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 vs Ohio State Football – Looking Back – 1989

Looking Back is a Special Feature Highlighting
Key Rivalry Games by Jeff Cummins

The third installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes us back to 1989. The 1980s were heady economic times in the United States, and the world looked on as the Berlin Wall was knocked down. Changes were starting to accelerate, but in the Big Ten, Michigan used an old school philosophy, and it proved to be just as effective as ever.

Ohio State entered Michigan Stadium with a new coach in 1989. John Cooper was an outsider, born and raised in Tennessee. He began to recruit many speed athletes to the Buckeyes, a slight change in Ohio State’s offensive attack. By contrast, Bo Schembechler, in his final year at Michigan, still believed in two running backs, using both the pro set and the I-formation. Early in the game, Michigan was allowing Ohio State to hang around a little too long. That’s when Bo put the game on the backs of his offensive line. Few drives in Bo’s 21-year tenure screamed “Michigan football” like the drive that started at the Wolverines’ 19 yard line midway through the second quarter. The drive began with Leroy Hoard knocking several Buckeyes on the rear ends as he bulled his way for a 16-yard gain on first down, and ended when running back Allen Jefferson, lined up as part of a full house backfield, took the ball two yards around left end for the touchdown. Michigan drove 81 yards on 13 plays, with not one passing play in the lot. There was no emphasis on speed in the open field; this drive was simply about old fashioned blocking, and the Wolverines used massive maulers like left tackle Tom Dohring and guard/center Steve Everett, one of the most spirited Wolverines of all time. The final score was 28-18, Michigan, but the tenor of the game was determined on that 81-yard drive, which gave the Wolverines a two-score lead and established how the game was going to unfold.

The 1989 iteration of The Game was Schembechler’s last; he retired after the season. But there was little concern for the future of the program, because both offensive coordinator Gary Moeller, who took the head coaching job in 1990; and defensive coordinator Lloyd Carr, who took the head coaching job several years after that, were accomplished coaches. Fans enjoyed the Big Ten championship that Michigan won in 1989, but few could have imagined what the team would accomplish eight years later.

Thanks to ABC Sports, YouTube, and YouTube poster expressfan. 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.