Classic Big Ten Football: Indiana at Michigan, 1979

Adam JacobiBig Ten Football Lead WriterMarch 30, 2012

Um, spoiler alert.
Um, spoiler alert.

Every week, the Big Ten Blog will break down one classic game from the Big Ten's long, storied history. Today, we're dialing the Wayback Machine all the way to 1979, on one October afternoon in Ann Arbor.

It was homecoming weekend for Michigan, as the 5-1 Wolverines faced Indiana on October 27, 1979. The Hoosiers were historically pretty lousy even back then, but under head coach Lee Corso, they had enjoyed a little bit of a resurgence; from 1976-1980, Indiana was actually over .500.

Granted, that was by one whole game, but still; they were doing decent things in Bloomington.

Michigan appeared to be putting this game in hand without much distress. The Wolverines had a 21-7 lead in the fourth quarter, and the game wasn't terribly compelling.

But then the Hoosiers scored twice, including a touchdown drive that ended with under a minute to go, and all of a sudden, Corso and his gang looked like they could walk out of the Big House with a tie, back when that was a major, major accomplishment.

Slight problem: Bo Schembechler wasn't much in the mood for a tie.

The Wolverines got the ball at their own 22 with 51 seconds left, and they passed midfield before, with six seconds left, running back Lawrence Reid pitched the ball out of bounds at Indiana's 45 to stop the clock.

That's now illegal, but it happened, and it gave Michigan one last shot at victory. QB John Wangler took the snap, dropped back, and....

...the rest was history.

Anthony Carter eluded two tacklers en route to the end zone with no time left on the clock. Michigan fans streamed onto the field, radio man Bob Ufer nearly died of mirth, and a great time was had by all.

Except for Indiana. Lousy day for the Hoosiers.

The postscript of this game isn't what you would expect, by the way. Michigan throttled Wisconsin the next week before dropping three straight close games at the end of the year, all with some critical special teams miscues to blame, including a 17-15 loss to North Carolina in the Gator Bowl where Michigan missed an extra point, then a tying two-point conversion.

Indiana, meanwhile, closed out the regular season at 7-4, but without beating any teams with a winning record.

For the Hoosiers' troubles, they got a Holiday Bowl bid against ninth-ranked, 11-0 BYU. Massacre time, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

Indiana's Tim Wilber took a 62-yard punt return to the house midway through the fourth quarter, and BYU kicker Brent Johnson shanked a 27-yard field goal with 11 seconds left. Final score: Indiana 38, BYU 37.

Troll hard, Corso.