Michigan Football: The Six Darkest Days In Program History


A large band of Michigan football fans  filed out of the Big House Saturday night, in some state of shock.

Not even another cold beer, jello shot, or something much stronger would help the mood of the Michigan partisans.

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For hours and hours, fans would play back those final seconds, and every time the Spartan caravan would still reach Michigan’s end zone.

Let’s gloss over the details. Michigan led Michigan State 23-21 with ten seconds remaining.

The Wolverines had several options available to salt most—or all—of the time away.

Where is Garo Yepremian?

The only way the Wolverines could lose was if they simply handed the ball over to the Spartans.

As we’ve probably seen by now, Michigan practically did just that. Never mind the hindsighters who tried to blame Coach Jim Harbaugh or Michigan’s punter.

Things happen. But they rarely happen like this.

Sept, 1, 2007: Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32

Those of us who attended the 2007 Michigan-Appalachian State game left the Big House in a similar daze. Luckily several kind Mountaineer fans led us to an exit.

Nov. 24, 1973: Michigan 10, Ohio State 10.

What about 1973? Michigan was facing arch rival Ohio State for the Big Ten title, a trip to the Rose Bowl and possible national championship implications. But twice in the final minutes Wolverine kicker Mike Lantry failed to break the 10-10 tie by missing twice—once from 58 and once from 45 .

The Buckeyes were sent to the Rose Bowl, while Michigan stayed home.

Nov. 23, 1974: Ohio State 12, Michigan 10.

The following year, Lantry did it again, missing from 33 yards out with 18 seconds remaining in the game.

Oct.. 13, 1990: Michigan State 28, Michigan 27

Michigan decided to go for a winning two point conversion. Michigan Heisman Trophy Winner Desmond Howard broke open on a short slant pattern. Instead MSU defender Eddie Brown tackled Howard and the two-point conversion went up on smoke. Anyone who might have been in the Big House that day, is probably still peeved.

September 16, 1989: Notre Dame 24, Michigan 19

Perhaps iconic coach Bo Schembechler’s biggest blunder was set up when he allowed Notre Dame’s Rocket Ismail to return a kickoff for a touchdown.  The real blunder occurred when Bo was just stubborn enough to send another kickoff to the Rocket. And sure enough Ismail returned this one for another touchdown.

Sept. 24, 1994: Colorado 27, U-M 26

Last but not least was the Michigan-Colorado finish at the Big House in 1994.

With everyone in the house watching for the Hail Mary, Colorado QB Kordell Stewart did not disappoint— finding Michael Westbrook in the end zone with Wolverines surrounding him. No matter, Westbrook made the catch with no time on the clock, and the Buffaloes won the game 27-26.

All of these games put bad tastes in the craw of Michigan fans.

And the Spartans unlikely victory Saturday night will eventually fade away too, especially because we all know Michigan is competitive again.

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