Friday, September 3, 2010

Countdown to Kickoff - day 1

October 27, 1979

Michigan 27 - Indiana 21

In celebration of the 100th year of Michigan Football, the Go Blue Brunch at the Track & Tennis Building brought back all the living All-Americans to sit at the dais. My dad kept sending me up to get autographs. Somewhere in his house, there is a photo album that includes all these signatures. I saw it over the 4th of July and was pretty impressed by some of the names - Bob Chappius, Rick Volk, Rick Leach etc. I'll try to have a post with some pictures of this later.

This might have been the Go Blue Brunch where I played catch with Schemmy Schembechler during some of the speeches as well.

For the game, my parent had horrible seats in row A in the south endzone. I was able to sit in the student section with my sister Kathy. For the majority of the game I had a much better seat than they did...

I really only remember 3 plays. With Michigan leading 21-14 and just about a minute left, the Alumni cheerleaders were challenging the current cheerleaders (and these were the real ones - in the yellow tops, not the pom-pom squad they have today) to hand walk across the north endzone. As they were most of the way across, the had to stop because Indiana was scoring what would be the tying touchdown on a long pass from Tim Clifford to Dave Harangody (I assume that is the father of Luke Harangody - the former ND and current Boston Celtic).

With under 20 seconds left and without any timeouts, John Wangler dropped off a short pass in the flat to Lawrence P. Reid. There was no way Reid was going to get out of bounds. He underhand flipped the ball ouut of bounds right into the hands of Indiana Head Coach Lee Corso. Corso was furious, but no penalty was called and M was at the 50 yard line with 6 seconds left.

Indiana jumped off side and the next play was called dead, moving the ball to Hoosier 45, setting up Michigan History. There have been numerous last second TD bombs both before and since. Staubach's Original Hail Mary against the Vikings in the 1975 playoffs, Doug Flutie against Miami in 1984, Michigan suffered the crushing loss to Colorado in 1994. But this was different, whether it was because Wangler couldn't throw the ball 45 yards or because the Michigan offense just didn't have the bomb in their play book - but Wangler hits Carter only about 20 yards downfield - he has to slip the tackle of the two defenders right on him, then out run the remaining safety to the endzone. I would put this game winner 2nd only to the Cal-Stanford band game for most unique game winning play.

When you look at the play now, so many of the choices seem archaic. Wangler makes a play action fake - I wonder if that held the linebackers who needed to be true to the run? In today's football Indiana would have 3-4 players back inside the 10 waiting to knock down the bomb, or in this case, make the tackle. And don't get me started on Corso's outfit.

Of course Carter and the other 100 players who pour off the sideline into a giant pile in celebration, all end up right in front of my parents. Their horrible row A seats paid off after all.

Eventually Kathy and I left - I don't remember how we reconnected with my parents - but I remember we could still hear the noise from the stadium all the way to the State & Packard area - I don't think too many others left the stadium, they must have just stayed and screamed.

Here's a few embeded videos capturing Bob Ufer's famous call, I like the one with the inset of a skipping Bo Schembechler - it really shows how this is really a game - that is pure joy from that old curmudgeon.

Go Blue! Beat U Conn!!!!

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