Zach Mettenberger needs a big season for LSU to contend in the SEC West.
LSU had national title aspirations in 2012 but losses to Florida and Alabama pushed the Tigers to a 10-2 mark at the end of the regular season.
Getting LSU to a spot in the national championship will be even more challenging for Les Miles in 2013, as the Tigers lost a handful of key contributors on defense, and the offense is still a question mark.
Mississippi fans are still angry about this one. With 0:04 to play, LSU quarterback Bert Jones faded back, pump faked and threw an interception – in only three seconds. Or so said the Tiger clock operator. The one second remaining on the clock gave Jones the chance to hit Brad Davis in the corner of the end zone to give the Tigers a 17-16 win over the Rebels and extend the LSU winning streak to 12 games.
Trailing underdog Kentucky on the road, 30-27, with just 0:11 left and the ball on their own nine, the Tigers made history. After a 17-yard toss from Marcus Randall to Michael Clayton, Randall heaved the ball downfield, where it was tipped and wound up in the hands of Devery Henderson, who finished the 74-yard TD hookup. Kentucky players had already doused coach Guy Morriss with Gatorade, and some fans were tearing down the goalposts to celebrate the upset, but LSU’s “Bluegrass Miracle” spoiled the fun.
LSU spotted Ohio State a 10-0 lead and then roared back to score 31 consecutive points en route to a 38-24 win over the Buckeyes and a second BCS championship. QB Matt Flynn, who missed the SEC title game win over Tennessee with an injury, threw four touchdown passes to help the Tigers become the first two-loss champ of the BCS era.
The Tigers’ stifling defense controlled Oklahoma’s Heisman-winning QB, Jason White, holding him to 13-of-37 passing, and LSU used TD runs from Skyler Green and Justin Vincent and an interception return by Marcus Spears to overcome the Sooners, 21-14, and win their first BCS title.
The top-ranked and defending national champion Tigers were down, 3-0, in the fourth quarter of their Halloween night game with Mississippi, when all-America and eventual Heisman winner Billy Cannon took a punt at his own 11-yard line. Heading up the right sideline, Cannon shrugged off seven would-be Rebel tacklers and went 89-yards to give LSU the lead. Later in the game, he secured LSU’s 7-3 win by teaming with Warren Rabb to stop an Ole Miss runner at the Tiger one on fourth down.
Capone is one of only eight LSU players in history to be named a two-time All-American, as he earned such recognition in 1972 and 1973. He led the Tigers to three straight bowl appearances. Inducted into the LSU Hall of Fame in 1988, Capone is considered one of, if not the, best linebacker in LSU history. After one year in the World Football League, Capone played a few years in the NFL with Dallas and New Orleans. (Editor’s Note: This one was a brutal decision as Charles Alexander, Al Richardson and Ben Wilkerson all got serious consideration for this slot).
After his redshirt seasons, Faneca was voted SEC Freshman of the Year by the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1995. He was a second-team All-American the following year and became an Outland Trophy finalist by the 1997 season – the first in school history. He started 36 games in his LSU career and allowed only one sack, finishing with 210 pancake blocks. He was selected by the Steelers with the 26th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He went to nine Pro Bowls and won Super Bowl XL.
As a true freshman, Landry started 10 games on what turned out to be the first LSU National Championship team since 1958. The elite safety is credited with 48 straight starts for the Tigers, finishing with 315 tackles and 12 interceptions – good for seventh and third highest in school history. A three-time All-SEC performer, Landry earned All-American honors as a senior before being drafted with the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
This talented cornerback is probably the best coverman in school history. A two-time All-American – the school’s first in nearly two decades – Webster anchored the outside of the 2003 National Championship team. Webster tied an LSU single-game record with three interceptions against Florida in 2002 and finished second all-time in school history with 16 interceptions. He also owns the school record for passes broken up with 49. He totaled 115 tackles and was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He was a key member of the Super Bowl XLII team that stopped the most prolific offense in NFL history, the New England Patriots.
Originally a tight end, Spears switched to defensive end after his freshman season and became one of the most dominant D-lineman to ever play at LSU. Spears started 38 of his 50 total games at end and finished with 152 tackles, 19 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss. He won two SEC Championships and helped lead the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship. A game in which his most memorable play took place. Early in the third quarter, Spears intercepted an Oklahoma pass and rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown that turned out to be the game-winning points of the 21-14 title victory. Spears was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.
