Looking Back is a Special Feature Highlighting
Key Rivalry Games by Jeff Cummins
The fourth installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes us to 1990. Now, Michigan had a new coach, and the last remnants of The Ten Year War were gone. Three losses in the first six games left Michigan with no hope for a national championship, and the Wolverines played The Game strictly for pride.
Fortunately, pride is one of the greatest motivators for the Wolverines when they play Ohio State. In the third quarter, things weren’t going all that well for the Wolverines. Greg Frey (yes, that Greg Frey) completed a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Graham and Ohio State took a seven-point lead. Momentum changed quickly when Derrick Alexander took the ensuing kickoff back inside the Ohio State 40-yard line. Then the Cleveland connection struck for Michigan, as Elvis Grbac found Desmond Howard on a 12-yard post pattern to tie the score, and it remained tied well into the fourth quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, Ohio State went for it on fourth and less than a yard to go from the Ohio State 30. On fourth down, the Wolverines stuffed Frey at the 29, and took possession there. Michigan moved the ball carefully, methodically, and with time for one final play, a field goal attempt.
Memories of the 1974 game were still fresh in the minds of many Michigan fans. In 1974, Mike Lantry kicked into the north end zone, and the referees ruled the kick was no good, while many said they thought it was good. This time, the kick would be toward the south end zone, and that’s when UM’s Floridian connection took over. Steve Everett snapped the ball, and J.D. Carlson kicked it straight down the middle for a 37-yard field goal as time expired to give Michigan a 16-13 win.
Michigan went on to beat Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl, 35-3, and Carlson went on to become the chief financial office of Penske Automotive Group. Everitt, one of the most ardent Wolverines of all time, made it to the NFL and is frequently seen at Michigan games. Grbac played in the NFL and served as the quarterbacks coach at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Derrick Alexander enjoyed a successful career in the NFL, as did Desmond Howard, who won the Heisman Trophy, the Super Bowl MVP, and is currently seen on ESPN’s College Gameday broadcasts.
Thanks to ABC Sports, YouTube, and YouTube poster WolverineHistorian. As always, I own nothing and I do not profit from this blog post in any way.