Sunday, August 29, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - day 6

January 1, 1998

Michigan 21 - Washington State 16

With M undefeated and ranked #1, the only reason I was able to get tickets was because students were guaranteed tickets. I made travel plans to fly to Vegas and then drive to Pasadena for the game. Then I found out I needed to pick up student tickets the day before I would have landed in Las Vegas. So travel plans changed to fly to Reno a few days earlier. The Northwest rep on the phone told me it was only like 300 miles from Reno to LA. She must have meant by plane. Driving was ridiculous, that included driving through mountain passes in the winter. One gas station attendant told me I would need tire chains - I was not buying chains for my rented Geo Metro...

Finally made it for the game. Charles Woodson was key again. M was trailing 7-0 in the 2nd when Woodson picked off a Ryan Leaf pass right in front of me in the endzone.

Midway through the 2nd Brian Griese hit Tai Streets for the first of his 3 TD passes. Midway through the 3rd Leaf connected on a TD pass, but James Hall blocked the PAT keeping M within 6 points at 13-7. On the ensuing drive Griese and Streets struck again, the PAT put M up 14-13.

Early in the 4th Griese finished his hat trick this time hitting Jerame Tuman for the 21-13 lead. After a field goal made it 21-16, M was trying to close out the game on the ground. Griese may have been at his best on this drive. He converted the first long third down on a scramble. A few more first downs ran the clock, but a pooch punt out of field goal formation left the Cougars 90+ yards away with about 0:30 left. A bomb (on a should have been offensive interference call) got WSU to mid field. A hook-and-lateral moved it down inside the 30, but without timeouts, the Cougars couldn't spike the ball in time to get another play off. Sitting in the Michigan section in a victorious - National Championship winning Rose Bowl is an experience I can't explain. No one wanted to leave. Finally, they made the MMB pack up and that got people moving. It is Great to be a Michigan Wolverine!

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