Reed re-wrote the LSU and SEC record books in 2001 when he caught a school record 94 passes for an SEC record 1,740 yards on his way to becoming a consensus All-American selection. As the Biletnikoff Award winner – given to the nation’s best receiver – Reed led the country in yards and yards per game (145.0). He finished his career as the SEC’s all-time leading receiver with 3,001 yards on 167 receptions. In his final game as a Bayou Bengal, Reed set Sugar Bowl records with 14 catches for 239 yards and two scores. Reed owns 17 school or SEC records and was drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills.
The best player to take snaps for LSU has to be Jones. The Tigers went 26-6-1, went to three bowl games and won an SEC Championship in Jones’ three years at LSU. His senior season, Jones became the first LSU quarterback to be named a consensus All-American. The strong-armed passer finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1972 and his 3,225 yards and 28 touchdowns were a school record at the time. Jones went on to be the second overall pick in the 1973 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Colts.
Faulk will go down in history as not only one of the most productive LSU Tigers in history but one of the most prolific SEC runners in history. The three-time All-SEC choice was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 1995 before leading the league in rushing as a junior and senior. He is LSU’s all-time leading rusher (4,557) and is the SEC’s career leader in all-purpose yards with 6,833. His 53 total TDs scored also set and SEC record that stood until Tim Tebow broke it. Faulk was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 1999 NFL Draft and has been a key contributor on four Super Bowl teams – three of which won the Lombardi Trophy.
There have not been too many players in any school’s history to put together a year like Mr. Dorsey did in 2007. Dorsey led his team to an SEC Championship, a BCS National Championship, he claimed SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors to go with his Lombardi Award, Outland Trophy, Nagurski Trophy and Lott Trophy. As a two-time All-American, there really wasn’t anything Dorsey had left to accomplish when he was drafted with the fifth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. He started 26 of his last 27 games and finished his career with 170 total tackles, 27 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks.
This guy did it all. He played running back, return man and defensive back. He is also the only three-time All-American in LSU history and only the second LSU Tiger to be named to three All-SEC teams. Each year he played, the versatile competitor won at least nine games with the Tigers’ overall record finishing at 27-7 during his three year run in Baton Rouge. Casanova was so versatile, in fact, that only six years after being drafted in the second round by the Bengals in the 1972 NFL Draft, went into medicine AND politics. He has his medical degree in Ophthalmology and was elected to the state Senate in Louisiana’s 26th district.
HEAD COACH: Will Muschamp, 18-8 (2 years) |
OFF. COORDINATOR: Brent Pease |
DEF. COORDINATOR: D.J. Durkin
Will Muschamp’s second team in Gainesville won games through physical play and a grinding style, but its passing game did not put up a vintage Florida performance. The Gators’ 146.3 passing yards per game were their second-lowest for a season since 1979.
Unquestioned as the primary quarterback, Jeff Driskel will need to improve his field vision and ability to read defenses. The junior is mobile, but he needs to do his part to decrease Florida’s sack totals. Driskel could be an improved quarterback, but he may not have the receivers and tight ends to showcase his ability. The Gators are looking at cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and incoming freshmen, led by Demarcus Robinson, to boost the receiving corps.
At running back, Matt Jones established himself as the top option in the spring, distancing himself from junior Mack Brown and freshman Kelvin Taylor. A physical back at 6'2", 226 pounds, Jones can run through contact and could be an anchor for Florida’s ball control offense. Taylor, the son of Florida legend and NFL running back Fred Taylor, broke Emmitt Smith’s state career rushing record as a junior.
One of the most optimistic developments during the offseason for the Gators’ offense could be the improvement of the line. With Maryland transfer Max Garcia at guard and tackle D.J. Humphries adding weight, the left side of the line could be especially improved. At 280, Humphries is the only projected starter weighing less than 300 pounds.
Is Jeff Driskel one of the SEC's top-five quarterbacks?
Muschamp would prefer to have all his best players on the field at the same time, which presents an interesting dilemma with both Dante Fowler Jr. and Ronald Powell best suited for the “Buck” position, an end/linebacker hybrid. One could end up playing outside linebacker. Dominique Easley, who led the Gators with four sacks last season, can play both defensive end and tackle. If the Gators are thin anywhere up front, it’s at tackle where Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter departed.
Linebacker will be the most untested part of the defense, but there’s room for optimism. Sophomore Antonio Morrison moves from outside linebacker to the middle. He’ll be the Gators’ best hitter. Freshman linebacker Daniel McMillian was one of the breakout players of the spring. He has a nose for the ball and could become a starter as a rookie.
