Michigan players and fans have suffered their fair share of heartbreaking losses in recent history. Here is a list of other games that ended in confusion, meltdown, pandemonium or controversy, like Saturday”s loss in East Lansing.
Michigan State 28, Michigan 27 (1990): Any Michigan fan will tell you the Wolverines now have two more wins over the Spartans than the record indicates. With Michigan State leading 28-21, Derrick Alexander caught a touchdown pass with six seconds remaining. There was no overtime and Gary Moeller was left with a decision: kick the extra point and tie or go for the win with a two point conversion. Moeller went for broke.
Elvis Grbac threw a quick slant to Desmond Howard, who was tripped, but still managed to catch the ball. As he crashed into the end zone, the ball popped out and the referees ruled he didn”t have possession. There were no flags on the field, only the green and white of Michigan State fans.
Colorado 27 Michigan 26 (1996): The game was over. No. 3 Michigan led No. 7 Colorado 26-21 when the Buffaloes took possession. They were 85 yards, 15 seconds and a miracle away from a win. After a couple of short passes, Colorado employed its Hail Mary play, “Rocket,” from its own 36-yard line.
Kordell Stewart rolled out and threw the ball 75 yards to the Michigan goal line. The ball was tipped and floated through the air longer than a Michigan State second. When the ball came down, it was in the hands of Michael Westbrook leaving 110,00 fans gasping for air.
Purdue 32 Michigan 31 (2000): The Wolverines jumped out to a 28-10 halftime lead in West Lafayette behind three Drew Henson touchdown passes. Fans could smell the Roses already. Drew Brees and the Boilermakers cut the lead to 31-29 but it appeared the Wolverines would escape with a win after a shanked 32-yard field goal by Travis Dorsch with only 2:11 left in the game. But Michigan”s offense couldn”t get a first down and was forced to punt.
Brees led the Boilermakers to the same spot and Dorsch connected from 33 yards away with four seconds left. The loss resulted in another trip to the Citrus Bowl for Michigan while the Boilermakers went to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1966.
Northwestern 54 Michigan 51
(2000): It came down to this: Fourth-and-goal from the Michigan seven-yard line with under two minutes remaining. Zak Kustok threw to a wide open Damien Anderson at the goal line but Anderson dropped the ball. Michigan took over, a first down away from running out the clock. On second down, Anthony Thomas fumbled the ball as he crossed the first down marker. The Wildcats recovered. A couple of plays later, Kustok hit Sam Simmons for a touchdown. The Wolverines botched a last second 57-yard field goal, leaving the A-Train in tears and the team”s Rose Bowl hopes dashed.