.  


November 16th, 2018 at 12:36 PM ^

Make me the third one who was there and I concur that Ufer's exuberance spoke for all the M fans in attendance.  Though Carter was a proven commodity at that point, the odds of a winning play like that seemed impossible to almost everyone (except Wangler and Carter, of course).  Today, it is amazing to imagine that there was so much excitement over a single, winning play against a team with such an abysmal record as Indiana.  So, it wasn't really the opposition -- it was the realization that everyone would witness a win when a tie seemed all but in the books (overtime rules hadn't started yet, so a tie was like a loss).  And, of course, Bo was not known for allowing long, downfield passes like that.  Not to mention that Anthony had to hurdle a defender who looked certain to tackle him.  It was one of the most electrifying moments I have witnessed in attending games for the last 55 years!  (You had to be there!)

rob f

November 16th, 2018 at 1:23 PM ^

As a first-hand witness from the student section, I completely agree with your assessment of the entire situation. 

It was absolutely crazy in the aftermath of that game-winning play as a massive wave of students climbed over the walls and on to the Michigan Stadium turf.  You either went with the flow or under it!


November 16th, 2018 at 6:06 PM ^

I'm a fourth on the board who was at the 1979 Indiana game.  I was a freshman and wasn't sitting with my usual group from my dorm, instead sitting with a woman who was both from my small town high school and a UM freshman living in the same dorm.  I'm guessing I thought it would be an easy, boring game that would allow the two of us to spend time catching up without having to pay much attention to the game.  Instead, it was stressful, both as a fan watching the game and between the two of us who always had a love/hate relationship.

She wanted to leave before the game was over.  (!!)  I was like, no!, er, yes - okay, but, no!  My indecision took me outside the stadium with her before I decided to let her go and walk back into the stadium to watch, hoping for a last minute miracle.  Can you imagine I almost missed it?  

I walked in and stood at the entrance at gate 35.  I saw the Lawrence Reid "fumble" to an irate Lee Corso, stopping the clock at 6 seconds and allowing one final play.  I saw the miraculous pass to Carter, him almost falling over (he was practically horizontal twice, once in each direction), and then scrambling into the endzone.  The place went absolutely berzerk.  

Of all the videos of the game's conclusion that are available on youtube, I like this one framed by the Michigan Replay segment the best.  It is complete. It has Ufer.  And it has Bo Schembechler asking Jim Brandstatter, "what is a Valhalla?"


November 16th, 2018 at 11:50 AM ^

I loved the tear away jerseys that AC wore...he had a stack of them on the sidelines. It was because of him, I believe, that they were made illegal at one point.  But he was just so fun to watch...


November 16th, 2018 at 12:00 PM ^

I was born 3 months after this game was played.  Wish I could hop in a time machine and see this play in person. 

This was the game WTKA played on the radio for the bye week a couple weeks ago.  I was listening to Ufer's commentary in the third quarter and he mentions how weird and eccentric Lee Corso is.  Got a good laugh out of that. 


November 16th, 2018 at 12:07 PM ^

I've never been able to figure out if this play was just incredibly lucky or (and/or?) defended really poorly by IU. 

Maybe part of it was due to the game being different than it is today, as passing wasn't nearly as prevalent, but it always struck me as odd that we were throwing to the 20 (instead of the endzone) on the last play of the game when we needed a score. Does anyone have more context about the playcall?

rob f

November 16th, 2018 at 12:20 PM ^

While I don't have a link to anything that I can post to answer your question, I have read over the years the play call was Carter across the middle because AC knew (and convinced Bo and Wangler) that he could split the seam and get open, Bo went with it knowing that once AC got the ball his athleticism could take care of the rest.

  (edited @ 12:42 pm and 12:56pm) Bo somewhat describes it as such, giving credit to Jerry Hanlon for calling for the play from the booth.   And in the clickable link to the 1979 Michigan Replay episode with Larry Adderley, the locker room interviews with both Wangler and Carter describe the play call and execution in even more glorious detail (video credit going to the awesome "Dr. Sap"):



November 16th, 2018 at 12:40 PM ^

Never mind AC's brilliance on that last play and Bob Ufer's Michigan Man credentials. That *game* is the Blimpy Burger of Michigan football history (i.e., overrated). I'm amazed at the amount of digital ink spilled on it every year.