Depth is strong at cornerback, enabling Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs to play safety. They have a combined 33 career starts, mainly at cornerback. Marcus Roberson is a solid cover corner while Purifoy, who had three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks last season, is the top playmaker. Brian Poole, a special teams contributor as a true freshman, and incoming freshman Vernon Hargreaves III will be tough to ignore even in a crowded backfield.
" alt="" />
Jeff Driskel, QB – The junior became the first quarterback in FBS history to throw four TD passes while passing for fewer than 100 yards when he did so against South Carolina last season.
Loucheiz Purifoy, CB – He’s a returning starter at cornerback, where his nose for the ball prompted Florida coaches to test him at receiver during the spring.
Dominique Easley, DL – His ability to play end or tackle will be an asset for Gators’ line. He led the team with four sacks in 2012.
Antonio Morrison, LB – Big hitter came off the bench to help seal a Florida win over Florida State in Tallahassee last year.
Jaylen Watkins, S – Senior who started 19 games the last two seasons can play corner, safety and nickel.
A ball control offense needs a good punter, and the Gators have that in Kyle Christy. The junior averaged 45.8 yards per kick for a team that finished ninth nationally in net punting. The major question will be at kicker where the Gators will need to find a replacement for Caleb Sturgis, who made 24-of-28 field goals last year. Brad Phillips is the frontrunner for the job.
Florida’s final record looked like a typical season in Gainesville at 11–2 and a Sugar Bowl appearance, but the Gators were a high-wire act for most of the year. What’s most encouraging is that Florida improved in key areas such as physical play and turnover margin (from minus-12 to plus-15).
Expect another tough running game and salty defense, but without an above-average passing attack, the Gators are built for another season of grind-it-out games.
DOWNLOAD FLORIDA WALLPAPER (CLICK IMAGE)
Want to win a poster-sized Athlon cover of your choice? Enter now.
Recruited as a quarterback, Collinsworth began his Gator career with a bang when he threw a 99-yard touchdown pass in his first career game – which remains tied for the longest touchdown pass in NCAA history. He then switched to wide receiver and posted three consecutive All-SEC seasons – including an All-America campaign in 1980. That year the Gators posted the biggest turnaround in NCAA history, going from 0-10-1 to an 8-4 bowl team. Collinsworth finished with 120 receptions for 1,977 yards and 17 total touchdowns. He was inducted into the Gator Hall of Fame in 1991.
After a stellar freshman season – 873 yards and eight touchdowns – Taylor battled injuries and loaded depth charts for the next two seasons. He played in six games as a sophomore and only seven as a junior, helping the Gators play in back-to-back National Championship games (winning the 1996 title over Florida State). As a senior, and Captain, Taylor rushed for 1,292 yards and 13 touchdowns, earning the team’s MVP award, first-team All-SEC and first-team All-America honors. The school’s fourth-leading rusher of all-time put a stamp on his career in his final game against arch-rival Florida State. In 1997, the Noles were unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the nation when they faced Gators, who were a 31-point underdogs. The back and forth classic was one of Taylor’s finest moments as he carried the Gators to an upset victory with 162 yards and four touchdowns. Many believe it was the greatest game ever played in the Swamp.
This four-year starter helped lead the Gators to three SEC championships in 1991, 1993 and 1994. After two straight All-SEC seasons, Carter was a consensus All-American as a senior after 11.5 sacks in 1994. He was a Lombardi Award semifinalist and one of five Defensive Player of the Year finalists. His 42.5 career tackles for a loss rank seventh in school history, and his 21.5 career sacks rank him fifth all-time. He started 38 of his last 39 games in college. The Gator Hall of Famer was selected with the sixth overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams.
Marshall was a three-time All-SEC selection (1981-83) and a two-time consensus All-American (1982, 1983). He was a two-time finalist for the Lombardi Trophy and was named National Defensive Player of the Year by ABC Sports in 1983. In 2008, Marshall was inducted into the NCAA Football Hall of Fame. He finished his Gator career with 343 tackles, a school-record 58 tackles for a loss and 23 sacks. He is also one of only 10 players in NFL history to register at least 20 sacks and 20 interceptions.
