We are just 15 days away from kickoff in Ann Arbor, so I’ve listed my top 15 favorite memories of the Michigan football program that I’ve seen in my lifetime. I’ve only been on this planet for 21 years, so if I’ve left some of your favorite memories off my list, fear not, this will not be my final list.
15: Mario Manningham vs Penn State (2005)
Mario Manningham became a Michigan football player in the Wolverines 27-25 win against Penn State. “Super” Mario scored from the 10-yard line as time expired on a pass from Chad Henne
14: Michigan vs Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl
Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer led a strong Florida Gators football team against Lloyd Carr and the Wolverines. Mike Hart scored twice on 32 carries and 129 yards in a 41-35 victory in a “neutral-site” game, even if it was played in Florida.
13: Denard Robinson Fumble-Touchdown On His First Snap Ever (2009)
Denard Robinson was the straw the stirred the drink on offense when he was under center. Robinson made that known on his first snap ever (!!!) in a Wolverine uniform. 43 yards later on a fumbled snap, many were quick to love “Shoelace,” and forgot about then-starting quarterback Tate Forcier. Remember Forcier? The first Johnny Manziel? I digress. Robinson displayed his speed and Wolverine fans everywhere began to untie their shoes in unity.
12: Michigan 67-Illinois 65 (3 OT) (2010)
That’s not a basketball score that you just read. Oh no, this was football. I never thought I’d see the day where a game could feature absolutely 0 defense. That was until November 6th, 2010. Michigan and Illinois damn-near broke the scoreboard while racking up that many points. In a game that was a nail-biter throughout, the first quarter ended with the Wolverines leading by one, but tied at half. The score at the end of the first was 7-6 Michigan, but halftime was tied at 31. I’m still confused about this game, but watching it, I was both furious and wildly entertained at the same time. Michigan ultimately ended up winning 67-65 on a stopped two-point conversion in triple overtime.
11: Chris Perry Finalist for the Heisman (2003)
Chris Perry was awesome. A standout football player, Perry wound up in New York City as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2003. Perry had 17 touchdowns and 1,589 yards on 315 carries in 2003, and ended up finishing 4th in the race. He was among 3 very talented and respected players in Eli Manning, Jason White and Larry Fitzgerald.
10: Mike Hart’s “Little Brother”
“I was just laughing. I thought it was funny. They got excited. Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you’re playing basketball, and you let him get the lead, and then you come back and take it back.”
We all remember the “Little Brother” comment from Mike Hart. I don’t think I need to type anything else.
9: Denard’s Career Against Notre Dame
Robinson was a thorn in the side of all Notre dame fans, coaches and players throughout his playing career at Michigan, and almost always put on a show. He shined under the lights, and led several comeback victories as starting QB for Michigan, so his overall performance against Notre Dame is definitely top 10 worthy.
8: Braylon Edwards Against MSU (2003)
Braylon Edwards was going to be on this list, it was just a matter of when. To me, his game against Michigan State in 2003 stands out. He didn’t truly shine until the later stages of the game, but he exploded for 2 touchdowns late in the game, and one more in the third overtime to steal a victory for the Wolverines. This is the second 3 OT game on the list!
7: Brendan Gibbons Game Winner in the 2011 Sugar Bowl
Brendan Gibbons was thinking about “brunette girls” while prepping for his ultimate game winner against Virginia Tech in 2011 in the All State Sugar Bowl. It was funny at the time, not so much now, but memorable nonetheless. He sealed the deal for Michigan with his leg, and gave UM their first BCS bowl victory since Lloyd Carr’s departure.
6: Jeremy Gallon 64 Yard Catch Against Notre Dame (2011)
The first Under the Lights game was one for the ages. Michigan playing their first night game ever against Notre Dame, packed house, great ending to the game, but a few plays stood out. Jeremy Gallon caught a pass from Denard Robinson with only seconds to spare, cutting in and out of defenders, and leaving the members of The Big House standing and screaming for what felt like an eternity. Gallon set up the game winning pass from Robinson to Roy Roundtree with his 64 yard gain.
5: Roy Roundtree’s Game Winner From Denard vs Notre Dame (2011)
So you know the backstory from the previous number on this list, so we’ll skip that part; Roundtree secured a pass from Robinson with 0:02 seconds left in the game on a play most people thought would be set up for a field goal. Brady Hoke didn’t want overtime, he wanted a win, and a win he got. Robinson threw a fade to the corner of the right endzone and a leaping Roundtree was there to haul it in. Michigan won the game 35-31 and Roundtree earned a spot on the list because of it.
4: “The Game” (2006)
“The Game” (not Triple H) in 2006 was a truly amazing game. Number 1 and Number 2 in the nation fighting for a berth in the National Championship Game, it was a must watch in my eyes. Michigan ultimately lost this one to arch rival Ohio State, but it was still amazing. It was the first time in the rivalry that both teams were top ranked in the country (1st and 2nd) OSU lead at half 28-14, and hung on for a 42-39 win against Michigan.
3: “Hello Heisman” (1991)
We all remember the famous quote, “Goodbye! HELLO HEISMAN!” in 1991. Whether you watched live, or heard it on the replays, you know Desmond Howard rocked the Big House against Ohio State on that famous punt return. Howard took the punt from inside his own 20, and was off to the races. Immediately after he scores, his teammates embrace him, but Howard had bigger plans. He knew he won the Heisman, so the flashed a pose a few weeks early.
2: Jeremy Gallon and Devin Gardner Run Wild on Indiana (2013)
Michigan scored 63 points against Indiana this past October; Jeremy Gallon and Devin Gardner were a big reason for that. Gardner racked up 584 yards in that game, 503 of them through the air. Gallon caught 14 passes for 369 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Michigan won 63-47 over Indiana.
1: 1997 National Championship
Charles Woodson was a machine in 1997, and led his Wolverines to a co-National title. He was a defensive back who won the Heisman, and he also sealed the deal in the Rose Bowl against Washington State with an incredibly huge endzone interception. Michigan went on to win the game and a share of the National Championship with Nebraska
So there is my list, hopefully you enjoyed, and be on the look out for more!