Setting: It’s October 2016, the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines are taking on the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers. Both teams are undefeated heading into this tilt at The Big House.
As the game unfolds, it turns into a defensive slugfest with each offense gaining little to no traction, things were tied up at 7-7 in the fourth quarter. A 46-yard dart from Wilton Speight to Amara Darboh put Michigan up 14-7, but Wisconsin still had a shot to answer back late in the final quarter.
The Badgers offense took the field with 2:59 remaining in the game and no timeouts. Facing a fourth and 10 from their own 8, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw a long ball down the field to George Rushing, who looked to have Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis beat. However, Lewis recovered and closed the gap between he and Rushing and was able to make one of the most memorable plays of the Jim Harbaugh era.
Lewis leaped into the air and hauled in one of the most impressive one handed interceptions you’ll ever see.
October 1st, 2016: Jourdan Lewis makes a ridiculous one-handed interception to help Michigan beat Wisconsin 14-7. @JourdanJD pic.twitter.com/FX451fD4v6— Michigan Moments (@UofMMoments) October 1, 2016
“I think he floated for 5 yards,” Speight said.
“Crazy,” cornerback Channing Stribling said.
“I’ve seen Odell Beckham do that,” Harbaugh said. “The most impressive thing about it was he jumped a little early.”
Desmond Howard thought it was one of the best interceptions of all time.
The 2 most incredible INTs in the history of college football belong to @CwoodsonF and @JourdanJD.— Desmond Howard (@DesmondHoward) October 2, 2016
Stephen A. Smith was emphatic about the pick.
Good Lord! What an INT. This kid Jourdan Lewis of @UMichFootball. Could we be looking at the best CB in college football? I'm just asking!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) October 1, 2016
It was a signature play for Lewis, who did plenty of spectacular things at Michigan. “I was thinking, fourth down, it would probably be better if it was not an interception,” Harbaugh said. “But I was really glad he did it because it was a spectacular football play and athletic play. Really unbelievable.”
For Lewis, he didn’t just try to get a piece of the ball, he wanted the pick. “I knew I could get something on the ball,” Lewis said, “so why not take the next step and go get it?”
And on that day, Jourdan Lewis became Air Jourdan.