Looking Back is a Special Feature Highlighting
Key Rivalry Games by Jeff Cummins
The first installment of this year’s series looking back at the football series between Michigan and Ohio State takes us back to 1995. Most people still had not heard of the Internet, Bill Clinton was the president, and the national economy was just about to take off. For the Michigan football team, 1995 was “The Tale of Two Cities.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
The worst of times came in the offseason, when head coach Gary Moeller had an incident at a local restaurant and was subsequently removed from his job. It was the best of times because Lloyd Carr, a little known defensive coordinator, was named the interim head caoch.
Let the record show that Lloyd Carr is probably among the best “interim” hires of all time.
In Carr’s first game, Michigan trailed almost the entire game until Scott Dreisbach found Mercury Hayes in the corner of the north end zone for a last-second touchdown pass to give Michigan an 18-17 win. After that, Michigan played classic mid-90s Wolverine football for most of the season. As usual, the week leading up to the Michigan-Ohio State game proved to be the most interesting week of the season.
Ohio State had won the previous season, and reporters asked Ohio State receiver Terry Glenn what he thought of the team’s chances against Michigan. Glenn, a former walk-on, was enjoying a breakout season in 1995, but his quote fueled Michigan’s pregame fire. Then Tim Biakabutuka proved to be the catalytic converter.
Biakabutuka had assured Carr in a midweek conversation that the Wolverines would be ready for Ohio State, and he delivered in legendary fashion. “Touchdown Tim” spent much of the afternoon bouncing off would-be tackles, and turning single-digit gains into gains of double-digit yardage. The Buckeyes fought back valiantly, but every time they came back, Michigan had the right answer for them.
Early in the game, Ohio State tested Michigan’s freshman cornerback, Charles Woodson. As the game wore on, that strategy backfired for the Buckeyes. Woodson had two interceptions on the day, the second coming when he outjumped Glenn for the ball and returned it 23 yards, allowing Michigan to line up in victory formation and run out the clock.
Woodson’s interception completed a 31-23 win for the Wolverines, who finished the regular season with nine wins and three losses. But when you beat Ohio State, few people are really thinking about the losses.
Many thanks to ABC, which owns all the rights to this game. As always, we own nothing and do not profit in any way from this blog post, which is intended purely for the enjoyment of readers.