Rocking Chair

November 16th, 2018 at 12:59 PM ^

We were there, sitting in Section 4, Row 41 which means that AC caught the ball and split the DB's right in front of us.  That was so special to see it so close that we have never asked to have our seats moved closer to the 50.  We were moved down to Row 37 a few years ago when the wheelchair row was added at the entrance level.  I still see that play in my mind each week when we take our seats.  Unforgettable!



November 16th, 2018 at 2:31 PM ^

I had tickets that season, and by the time the IU game rolled around most fans in the student section around me were of the opinion that starter BJ Dickey just wasn't as effective at getting ball into Carter's hands as backup guy Wangler was. That opinion—however justified or not—had solidified to the point where irreverent groups of students had started doing a call-and-response chant whenever BJ was in the game:

Student fan group A: "Take out the Dick!" 

Student fan group B: "Put in the Wang!"

Ecky Pting

November 16th, 2018 at 3:00 PM ^

I'll just repost this here from the POSBANG...

"Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter will be heard until another 100 years of Michigan football is played."
    - Robert Frost Ufer

Instead of writing about Ufer's radio call, how about we have a listen! This clip features retrospective interviews with Johnny "Winging" Wangler, Anthony "The Human Torpedo" Carter, and the man, the myth, the legend himself:

I can remember listening to the radio call at home that day, and - being a young teenager who'd known nothing but Michigan football excellence - was so anxious and distraught at the prospect of submitting to a tie with Indiana that I turned off the radio. I couldn't bear to listen, because in those days, to expect a game-saving TD from 45 yards out was ludicrous! I eventually turned the radio back on expecting to suffer through the final post-mortem, and was stunned by the pandemonium coming across the airwaves. I began jumping and screaming and shouting and tearing through the house like the giddy schoolboy I was, because in the end, it was Ufer who made me do it.

U Fer M

November 16th, 2018 at 3:37 PM ^

I remember sitting in the end zone where AC scored that TD. People were heading for the exits and some were already outside the stadium when "the catch" was made. It had to have been the most exciting ending to a game I've ever witnessed, and Anthony Carter will always be my favorite Michigan receiver.


November 16th, 2018 at 5:42 PM ^

My Dad took me to this game "on a whim."  Dad had never left a game early and we almost left with 2 minutes left.  But, by fate - we stayed.  

I was a young kid at the time and I can close my eyes and still see/feel the moment. 

Maybe it was a bonding moment for me and my Dad, but it seemed to be something nostalgic that happened in real-time - - 

It was as if we had witnessed something otherworldly.  The so-improbable had occurred indeed. 

The posts here speaking to the sound/loudness are not exaggerated. It was a wall of sound.  

Maybe because I was young it seemed louder but I've referred to this over the years as the loudest thing we've ever heard.  Pop agrees.  

A man next to us, threw me into the air with exuberance, caught me and handed me to my Dad. 

The 3 of us were in a group hug with what seemed like 20 others. 

As we left and headed home, it was as if everyone knew we had witnessed something miraculous - something uniquely..... MICHIGAN. 

On the way home, we talked about how miracles can happen, and sometimes dreams do come true, and improbable odds are overcome.  It was as much about hope as it was about football.  

That's why to me, this is the greatest play in Michigan football history. 



November 16th, 2018 at 9:01 PM ^

I realize that this game is one of those events that 100,000 attended and 500,000 claim to have been there.

But, I was one of the actual attendees. I decided to go the morning of the game, arrived a little after kickoff, bought a ticket on the street outside the stadium at about the 35 halfway up for next to nothing. I recall on IU's last drive thinking, "Just let them score, so we have time to come back" Then Corso played for the tie. The best play wasn't the last one, but the throw out of bounds to Corso to stop the clock - it would be illegal now. When Wangler hit Carter for the TD, if was amazing. And even though I really didn't like Ufer as  play by play guy - I much prefered Tom Hemingway- my first thought was "Ufer must be going nuts" I was correct.