Remarkably, Kearse began his Florida career as a safety – a testament to his raw athletic ability. He redshirted during Florida’s run to the national title game (a loss to Nebraska). But in 1996, Kearse earned his nickname “The Freak” as he helped the Gators return to the National Championship game – this time getting the win over Florida State. After 38 tackles and 6.5 sacks, Kearse earned All-SEC honors in 1997 before entering his senior season. The Freak’s final season in Gainesville saw Kearse lead the team in sacks (7.5) for the second time. He posted 54 tackles, was named All-SEC, the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Butkus, Bednarik and Lombardi Trophies. Despite leaving early for the NFL, Kearse finished his UF career with 145 tackles, 16.5 sacks and 34.5 tackles for a loss. The Freak was selected with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans.
After redshirting, Brown began his UF career as an outside linebacker backing up Jevon Kearse. As a sophomore, Brown earned the starting spot, registering 56 tackles, 7.5 sacks and 12 tackles for a loss en route to All-SEC, Walter Camp All-America and Lombari Award recognition. Brown was a team Captain for the 2000 SEC championship team, recording 50 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss playing at defensive end. As a senior, Brown earned consensus All-America honors after a 45-tackle, 13-sack season. He was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Lombardi Trophy (for the third year in a row) and Nagurski Trophy. He finished his career with 161 tackles, 47 tackles for a loss and a Gator-record 33 sacks.
In his first varsity action as a sophomore, Youngblood made an instant impact along the defensive line at end and tackle as well as handling the kicking duties (including a game-winning 42-yard field goal in his first-ever game). As a junior in 1969, Youngblood led the Gators to a 9-1-1 mark by setting a single-season school record with 14 sacks. As a senior, Youngblood once again led the team in sacks with 10 and was named an All-American. The Outland Trophy finalist claimed SEC Lineman of the Year honors that season as well. Youngblood is regarded by many as one of the most complete defensive ends in NCAA football history. He was inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame in 1992 and drafted by the Los Angeles Rams with the 20th overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft.
Few college players have even been as productive or decorated as Wuerffel, who left Florida with the record for career passing yards with 10,875, which was good for fifth all-time (since broken). He set the Florida and SEC single-season passing yards mark with 3,625 (since broken). He also set an SEC record with 114 career touchdown passes – good for second-best in NCAA history. His finished his career with an NCAA-record 163.56 QB-rating and won the most coveted trophy in all of sports in 1996 when he claimed the Heisman Trophy. That year, he also led the Gators to the National Championship. Wuerffel was a two-time All-America selection and won back-to-back Davey O’Brien national QB of the Year Awards. As a two-time first-team Academic All-American, Wuerffel is the only Heisman winner to also claim the Draddy Trophy, which is presented by the NCAA Hall of Fame to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.
The NFL’s all-time leading rusher left Gainesville — after only three seasons — with 58 Florida Gator school records. His 3,928 yards were tops in school history and fifth in SEC history (at the time). In his first career game at Florida, Smith promptly broke the Florida school record for rushing yards in a game with 224 yards on 39 carries against Alabama. A three-time All-America selection, Smith started with National Freshman of the Year honors after 1,341 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first year. After battling a knee injury as a sophomore, he earned consensus All-America honors as a junior after a 1,599-yard, 14-TD campaign in 1989. He broke/set records for single-season rushing, single-game rushing (316 yards against New Mexico), longest rushing play (96 yards against Mississippi State) and career rushing touchdowns (39) among many others. He was named SEC Player of the Year and finished seventh in the Heisman voting. Despite the injury, he led the Gators in rushing three straight seasons. The NCAA Hall of Famer was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 1990 NFL Draft by the Cowboys.
Few players have ever impacted the college football gridiron more than Tim Tebow. His cult following began with his recruitment process and grew during his freshman season, when he played his jump-passing back-up role perfectly and enjoyed being a part of an SEC and National Championship in 2006. In his first season as the starter, Tebow shattered all expectations with 3,286 yards passing, 895 yards rushing and 55 total touchdowns (32 pass, 23 rush). Tebow was a consensus All-American, Davey O’Brien winner and became the first underclassmen to ever win the Heisman Trophy. As a junior, Tebow led the Gators back to the SEC and National Championship, breaking Emmitt Smith’s rushing touchdown record along the way. He finished with 2,747 yards passing, 30 TDs and only four INTs to go with his 673 rushing yards and 12 more rushing trips to paydirt. He was third in the Heisman balloting despite landing more first-place votes than any other finalist. As a senior, the legend led the Gators to an unbeaten regular season before falling just short of a third SEC and BCS national title berth at the hands of the Crimson Tide. Tebow rushed for an SEC record 57 TDs over his career. In 985 passing attempts, he threw only 15 career interceptions. Tebow ended his career with a 176.0 QB rating, 9,286 yards and 88 passing TDs to go with 692 carries for 2,947 yards and 57 TDs on the ground.
