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April 15, 1999 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-15

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4B - The Michigan Daily Graduation Edition - Thursday, April 15, 1999

Thanks for the



'97 football season

- we'll

never see one like it again

Editor's note: This story originally
ran in the Jan. 6, 1998 edition of the
By Nicholas J. Cotsonika
Daily Sports Editor
PASADENA, Calif. - Long after
the trophy has tarnished and even this
newspaper has yellowed, tales will be
told with chest-bursting pride of these
Michigan Wolverines and this Rose
Bowl, of this team's character and its
comebacks, of the emotional energy
shared by those lucky enough to
behold the marvelous magic made on
New Year's Day, 1998.
The greatest football season in
school history ended here as the rosy
tw ilight gleamed off the San Gabriel
foothills. Michigan's 118th team won
the 84th Rose Bowl, 21-16, and fin-
ished No. 1. Nothing can spoil it. Not
a controversy about how the game
ended, with Washington State begging
for one more second, one more play
and one more gasp of life. Not a split

decision among the voters, who
awarded half of the national champi-
onship to Nebraska by a miniscule
No, nothing can spoil this. Nothing
can top this. Nothing could quell the
crowd's cheers, even a half-hour after
the game, when the fans were still
chanting with the band, "WE'RE NO.
"I will cherish this game, this uni-
versity, for the rest of my life," said
senior quarterback Brian Griese, who
was named the game's most valuable
player. "You have opportunities in life,
and those who stand out are the ones
who take advantage of those opportu-
nities. It's just sweet for us to capital-
ize on an opportunity to make histo-
The Wolverines are the winningest
program in the NCAA and won their
32nd Big Ten championship this sea-
son, but they finished 12-0 for the first
time ever to win their first national
championship since 1948. They con-
sider it their 11th national champi-
onship; time may consider it their
most unlikely.
When this season began, the
Wolverines were ranked 14th, and
recovering from four consecutive four-
loss seasons seemed daunting enough.
An unblemished record and a national
championship weren't in the picture.
"If you would have told me then,"
defensive end Glen Steele said, "I
would have laughed." After all,
Michigan didn't win a national cham-
pionship in coaching legend Bo
Schembechler's 21-year era of emi-
nence. Bo never went 12-0.
Though coach Lloyd Carr ended up
emerging from Schembechler's shad-
ow, standing alone in the bright,
California sun as the winner of four of

the five major coach of the year
awards, Carr's mission simply had
been to silence
the critics who had hounded him
since his hiring three years ago.
"Nobody gave us a chance to be in
the Rose Bowl, let alone win the
national title," said all-purpose star
Charles Woodson, the Wolverines'
game-breaker who this season became
the first primarily defensive player to
win the Heisman Trophy. "Everybody
thought we were going to go 8-4
again. We played hard every week to
get to this position. We all felt we
could go undefeated; we just had to go
out and do it."
They went out and did it the way
they had all autumn - by doing what
no one but themselves thought they
could. Griese, a one-time walk-on who
had lost his starting job and rode the
bench a year ago, threw his longest
two passes of the season for touch-
downs. Both were to wide receiver Tai
Streets, who hadn't caught a ball in
three of his last four games because
his fingers, two of which were dislo-
cated, wouldn't let him.
And when it was over, they knew it
would never be this good again. They
walked off the field, their faces flick-
ering in front of flash bulbs, glimmer-
ing with triumphant tears. Having
overcome so much, emotion overcame
"We won all the major awards, the
Heisman Trophy, coach of the year,"
said senior co-captain Eric Mayes,
whose knee injury ended his career in
October but couldn't keep him out of
uniform for his final game - and his
finest hour - as a Wolverine. "We're
undefeated, ranked No. 1 ... this may
be the single greatest season ever - in
college football history."

