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100 Greatest Finishes - No. 51 to 60

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

  1. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    100 Greatest Finishes - 51 to 60

    No. 60 Notre Dame 17 ... Penn State 16, November 14, 1992
    At the time: No. 23 Penn State started out 5-0 before losing three of its next four games for a 6-3 record. Notre Dame was ranked seventh with a 7-1-1 record going into the home date with the Nittany Lions.
    The setup: In a driving snowstorm, the defenses were leading the way highlighted by a great Notre Dame goal line stand midway through the fourth quarter forcing a field goal and a 9-9 tie. Up 16-9 after a Brian O'Neal touchdown run, Penn State's defense had to hold the Irish offense in check for one more drive. On its own 36 with just over four minutes to play, Notre Dame was able to work its way down to the three with :35 left facing fourth and goal.
    The ending: Irish QB Rick Mirer dropped back, scrambled, and found Jerome Bettis on the goal line for a touchdown with :20 to play. This was before the days of overtime, meaning an extra point would make it 16-16. Earlier in the year, the Irish tied Michigan at 17 leading to a great deal of criticism for not going for the win. This time, head coach Lou Holtz chose to go for it. Mirer dropped back, and kept dropping back, until he was able to spot Reggie Brooks open at the right side of the end zone. Mirer threw it high up and almost out of reach, but Brooks was able to make a tough diving catch for the 17-16 lead. The crowd stormed the field forcing an unsportsmanlike foul call and giving life to Penn State. With :15 to play, Kerry Collins misfired on three straight passes and Notre Dame held on.
    How they ended up: Notre Dame beat USC the following week and thrashed Texas A&M 28-3 in the Cotton Bowl to finish 10-1-1. Penn State recovered to beat Pittsburgh 57-13, but ended up 7-5 after losing 24-3 to Stanford in the Blockbuster Bowl.

    No. 59 Florida 18 ... Auburn 17, November 1, 1986
    At the time: Florida had gotten off to a rocky start losing four in a row before getting to 3-4 with wins over Kent and Rutgers. Unfortunately, the Gators hadn't beaten anyone with a pulse. In came Auburn to the Swamp with a 7-0 record and No. 5 ranking led by a defense that had allowed a total of 53 points (7.5 points per game).
    The setup: Florida stunk turning it over six times in the first half and getting down 17-0 going into the fourth quarter. Banged up Gator quarterback Kerwin Bell came in despite a knee injury, but he wasn't effective, throwing an interception and almost getting picked off a second time. He finally got hot, leading the Gators on a long drive rushing for a one-yard score to make it a ballgame. Florida kicker Robert McGinty, who transferred from Auburn after missing a last second kick against Alabama, nailed a 51-yard bomb to bring the Gators to within seven. Getting the ball back with less than two minutes to play, Bell had one last shot.
    The ending: Bell was able to get the offense down to the Auburn five, but time was quickly ticking away. On second and goal, he found Ricky Nattiel on a fade pattern for a touchdown with :36 left to play to bring the Gators to within one. With nothing to lose considering the season wasn't going anywhere, Florida chose to go for two and the win rather than take the tie. Bell couldn't find any of his receivers as Nattiel was covered like a blanket and no one else could get open. On his bum knee, Bell tried to avoid the heavy pass rush and run for the conversion himself. While not setting any speed records, he was able to get to the left side of the end zone for the conversion and a 18-17 lead. The Gators stormed the field in celebration and was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty meaning Auburn ended up starting from midfield after a good kickoff return. The Tigers were able to get to the Florida 36 with only six seconds remaining. On came Chris Knapp, who replaced McGinty as the Auburn kicker, to try a 53-yard kick to pull off the win, but it came up short giving the Gators the win.
    How they ended up: The Tigers bounced back to thrash Cincinnati 52-7 the next week, but lost the week after to Georgia costing them an SEC title. A 16-7 win over USC in the Citrus Bowl gave them a 10-2 season and a No. 6 final ranking. Florida beat Georgia the following week and finished winning five of its final six games for a 6-5 record.

