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1997 Michigan Wolverines football team

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1997 Michigan Wolverines football
Michigan Wolverines Logo.svg
AP Poll national champion
Big Ten champion
Rose Bowl champion
Rose Bowl, W 21–16 vs. Washington State
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
CoachesNo. 2
APNo. 1
1997 record12–0 (8–0 Big Ten)
Head coach
  • Lloyd Carr (3rd season)
Offensive coordinatorMike DeBord (1st season)
Defensive coordinatorJim Herrmann (1st season)
MVPCharles Woodson
Home stadiumMichigan Stadium
(Capacity: 102,501)
← 1996
1998 →
1997 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
No. 1 Michigan $   8 0         12 0  
No. 12 Ohio State   6 2         10 3  
No. 16 Penn State   6 2         9 3  
No. 15 Purdue   6 2         9 3  
Wisconsin   5 3         8 5  
Iowa   4 4         7 5  
Michigan State   4 4         7 5  
Northwestern   3 5         5 7  
Minnesota   1 7         3 9  
Indiana   1 7         2 9  
Illinois   0 8         0 11  
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1997 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1997 Big Ten Conference football season. In its third year under head coach Lloyd Carr, Michigan compiled a perfect 12–0 record, won the Big Ten Conference championship, defeated Washington State in the 1998 Rose Bowl, and was declared the national champion by the Associated Press. The Wolverines finished second to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Coaches Poll, resulting in a split national championship.

Michigan's defense was led by cornerback and Heisman Trophy-winner Charles Woodson. Woodson, who intercepted eight passes and also scored touchdowns via pass receptions, runs from scrimmage and punt return, became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman. Woodson and defensive end Glen Steele were both first-team selections on the 1997 College Football All-America Team. Other standouts on defense included linebackers James Hall with 8.5 quarterback sacks, Sam Sword with 91 tackles, and Dhani Jones with 90 tackles and six sacks. The defense allowed no fourth quarter points or second half touchdowns in the first eight games of the season. The unit's performance across all games in total defense (222.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (9.5 points per game) are the lowest marks by any Big Ten Conference football team since the 1985 season.

On offense, the 1997 Michigan team had neither a 1000-yard rusher nor a 500-yard receiver. Tai Streets was the leading receiver with 476 receiving yards, and Chris Howard led the team in rushing with 938 rushing yards. Quarterback Brian Griese set Michigan single-season records with 193 pass completions and 307 pass attempts. Tight end Jerame Tuman, who was the only player on the offensive unit selected as a first-team All-American, totaled 437 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Future National Football League (NFL) star Tom Brady was also on the roster, but did not start any games.

Ten members of the team were honored as All-Big Ten Conference selections, and running back Anthony Thomas was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Thirty-one members of the 1997 Wolverines football team went on to play in the NFL. Prior to 1997, the Wolverines had compiled four consecutive four-loss seasons and had not won a national championship since the 1948 Michigan team.


September 1312:00 p.m.No. 8 Colorado*No. 14
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
ABCW 27–3106,474
September 2012:30 p.m.Baylor*No. 8
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
ESPNW 38–3106,041
September 273:30 p.m.Notre Dame*No. 6
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI (rivalry)
ABCW 21–14106,508
October 412:00 IndianaNo. 6
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Bloomington, IN
ESPN+W 37–042,240
October 1112:30 p.m.NorthwesternNo. 6
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
ESPNW 23–6106,048
October 1812:30 p.m.No. 15 IowaNo. 5
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
ESPNW 28–24106,505
October 2512:30 No. 15 Michigan StateNo. 5
  • Spartan Stadium
  • East Lansing, MI (Paul Bunyan Trophy)
ESPNW 23–779,687
November 112:00 p.m.MinnesotadaggerNo. 4
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI (Little Brown Jug)
ESPN+W 24–3106,577
November 83:30 No. 2 Penn StateNo. 4
  • Beaver Stadium
  • University Park, PA
ABCW 34–897,498
November 153:30 No. 23 WisconsinNo. 1
  • Camp Randall Stadium
  • Madison, WI
ABCW 26–1679,806
November 2212:00 p.m.No. 4 Ohio StateNo. 1
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI (rivalry)
ABCW 20–14106,982
January 1, 19985:00 p.m.vs. No. 8 Washington State*No. 1
  • Rose Bowl
  • Pasadena, CA (Rose Bowl)
ABCW 21–16101,219
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Eastern time


Pre-season ranking Going into the 1997 season, the Wolverines were ranked No. 17 in the pre-season Coaches' Poll and had experienced four consecutive four-loss seasons for the first time since the 19341937 Michigan Wolverines football teams.[1] Michigan had not won a national championship in nearly 50 years and had not played in a Rose Bowl Game since the 1992 season. The 1997 Michigan team was the first since the 1969 team to have no Rose Bowl veterans.[2][3] In early September 1997, The Columbus Dispatch wrote off Michigan, noting that "the longtime beast of the Big Ten ... has lost much of its aura" and predicting that Michigan's 1997 schedule "doesn't create a feeling that the pendulum is about to swing back."[4]

Quarterback competition The months before the 1997 season opener featured uncertainty over the quarterback position. Junior Scott Dreisbach had started 11 games for the 1996 team,[5] but fifth-year senior Brian Griese had relieved Driesbach in the Ohio State game after Driesbach was injured and helped the team recover from a 9–0 deficit.[6] Dreisbach and Griese also faced competition from sophomore and future Super Bowl MVP, Tom Brady.[7][8] Shortly before the season opener, head coach Lloyd Carr announced his selection of Griese as the starting quarterback.[6][9]

