Neither Desmond Howard nor Ted Ginn Jr. did not realize the consequences at the time, but the repatriation has lasted forever in Michigan-Ohio State lore.
This year is the 30th anniversary of Howard’s signing of the moment – a return of 93-yard punt in a 31-3 explosion on Nov. 23, 1991 which the old Michigan legend ended with a portrait of Heisman at Michigan Stadium.
On Nov. 24, 2004, Ginn came up with the Buckeyes’ response. He passed the defenders and ran to the sidelines and returned 82 yards in the 37-21 Ohio State victory at Ohio Stadium.
“The only thing I was thinking about at the time was crossing the pylon and getting six,” Ginn told Sporting News. “As soon as you stop and turn around and think, ‘I really did’ then you have six or eight players in front of you. That’s the second division you remember.”
The two games are a must-have on The Game, which will be rescheduled for Saturday when No. 2 Ohio State meets No.
This is also a reminder that the punt alone can be a descriptive drama in the history of a race. Later, in the famous Snow Bowl on Nov. 25, 1950, the teams combined for 45 punts, and Tony Momsen of Michigan fell on a closed punt to give Wolverines a 9-3 victory.
The Decade of War between coaches Woody Hayes and Bo Schhembechler began in earnest with the frustration of Michigan 24-12 on Nov. 22, 1969. This was initiated, of course, with the help of Barry Pierson’s punt back to the 3-yard line making a touchdown.
About 50 years later in Nov. 24, 2018, Sevyn Banks of Ohio State recovered a 33-yard touchdown run in a 62-39 win over Michigan that was the last in Urban Meyer’s seven-year reign of Wolverines.
Yet no two return any more than Howard and Ginn, natives of Cleveland who are connected by these amazing times. Howard knows the meaning of how one particular team plays can change anything now.
“At the time, you never thought of that. You are in the moment,” Howard told SN. “You’re trying to make something happen. I was in a game move, trying to do something to help my team.”
Howard enjoyed an amazing season in 1991. He made “The Catch” against Notre Dame. The Wolverines were looking to win the Big Ten tournament, and Howard’s interest in the big moment made him a Heisman favorite.
Howard had plans for a late-night party against the Buckeyes, too.
“I really wanted to do a comeback,” he said. “This is what I did. I was in love with a gymnast, and he taught me how to exercise. I was like, ‘When I go out and no one is within eight or ten yards from me, I stand in line and score back. ”
Michigan led Ohio State 17-3 in the first half of the 1991 matchup, and Howard stood in the 10-yard line waiting for a punt from Tim Williams. Howard told SN he should not take any action.
“It was one of those games that I could play with,” Howard said. “I rolled the blocks and got a chance.”
Howard shot one defender, splitting the other two and then moving to the side before running to the finish. Obviously, the second choice to fight for the “Heisman pose” is one that everyone on all sides of the competition remembers most.
This was Howard’s last second song, which told SN that he had decided to make a comeback that he did to lead the Games.
“I was talking to myself downstairs,” Howard said. “I got to maybe 12 or 11 lines, I said, ‘You know.,’ Boom. ‘”
Howard made the right choice. “Heisman pose” continues to be linked to the singing of well-known publisher Keith Jackson for over 30 years since then.
“You couldn’t write it right,” Howard said. “Time for everything. Keith Jackson goes through the process I make, then he lays down and just lets the moment build. Then, as I cross the goal line, he hits me with, ‘Hello Heisman!’ Choose a director or a producer. No one could have written better than what happened this afternoon. ”
A similar follow-up will come on Nov. 22, 1997, when Charles Woodson of Michigan returned 78 pounds to win the Wolverines 20-14 victory. Woodson also won the Heisman Trophy, and Michigan won the AP World Cup.
These are the two flashpoints of the period from 1988-2000 when Michigan dominated Ohio State with a 10-2-1 record during John Cooper’s tenure.
Ohio State Jim Tressel was hired after the 2000 season, however, and one of the most respected was a Cleveland native who knew Howard’s story well.
‘This baby is gone’
Ted Ginn Jr. was 6 years old when Howard fought Ohio State. Ginn, like Howard, grew up east of Cleveland.
While Ginn was organizing a youth football match, Desmond Howard Saints was the battalion.
“Everyone wants to be Desmond,” Ginn said. “’21’ was always known. I really knew about his return as a child.”
Ginn emerged as a five-star recipient and viewer at Cleveland Glenville High School and was one of the underprivileged men under Tressel in 2004.
At the time, Tressel changed the tone of the Ohio State-Michigan competition to lead Ohio State to the World Cup in 2002. Michigan responded with a Big Ten title the following season and sought to restore peace and victory to Columbus, Ohio, on. Nov. 20, 2004.
Ohio State led 20-14 in the third round, and Ginn was still wise about the return of the punt, where he almost scored but stumbled.
Like Howard, Ginn was not sure if he would take the punt because Santonio Holmes was also back.
“There was a dead spot between the two of us where I didn’t know to say ‘You’ and they didn’t say ‘I’, ” Ginn said. ‘
Ginn grabbed the ball, swerved from behind the defender and then jumped on another before taking the known path to the street. Ginn hit the next gear, and Michigan midfielder Adam Finley had no chance. ABC correspondent Brent Musburger phoned this time and said, “Forget about it. The baby is gone, this race.”
“Several guys were there, but I just moved on,” Ginn said. “As soon as I stepped outside I saw a light. No one was going to touch me at that moment.”
This was Ginn’s fourth TD comeback this season, and it was a place to celebrate Ohio State’s 37-21 victory. Howard remembers watching the show again.
“Of course he’s a kid from Cleveland, Ohio, and he went to Glenville High School; I also knew what he did,” Howard said. “He was very fast. He was very fast.”
The Buckeyes have been in control of the Games ever since. Ginn was the youngest in the show of 1 vs. No. .
“We were a ‘Fun Group,'” Ginn said. “We started. That’s what we were at the time. We did nothing but play football. At the time, I didn’t know how big the competition was. I was just playing football.”
Howard and Ginn used their recurring skills in successful NFL performances.
Howard recovered eight TDs from 1992-2002 and won the Super Bowl XXXI MVP with the Green Bay Packers returning to TD for 99 yards. Ginn had seven TDs in the career that began in 2007-2020.
Now retired, Ginn Jr. runs the Ginn Elite youth football program in Cleveland. With each passing year, the appreciation for the controversy grows.
“As the years went by and after I did what I did, I began to understand that this is what is happening,” Ginn said.
Now, the Wolverines and Buckeyes are redesigning the competition. Can a boxer move what should be the top spot between Big Ten competitors?
“Always,” Ginn said. “Special teams are great games. That’s what you’re looking for in games like this.”
Ohio State has signed star recipients Garrett Wilson and Jackson Smith-Njigba on their return this year, with Michigan having replacements AJ Henning and possibly Blake Corum if they return from a leg injury. Henning returned 81 yards to take part in a humiliating game against Maryland in Week 12.
In a game with the top 10 teams looking to make a College Soccer Playoff, perhaps a return to the punt could make some changes.
Howard, who has been an expert on ESPN’s “College GameDay” since 2005, also remembers his Heisman moment this week. He has no choice but to wonder if another special moment is coming.
“I can (see special criticism groups) come from the simple fact that responsibility will be important if nothing else,” Howard said. “The points are hard to find in a very high level game between two major teams. I can see special teams playing an important role in the outcome of the game.”