    No. 58 USC 27 ... Notre Dame 25, November 25, 1978
    At the time: USC was loaded and in the middle of a fantastic season with a 9-1 record and was in the middle of the chase for the national title. Notre Dame had started off the year 0-2, but went on a roll winning eight straight games before traveling to L.A. for its regular season finale.
    The setup: USC went up 24-6 going into the fourth quarter as Joe Montana and the Irish offense was struggling to get anything going. And then Montana started to play like Joe Montana, connecting with Kris Haines for a 57-yard touchdown pass and leading a 98-yard drive culminating in a one-yard Pete Buchanan touchdown run to make it 24-19 with three minutes to play. The Irish D held giving Montana one last shot with 1:35 to play and the ball on the Irish 43.
    The ending: Montana did what he had to do with a crisp drive finished off by a two-yard touchdown pass to Pete Holohan for a 25-24 lead with :46 to play. USC QB Paul McDonald got the ball back with :40 left and starting on the Trojan 30. Following a short pass, McDonald dodged a bullet when he got hit and lost the ball, but the apparent fumble was called an incomplete pass. Taking full advantage of the good call, McDonald connected with Calvin Sweeney for a 35-yard play down to the Notre Dame 25 with :12 left. Charles White, who finished with 205 yards, was able to get it to the 20 for a field goal attempt with six seconds to play. The 37-yard shot wasn't exactly a sure thing as kicker Frank Jordan blew a 20-yard attempt a few minutes earlier. This time he nailed it for the 27-25 win to ruin a 296-yard second half comeback from Montana.
    How they ended up: Notre Dame went off to the Cotton Bowl, where Montana pulled off one of his most famous comebacks beating Houston 35-34 in the "chicken soup" game. USC went on to beat Hawaii to close out the regular season 11-1 and won a share of the national title with a 17-10 win over Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

    No. 57 Michigan 27 … Penn State 25, October 15, 2005
    At the time: Penn State was 6-0, coming off a huge win over Ohio State, and was in the midst of a tremendous resurgent season with a relatively easy slate the rest of the way. But first, Joe Paterno’s club had to get by an apparently dead, unranked Michigan team to really get the national title talk started. The Wolverines were on the verge of a disaster, starting the year 3-3 with losses to Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Minnesota by a total of 13 points, and with a date at Iowa and against Ohio State looming. A loss to Penn State in The Big House might have meant a losing season was possible for the first time since 1967.
    The setup: Down 10-3 going into the fourth quarter, Penn State came back with a four-yard Michael Robinson touchdown run, and then the defense got into the act as Alan Zemaitis stripped Michigan quarterback Chad Henne and took it 35 yards for a score. The snap was botched on the extra point attempt, but Penn State got the two-point conversion for an 18-10 lead. Michigan answered with a 33-yard Mario Manningham touchdown catch followed up by a Mike Hart two-point conversion to tie it at 18. The Wolverines took the lead on a 47-yard Garrett Rivas field goal, but Penn State went on a 13-play, 81-yard touchdown drive, finishing with a three-yard Robinson scoring run with :53 to play for a 25-21 lead.
    The ending: Michigan’s Steve Breaston gave the offense decent field position taking it out to the 47. Henne connected with Jason Avant for 17 yards and Carl Tabb for four before calling timeout with :28 to play on the Penn State 32. Head coach Lloyd Carr screamed, and got, two more seconds put back on the clock after he claimed his team called the time out with :32 to play. Paterno, to put it mildly, wasn’t happy. The offense got the ball down to the Penn State ten with just six seconds to play, but weren’t taking shots in the end zone and were playing with fire. The extra time put back on the clock had meant everything, as Henne misfired on a pass to Breaston leaving one second to play. On fourth and goal from the ten, Henne dropped back, found Mario Manningham cutting in front of Zemaitis, and threw a dart for the winning score with no time left on the clock.
    How they ended up: The Nittany Lions were one second away from an undefeated season. They went on to win the Big Ten title and finished third in both polls after beating Florida State in an ugly, wild Orange Bowl marred by several missed field goal attempts at the end. Michigan appeared to turn its season around winning four straight before losing to Ohio State. Down 32-28 late in the Alamo Bowl against Nebraska, the Wolverines almost pulled off the greatest play since the 1982 Stanford – Cal game, with an eight lateral kickoff return that went 51 yards through coaches and players, who were on the field thinking the game was over, only to have Tyler Ecker stopped just short of the goal line. They finished unranked in both polls.

    No. 56 Iowa 12 ... Michigan 10, October 19, 1985
    At the time: Iowa was 5-0 and ranked No. 1 hosting second-ranked Michigan, who was also 5-0. The Wolverine defense was sensational allowing 21 points in the first five games, while Iowa's offense, led by QB Chuck Long, averaged 44.2 points per game.
    The setup: Iowa had few problems moving the ball finishing with 422 yards of total offense, but it had a nightmare of a time scoring only managing three field goals. Michigan's offense did next to nothing unable to get anything consistently going, but a six-yard touchdown pass from Jim Harbaugh to Gerald White

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