Receiving corps Despite uncertainty at quarterback, Michigan entered the 1997 season with a solid group of receivers, including Tai Streets and Russell Shaw, as well as returning All-Big Ten tight end Jerame Tuman.[10] Analysts believed that a solid season by any of the Michigan quarterbacks could lead to a productive season in the passing game.[11] Moreover, it was anticipated that Charles Woodson, who was regarded as one of the most versatile athletes in college football,[12] would play on offense.[13]

Offensive line The offensive line was another uncertainty for the 1997 team. Three linemen from the 1996 team had been selected in the 1997 NFL Draft: center Rod Payne (3rd round, 76th overall), offensive guard Damon Denson (4th round, 97th overall) and defensive tackle William Carr (7th round, 217th overall).[14] As a result, Michigan began the season with only one offensive lineman, offensive tackle Jon Jansen, who had started a game.[15] Jansen, a junior, had 25 consecutive starts entering the season. The offensive line was further weakened when left tackle, Jeff Backus, suffered a ruptured appendix. In spring practice, offensive line coach Terry Malone made a plea for help during a staff meeting, searching for talent to fill in on the line.[16] To fill the holes on the offensive line, two defensive linemen, Steve Hutchinson and Chris Ziemann were moved to the offensive line.[16]

Strength of schedule Adding to the challenges facing the 1997 team, Michigan entered the season with the toughest schedule among the 112 NCAA Division I-A schools based on records from the previous year.[4] Days before the season opener, Lloyd Carr compared the daunting schedule to an expedition to Mount Everest. Carr noted, "It's a little akin to climbing Mount Everest. But Mount Everest has been climbed. And with great preparation and determination, and great attitude, which I think our players have, I can assure you we're looking forward to it."[4]

Season summary[]

Week 1: Colorado[]

Week 1: (7) Colorado at (13) Michigan[17]
1 234Total
Colorado (1–1) 0 030 3
Michigan (1–0) 7 3143 27
  • Date: Saturday, September 13, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,474
  • TV announcers (ABC): Keith Jackson and Bob Griese

Michigan opened the 1997 season with a home game against Colorado. Three years earlier, Colorado had defeated Michigan in a game nicknamed "The Miracle at Michigan" on Kordell Stewart's 64-yard Hail Mary pass to Michael Westbrook as time ran out.[6][18][19]

Michigan won the 1997 game 27 to 3, a margin that eliminated the possibility of another last-minute miracle.[15] Griese completed 21 of 28 forward pass attempts for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jerame Tuman had five receptions for 126 yards. Defensively, Michigan intercepted four passes thrown by Colorado's John Hessler, while holding him to 141 yards on 15 of 39 passing.[17]

Throughout the game, Michigan relied on man-to-man defense from cornerbacks Woodson and Andre Weathers, blitzes and pressure from the four-man defensive line.[15] Colorado only threw against Woodson five times, and one of those passes was intercepted by Woodson at Michigan's 45-yard-line. Griese and Tuman connected for 53 yards on the very next play. Two plays later Chris Floyd executed a one-yard dive for the first points of the day. Late in the second quarter, Griese completed a 29-yard pass to Woodson,[17] and Kraig Baker kicked a field goal on the final play of the first half to give Michigan a 10–0 lead at halftime.[15]

Michigan opened the second half with an 89-yard, 11-play drive that included a 20-yard pass from Griese to Tuman followed by a roughing the passer penalty. The drive ended in a five-yard touchdown pass from Griese to Chris Howard.[17] In the third quarter, Michigan scored 14 points in a span of one minute and 44 seconds; the second touchdown followed a Clint Copenhaver interception that was returned to the Buffaloes' 14-yard line.[15] The touchdown was scored on a 6-yard pass from Griese to Shaw.[17] Baker closed out the scoring with a 19-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.[17]

The loss was Colorado's worst defeat under head coach Rick Neuheisel, its lowest point total in 101 games, and fewest yards of total offense (224) in five years.[15] It was Michigan's fifth consecutive season-opening win and fifth straight win against a top 10 team in the Associated Press poll.[17]

Week 2: Baylor[]

Week 2: Baylor at (9) Michigan[20]
1 234Total
Baylor (1–2) 3 000 3
Michigan (2–0) 7 14710 38
  • Date: Saturday, September 20, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,041

In the second week of the season, Michigan defeated Baylor 38–3 at Michigan Stadium. Baylor scored first after running back Chris Howard fumbled on Michigan's 29-yard-line. The Bears had a touchdown called back due to an offensive holding penalty, but kicked a 30-yard field goal.[20] Michigan took the lead with 5:39 remaining in the first quarter on a 10-yard wide receiver screen play from Griese to Woodson.[20] Chris Howard added two touchdowns in the second quarter to give Michigan a 21–3 lead at halftime. Howard's second touchdown capped a 14-play, 92-yard drive that consumed four-and-a-half minutes.[20]

True freshman Anthony Thomas scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter to complete Michigan's second 92-yard drive of the day. In the fourth quarter, Woodson had a 34-yard touchdown catch called back due to a false start penalty, but Jay Feely kicked a 51-yard field goal.[20] Tate Schanski scored Michigan's final touchdown on a one-yard run with 2:57 remaining in the game.[20]

Michigan outgained Baylor 532–154 in total offense. The Wolverines totaled 344 rushing yards, including 112 yards by Howard and 122 yards by Thomas. Clarence Williams added 129 yards of total offense, including 77 yards rushing.[20] Griese completed 13 of 22 passes for 169 yards and no interceptions,[20] and Woodson had two receptions for 45 yards.

