It was Halloween night in 2015. Coming off a bye week, the Michigan Wolverines were ready to get back on the winning side of things after losing to Michigan State (we won’t go there).
In the Wolverines’ way of that were the 3-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers. A team that just had their head coach Jerry Kill resign three days before the game due to health reasons. A team that had a dude named Tracy Claeys replace Kill, and have his first game be for the Little Brown Jug. This should have had “easy victory” written all over it for Michigan.
It was anything but.
Michigan was up 14-3 early on, but gave up 10 points in the final 4:18 of the second quarter to go down 16-14 at halftime.
The Wolverines took back the lead on a Jabrill Peppers rushing touchdown on their first drive of the third quarter, but the Gophers regained the lead on a rushing touchdown of their own from quarterback Mitch Leidner.
Michigan was driving once again, and then things got interesting. Quarterback Jake Rudock tucked the ball and ran on a first-and-10 and got sandwiched by two defenders. He came out of the game and did not return.
In came Wilton Speight to save the day. With Michigan down 26-21 and time ticking in the fourth quarter, Speight threw a dart to Jehu Chesson in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. The Wolverines got the two-point conversion and went up by three with less than five minutes to go in the game.
But the Gophers weren’t going down easily. They converted a fourth-and-five with about a minute and a half to go to keep their comeback hopes alive.
Fast forward to second-and-six with 26 seconds to play — Leidner completed a pass for what was initially ruled a touchdown, but was eventually called back to the one-yard line after replay showed the receiver had his knee down before getting into the end zone.
Minnesota had time to get off a few plays, but mismanaged the clock and only got two plays instead. Those two plays resulted in an incomplete pass and a stuff at the goal line.
The Gophers could have opted for a game-tying field goal and went to overtime, but they decided to risk it and go for the win. That risk, clearly, did not pay off.