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100 Greatest Finishes - No. 41 to 50

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by BoltsFanUK, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. BoltsFanUK
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    No. 50 Notre Dame 29 ... Michigan 27, September 20, 1980
    At the time: Notre Dame was ranked No. 8 following a 31-10 win over Purdue, one of the Big Ten’s most dangerous teams. Michigan was ranked 16th after barely beating a Northwestern team 17-10 that finished 0-11.
    The setup: Notre Dame's offense controlled the first half up 14-0 on a ten-yard touchdown pass to Pete Holohan and a six-yard touchdown run from Phil Carter, but Michigan made it interesting as backup QB John Wangler engineered a long drive with an eight-yard Lawrence Ricks touchdown run. Following a late interception, Michigan closed out the first half with a fake field goal that led to a touchdown pass to tie it up. Down 21-14, Notre Dame's John Krimm picked off Wangler for a 49-yard pick six, but PK Harry Oliver missed the extra point. A Carter touchdown run gave Notre Dame a 26-21 lead after a failed conversion.
    The ending: Wangler made amends by driving the Wolverines down to the Notre Dame four with just over a minute to play. TE Craig Dunaway caught a deflected pass off RB Butch Woolfolk for a touchdown, but the two-point conversion failed giving Michigan a 27-26 lead with :41 left. Notre Dame head coach Dan Devine sent in Blair Kiel to quarterback the final drive, but his first pass sailed on him. Fortunately for the Irish, WR Tony Hunter drew a pass interference penalty. After almost throwing an interception on his next two passes, Kiel completed two short throws to get to the Michigan 34 with four seconds to play. In came Oliver, who had only made one career field goal, for a 51-yard attempt with the wind blowing in his face. As legend has it, the wind died down just before Oliver kicked a line drive that just found its way through the left corner for the 29-27 Irish win.
    How they ended up: Notre Dame ended up climbing to No. 1 with a 7-0 record before tying Georgia Tech 3-3. A 17-10 loss to Georgia, who was named national champion, in the Sugar Bowl ended the Irish season at 9-2-1 finishing ranked ninth. Michigan lost the next week in another nail-biter to South Carolina 17-14. Things quickly turned around as Bo's boys reeled off nine straight wins including a 23-6 victory over Washington to finish 10-2 and ranked No. 4.

    No. 49 USC 45 ... UCLA 42, November 17, 1990
    At the time: USC was 7-2-1 and going to the Sun Bowl even though there was still a game against Notre Dame to be played. UCLA was 5-5 and looking for a winning season and hoping for a bowl bid.
    The setup: It was a shootout with USC up 24-21 going into the fourth quarter, started by an interception return for a touchdown, followed up with another pick-six when Jason Oliver stepped in front of a Tommy Maddox pass and took it 34 yards for a Trojan touchdown. UCLA responded with two touchdown passes to Scott Miller for a 35-31 lead midway through the final quarter. The two teams kept trading punches, but UCLA appeared to end it with a one-yard Kevin Smith touchdown run for a 42-38 lead with 1:19 to play.
    The ending: The firefight couldn't end without a final big drive. USC QB Todd Marinovich had the ball on his own 25 with 1:13 to play, but things didn't get off to a rousing start as he faced a third and 10 with the USC defense starting to swarm for the first time all game long. With :44 to play, Marinovich found Gary Wellman for 27 yards to get into UCLA territory. One more pass to Wellman put the Trojans on the UCLA 23 with :26 to play. USC WR Johnny Morton, playing with a separated shoulder, blew past the fallen UCLA defensive back to the back corner of the end zone. Marinovich got flattened by Bruin LB Roman Phifer, but he got the ball off just in time to get it to Morton a split-second before UCLA safety Michael Williams could break it up. Morton made a leaping catch for a touchdown with :16 to play and a 45-42 lead. Maddox had one last chance, but his Hail Marys fell incomplete.
    How they ended up: UCLA finished the season 5-6. USC went on to lose to Notre Dame 10-6 before falling to Michigan State 17-16 in the Sun Bowl to finish 8-3-1. Maddox and Marinovich were the first two sophomore quarterbacks to ever be drafted.

