Top Five Michigan Comebacks of Recent History

Jason BarczyCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2008

Wow I picked a bad weekend to move. All day Saturday I was stuck moving into our new apartment in Chicago and barely caught glimpses of the historic 27-25 win over Wisconsin.

Luckily, the guys that are living below us are all Michigan alums and were constantly updating us and we were able to watch the last few minutes of the game.

But since I didn't watch the game in its entirety and can't really do analysis I decided to rank my top five Michigan comebacks of recent memory and there are some dandies on this list.

It was hard to omit certain games, neither the 2002 or the 2005 Penn State games made the list, but I think I've put together a list the most would agree with.

But if you don't agree, feel free to comment at the bottom.

On with the list...

5. October 18, 1997 #5 Michigan 28, #15 Iowa 24

This one is often overlooked by other great victories Michigan had that year, but to me this one always stuck out the most.

Sure the win over Ohio State, Penn State, and Washington State were all great and I hold those games dear to me as important moments in my life, but this one had it all.

Michigan was down 21-7 at halftime and had no answer for Iowa kick returner Tim Dwight. I had to look up his stats, but I remember him having a lot of long returns that day. He had four returns of more than 50 yards each and a 61-yard return for a touchdown just before the half.

Brian Griese knotted the score at 21 on a quarterback sneak just before the end of the third quarter but another long return by Dwight put Iowa in good field goal range.

The Hawkeyes went back up 24-21. However, Mr. Griese put together a nice drive hitting Jerame Tuman a couple times and Anthony Thomas getting some nice carries to drive Michigan down inside the 10-yard line.

Griese hit Tuman for the game winning touchdown with three minutes remaining and Sam Sword sealed the victory with an interception with 31 seconds to go.

Michigan was 5-0 going into this game and surviving this scare probably gave them the confidence they needed to go the rest of the way.

4. January 1, 2000 Orange Bowl #8 Michigan 35, #4 Alabama 34

What a thrilling game this was. Michigan had to erase 14-point deficits twice in order win its first ever overtime game.

Tom Brady had to put it all his shoulders seeing how Michigan had a non-existent rushing game that day (23 carries for 27 yards). Brady did that and more by giving the nation a little preview of what was to come.

Brady finished the game 34-for-46, 369 yards and four touchdowns.

Michigan held Alabama on its first possession of the second half and marched 59 yards to even the score at 14. The Crimson Tide came back with back-to-back touchdowns from Shaun Alexander and Freddie Milons.

Alexander was a beast that day finishing with 161 yards and three touchdowns.

Michigan closed the gap when Brady and David Terrell connected on a 20-yard TD pass in the third quarter. Michigan tied the game 28-28 as Anthony Thomas scored on a three-yard run.

The Wolverines dominated the fourth, but a fumble heading into the endzone for the go-ahead score and a blocked 36-yard field goal attempt on the final play of regulation, sent the game into overtime.

Brady struck right away for the Wolverines on a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Shawn Thompson. Alabama answered on their second play in overtime with a 21-yard touchdown throw but Alabama kicker Ryan Pflugner pushed the extra point wide right and Michigan won.

Gotta love it whenever Michigan beats an SEC school while Ohio State is now 0-9.

3. October 30, 2004 #12 Michigan 45, Michigan State 37

I was at this game and it was the most memorable experience in my life. It was the first time I had ever been to the rivalry game and it will forever be ingrained in my memory. I will tell my grandchildren about this game one day.

Michigan trailed by 17 in the fourth quarter and my buddy and I almost left when Michigan went on a tear and ripped off 17 unanswered points in the final 6:27 of regulation.

Braylon Edwards opened a wide receivers clinic at that point and put on a show, catching two Chad Henne touchdowns, including a 21-yarder to tie the game with three minutes remaining.

At this point I would say about 15,000 fans had left the stadium in disgust with how Michigan was playing, but when Braylon tied the game I had never heard Michigan Stadium get any louder. The stadium was simply out of control.

