Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Vault: 2000 Orange Bowl - Fourth Quarter

Alabama starts with a shortish punt from their own 34 and DiAllo Johnson returns it up to the Michigan 40. Bennie Joppru sighting! The 'Bama pass rush is turned aside, leaving a big hole in the middle of the field. It looks like Brady's going to scramble for good yardage, but he spots Joppru well downfield between the safeties and just does that thing where his MIND LASERS guide the ball in for a 24-yard gain. Thomas goes nowhere, because 'Bama has remembered we're allowed to do that. Hey, penalty flags. I remember you. Alabama jumped across the line on the hard count and made contact. OH YES! Brady drops back and fires down to Marquise Walker at the 2. Walker jumps high for it and makes a sweet body adjustment in mid-air to come down with it.

Everyone knows what's coming next, so Thomas gets a big welcoming committee. He may have lost a yard. Brady rolls out on play action, but Bennie Joppru is a victim of defensive holding. First down. Nice shot of the band here, especially the bones. Thomas leaps over the line, the ball comes loose, and Alabama recovers. Someone clearly got a helmet on it. Oy.

Zow's still in at QB. Alabama must think he's the steadier QB, because Watts was gashing us on those scrambles. Handoff to Alexander, but the line has held and James Hall cleans up for no gain. Zow is hit by Hall as he fires downfield and the pass is low, though Patmon was beat. 3rd and 10 is a slip-screen to an electron-sized guy who snakes downfield for the first at the 36. They try it again with Milons on the other side, but the pass is incomplete. Brandon Williams spots something going on in the Alabama backfield as Milons motions in, and sure enough it's a toss to Milons, looking to pass, but Whitley is on his case. He rolls to the sideline and gets rid of it and 'Bama is flagged for holding. Carr is screaming that it should be a spot foul (seriously!), but they're only pushed back to the 25. Quickly, they pick up a false start to make it 2nd and 25. Whitely unloads on Zow as he dumps it off to Terry Jones, the tight end, who makes 15 out of it. Zow hits tight end Shamari Buchanan for the first, but this is coming back on another holding call. Zow then finds Milons over the middle for less than the first, but another flag comes out and Michigan surprisingly accepts. 3rd and 30. Zow can't find anyone and scrambles for some yards, but well short of the first. On the punt, Johnson fields it behind the 40, slips the initial tackle, and makes it beyond the 45.

Brady hits Terrell on a screen, but he's hit immediately and loses a couple. Pitch to Anthony Thomas and he gets the corner on the sweep, taking it up to midfield. A boyish Tom Brady talks about perseverance and his pride in playing for Michigan. He threads the needle for Marquise Walker at the 'Bama 38, but it's coming back on ANOTHER offensive facemask. Looked a little cheap. Brady finds Walker streaking down the sidelines and he can't pull it in off his fingertips. Epstein's kick is a high one and it takes a nice Michigan roll down to the 'Bama 26.

Alexander takes the handoff and runs for 7 between the hashes, but he steps off the field for a breather. Watts has to take a timeout, the RB switch took too long. Bohanon takes it outside to the first, and Alexander comes back in. Watts rolls out to his right and finds Buchanan a yard short of the sticks on the sideline. The young line then takes a false start to make it 2nd and 6. Alexander takes the handoff on a draw play with four wideouts and takes the ball for the first at the M 49. He picks up a couple on the ensuing handoff, taken down by Hall. Under 4:30 remaining. Watts takes off scrambling, but Ian Gold makes a magnificent shoestring tackle as he blows by, tripping him up a yard behind the line of scrimmage, saving what would have been a big gainer. 3rd and 9. Watts takes off again, gets the first, but another flag is down for holding. It's a weak call on Alexander as James Hall goes by. Whitley then takes Watts's helmet off and as he sacks him back at the 20. James Tapia is rocking the goatee as the band plays "Temptation". Alabama gets a nice roll down to the Michigan 31.

Brady hits Walker for 6 on a quick out. We're under 1:40 to go as Brady finds a wide open Marcus Knight on a crossing route, but Knight drops the ball. 1:33 left. Out of the gun, 4 wide, and Walker takes it for the first at the 45. 1:29 left, Brady sails it out of bounds. 1:23. Penalty flag flies as 'Bama goes offsides for their 18th penalty. Marcus Knight would have had four yards, but we take the call. 1:15 left. Marcus Knight barely holds on to the pass long enough on the long out at the Alabama 45. He's tackled in bounds, but the clock stops at 1:05 momentarily. Brady rolls out and hits Shawn Thompson coming down a seam to the 19. 0:49 left! Somthing's hinky here, because the clock is still stopped on the snap. A-Train runs into the line and the Tide burn a timeout. ABC continues to run the clock, however. Oh! ABC just forgot to debit Alabama a timeout on the last first down. Brady runs over to Lloyd to get the play, but it's irrelevant because the QB sneak doesn't do anything. The ball is spotted at the 26, Brady holds, and 'Bama decides to ice Epstein. The kick is blocked! Brady then tries to throw a pass, but it's useless. Of course, we have more flags for ineligible receiver downfield, which is declined. 28-28, end of regulation.

Terrell talks about how Epstein lived for that kind of a moment, and how he still got a chance to redeem himself. BTN Voice of Doom talks about how Michigan will try to accomplish something they've never done before: Win an overtime game.

SPOILER ALERT. BTN Fast Facts totally gives away the outcome of the game AND jinxes us for the future by noting that we're now 5-0 in OT. Brady, Renes, and Hutchinson come out for the coin toss, but Alabama wins it and Alexander selects defense. Lloyd Carr is incensed by something, possibly the defiance of this metal blank. Brady spots Shawn Thompson downfield on a deep slant and lays the football over the linebacker's head and right onto Thompson's hands at the 15. Terrell locks up his man on the goal line, Thompson turns it downfield and just like that Michigan takes the lead in OT. Epstein's PAT makes it 35-28 and Michigan has its first lead of the night.

First and ten, Alexander gets the handoff from the shotgun and goes outside for about four before Todd Howard and Cato June bring him down. Timeout Zow. Play action, Zow rolls to his right and finds an impossibly open Erick Locke in the endzone as everyone bit hard on the play fake to Alexander. It looks like Tommy Hendricks was the primary goat here, as he lets Locke go right by him in favor of the run fake and someone who has to be Whitley can't get there in time. And Pflugner just pushes the PAT dead right. He is just destroyed. 34-35, Michigan. Lloyd Carr wins 10 or more games in three consecutive years. Weirdest bowl win I've ever seen.

Bruce Madej talks about how you don't watch an extra point; it's like an intentional walk and what a shock it was to win that way. Brady set the Michigan record in a bowl game with 369 yards passing and 4 TDs, while Terrell had 10 catches for 150 yards and 3 of those TDs.

I'd never watched this game before. I was a freshman that year and I didn't make the bowl block, so instead I went to the Barenaked Ladies concert at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The concert ended as Michigan was down two touchdowns and started mounting its comeback. We nearly drove off the road several times while heading back down I-75 listening to the radio, rushing inside the house just in time to watch the missed extra point. It was unbelievable.

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