The Gators rallied in the final minutes to stun No. 2 Florida State 32-29 and prevent the unbeaten Seminoles from playing for the national title. Doug Johnson hit Jacquez Green for a 63-yard gain that set up Fred Taylor's fourth touchdown with less than two minutes left in front of one of the wildest crowds in the history of The Swamp.
Following a 31-30 home loss to Ole Miss, Tim Tebow gave a speech at his press conference where he promised, among other things, that fans 'will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season.' Properly inspired, the Gators did not lose for the remainder of the year and defeated Oklahoma in January to win their third national title.
Steve Spurrier kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:12 remaining to give Florida a 30-27 win over Auburn and raise the Gators' record to 7-0. Spurrier completed 27 of 40 passes for 259 yards that day -- which was one week before the Heisman votes were due. The performance clinched the school's first Heisman Trophy.
The Gators smoked undefeated and top-ranked Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS national championship game, giving Urban Meyer a national title in just his second year in Gainesville. Florida led 34-14 at halftime and held the Buckeyes, led by Heisman winner Troy Smith, to just 82 yards of total offense.
Heisman winner Danny Wuerffel threw for three TDs to Ike Hilliard and ran for another as the Gators whipped rival Florida State 52-20 in the Sugar Bowl. The win avenged a 24-21 loss to FSU in late November and gave the Gators the first national title in school history.
Brady Hoke should have Michigan in the mix for a BCS bowl.
After recording an 11-2 record in Brady Hoke’s first season, Michigan slid to an 8-5 mark in 2012. A challenging schedule certainly hurt the Wolverines’ win total, as they lost to Alabama, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ohio State and South Carolina.
With a lighter slate coming for 2013, Michigan should have a chance to get back into the mix for 10 victories.
Michigan’s most decorated lineman of the post-Schembechler era, Jake Long was one of the nation’s most dominant linemen for two years. In 2006-07, the last two seasons for title-winning coach Lloyd Carr, Long was a two-time consensus All-American, two-time Big Ten lineman of the year and a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy (LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey won both in 2007). In 2008, Long was second to none in the NFL draft when he was the first offensive lineman to go No. 1 overall since Orlando Pace in 1997.
Steve Hutchinson is one of two Wolverines to be named first-team All-Big Ten all four seasons (the other was defensive tackle Mark Messner). As a freshman, Hutchinson started for the 1997 national champions. After his rookie season, Hutchinson only became more dominant. He didn’t allow a sack in his final two seasons and was a consensus All-American, Lombardi Award finalist and Big Ten lineman of the year in 2000. Hutchinson was the key blocker for running back Anthony Thomas, who left school as Michigan’s all-time leading rusher.
Edwards ably stepped into the shoes of Anthony Carter and Desmond Howard and topped them, at least as far as the record books are concerned. Edwards left Michigan with school records for career receiving yards (3,541, breaking Carter’s record) and three of the top 10 single-season receiving marks in school history. His school-record 1,330 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2004 earned him the Biletnikoff Award, a trophy that had yet to be established when Howard and Carter played. Edwards also finished his career with a Big Ten record 39 touchdown catches.
Canton, Ohio, was a fitting birthplace for an offensive tackle who landed in both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was one of Michigan’s key players early in Bo Schembechler’s tenure in Ann Arbor, earning All-Big Ten honors in Schembechler’s first two seasons of 1969-70. Along with All-American guard Reggie McKenzie, Dierdorf anchored a line that led Michigan to a 17-4 overall record and 12-2 in the Big Ten his final two seasons. A consensus All-American in 1970, Dierdorf led an offense that averaged 30.5 points and 248 rushing yards per game in 1969-70.
Standing apart from Michigan’s history of productive running backs is a tall task, but Hart manages to do so. Hart finished his career as one of four Big Ten backs to rush for 5,000 yards in his career – the other three are Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne, Ohio State’s Archie Griffin and Indiana’s Anthony Thompson. A four-year starter, Hart averaged 117.2 yards per game in his career as one of only two Michigan players to average 100 rushing yards per game. Hart was a two-time finalist for the Doak Walker award, but he had the poor luck of playing at the same time as Arkansas’ Darren McFadden, who twice beat out Hart for the award.
