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Friday, September 16, 2016

Sept. 24, 1994: Colorado's finest hour and Michigan's darkest






Sept. 24, 1994, a day in which Colorado fans remember with pure nostalgia and for Michigan fans, a moment that lives in infamy.

On the hallowed grounds of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI as Kordell Stewart's launched pass, which felt like an eternity for both fan bases, tipped in mid-air and at the right place at the right time would be Michael Westbrook to secure the rebound and cap one of the greatest finishes in the history of college football as Colorado stunned Michigan, 27-26.

Both teams were ranked in the Top 10 at the time with Colorado at No. 7 and Michigan at No. 4. 

Before the age of the internet and the rise in primetime college football on ABC/ESPN, the 3:30 p.m. ET slot was the spot any top team wanted to be on. Keith Jackson was the face of ABC's College Football coverage as its lead announcer and provided some of the great calls in college football history. 

The Colorado-Michigan finish can be argued as Jackson's finest moment with the simple word of "INCREDIBLE".

Let's hit the rewind button and recap the final minutes of the contest, which led to the impossible becoming possible.

Things did not look good after three quarters for the Buffaloes as they faced a 26-14 deficit and needed a final push in order to keep any dreams of a national championship alive.

Rashaan Salaam's one-yard touchdown run on a toss sweep kept Colorado's hopes afloat at 26-21 with 2:16 left in the game.

The Buffaloes needed an onside kick recovery, but Wolverines receiver Mercury Hayes recovered at the opponent's 45-yard line.

With the game almost out of reach, Michigan failed to pick up a first down to secure the win on its drive and gave Colorado one last glimmer of hope with 14 seconds left, but had to travel 85 yards for a game-winning touchdown.

CU's first play went according to plan as Stewart completed a 21-yard pass to Westbrook to stop the clock.

Stewart spiked the ball to stop play as six seconds remained and 65 yards stood in the way between tragedy or triumph.

The play was transmitted to Stewart as he made it halfway to the bench as Westbrook, Rae Carruth and Blake Anderson lined up on the left side of the field together, while James Kidd went on the right side.

Stewart took the snap out of the shotgun formation, danced around the pocket and found enough time for his receivers to get close to the goal line as he heaved the ball from Colorado's own 26-yard line.

The ball arrived at the Michigan two-yard line as Anderson and cornerback Ty Law got a piece of the ball and moved to the end zone as Westbrook arrived at the right place, at the right time for the rebound and the rest is history.

For a recap of the final play, here is the call from ABC Spotrs' Jackson and Bob Griese:





What if social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter existed back in 1994 after Colorado's win? I would venture to guess that play would trend for the next three days using hashtags such as, #KordellStewart, #Big8, #MiracleatMichigan, #MichaelWestbrook and #CoachMac.

Only one can fathom.


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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.

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