You know what's better than a last second win in a Big Ten conference game? An overtime win in a Big Ten conference game. Especially when you've spent the entire game trailing. In the 2002 edition of the Michigan Penn State game, both the Lions and Wolverines came in ranked despite disappointing 2001 seasons. Entering the game the Lions were 4-1 and ranked 15th, coming off a dissapointing 5-6 2005 season. The home side Wolverines sported the same 4-1 mark and a #13 ranking, with their only blemish being another puzzling loss to Notre Dame three games prior. So, meeting in Ann Arbor for an ABC friendly start time, the two programs squared off.
The early results weren't too thrilling for Wovlerine fans. The Lions led the entire game, answering every Michigan score with a score of their own. Going into the fourth quarter Michigan trailed 13-7. Then, John Navarre, Braylon Edwards and Chris Perry went to work. John Navarre put the Wolverines ahead 14-13 with a beautiful back corner fade to Braylon Edwards with just under 14 minutes to play. Penn State answered, also adding on the 2 point conversion, going back up 21-14. Things looked bleak, but Navarre led the Wolverines downfield to the 3 yard line with under four minutes to go. Then on 3rd and goal, you know who found space in the back of the endzone and Navarre found him. That knotted the score at 21, eventually pushing the game into overtime.
You know what happened next:
Now there are plenty of reasons that other games should probably get a mention here at #4, but I don't think so. In the 2006 (BRANCH SMASH) game, Penn State was unranked. The 2007 game, well, I'd rather just forget that season happened, even with the Citrus Bowl win. This had everything. Pin point passing. Braylon. Power running. Coming from behind. And, of course, ripping your opponent's heart out in overtime in front of your own fans. It was glorious.
The 2002 win was just another reason why I've never quite figured out why Michigan fans never got behind John Navarre. Navarre was one of those rocket armed statues that Michigan fans came to love over the years, a seemingly good kid, and a very good quarterback when the game was on the line. He also never lost to Penn State. That's why we have John's 2002 game at Number #4. Badassery = Respek!
#5: 2001 Michigan 20 - Penn State 0
#4: 2002 Michigan 27 - Penn State 24 (OT)