On defense, the Wolverines held Baylor to 32 yards in the second half, allowing three plays on its first four possessions of the second half. Woodson allowed no catches and made five unassisted tackles (three for a loss). He played 46 downs on defense, six on special teams and five on offense.[20] The win improved Michigan to 16–6–2 against the Big 12 Conference and 9–0 in September under Carr.[20]

Week 3: Notre Dame[]

Week 3: Notre Dame at (6) Michigan[21]
(Michigan–Notre Dame rivalry game)
1 234Total
Notre Dame (1–2) 7 700 14
Michigan (2–0) 0 7140 21
  • Date: Saturday, September 27, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,508

For the third game of the season, Michigan faced Notre Dame in the 27th match between college football's winningest programs. Michigan won the game 21–14 in front of a crowd of 106,508, the sixth largest in the history of Michigan Stadium at that time.[22] Under first year coach Bob Davie, Notre Dame had lost consecutive games to Purdue and Michigan State, and entered Michigan Stadium unranked for the first time since the creation of the AP Poll in 1936.[23] Notre Dame ended the day with its first three-game losing streak in 12 years.[21]

In the first quarter, Notre Dame scored first on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ron Powlus to Bobby Brown, culminating a 12-play, 78-yard drive.[21] In the second quarter, the Wolverines tied the game on a 4-yard touchdown run by Clarence Williams to complete an 11-play, 68-yard drive.[21] Notre Dame regained the lead late in the second quarter on a 98-yard drive ending in a two-yard run by Tony Driver with 18 seconds left in the half.[21]

Within the first 24 seconds of the second half, Griese and Streets connected on back-to-back passes of 15 and 41 yards to tie the game at 14.[21] Michigan scored again just over five minutes later on a 14-yard run by Floyd.[21] Michigan's defense overcame three fourth-quarter turnovers and held Notre Dame scoreless in the second half to preserve the 21–14 lead. After Aaron Shea lost a fumble at the Michigan 47-yard line, cornerback Tommy Hendricks made a diving interception in the end zone with 10:34 remaining in the game.[21] When Notre Dame recovered a loose ball two minutes later at the Wolverines 42-yard line, Michigan's defense forced a punt after a three-and-out.[21] The Wolverines suffered a third turnover late in the fourth quarter when Griese and Chris Howard botched a handoff that Notre Dame recovered at the Michigan 28-yard line. Notre Dame drove to the 20-yard line, but Glen Steele and James Hall made a key stop on fourth down.[22] Howard helped Michigan run out the final 3:26 with runs of 27, seven, nine and eight yards.[21]

Notre Dame outgained Michigan in total offense by a margin of 354 yards to 345 yards.[22] Notre Dame's offensive standouts were Powlus (177 passing yards) and Malcolm Johnson (106 receiving yards). However, Notre Dame was penalized 10 times for 92 yards, including six holding infractions, one of which nullified a pass interference penalty against Woodson.[22] Michigan's offensive stars of the game were Griese (16-of-22 passing for 177 yards), Howard (91 rushing yards rushing on 16 carries) and Streets (3 receptions for 77 yards).[21]

Week 4: Indiana[]

Week 4: (6) Michigan at Indiana[24]
1 234Total
Michigan (3–0, 0–0) 3 2860 37
Indiana (1–3, 0–1) 0 000 0
  • Date: Saturday, October 4, 1997
  • Location: Memorial Stadium
    Bloomington, IN
  • Game attendance: 42,240

In its fourth game of the season, Michigan defeated the Indiana Hoosiers 37 to 0. Michigan posted four second-quarter touchdowns, and Indiana only got close to the Michigan end zone once in the first quarter.[25] The win was the eighth consecutive and 23rd of 24 for Michigan over Indiana. It was Michigan's first shutout since November 11, 1995, against Purdue.[24] The game pitted Michigan against former Michigan assistant coach and first year head coach Cam Cameron.[24]

Brian Griese passed for 204 yards and a touchdown, before giving way to Tom Brady after one series in the third quarter.[25] Baker kicked three field goals and four extra points.[24] Howard led Michigan receivers with 65 yards on 7 catches, and Anthony Thomas led the rushers with 65 yards on 14 carries.[24] Charles Woodson had a 21-yard reception.[24] The Michigan defense held Indiana to negative 2 return yards and 16 rushing yards on 27 carries.[24]

In the first quarter, Baker's 27-yard field goal was the only scoring. Twenty-nine seconds into the second quarter, Howard's three-yard run gave Michigan a 10–0 lead.[24] Later in the quarter, Michigan scored three touchdowns in a 5:54 span. First, Griese connected with Streets for 18 yards. Thomas and Patrick McCall added 14-yard and three-yard scoring runs to give Michigan a 31–0 lead with 1:59 remaining in the first half.[24] Baker added 35-yard and 40-yard field goals in the third quarter to complete the scoring.[24]

Week 5: Northwestern[]

Week 5: Northwestern at (6) Michigan[26]
1 234Total
Northwestern (2–4, 0–2) 3 030 6
Michigan (4–0, 1–0) 0 13010 23
  • Date: Saturday, October 11, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,048

Michigan defeated Northwestern 23–6 in the fifth game of the season. While the Wolverines entered the game with a 44–13–2 record against the Wildcats, Northwestern had won the previous two meetings.[27]

Northwestern placekicker Brian Gowins kicked a career-best 52-yard field goal to put Northwestern ahead 3–0 in the first quarter.[26] Michigan took the lead with 13 points in the second quarter, starting with 19-yard and 23-yard field goals by Baker.[26] With 1:02 left in the half, Griese threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tuman.[26] Gowin kicked a second field goal early in the third quarter, but missed a 47-yarder at the end of the quarter.[26] Early in the fourth quarter, Michigan sustained a 70-yard scoring drive that consumed five-and-a-half minutes on the game clock. During the drive, Griese completed 5-of-6 passes for 51 yards, including a 22-yard pass to Streets, a 16-yard pass to Williams and a 2-yard touchdown pass to Tuman.[26] When Northwestern got the ball back, Woodson intercepted a Tim Hughes pass and returned it two yards to the Northwestern 30. Michigan added a 26-yard field goal by Baker with 7:28 remaining to complete the scoring.[26]

