12:00 PM ET, October 9, 2004
Michigan Stadium, ANN ARBOR, MI
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- After making freshman mistakes, Chad Henne came through for Michigan like a savvy senior.
Tyler Ecker caught a short pass from Henne over the middle, eluded two tackles and lumbered down the sideline for a 31-yard touchdown with 1:57 left to give the 14th-ranked Wolverines a 27-24 victory over No. 13 Minnesota on Saturday.
"Everybody sees you as a freshman, but you need to step up and show them you're really not," Henne said.
Henne was 33-of-49 for 328 yards -- all records for a true freshman at Michigan -- with two TDs and two interceptions, both forced passes in the third quarter.
"To be able to perform at the level he is, I think it's incredible," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
Minnesota led 24-17 early in the fourth quarter -- after scoring 17 straight points -- before losing another heartbreaker against Michigan.
Garrett Rivas' 29-yard field goal with 9:36 left pulled Michigan to 24-20 and started the comeback.
The Wolverines forced the Gophers to punt on their next two possessions to set up the winning drive.
Henne directed a drive that started at Michigan's 13 with 3:04 to play.
After three passes for first downs, he found Ecker -- his third option -- over the middle on a 5-yard pass and the tight end ran for another 26 yards by breaking away from Brandon Owens and getting past Mike Wojciechowski for his first career TD.
"We knew it was going to come down to a last drive," Ecker said. "We were preparing all week for something like this to happen."
It was the second straight year Michigan beat Minnesota with a dramatic comeback.
Last year in Minneapolis, Minnesota had a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter before losing 38-35.
"Anybody that saw those two games saw two of the best football games -- ever," Carr said. "We were fortunate to win both."
The defending Big Ten champion Wolverines (5-1, 3-0) have not lost to the Gophers since 1986.
Michael Hart ran for 160 yards -- a record for a Michigan freshman -- and a score on 35 carries and had six receptions for 53 yards.
Braylon Edwards caught 10 passes for 98 yards and a TD. And after the final seconds went off the clock, he did a back flip.
If Minnesota (5-1, 2-1) could have held off Michigan, it would've had a better opportunity to win its first conference championship since 1967 because it doesn't play Purdue or Ohio State.
"Hey, I hurt right now," Gophers coach Glen Mason said. "I hurt inside."
Michigan entered the game No. 1 in the nation against the run and Minnesota was the third-ranked rushing team.
The Gophers won the battle of strengths and the turnover margin -- 3-0 -- but that's of little consolation for them.
Minnesota's Laurence Maroney ran for 145 yards -- extending his school-record streak with 100 yards to seven games -- including an 80-yard TD. Marion Barber was held to 40 yards on 13 carries and a TD.
Bryan Cupito was 8-of-22 for 156 yards and a TD. Cupito's 26-yard pass to Jared Ellerson, who beat Markus Curry badly, in the third quarter put Minnesota ahead 21-17 for its first lead.
Henne threw his interceptions at midfield and in Minnesota's end zone, but Michigan's defense forced the Gophers to punt after three plays each time.
The Wolverines were stingy again after their next mistake -- Leon Hall's fumble on a punt return inside Michigan's 10 -- but Minnesota didn't need to gain a yard to take a 24-17 lead.
"We knew we'd be hanging on for our life and that's what we were doing," Mason said. "But we got the turnovers and some field position and we squandered it."
Both teams were ranked for a game in Ann Arbor for the first time since 1949.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-16||8-18|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||1-1|
|TD||9:39||MIKE HART 8 YD RUN (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yards.
|FG||0:42||GARRETT RIVAS 38 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 35 yards.
|TD||0:30||LAURENCE MARONEY 80 YD RUN (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||10:34||BRAYLON EDWARDS 4 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||7:32||MARION BARBER III 19 YD RUN (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||8:33||JARED ELLERSON 26 YD PASS FROM BRYAN CUPITO (RHYS LLOYD KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 34 yards.
|FG||13:14||RHYS LLOYD 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 0 yards.
|FG||9:36||GARRETT RIVAS 29 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||1:57||TYLER ECKER 31 YD PASS FROM CHAD HENNE (GARRETT RIVAS KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 87 yards.