September 3rd will begin my 35th season of attending Michigan football games. Tomorrow will be 35 days to kickoff, so tomorrow I'll count down the top 35 games I've attended.
Hopefully this isn't a spoiler alert, but I'll start with the honorable mention games in chronological order.
1988 Notre Dame 19, Michigan 17 - Under the lights in South Bend, special teams were the difference. ND returns a punt for a TD and Reggie Ho makes 3 FGs; Mike Gillette misses as time expires. My seats had no angle on the goal post, so we were all sheering thinking it was good, then I noticed the ND fans pour out of the endzone, so I knew it had to be wide.
The next week M faced Jimmy Johnson's Miami Hurricanes. M dominated for much of the game, this was probably Michale Taylor's best game. Then Miami started to comeback, got an onside kick and beats M 31-30.
1989 ND 24, M 19 - Raghib Ismail
1991 M 24; ND 14 - M had lost 4 straight to ND - Desmond Howard put an end to that. This was the first game on grass in Ann Arbor since 1968. Steve Everitt's jaw got destroyed on a Desmond reverse for a TD early in the game. Then on 4th and inches
1991 M 31 - OSU 3 - Desmond Howard and the Heisman pose
1992 M and Illinois tie 22-22 = this is the only tie I've seen. Pete Elozevich hit a field goal at the end to preserve the tie for Michigan.
1995 M 5 Purdue 0 - Just ridiculous weather. Snow, sleet, rain, locusts...
1997 M 21 - ND 14 - there were a few games in 1997 that Michigan tried to give away, this was one of them. Seems like M had 3 4th quarter turnovers giving the ball back to ND with a chance to tie or take the lead, but the defensive dominance of that 1997 team, just shut them down.
1998 OSU 31, M 16 - My only trip to Columbus. Before the renovation on the first row on the risers on the track. SCARY!
2000 M 35 - Illinois 31 - Under the lights in Champagne - Navarre started for the injured Henson and was horrible. Henson came in the entire game changed. M still needed a couple breaks on fumble/non-fumble calls to eek it out in a hostile environment.
2000 Purdue 32 - M 31 - Henson was dominant in the first half. 4 TDs on 4 possessions. In the second half they just needed a few first downs, but could never do it. The defense got a turnover in the first half but other than that was never really able to stop Drew Brees.
2002 M 26 - PSU 23. First overtime game in the Big House. Game was closer than it needed to be, but Perry punched it in in OT after the D had held the Lions to a FG.
2003 M 27 - MSU 20 in East Lansing. Chris Perry needs 51 carries to put the game away after a horrible fumble call yields a defensive TD for MSU.
2005 M34 - MSU 31 in OT in East Lansing. M was 2-2 and Mike Hart was a little banged up - but he managed to rumble for 218 yards. Rivas hit the winner in OT after missing a chance to win in regulation - following a perfectly executed drive.
2009 M 36 - Indiana 33 - I have never seen M lose to Indiana; this was the closest to a loss (there was one very close to a tie, but that we'll see in the big list.) Forcier lead M on an amazing late scoring drive to finally put the game away.... and then the D makes a horrible adjustment and the Hoosiers break a long run to take back the lead. Forcier does it again to put M back in front. A friendly call on a Warren interception finally ends Indiana's last hope.
2009 MSU 26 - M 20. Michigan was outplayed for much of the game. But in the final quarter the weather got weird and Tate Forcier worked some magic. The tying TD coming as time expired to Roundtree, In retrospect they should have gone for two. Quick interception in OT and poor tackling ends the dream comeback in the first OT.