With Colorado visiting Saturday and their choice to supposedly wear 1994 throwback jerseys, I’ll revisit the top moments where the Wolverine faithful were punched in their cotton pickin’ giblets.   The focus is on specific devastating moments in games, not necessarily the totality of the game.

First off, sadly enough and while certainly devastating, here are the honorable miserable mention moments:

  • 2001 Spartan Bob stops Clock/TD pass to TJ Duckett (East Lansing vs. MSU)
  • 1990 Desmond mugging (Ann Arbor vs. MSU)
  • 1973 Mike Lantry misses 44 yard FG (Ann Arbor vs. OSU)
  • 2013 Failed/intercepted 2 point conversion to win The Game (Ann Arbor vs. OSU)
  • 1980 Harry Oliver nails 51-yard FG into the suddenly still wind (South Bend vs. Notre Dame)  HT: John Kryk


#6 ‘The Catch’ (vs. Colorado @ Michigan Stadium, 1994)

The Moment:  With six seconds remaining down 26-21, Colorado’s Kordell Stewart hurls the pigskin 70 yards and finds Michael Westbrook:


Why it sucked so hard:  It was a big game, at home, and Michigan seemingly had the game sealed.
Why it might not be as bad as (see #1):  While Michigan seemingly had the game sealed, Colorado still had the ball in their hands.  As brutal as that was, Hail Mary’s happen.  They even have a name for them.  Stewart made a perfect pass.


#5 The conclusion of THE HORROR (vs. Appalachian State @ Michigan Stadium, 2007)

The Moment:  Down two, Michigan’s field goal attempt to win the game is blocked.

Why it sucked so hard:  This moment was devastating as we suddenly had a chance to save this game – and – no.  We became the laughingstock of the college football world.  The biggest upset in CFB history.  Pretty much ruined what was supposed to be a championship season.
Why it might not be as bad (see #1):  That sucked hard for all those reasons but you have to accept that Appalachian State, at the time, was a solid football team that lined up and beat Michigan over the entire 60 minutes.


#4 “The Wretched Blunder” (vs. Chicago @ Marshall Field Chicago, 1905)

The Moment:  Tied 0-0 with five minutes remaining, U-M’s Denny Clark fields a punt in the end zone and instead of downing it for a touchback, starts to take it out.  He quickly realizes his error and but it’s too late- he is driven back into the endzone for a safety.  [Read Stagg vs. Yost !] Photo Oct 18, 8 53 14 AM
Why it sucked so hard:  That safety resulted in the lone points of the game.  Play is dubbed, “The Wretched Blunder”.  Michigan lost 2-0 to its biggest rival (in Chicago, and for Yost, in Stagg) in the final game of the season and this ended Yost’s 56-game unbeaten streak since his arrival in Ann Arbor.  Clark never recovered from the incident and sadly took his own life in 1932 (a note left for his wife mentioned the 1905 play).
Why it might not be as bad (see #1)  OK it’s close, but following the safety Michigan got the ball back with a chance to win the game.  As Kryk describes in Stagg vs. Yost, Michigan pulled out all the trick plays – but Stagg’s Maroons stopped them and held on.


#3 Lantry “Miss” (vs. Ohio State @ Ohio Stadium, 1974)
The Moment
:  With 18 seconds to go, #3 ranked and undefeated Michigan trails #4 Ohio State 12-10.  Mike Lantry’s 33 yard kick veers left and the officials call it no good.  Many to this day swear it was inside the upright.

Why it sucked so hard:  First off, it was Woody and Ohio State. Second, Lantry missed a big one in 1973 that could have broke the epic 10-10 tie.  Third, Michigan could have been in line for a national championship
Why it might not be as bad (see #1): Also close.  This one hurt.   But people understand the pressure involved, and have a ton of respect for Super Toe.  Even if it was a bad call no one argues it was close.  And as special teams errors this is bad but not as disastrous as #1.


#2 Webber Timeout (vs. North Carolina @ The Superdome, New Orleans, 1993)
The Moment:  In the final seconds of the NCAA title game and Michigan down 2, Webber dribbles to the U-M bench and calls the timeout that U-M does not have:
Why it sucked so hard:  Obviously that moment ended the game and thus the entire college basketball season. The much-hyped Fab 5 era came to a devastating end in that moment.
Why it might not be as bad as that: OK, it’s also very close given what was on the line (everything) but Michigan was still trailing UNC by 2 at the time.  And FWIW Webber probably traveled anyway just before this.

#1:  arghhh.  Sorry, this is still the worst moment (again, not the totality of the stakes involved) – the confluence of things that happened to swap the result – you can’t beat this one:



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Did I tell you to order the Notre Dame program. Inside is an special audio clip including the calls from Musberger and Beckmann on ‘The Catch’ in the 1991.  Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard that before.

That is nice of course, but they also inserted a couple choice snippets of the audio from Gary Moeller’s headset before the play.  How they have that I have no idea.

In the clip first you hear someone [not Moeller, perhaps Grbac?] calling the play, which appears to be, “Right side 29, Caesar or Ghost.”  Then you hearMoeller talking to Grbac, presumably in the huddle right before the play: “If you’ve got a simple completion, throw it.”

Then the next part is amazing.  Moeller then is talking directly to Howard, telling the Heisman candidate: “Desmond, you’ve gotta look it in.”  Jeez that is awesome.  (and he did):

desmondIt gets better.

You then hear Moeller talking to the coaches on the headset, presumably as the team is lining up, telling them exactly what is about to happen:

Moeller: “You know what we’re gonna do right now?  He’s gonna throw it to Desmond and Desmond’s going to score a touchdown…”

I love it.

[Update: posted all of the clips here, including the full length of Moeller.  Funny, after he says “..and Demond’s going to score a TD…He asks, “J, should I be kicking a field goal?” LOL.  After the play he adds, “That kid in unbelievable..” ].  Here it is:


Memo to AD Dave Brandon, we need some more headset audio of Bo, Mo, Lloyd and whatever else you have.

07. September 2011 · Comments Off on Hoisting A Legend · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , , ,

Author Bill Roose was kind enough to send along an excerpt from his new book on Desmond Howard titled, “I Wore 21: The Legend of Desmond Howard”.  The book is dropping this week around Ann Arbor and will be available at the game on Saturday.

While we’ve all seen the famous photo of Desmond making ‘The Catch’, how about this shot from page 69 of I Wore 21 of Howard celebrating with the lineman and the madness over in the student section?  Look at the faces of the guys running up to him:


Side note: I’m probably in that photo somewhere, over to the left.  It’s up there with Woodson’s 1997 interception in East Lansing as the greatest Michigan catch I’ve witnessed.

Here’s a clip from chapter two, Grbac talking about the play:

Quarterback Elvis Grbac is still amazed by what Howard did that day. “I threw the ball up and it was really incomplete, to tell you the truth,” Grbac said. “Then at about the 5-yard line, Des looks up and he goes into another gear and absolutely runs by the corner and there are not too many guys who can do that. "That was a catch that just propelled him through the entire season, because now once we got inside the 20-yard line, people were like, ‘OK, what’s he going to run? Nobody’s going to stop him.’ After that ND game we could do whatever we wanted with Des.”

Looking forward to seeing my classmate and Heisman Trophy winner honored on Saturday.

More details on the book and where to find it here.