Desmond Howard and the Heisman Trophy | bigbluefootballhistory.com BigBlueToday | Michigan Football History

November 23, 2016 – Desmond Howard Strikes the Heisman Pose!

Posted on November 23, 2016 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s blog about Desmond Howard is a guest blog by my son, Marty Gallagher. Marty is the author of an excellent book titled, “The Story of the Heisman and the Michigan Man.” Since he knows a thing or two about the Heisman Trophy it is only appropriate that he did today’s blog. Enjoy and Go Blue!

Today, we are going to go back 25 years to Desmond Howard.  On 11/23/1991, Desmond Howard would cement his legacy at Michigan. There is no better date to look back at this week, because there are a lot of lessons to be learned for Michigan. Yes, if you are reading our blog, you know of Desmond Howard. Heisman Trophy Winner, Super Bowl MVP, and most importantly for this week, SOMEONE WHO HAD GREAT SUCCESS against the Buckeyes.

In 1991, Michigan was 9-1 and ranked #3 in the country. The game was at the Big House. The Wolverines took a 7-0 lead on a one yard touchdown run by fullback Burnie Leggette. Although the buckeyes battled and stayed close, lightning was about to strike. Ted Williams, the osu punter launched a punt to Desmond Howard, and the rest is history.

I have seen the play so many times that I remember the commentary, the immortal Keith Jackson, the voice of College Football was calling the game. Keith Jackson surely had seen a lot of things throughout his amazing career covering this game. Never however, had he seen anything like what was about to happen. It was something to the effect of WILLIAMS IN TO PUNT, something about his average, NICE HIGH PUNT, GOT A LITTLE WIND UNDER IT, OH MY GOODNESS, LOOK AT THAT, ONE MAN, GOOODBYYEEE, HELLOO HEISMAN!

Desmond Howard OSU Punt Return | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Desmond Howard nears the end of his famous 93-yard punt return against Ohio State that all but sealed the 1991 Heisman Trophy for the Michigan star. He finished with a bucket-full of records and a month’s worth of highlight plays in his legendary career. Photo Courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Howard took the punt back 93 yards from the 7-yard line and the Big House crowd roared. At the end of his race into the end zone, Howard paused briefly and posed with a likeness of the most prestigious individual award in College Football, the Heisman Memorial Trophy. It was Howard’s 23rd touchdown of the year. The Heisman debate of 1991 was resolved during those 93 yards.  For the year, the Elvis Grbac to Desmond Howard connection tied the record for the most prolific in College Football history at the conclusion of the 1991 season.  Although they wouldn’t connect on that day, from 1989 to 1991 they connected on 31 touchdown passes. Not bad for two high school teammates from Cleveland, Ohio.

On 11/23/1991, a retired Bo Schembechler, was again on the halftime show, providing analysis for ABC Sports in New York. Bo praised the Michigan defense, and chastised the Michigan offense, but oh the smile when he talked about Desmond Howard’s 93 yard punt return. The halftime show began with a look back at Bo’s first victory over ohio state, and there was nothing more fitting on that day. The guy who came to play for Bo, and who Bo and Gary Moeller moved to WR was on the verge of winning the first Michigan Heisman Trophy since Tom Harmon. Michigan won 31-3.  There is no better day to cover Desmond Howard.

This rivalry has a lot players playing against their home state, and Desmond was no exception. He was 3-0 against the Buckeyes as a key contributor, and hailed from Cleveland Ohio.  This weekend, Michigan is going to need someone to play like Desmond. They can pick from many traits:

  • Electric
  • Game Breaker
  • Big Game Performer
  • Game Changer
  • Explosive

As we continue through game week, I highly recommend watching some Desmond Highlights if you bleed blue….






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