Michigan Football's Greatest Comebacks Countdown: 6. Virginia Cavaliers (1995)

Michigan Football's Greatest Comebacks Countdown: 6. Virginia Cavaliers (1995)

Football

Michigan Football's Greatest Comebacks Countdown: 6. Virginia Cavaliers (1995)


Our comeback series continues, with Lloyd Carr’s first game as head coach being a thrilling one between ranked foes.


Michigan Football’s Greatest Comebacks Countdown: 6. Virginia Cavaliers (1995)

A bout between two ranked heavyweights lives up to its billing.

No. 6 in our Michigan football’s greatest comebacks countdown takes a look at Lloyd Carr’s first game as a head coach, in a battle between two outstanding teams in the Wolverines 1995 season opener.

6. 14 Michigan vs. 17 Virginia (1995)

  • Final score: Michigan 18 – Virginia 17
  • 1995 record: 9-4 Finished: AP – 17th, Coaches – 19th
  • Why it’s important: Season opener, ranked opponent, Lloyd Carr’s first game as head coach

New Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr didn’t have time to slowly acclimate to being the headman of the Wolverines, as the season opener at The Big House brought in a ranked Virginia Cavaliers team. Michigan had another new familiar name serving in his first game in his post as defensive coordinator: Greg Mattison.

Carr was relying on a true freshman under center, as Scott Dreisbach took over the reins from Todd Collins.

We’ll let the New York Times tell this one:

The Wolverines, who scored on their final three possessions, got the ball back with 2 minutes 35 seconds remaining. And they needed it all as they drove 80 yards in 16 plays.

Michigan had just 12 seconds left when Dreisbach dived for a first down at the Virginia 15-yard line. Three incompletions later, there were only four seconds left when Dreisbach took the fourth-down snap and looked left.

“There were four seconds left and I knew I had to put the ball in the end zone, especially because the linemen were yelling at me to throw the ball in the end zone,” Dreisbach said. “I was going to go to Amani Toomer, but Virginia rotated the coverage. So, I looked across to Mercury Hayes and he was wide open.”

Dreisbach lofted a high pass that was hauled in between the defenders Paul London and Ronde Barber in the back corner of the end zone.

“The players in the locker room told me that it’s not all me,” Barber said. “There’s 10 other guys on the field. It’s not the end of the world.”

Hayes barely kept one foot in bounds as he caught the ball. The crowd roared after the field judge Collin McDermott pointed his finger emphatically inside the line, and then raised both arms to signal a touchdown.

“My goal was go make sure I was in bounds and catch the ball,” Hayes said. “I was stutter-stepping to stay in bounds, but I was really concentrating on the ball. I knew it would be the last play. I caught the ball and then a whole bunch of guys jumped on me, so I knew it was over.”

No extra point was attempted.

Scott Dreisbach threw a new record of 52 pass attempts, and also a high of 372 yards, breaking Collins’ record of 352 the year before against Minnesota.

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