Michigan's leaders on offense were Griese (23-of-36 passing for 244 yards and 2 touchdowns), Howard (90 rushing yards on 18 carries), Tuman (5 receptions for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Baker (3 field goals).[26][27] On defense, the Wolverines held an opponent without a touchdown for the fourth time in five games,[27] as Brian Gowins' two field goals provided Northwestern's only points.[26] The defense remained perfect in the fourth quarter, giving up no fourth quarter points through the first five games.[27] Michigan's had a 385–170 yard advantage as Division I-A's stingiest defense made one interception and one fumble recovery.[27] The loss was the fourth in a row for Northwestern.[26]

Week 6: Iowa[]

Week 6: (15) Iowa at (5) Michigan[28]
1 234Total
Iowa (4–1, 2–0) 0 2130 24
Michigan (5–0, 2–0) 0 7147 28
  • Date: Saturday, October 18, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,505

Michigan had its closest contest of the year in week six, as Iowa scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 21–7 halftime lead. The Wolverines responded by outscoring the Hawkeyes 21–3 in the second half to win the game by a final score of 28–24.[28]

Iowa running back Tavian Banks opened the scoring 91 seconds into the second quarter with a 53-yard touchdown run.[28] Michigan responded by tying the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Griese to Streets with 4:53 remaining in the half.[28] On Michigan's next drive, Iowa cornerback Ed Gibson intercepted Griese and returned the ball 64 yards to the Michigan 1-yard line.[28] From there, Michael Burger put Iowa ahead with a touchdown run with 2:27 remaining.[28] On the final play of the first half, Iowa's All-American Tim "White Lightning" Dwight returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, giving Iowa a 14-point lead at halftime.[28]

Michigan scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, tying the score with 3:11 remaining in the quarter on a quarterback sneak by Griese on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line.[28] Iowa retook the lead on a field goal after a 72-yard kickoff return by Dwight.[28] Late in the fourth quarter, Iowa continued to hold a 24–21 lead, but Griese and Tuman connected on a two-yard touchdown pass with 2:55 remaining in the game.[28] Iowa responded by driving to Michigan's 15-yard line, but Sam Sword intercepted Matt Sherman with 31 seconds left to secure the victory.[28]

Iowa's scoring was fueled by four plays resulting in gains of more than 50 yards.[28] Banks also rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries.[28] Michigan's offense was fueled by the passing of Griese (15 of 26 for 165 yards) and the rushing of Thomas (129 yards on 20 carries) and Howard (81 yards on 13 first-half carries).[28] On defense, Michigan maintained its season-long fourth quarter shutout and had allowed only nine points (on three field goals) in the third quarter through the first six games.[28] Both defenses also came through with big plays, including a total of six interceptions, three each on Griese and Sherman.[28]

Week 7: Michigan State[]

Week 7: (5) Michigan at (14) Michigan State[29]
(Paul Bunyan Trophy game)
1 234Total
Michigan (6–0, 3–0) 3 7310 23
Michigan State (5–1, 2–1) 7 000 7
  • Date: Saturday, October 25, 1997
  • Location: Spartan Stadium
    East Lansing, MI
  • Game start: 12:30 pm EDT
  • Game attendance: 79,687

This was the 90th meeting of the rival schools that have fought for the Paul Bunyan Trophy annually since 1953.[30] Michigan State's 5–1 start was its best since the 1966 team.[30] On the strength of zero fourth quarter points and only 9 second half points, Michigan entered the game tied for first nationally in average points allowed (8.3) and in second in both yards of total offense allowed (207.7) and defensive pass efficiency.[30] Michigan State entered the game with a 34 points per game average, which was the schools best since the 1978 team.[30] Although Michigan held a 58–26–5 series edge, the home team had won each of the last five meetings and Michigan State had won 7 consecutive home games.[29] Sophomore linebacker Dhani Jones had led Michigan in tackles in each of the three previous games and was second on the defense in tackles for the season.[30]

Woodson and Marcus Ray each snared two interceptions and the team tied a school record with six.[31] The interceptions brought Woodson's career total to 15, which was second in school history.[31] Baker had three field goals (the third time in four weeks).[29] Michigan again shut down its opponent in the second half, holding Michigan State to 43 yards in the first 28:18 until the final drive in "garbage time" with substitutes on the field.[31] The game was only the second time Michigan State had surrendered 6 interceptions (the first since the 1958 team).[31] The Spartans could not score on the Michigan defense and were only able to produce a touchdown with a fake field goal on special teams.[31] Although sophomore Sedrick Irvin had produced 141 yards in the first half (66 rushing and 75 receiving), he was held to 15 yards in six carries and two yards on three receptions in the second half.[31]

Michigan State scored on a 22-yard pass from Bill Burke to Irvin from a field goal formation.[31] The most important play early in the game was Griese's one-yard run with 47 seconds remaining in the first half to cap an 11-play 95-yard drive to erase the Spartans' 7–3 lead. On the drive, which started after an illegal block on a punt return put Michigan deep in its own field, Howard made a 10-yard run followed by a 51-yard run for a large part of his total of 110 yards. With 2:12 remaining in the third quarter and Michigan holding a 13–7 lead, Woodson made a leaping, one-handed interception, with his left foot landing just inside the sideline. His second interception, on the next Spartan possession, led to a touchdown by Chris Howard that established Michigan's firm control of the game. Woodson was thrown against more than any time since the opener against Colorado. Despite being stifled in the second half, the Spartans remained within six points at the start of the fourth quarter.[31]

