Michigan vs Ohio State Football – Looking Back – 1990

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.

Michigan Football vs Michigan State — Looking Back — 1990

The third installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State takes us to 1990. The United States sent troops to Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Shield, and on TV, “The Simpsons” aired for the first time. On the gridiron, Michigan’s game with Michigan State was billed as “No. One vs. No one” despite the fact that the Wolverines had started the season with a loss to Notre Dame. But since that loss, the Wolverines had won three in a row, and they were rolling. Unfortunately, this series has a long history of odd bounces.

And trips.

Michigan State had played Michigan tough all game, but the Wolverines had found a way to “gut” their way back into the game, on a day when things just weren’t going their way. When Elvis Grbac connected with Derrick Alexander, it left Michigan trailing by just one point, 28-27, and first-year coach Gary Moeller courageously decided to go for two points and the win. That’s when Eddie Brown became one of the great villains in the history of Michigan football.

To be fair, Brown had the smarts to take a calculated risk. Seeing Grbac standing in the pocket with Michigan playmaker Desmond Howard headed for the end zone, Brown knew he had a challenging situation on his hands. If Howard got the ball in his hands, Michigan would almost certainly win the game. So Brown made the only logical decision: He tripped Howard.

The play unfolded in a sort of surreal manner. For a millisecond, it appeared that Howard had the ball, and a comeback victory, in his grasp. But just as Michigan fans started to jump in exultation, the ball fell away, and the Spartans wound up celebrating.

For his part, Brown was grateful his teammates mobbed him, and asked them to get him off the field as quickly as possible, well aware that he’d gotten away with the trip. Michigan fans and alumni around the globe were dazed by the result.

In the end, Michigan bounced back, and routed Ole Miss in the Gator Bowl, 35-3. But that game against the greenies from East Lansing still won’t fade into the recesses of football memories.

Thanks to youtube poster Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis for the video clip below. As always, we own nothing and do not profit from this blog post in any way, it is strictly for the enjoyment of the readers of umgoblue.com.

16 is the answer to life the universe and everything (for 2012) Denard Robinson

Denard Robinson holds the key to success this season

With apologies to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the answer to the meaning of life the universe and everything is not 42.

It’s 16.

At least that’s the answer for Michigan Wolverine fans this season.

After weeks of breaking down game tape  and evaluating the incoming football roster for the upcoming season, I have reached the following conclusion:

It’s all about Denard Xavier Robinson.

Of course, he needs no introduction. Since he grabbed hold of the starting QB position two seasons ago amid the implosion of Tate Forcier he’s taken Wolverine fans on a wild ride. From the 2010 Notre Dame game where he gained 258 yards while announcing his entry into the Heisman Trophy race, to last season’s improbable last minute comeback, again against the irish, to lead the Wolverines to victory in the first night game in history of The Big House- Denard is the spark plug that makes the Big Blue Machine go.

Denard Robinson Photo Gallery

In fact last season’s 11-2 record might be the most damning indictment of former coach Rich Rodriguez and his gang who-couldn’t-shoot-straight defensive coaches. With Denard in full Heisman mode in 201o, the team barely squeaked into a bowl game beating. This past season a more restrained Denard Robinson under Brady Hoke and a rejuvenated Greg Mattison coached defense gave a Wolverine fans a taste of what’s possible.

For the next three months, fans will debate who will snap the ball, who will block and who will catch the ball for the Wolverines. We’ll agonize over every rumor while fretting over the the defensive line and backfield depth charts.

I’ve seen Anthony Carter electrify Michigan Stadium. I’ve seen Desmond Howard dominate the Buckeyes and break into his Heisman pose. I was there when Tim Biakabutuka ran for 313 against the Buckeyes. I was at Penn State when the mere appearance of Charles Woodson in the Wolverine offense made the Nittany Lions panic like a second rate junior varsity squad. I saw Braylon Edwards dominate Michigan State in the famous triple overtime game.

I’ve experienced all these great performances and many more (even some by opponents; Donovan McNabb, Dennis Dixon, and Troy Smith to name a few) but the game-in and game-out electricity of Denard Robinson trumps them all.

Last year my analysis told me the we were looking at a 8-4, 9-3 regular season. In retrospect, a few less distractions at Michigan State, a few calls breaking our way against Iowa and…which brings us to this season.

There’s three months to fill before the Wolverines play in Dallas.

We’ll hear the clowns at ESPN debate whether Denard should demand to play wide receiver!

We’ll talk about why it took 18 months for the Athletic Department and the band to figure out travel arrangements for the Cowboy Classic.

We can question if “The Brand, The Brand, Brand(on),” has replaced the “The Team, The Team, The Team!”

But there’s really only question that matters when the Wolverines take the field in Dallas against Alabama to start the season.

Where’s number 16?