The day
made it back
to Pasadena
Editor's note: This story originally
ran in the Nov. 24, 1997 edition of the
By Janet Adamy
and Jeffrey Kosseff
Daily Staff Reporters
Emotions surged through Ann Arbor
that Saturday as fans celebrated
Michigan's 20-14 conquest of Ohio State
by rushing the field, crowding outside the
University president's house and packing
campus bars.
"I came to school here just for this
moment," said Business senior Jeff
Williams, as he celebrated on the field
with an estimated 8,000 other students.
"I've been waiting 21 years to do this
and it feels great," said Education senior
Dave Hebert. "Oh, my God, it feels great.
It's like I've been reborn as a Michigan
When the game clock reached zero,
handfuls of fans braved the 7-foot drop
from the stands onto the field. A few min-
utes later, thousands of fans rushed down
the stairways to crowd onto the stadium
Fans took victory laps around the Big
House, lit cigars on the 50-yard line and
carried football players high above their
"I couldn't move after the game. It was
so crowded," said Michigan cornerback
Charles Woodson. "All the fans were
grabbing me ... So far it's so great, and
we're going to Pasadena."
Fans hugged and kissed strangers and
friends alike as they stayed on the field
for nearly an hour after Michigan's tri-
Others took pieces of the actual field
as a souvenir, digging up chunks of the
turf to save for posterity.
"I've been waiting for this day ever
since I got here," Business senior Rob
McLeod said as he hugged his friend in
"It's fantastic" said LSA sophomore
Matt Plumb, a trumpet player in the
marching band. "It has to be one of the
greatestmoments of my life."
During the on-field melee, Plumb
turned to his fellow band members and
said, "I love you guys."
Outside the stadium gates, thousands
of students rushed down South
University Avenue and crowded onto
University President Lee Bollinger's
Bollinger didn't greet the crowd nor
did he invite students into his house as he
did after the Penn State victory, but thou-
sands of fans continued to crowd the
street and lawn, shouting "We want Lee."
Exuberant Wolverines surfed through
the crowds, climbed trees, jumped on
moving cars and videotaped the moment.
One student fell 40 feet from a tree out-
side the president's house.
Partiers celebrated on South
University, which became so crowded
that people couldn't move at times.
LSA junior Kevin Fogelberg, who
screamed from atop a circular bench, said
he felt "amazing" with so many students
gathered in one location.
"I've never seen this much energy and
this much life in this school since I've
been here; Fogelberg said. "It'sike
(your) birthday and Christmas all in one."



Michigan's all-everything star and Heisman Trophy-winner Charles Woodson helped
make the 1997 Michigan football team Into Champions.

Hockey was the best over time


We have 3 POWs in Kosovo
POWs never have a good day.
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors

Editor's note: This column original-
ly ran in the April 6, 1998 edition of
the Daily
B OSTON -Years from now, no
one will remember Michigan
losing at Yost Ice Arena for the
first time in 36 games. No one will
remember the first Great Lakes
Invitational loss in a decade, or losing
to Michigan State four times in one
season, or losing the CCHA regular
season and conference playoffs.
But everyone will remember the
West Regional victories at Yost.
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housing is overcrowded,
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Everyone will remember Saturday's
game and the outcome.
Everyone will remember the 1998
NCAA championship.
This season's edition of Michigan
hockey really is unique, worthy of a
movie or a book, or at least a minis-
Wolverines are a
team everyone
can relate to
because they're
not perfect, the
way the 1997
edition seemed SHARAT
or even the 1996 RAJU
team that won Sha rat
this very title in the Dark
was. _
They're not
unstoppable. There's no Hobey Baker
Award winner here, no record-setting
win total, no single player carrying the
team on his shoulders night in and
night out. Even Marty Turco couldn't
always bail the Wolverines out, nor
could Bill Muckalt.
We all can relate. Sometimes in life,
you come up short. You can't win

every award, every tournament or
every accolade. But you can succeed
if you work hard, play hard and come
through when it counts.
And that's exactly what this team
did. They worked hard and fought
back, and can truly be called
Captain Matt Herr often said early
in the season that this team wasn't
going to be the most talented in the
country, but they would be the hard-
est-working one. That's something to
live by in hockey, in sports and in life.
If you work hard, good things happen.
Funny how it all worked out for the
Wolverines. Funny how the best-laid
plans of the best teams (read:
Michigan State, North Dakota, Boston
University) went awry.
Michigan fans are spoiled this sea-
First, a football national champi-
onship, now a hockey title. Again.
For a school that works so hard to
be the best at everything - ranging
from the band to academics to athlet-
ics - we deserve this, and we can
bask in the glory of this season and
this school year.

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