Week 8: Minnesota[]

Week 8: Minnesota at (5) Michigan[32]
(Battle for the Little Brown Jug)
(Homecoming game)
1 234Total
Minnesota (2–6, 0–4) 3 000 3
Michigan (7–0, 4–0) 0 1473 24
  • Date: Saturday, November 1, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,577

During week 8, Michigan faced Minnesota in the annual battle for the Little Brown Jug. Although Michigan had won ten straight against Minnesota,[33] the Golden Gophers had previously ruined a perfect season for a 9–0 1986 Michigan team.[34] Michigan entered the game ranked first nationally in both scoring defense (8.1 points per game) and pass efficiency defense (79.62 rating).[34]

Minnesota drove 71 yards on its first possession, scored the game's first points on a 27-yard field goal by Adam Bailey and led 3–0 after one quarter.[32] After the opening drive, Michigan's defense shut down the Golden Gophers, allowing only 33 yards of total offense in the remainder of the game.[33] Minnesota was held to 10 yards of total offense in the entire second half, as Michigan extended its fourth-quarter shutout to 8 games.[32] Michigan also held its opponent without a touchdown for the fifth time in 8 games and shut down Minnesota so effectively that Michigan started four drives in Minnesota territory in the first half.[33]

Woodson, who played 16 offensive plays,[35] gave Michigan the lead 9 seconds into the second quarter on a 33-yard touchdown run off a reverse play.[32][33] Michigan scored its second touchdown on a drive starting at Minnesota's 33-yard line following a short punt. Griese connected with Thomas for 28 yards and then with Mark Campbell for a 12-yard touchdown to give Michigan a 14–3 halftime lead.[32] In the third quarter, Michigan mounted a 93-yard drive that ended with a 29-yard touchdown run by Thomas. Baker added a field goal in the final quarter.[32]

Michigan's offensive leader in the game was Howard, who totaled 98 rushing yards on 20 carries and 40 receiving yards on a game-high four catches.[32] Shea added 51 receiving yards on three catches.[32] Minnesota totaled only 102 yards of total offense, and Byron Evans was responsible for 82 of them (17 carries for 82 yards).[32] Michigan overcame two turnovers inside Minnesota's 5-yard-line and a missed field goal.[33] With the win, Michigan had prevailed in 28 of its last 30 games against Minnesota.[32]

Week 9: Penn State[]

Week 9: (4) Michigan at (3) Penn State[36]
1 234Total
Michigan (8–0, 5–0) 10 14100 34
Penn State (7–0, 4–0) 0 008 8
  • Date: Saturday, November 8, 1997
  • Location: Beaver Stadium
    University Park, PA
  • Game attendance: 97,498

In week 9, Michigan defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 34–8 in front of a record crowd of 97,498 at Beaver Stadium.[37] Penn State entered the game with the longest active winning streak among major colleges at 12 games and was ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches Poll.[38] Michigan was 8–0 and ranked No. 4 in both polls.[35] The game matched Michigan's defense, which was ranked first in Division I-A in scoring defense (7.5 points per game), yards per game (202.5) and pass efficiency rating (77.5),[38] against Penn State's offense, which was ranked eighth in total offense (464 yards per game) and ninth in rushing offense (240 yards per game).[39]

On the opening drive, Michigan drove 53 yards and took the lead on a 29-yard field goal by Kraig Baker. On Penn State's first play from scrimmage after the field goal, Glen Steele sacked Penn State quarterback Mike McQueary for a 10-yard loss.[37] On third down, Juaquin Feazell sacked McQueary for a seven-yard loss, and Penn State was forced to punt after losing 13 yards on the drive.[37] After the punt, Michigan drove 55 yards in six plays, ending with a 12-yard touchdown run by Anthony Thomas.[36] In the second quarter, Michigan extended its lead to 17–0 after Griese gained 40 yards on a broken play and then completed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Woodson.[36] Michigan's defense held Penn State to one yard on its next possession, and the offense then drove 57 yards on 11 plays, scoring on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Griese to Jerame Tuman.[36] Michigan led 24–0 at the half, Penn State's largest halftime deficit in the Joe Paterno era.[37]

In the third quarter, Chris Howard ran 29 yards for a touchdown, and Baker added a 42-yard field goal. At the end of the third quarter, Michigan led 34–0. Penn State scored its only points on a one-yard touchdown by Curtis Enis and two-point conversion with 6:12 left in the game.[36] The 34–8 defeat was Penn State's worst home loss in the Paterno era.[40] which began in 1966.[41]

Michigan's defense held the Penn State to 169 yards of total offense (68 passing yards and 101 rushing yards), Penn State's lowest total since 1987.[37] The defense also held Penn State without a single third down conversion in 12 attempts and totaled nine tackles for loss, including five quarterback sacks.[37] Penn State did not get inside the Michigan 40-yard line in the first 52 minutes of the game.[37] Woodson helped contain Penn State's leading receiver, Joe Jurevicius to 20 receiving yards.[37] Enis accounted for the majority of Penn State's offense with 103 rushing yards on 18 carries for his fifth consecutive 100-yard game.[36][37] Through the first nine games, Michigan's defense allowed an average of 198.7 yards per game, the lowest among major college teams since the national champion 1992 Alabama team gave up 194.2 yards per game.[37] However, Penn State scored the first fourth-quarter points and the first second-half touchdown that Michigan had surrendered all season.[37]