    No. 48 UNLV 27 ... Baylor 24, November 11, 1999
    At the time: First year (at least to their programs) head coaches Kevin Steele at Baylor and John Robinson at UNLV were trying to get off to good starts. The Rebels beat North Texas 26-3 before heading to Baylor. The Bears lost a 30-29 heartbreaker to Boston College on a missed extra point.
    The setup: Baylor blew a 10-0 lead, but was able to convert a UNLV fumble to go up 17-14 on a one-yard Jermaine Alfred touchdown run. The two teams traded scores with Baylor getting the ball with 4:33 remaining and clinging to a 17-14 lead. Pounding away on a long, sustained drive, the Bears were able to run down the clock and preserve its lead. With no timeouts left, UNLV couldn't do anything to prevent Baylor from taking a few knees and leaving with the win. However, the coaches kept calling handoffs to Darrell Bush, allowing him to pound it out for more yards running more time off the clock. But it wasn't necessary.
    The ending: Once again, all Baylor had to do was take a knee. Instead, Bush got another carry to get down to the UNLV eight with :30 to play. With the clock winding down, Baylor gave Bush yet another carry, and he barreled down to the one as the UNLV defenders tried to rip the ball out of his hands. It worked. Rebel LB Tyler Brickell got the ball loose just before Bush crossed the goal line sending it bouncing into the end zone. Kevin Thomas picked it up and went 101 yards untouched for the touchdown as time ran out for the unbelievable 27-24 win.
    How they ended up: Baylor's season didn't get much better only beating North Texas 23-10 to finish 1-10. UNLV only won one more game beating Wyoming 35-32 to finish 3-8.

    No. 47 Northwestern 34 ... Wisconsin 30, October 19, 1996
    At the time: Northwestern was coming off its Rose Bowl season and was back up to its old tricks getting past a 28-27 opening day loss to Wake Forest to win four straight games including a 17-16 squeaker over Michigan. Wisconsin won its first three games before losing heartbreakers to Penn State and Ohio State.
    The setup: Wisconsin freshman Ron Dayne was just getting his career going getting most of the workload rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown on the way to what a seemingly easy Homecoming victory. But Northwestern slowly started to come back even with star running back Darnell Autry knocked out in the second quarter with a shoulder injury as Adrian Autry ran for 82 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. Wisconsin still had a 30-27 lead late and appeared to have weathered the storm.
    The ending: Wisconsin had the ball on its own 41 with 1:47 to play and Northwestern out of timeouts. Had QB Mike Samuel taken three knees, Wisconsin still would've had to kick the ball away with a few ticks left on the clock. Instead of running a quarterback sneak, head coach Barry Alvarez chose to hand it off to Dayne to let him try for the first down. Samuel and Dayne botched the exchange, which Northwestern safety Eric Collier fell on with :49 to play. Wildcat QB Steve Schnur found D'Wayne Bates two plays later on a streak to the end zone for a 20-yard score and a shocking 34-30 win.
    How they ended up: Northwestern ended up going 7-1 before losing to Penn State. Even so, it ended up with another share of the Big Ten title and went to the Citrus Bowl losing to Peyton Manning and Tennessee 48-28 to finish 9-3. The Badgers lost to Michigan State the following week for a four-game losing streak before winning five of the final six games to finish 8-5, culminating in a 38-10 Copper Bowl win over Utah.

    No. 46 Miami 19 ... Florida State 16, October 3, 1992
    At the time: Miami was the defending national champion on a 20-game winning streak, but many believed 4-0 Florida State was the best team in America. This was the one of the most anticipated games of the 1990s after the classic Wide Right Miami win in 1991.
    The setup: Florida State started off with a bang on a 94-yard kickoff return from Tamarick Vanover. Miami came back to take a 10-7 lead, but the Noles got three Dan Mowery field goals to get ahead 16-10 midway through the third quarter. A 33-yard Gino Torretta touchdown pass to Coleman Bell gave the Canes the lead that was upped to 19-16 after a safety.
    The ending: Florida State got the ball back with 1:35 to play. Seminole QB Charlie Ward was able to maneuver the offense 59 yards, but the drive stalled with eight seconds to play. In came Mowery, who had made field goals from 22, 38 and 41 yards, to attempt a 39-yard shot to tie the game. Wide right.

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