(Saturday, September 27th)
Final Score: Michigan 27, (9) Wisconsin 25
Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - David Gilreath's touchdown grab with 13 seconds left made it a two-point game, but Wisconsin committed a penalty on its first two-point try and failed in its next attempt, as the Michigan Wolverines overcame a 19-point halftime deficit to upend the ninth-ranked Badgers 27-25 in a classic Big Ten tussle.
Trailing 27-19 with time winding down, Allan Evridge found Gilreath on a deep post and the receiver held on to the 22-yard scoring strike despite taking a big hit with 13 seconds remaining.
The Badgers then converted the two-point try, but an illegal receiver downfield penalty nullified the tying score. Evridge's pass on the re-try went through the back of the end zone and the Wolverines pulled off the second biggest comeback in the program's history in the 500th game played at Michigan Stadium.
Brandon Graham had two forced fumbles and three sacks to highlight a terrific defensive effort for the Wolverines (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten), who were coming off a much-needed bye after losing to Notre Dame, 35-17. John Thompson added a 25- yard interception return for a touchdown for the victors.
Steven Threet overcame a putrid first half to finish with 96 yards on 12-of-31 passes with a touchdown and two interceptions while adding 89 yards on the ground for Michigan, which gained a meager 21 yards and turned the ball over five times in the first half before a complete turnaround in the second.
Brandon Minor and Sam McGuffie each scored rushing touchdowns, while Kevin Koger caught a 26-yard score in the win.
Evridge completed 20-of-37 passes for 226 yards and a score but threw two interceptions and fumbled inside Michigan's 10-yard line late in the fourth quarter for Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1), which was caught looking forward to its home bout with 14th-ranked Ohio State next Saturday.
P.J. Hill was held to 70 yards on 22 carries, while John Clay accounted for a rushing TD for the Badgers. Kicker Philip Welch connected on 4-of-5 field goals, including a 52-yarder, in defeat.
"From our locker room and from the head coach's standpoint, we are very disappointed in the result today," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said. " I give all the credit in the world to Michigan to come back after hearing all the things that I heard being yelled at them at halftime. To come back in the third quarter was impressive."
Welch made up for an errant 34-yard boot on Wisconsin's first drive of the game by knocking one through the uprights from 21 yards out at the 9:03 mark of the first, capitalizing on Threet's fumble on his own 27.
Michigan prolonged the Badgers' next drive by jumping offsides on 4th-and-1, and Welch's 42-yard field goal finished off an 11-play, 43-yard push with a little over a minute left in the first.
The Wolverines were complete acid with the ball in the second quarter, failing to register a first down and turning the ball over four times.
Midway through the second, Michigan's Greg Mathews fumbled a punt and Wisconsin took over at its own 40. Clay took a handoff on 3rd-and-1 and rumbled downfield for a 46-yard gain and punched it into the end zone on the next play from five yards out for a 13-0 lead.
The Wolverines continued to shoot themselves in the foot by fumbling the ensuing kickoff. Wisconsin could only muster a 41-yard Welch field goal, but added another three points after a Threet interception, as Welch knocked one in from 52 yards away for a 19-0 lead just before the half.
"I'd like to tell you things looked okay at halftime but they didn't," Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "There was no panic. We were just trying to make some corrections, but if there was a hole to crawl into, I'm sure a bunch of us, including myself, would have liked to crawl into it. But we didn't. We hung in there with the guys and they did a tremendous job on defense to keep us in it. That's why I felt at halftime that we still had a chance, because the defense played so well."
Michigan showed life on offense in the second half. With seven minutes left in the third, the Wolverines took over on their own 20 and held the ball for 4 1/2 minutes. Conversion runs on 4th-and-1 and 3rd-and-1 kept the drive alive and Koger found himself open down the middle of the field for a 26-yard scoring strike from Threet with 2:22 to go in the third.
After Wisconsin's three-and-out, Michigan once again struck thanks to a roughing-the-pass infraction after a third-down incompletion. The Wolverines converted two other third-down chances and an inside handoff to Minor was taken into the end zone from 34-yards out.
"It was set up perfect because the two linebackers blitzed, so I just had to beat the safety one-on-one and outrun the corner," Minor said of his TD run. "I just give it up to my linemen for holding their blocks."
On Wisconsin's first play on its next drive, Thompson hauled in an interception and followed a convoy of blue jerseys to pay dirt from 25 yards away to put Michigan ahead, 20-19 after the two-point conversion failed.
"My first goal was to get to the end zone," Thompson said. "The ball popped up -- coach tells us to run to the football -- so I ran to the football and got my hands on it and as soon as I did I was thinking end zone."
Once again the Michigan defense didn't allow a first down to Wisconsin, and on the first play of the drive Threet faked a handoff up the middle and went unnoticed off the left side of the line for 58-yard jaunt to the Wisconsin 19. Several plays later McGuffie ran it over the goal line for a five-yard TD and a 27-19 lead.
The Badgers then marched 63 yards and into the red zone, but Graham broke through the line of scrimmage and forced Evridge to fumble at the five-yard- line.
After Michigan punted with less than two minutes left, Evridge battled back and made completions of 20, 29 and 22 yards before finding Gilreath in the end zone before ultimately falling short on the two-point try.
Michigan's biggest comeback came in 2003 against Minnesota when the Wolverines triumphed after trailing by 21...Wisconsin has not won in Michigan since 1994...Michigan will look to maintain its momentum at home against No. 22 Illinois next weekend...Michael Phelps, winner of eight swimming goals medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Michigan alum, was on the sidelines sporting a No. 8 Wolverines jersey...Michigan had 13 first downs in the second half compared to one in the first...Michigan holds a commanding 49-12-1 series lead over Wisconsin, which includes a 27-6 mark in Ann Arbor.
09/28 00:17:47 ET