Michigan State had dominated most of the game and was shredding the Wolverines of their pride. But Lamarr Woodley had destroyed Drew Stanton and the Spartys had Damon Dowdell as the backup.

Dowdell was, well, plain ineffective. Jason Teague gave MSU the lead in the second overtime on a three yard run but Jason Avant tied the game again on a five yard pass from Henne.

Braylon caught the game winner in triple overtime on a beautiful 24-yard pass from Henne and MSU ended the game with an incomplete pass.

It was Michigan State's best chance to win at Michigan Stadium for the first time since 1990 and, in classic Sparty fashion, they blew it.

2. September 27, 2008 Michigan 27, #8 Wisconsin 25

I've never heard of such a big turnaround before in Michigan history. Now I wasn't able to watch, but the text messages and calls I got from friends were great.

Constant updates were fed to me and I could not be more thankful to those that did that for me. But at one point during the first half, one friend told me to be thankful that I wasn't watching and that if I was I'd probably want to commit suicide.

One friend called me at halftime and was already proclaiming the Rich Rodriguez was the wrong hire and that he needs to go.

After four games already he wants RichRod fired. I made him eat his words after the game.

I'm sure a lot of friends of Michigan fans were on suicide watch Saturday but the end result was the most amazing comeback in Michigan Stadium history and how fitting that it happened during the 500th game in the stadium's history.

John Thompson pulled a Prescott Burgess and totally redeemed himself for past transgressions, Kevin Koger is now the best tight end we've had since Bennie Joppru and Steven Threet will always be the guy who brought Michigan back from a 19-point deficit.

I still can't believe it really. The Wolverines had mustered just 21 yards of total offense in the first half. Fans were booing and the only time they cheered was when a Michigan kick/punt returner didn't fumble the ball.

Brandon Graham had a monster day with three sacks and two forced fumbles and the entire defense should be hoisted on its shoulders after the way it played against the Badgers.

They were on the field for 20 minutes of the first half and still kept Michigan in the game. It looked like Michigan might never do anything offensively until it ripped off 27 unanswered points.

Then we were all held breathless as Wisconsin marched down and scored a late touchdown and set up a potential game tying two point conversion.

The air let out by fans after that miss could fill enough hot air balloons to stretch the length of the state of Michigan.

1. Friday, October 10, 2003 #20 Michigan 38, #17 Minnesota 35

I was kind of surprised to look up that Minnesota was actually ranked going into this game. I don't think they have been ranked since...Can anyone confirm that?

The largest comeback in Michigan history came in the 100th game of the oldest trophy in college football, the Little Brown Jug.

I made some of my best friends during this game. It was my first year at college and after chalking this game up as a loss after Michigan had gone down 28-7 in the third quarter, I left my apartment to go drink at a party. Across the hall of the apartment complex I was at, some guys were still watching. I joined and we've all been friends ever since.

This was perhaps John Navarre's greatest game ever. He finished with 353 yards, two touchdowns and even caught a touchdown pass from Steve Breaston.

He threw the lateral to Breaston who threw it back to Navarre who followed his blockers along the right sideline for the score.

Michigan had closed the gap to 28-21 when Minnesota quarterback (and if anyone know's where this guy is please let me know) Asad Abdul-Khaliq cut right through the Michigan defense on 52 yard run for a touchdown to go up 35-21.

We all thought the game was over. How little did we know.

Michigan needed just eight plays to tie the score after Navarre had hit Braylon for a 52 yard touchdown and Chris Perry scampered 10 yards to tie the game.

Perry had an amazing day accumulating 207 yards of total offense while Braylon had 93 yards and a touchdown.

Garret Rivas kicked the game-winning field goal wtih 47 seconds to go and Markus Curry (probably the only good play of his career) intercepted the ball with nine seconds to go.

It was weird enough that Michigan was playing on a Friday night but to comeback from a 21 point deficit was incredible.

I'll never forget that game and the lifelong friends I made during it.

Thanks for the memories Wolverines.


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