Michigan's offense totaled 416 yards and was led by Howard and Griese. Howard rushed for 120 yards on 22 carries and had four pass receptions for 41 yards.[36] Griese completed 14 of 22 passes for 151 yards and added 46 rushing yards.[36] Michigan was 7-for-15 in third down conversions and had an overall yardage edge 416–169.[36] In the first half, Michigan had a 259–38 yards of total offense advantage and a 16–3 first downs edge without the benefit of any turnovers.[36]

Week 10: Wisconsin[]

Week 10: (2) Michigan at (24) Wisconsin[42]
1 234Total
Michigan (9–0, 6–0) 7 9010 26
Wisconsin (8–2, 5–1) 0 376 16
  • Date: Saturday, November 15, 1997
  • Location: Camp Randall Stadium
    Madison, WI
  • Game attendance: 79,806

Following its convincing victory over Penn State, Michigan traveled to Wisconsin ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll, though Florida State was No. 1 in the Coaches' Poll and Nebraska also remained unbeaten.[43] The game drew the third-largest crowd ever (79,806) at Camp Randall Stadium.[44]

Michigan took the opening drive 80 yards in 13 plays, ending with a one-yard touchdown run by Howard on fourth down. During the drive, Michigan showed some flashiness with a "double pass" play that had Griese throwing across the field to Woodson, and Woodson throwing back to Griese, who ran the ball 28 yards to the Badgers' one-yard-line to set up the first score.[44] In the second quarter, Griese connected with Streets for a 38-yard touchdown, which gave Michigan a 13–0 lead after Baker missed the extra point.[44] Wisconsin responded with a 62-yard, 14-play drive that ended with a 33-yard field goal by Matt Davenport with 4:22 remaining in the half.[44] On its final possession of the half, Michigan drove to Wisconsin's one-yard-line, but this time on fourth down they opted for an 18-yard Feely field goal to take a 16–3 lead into halftime.[44] Feely took over for Baker for the rest of the game after the missed extra point.[42] Wisconsin put together an 80-yard, 11-play drive with Samuel sneaking in from the 1-yard line.[44] Feely added a 24-yard field goal 1:52 into the fourth quarter.[42] Then, Howard added a four-yard touchdown run with 6:15 remaining to make it 26–10.[42] Wisconsin posted a 21-yard touchdown pass to Tony Simmons with 2:45 left, but missed the two-point conversion, leaving them 10 points behind, which was the final margin.[42]

Despite the fact that Wisconsin was without Ron Dayne who had a sprained ankle, Michigan's performance was unimpressive compared to its undefeated peers who won by wide margins: Florida State defeated Wake Forest 58–7 and Nebraska defeated Iowa State 77–14.[44][45] Also, week 11 opponent Ohio State, defeated Illinois 41–6.[45] Florida State's win gave it its record-setting 11th straight 10-win season.[45] The game marked the first time in its last four attempts that Michigan won a football game while ranked number one in the AP Poll.[44] Michigan had 204 rushing yards and 282 passing yards with no turnovers.[46] Wisconsin totaled 235 yards.[42]

Griese had one touchdown and 254 yards on 19 of 26 passing.[44] Howard had 100 yards on 26 carries, including two touchdowns.[44] Floyd added 66 yards on just six carries.[42] Woodson picked off his nation-leading sixth interception, had three receptions for 28 yards as well as a 28-yard pass completion to Griese after what The New York Times (NYT) described as a double pass, but the USA Today (USAT) described as a handoff and pass.[42][44] Streets had 108 yards on five receptions.[44] Carl McCullough had 106 yards on 20 carries in Dayne's place.[44] Wisconsin quarterback Mike Samuel also picked up some of the slack with 73 yards on 15 carries according to NYT,[44] but only totaled 49 yards, according to USAT.[42]

Week 11: Ohio State[]

Week 11: (4) Ohio State at (2) Michigan[47]
(Michigan–Ohio State rivalry game)
1 234Total
Ohio State (10–1, 6–1) 0 077 14
Michigan (10–0, 7–0) 0 1370 20
  • Date: Saturday, November 22, 1997
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
    Ann Arbor, MI
  • Game attendance: 106,982
  • Game weather: Cloudy
  • TV announcers (ABC): Keith Jackson and Bob Griese

Michigan concluded the regular season with a 20–14 win in its annual rivalry game against Ohio State, securing the Wolverines' first perfect regular season since 1971. The game, which drew a record crowd of 106,982 to Michigan Stadium, began with a strong showing by both defensive units. The first 10 possessions ended with nine punts and a fumble by Ohio State quarterback, Stanley Jackson.[48] Michigan took a 7–0 lead in the second quarter with a two-minute, 62-yard touchdown drive.[47] The key plays on the drive were a 37-yard pass from Brian Griese to Charles Woodson and a 15-yard run by Chris Floyd taking the ball to the 1. Anthony Thomas slipped past middle linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer for the touchdown.[48] Michigan's defense held Ohio State to three plays on the following drive, and Woodson returned Ohio State's punt 78 yards up the left sideline for Michigan's second touchdown with 3:43 remaining in the first half.[47] Katzenmoyer blocked Kraig Baker's extra point attempt and ran the ball back to Michigan's 30-yard-line.[47] Michigan led 13–0 at halftime.

