It’s summer, the time when bloggers rack their brains for something — anything — to write about and college football fans count down the seconds until foot meets pigskin. So, welcome to my latest gimmick: The Michigan Football YouTube Bracket. I’m looking high and low for the best Michigan football moments ever captured on YouTube — divided into two categories: Game Performances/Game Winners and Spectacular Plays — and for you, the readers, to vote on the moment that stands out above the rest.
Talk about a showdown — today’s semifinal features Michigan’s last two Heisman winners in the biggest moment of their biggest games (“The Game,” in fact) as Desmond Howard’s “Hello Heisman” punt return touchdown against Ohio State in 1991 faces off against Charles Woodson’s Heisman-clinching punt return touchdown against the Buckeyes in 1997. Which moment is your favorite? Is it the iconic pose, or the return that led to the Rose Bowl? There’s no wrong answers here, especially with the legendary Keith Jackson handling the call for both plays. Enjoy, and make sure to vote for your favorite at the bottom of the post:
(2) Desmond Howard’s “Hello Heisman” vs. Ohio State, 1991
They say you should never field a punt inside your 10-yard line.
The rules, apparently, do not apply to Desmond Howard.
With 19 receiving touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns, and a kick return for a score already in the books entering the Ohio State game, Howard has already made a very strong case for the Heisman Trophy before the regular season’s final game. With the Wolverines holding on to a comfortable 17-3 lead late in the second quarter, he would secure his spot in college football history. Awaiting an Ohio State punt at his 10-yard line, Howard would be forced to backpedal to his own seven to field the kick, and upon catching the ball, it appeared that Desmond was launched forward by an invisible slingshot as he dusted the Ohio State punt coverage. A 93-yard dash down the sideline later (still the longest punt return in school history), and Desmond appropriately struck the famous Heisman pose as legendary announcer Keith Jackson proclaimed, “Hello, Heisman!” Indeed, Keith Jackson. Indeed.
(4) Charles Woodson’s punt return seals Heisman vs. Ohio State, 1997
Heading into the 1997 Ohio State game, Charles Woodson had done practically everything a defensive player could do to put his name in the Heisman race, shutting down half the field on defense and providing a big-play threat every time he played an offensive down. He lacked one thing on his Heisman resume: Entering the final game of the regular season, Woodson was averaging just 6.6 yards per return on 28 punt returns, with a long of just 20 yards. In fact, wideout Russell Shaw was actually the team’s most effective punt returner, albeit not my much, with an average of 7.6 yards per return. With the Wolverines hanging on to a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, however, it was Woodson who awaited Brent Bartholomew’s kick. One booming punt, a catch, and two lightning-fast cuts later, Michigan held a 13-0 lead and plans for a flight to Pasadena. Woodson, of course, would have to book a flight to New York first — he had a trophy to pick up.