Rick Leach started 48 consecutive games, including three Rose Bowls and an Orange Bowl. Although Michigan lost all four of those bowl games, Leach ended a four-game winless streak against Ohio State with a 22-0 win in Columbus in 1976. A three-time All-Big Ten selection, Leach finished his career as one of Michigan’s most prolific quarterbacks with 4,284 passing yards and 2,176 rushing yards. Leach’s 34 rushing touchdowns were the most in school history for a quarterback until Denard Robinson broke the record with 35 last season. Leach’s mark is still No. 6 on Michigan’s all-time list. Leach also remains fifth in Michigan history in total offense, ahead of Jim Harbaugh, Tom Brady and Brian Griese.
Brown was one of the key players on Michigan’s most dominant defensive teams. Twice during Brown’s tenure, the Wolverines allowed the fewest points in the country. In Brown’s three seasons, only one team scored more than 16 points (Wisconsin with 20 points in 1974). Brown’s defenses shut out more teams (11) than it allowed teams to score in double figures (seven). Brown finished his career with nine passes and four special teams touchdowns (three punt returns, one kickoff return). In 1973-74, Brown became Michigan’s first two-time consensus All-American since 1956. A three-time All-Big Ten selection, Michigan went 30-2-1 with Brown at safety. Alas, the 0-2-1 part was against Ohio State.
Bo Schembechler called Anthony Carter the best player he ever coached. That’s with good reason. Carter was such an impressive wide receiver, he forced Schembechler’s hand in embracing the passing game. Michigan had never passed for 2,000 yards in a season until Carter stepped on campus in 1979. Although Carter was third on the team in receiving as a rookie that year, the best was yet to come. Carter was a two-time consensus All-American in 1981-82 and left school as the league’s first 3,000-yard receiver (3,076 yards). Although Carter is now 10th on the Big Ten’s career receiving list, eight of the nine ahead of him caught at least 210 career passes. Carter caught 161 passes with an average of 19.1 yards per catch.
Howard’s Heisman pose following a punt return for a touchdown against Ohio State is one of college football’s most iconic images, but Howard didn’t stop at the Heisman for postseason hardware. Howard swept major national awards, picking up the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards and UPI and Athlon Sports player of the year. Michigan’s first Heisman winner since Tom Harmon in 1940, Howard earned the award with one of the most lopsided votes in Heisman history. The 5-foot-9, 176-pound receiver also became the first wideout to lead the Big Ten in scoring (90 points in 1991), caught 30 touchdown passes his final two years (19 in 1991, 11 in 1990) and went 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch. Howard’s 23 touchdowns in 1991 remains a school record.
Woodson remains the last defensive player to win the Heisman trophy, beating out Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning in 1997. Woodson didn’t win the Heisman on his cover skills alone. He won the award thanks to a punt return for a touchdown and an interception against Ohio State in the final game of the regular season. In his Heisman-winning year, Woodson accounted for four touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing, one on a punt return) for Michigan’s only undefeated team since 1973 and only national title since 1948. The Wolverines won the Associated Press national title that season after defeating Washington State 21-16. Woodson intercepted eight passes in 1997 and 18 in his three seasons at Michigan. In addition to the Heisman, Woodson won the Walter Camp, Nagurski, Bednarik and Thorpe awards.
Michigan is tied with huge underdog Indiana, 21-21, with 0:06 remaining, when QB John Wangler connects with freshman wideout Anthony Carter on a crossing pattern at the Hoosier 20. Carter avoids two defenders immediately after the catch, eludes another at the five-yard line and scores to give Michigan a 27-21 victory.
Desmond Howard returns a punt 93 yards for a touchdown in Michigan’s 31-3 rout of visiting Ohio State and strikes the Heisman pose in the end zone. The victory gives U-M the Big Ten title and puts an exclamation point on Howard’s Heisman Trophy-winning season.
Game MVP Butch Woolfolk rushes for 182 yards and scores a TD to lead Michigan to a 23-6 win over Washington, giving Bo Schembechler his first Rose Bowl victory after five unsuccessful tries. The Wolverines do not allow a touchdown for the fifth straight game.
Brian Griese throws three TD passes, and Michigan’s defense holds Washington State’s high-powered offense to its lowest point total of the season in a 21-16 Rose Bowl victory that gives the Wolverines its 11th national title and first since 1948.
Thanks to a pair of Garvie Craw touchdowns and a defense that intercepts six Ohio State passes, Michigan rolls to a 24-12 victory over the top-ranked and heavily favored Buckeyes, winning the Big Ten title and snapping visiting OSU’s 22-game winning streak before the largest crowd ever to see a college football game.