Two Ohio State drives in the third quarter ended with interceptions. On the first, Ohio State drove to Michigan's 7 when Woodson intercepted a Stanley Jackson pass. The interception was Woodson's seventh of the season and Jackson's first.[48] On Ohio State's next possession, Jackson passed the ball while in the grasp of Michigan's Sam Sword. Andre Weathers intercepted the pass and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown, giving Michigan a 20–0 lead.[47][48] Later in the third quarter, Ohio State scored on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Joe Germaine to David Boston.[48] Ohio State added a final touchdown in the fourth quarter after Gary Berry forced a fumble during a sack of Griese. Jerry Rudzinski recovered the ball at Michigan's seven-yard-line and returned it to the 2-yard line. Pepe Pearson, who had 80 yards on 17 carries,[47] ran two yards for the score on the next play.[48] Michigan held its 20–14 lead, as defensive end Glen Steele twice sacked Joe Germaine on the final possession and had another tackle for a loss.[48] Ian Gold deflected Germaine's fourth-down pass from the Ohio State 16-yard line with 42 seconds left in the game.[48]

Michigan's offense was forced to punt 11 times, compiled only 189 yards of total offense (147 passing yards and 42 rushing yards) and was held to 45 yards in the entire second half.[48] Two of Michigan's touchdowns came on defense (Weathers' interception return) and special teams (Woodson's punt return). Griese, who was carried off the field by his teammates at the conclusion of the game,[47] was Michigan's offensive leader, completing 14 of 25 passes for 147 yards and no interceptions.[47][48] Thomas posted 29 rushing yards on 14 carries and was Michigan's leading receiver with 8 catches for 77 yards.[47] Woodson also played a key role with his 78-yard punt return, third-quarter interception and 37-yard pass reception.[47]

Michigan was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll and No. 2 in the Coaches Poll before the game, and Ohio State was ranked No. 4 in both polls. Florida State, which had been ranked No. 1 in the Coaches Poll, lost to Florida, leaving Michigan and Nebraska as the only major college teams who remained unbeaten.[48] With the win over Ohio State and Florida State's loss, Michigan received 69 of 70 first place votes in the AP Poll and 46 of 62 in the Coaches Poll. The Rose Bowl was set to have its first consensus No. 1 participant since Ohio State in the 1980 Rose Bowl.[49]


Award season[]

During the 1997 award season, Charles Woodson became one of the most honored players in Michigan history. He was selected as Michigan's Most Valuable Player, a first-team All-Big Ten player and a first-team All-American. On December 1, 1997, he received the Walter Camp Award as the college football Player of the Year.[50] On December 11, 1997, Woodson also won the Bednarik Award as top defensive player and the Jim Thorpe Award as top defensive back.[51] By a margin of 55 votes out of 2,500 votes cast, Woodson was beaten by Peyton Manning for the Maxwell Award. The award season culminated with the Heisman Trophy. Woodson was invited to the Downtown Athletic Club for the Heisman announcement along with fellow finalists Manning, Ryan Leaf, and Randy Moss.[52] Woodson won the Heisman, edging Manning by a margin of 1815–1543 points and 433–281 first place votes. He became the first predominately defensive player to receive the award.[53]

Other Michigan players recognized in the 1997 award season included first-team All-Americans Glen Steele and Jerame Tuman. Ten members of the team were honored as All-Big Ten Conference selections, and running back Anthony Thomas was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Head coach Lloyd Carr won the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award, the George Munger Award, and the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award.

Rose Bowl: Washington State[]

Bowl game: (7) Washington State at (1) Michigan[54]
(1998 Rose Bowl)
1 234Total
Washington State (10–1) 7 063 16
Michigan (11–0) 0 777 21
  • Date: Thursday, January 1, 1998
  • Location: Rose Bowl
    Pasadena, CA
  • Game attendance: 101,219
  • TV announcers (ABC): Keith Jackson and Bob Griese

As the Big Ten champion, Michigan faced the Pac-10 champion Washington State Cougars in the 1998 Rose Bowl. The game matched the nation's best defense against the number two offense. Michigan's defense allowed an average of 206.9 yards per game through the regular season, while Washington State averaged 42.5 points and 502.1 yards a game.[49] Washington State, which featured quarterback Ryan Leaf and a five-wideout offense,[55] had established Pac-10 passing records with 3,637 yards and 33 touchdowns.[56] The game marked Michigan's first Rose Bowl since 1993 and Washington State's first since 1931.[47][52] Going into the game, Michigan held a 68–1 and 53.5–8.5 first place vote lead in the AP and Coaches Polls over fellow unbeaten Nebraska, respectively.[56] The national television broadcast of the game featured announcers Bob Griese, the father of Michigan's quarterback, and Keith Jackson, a Washington State alumnus and former radio and television announcer for the Cougars.[55]

Michigan ended its season at the Rose Bowl. (pictured in 2008)

In the first quarter, Washington State downed a punt at Michigan's one-yard-line and forced the Wolverines to punt without a first down. After regaining possession at Michigan's 47-yard-line, Leaf threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to McKenzie to take a 7–0 lead with 3:07 remaining in the first quarter.[54] On Washington State's next possession, Woodson intercepted Leaf in the end zone.[54] Later, Griese found Tai Streets for a 53-yard touchdown pass to tie the game with 7:08 left in the first half.[54]

Leaf opened the second half with a 99-yard drive for a go-ahead touchdown to take a 13–7 lead after the extra point was blocked by James Hall.[54] On the ensuing possession, Griese threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to Streets on a play-action pass to take a 14–13 lead with 5:07 left in the third quarter.[54] After a punt by Washington State, Griese led a 14-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard play-action touchdown pass from Griese to Jerame Tuman, giving Michigan a 21–13 lead with 11:21 remaining in the fourth quarter.[54] In the fourth quarter, Leaf converted a 3rd-and-18 play from his own 12 by connecting with McKenzie for 19 yards. Eventually, Washington State settled for a Rian Lindell 48-yard field goal with 7:25 to play to make the score 21–16.[54] Michigan started a drive that included four consecutive third down conversions and consumed most of the clock. The conversions were as follows: a 3rd-and-11 Griese scrambled to the Michigan 29; a 3rd-and-7 lateral to Woodson who faked a pass before running eight yards to keep the drive alive; a 3rd-and-6 13-yard pass to Shaw; and a 3rd-and-7 pass to Woodson taking the ball to the Washington State 33.[54] A pooch punt by Jay Feely from field goal formation left Washington on its own seven-yard-line with 29 seconds remaining.[54] Washington State's final drive began at the Cougars 7-yard-line with 16 seconds left to play.[57] Leaf completed a 46-yard pas to Nian Taylor to move the ball to the Michigan 47.[57] Washington State drew an illegal formation penalty with nine seconds remaining, but executed a hook and lateral play for 26-yards to the Michigan 26-yard-line, with an eight-yard catch by Love Jefferson and an 18-yard run by Jason Clayton who was tackled by Weathers and Jones.[57] With two seconds to play, the clock was stopped to move the chains.[57] With no timeouts left, Leaf spiked the football, but Dick Burleson, the referee from the Southeastern Conference crew, shook his head as Leaf contested the decision.[57] Michigan's victory evened the series between the Pac-10 and Big 10 in the Rose Bowl at 26 wins apiece.[54]

Michigan totaled 379 yards of offense in the game, slightly less than the 398 yards of offense gained by Washington State.[57] Griese, who was selected as the game's Most Valuable Player, completed 18 of 30 passes for 251 yards and three touchdowns.[57] Leaf completed 17 of 35 passes for 331 passing yards, the fifth highest total in Rose Bowl history.[57] Washington State running back Michael Black injured his calf muscle and was held to 24 yards on 7 carries, while the team totaled just 67 yards rushing.[57] Streets had 4 receptions for 127 yards.[54]

Final rankings[]

Following the Rose Bowl, Michigan needed to wait a few days for the final polls.[57] On January 4, it was revealed that Nebraska had overtaken Michigan by four points and two first place votes in the coaches poll to earn a split in the major national polls.[58] Nebraska had beaten Tennessee 42–17 and totaled 534 yards of total offense, including 409 rushing yards and an Orange Bowl record-setting 206 rushing yards by Ahman Green.[58] Michigan held on to a 51.5–18.5 final first place vote lead in the AP Poll, but had a 32–30 deficit in the coaches poll.[58] Since the 1968 permanent creation of the final post bowl game AP poll, no winning No. 1 team had lost its lead following a bowl game, but the 1990 Colorado Buffaloes football team had lost the coaches poll to Georgia Tech following a 10–9 1991 Orange Bowl victory over Notre Dame.[58] It is worth noting that Michigan gained the number one ranking earlier in the season, from Nebraska, after the Huskers defeated Missouri, in a game best known for the Flea Kicker play.[59] Tom Osborne's retirement and the Big Ten's cumulative 2–5 bowl game record were considered factors leading to the split polls.[58] Michigan was named as the national champion by the following polls: Associated Press, Football News, Football Writers Association of America, National Championship Foundation, National Football Foundation, and Sporting News.[60]

Statistical achievements[]

Michigan's 1997 defense set the NCAA Division I FBS record for fewest yards allowed per pass completion (8.8 yards per completion, 100–149 completions)[61] Over the course of the 1997 season, including conference and non-conference games, Michigan's defense led the Big Ten Conference in most statistical categories, including rushing defense (89.0 yards per game), passing defense (133.8 yards per game), passing defense efficiency (81.8 points per game), total defense (222.8 yards per game) and scoring defense (9.5 points per game).[62]

Michigan's 1997 season totals in total defense and scoring defense are the lowest marks among all Big Ten football teams since the 1985 season.[62] The last Big Ten team with a lower scoring defense mark was the 1985 Michigan team that held opponents to 6.8 points per game.[62] Including the 1997 season, Michigan won the Big Ten statistical championship in rushing defense six times in eight years from 1990 to 1997.[63]

On offense, quarterback Brian Griese set Michigan single-season passing records with 193 pass completions and 307 pass attempts. In each case, Griese surpassed records set by Todd Collins in 1993; Tom Brady broke both of Griese's records in 1998.[64]

Coaching staff[]

Coach Title
Lloyd Carr Head coach
Mike DeBord Offensive coordinator, offensive tackle coach, and tight ends coach
Jim Herrmann Defensive coordinator and linebacker coach
Erik Campbell Wide receivers coach
Fred Jackson Assistant head coach and running backs coach
Vance Bedford Secondary coach
Brady Hoke Defensive line coach
Terry Malone Offensive line coach
Bobby Morrison Special teams coach
Stan Parrish Quarterbacks coach


Offensive starting lineup and awards[]

Player Position Games
Awards NFL Years
Right guard
1997 All-Big Ten 0
Jeff Backus Left tackle 12 9
Brian Griese Quarterback 12 1997 All-Big Ten 11
Steve Hutchinson Left guard 12 1999 First-team All-American (PFW, CNNSI);
2000 First-team All-American (AP, Walter Camp, AFCA-Coaches,
FWAA, PFW, FN, CNNSI, Rivals); 1997 All-Big Ten
Jon Jansen Right tackle 12 1998 First-team All-American (AFCA-Coaches); 1997 All-Big Ten 12
Tai Streets Split end 12 6
Russell Shaw Flanker 11 0[65]
Chris Howard Tailback 10 3
Jerame Tuman Tight end 10 1997 First-team All-American (Football News); All-Big Ten 10
Chris Ziemann Right guard 9 1
Chris Floyd Fullback 8 3
David Brandt Right guard 2 4
Mark Campbell Tight end
Demetrius Smith Fullback 2 0
Clarence Williams Tailback 2 1
Steve Frazier Center 1 0
Marcus Knight Flanker 1 2
Aaron Shea Fullback 1 6
Charles Woodson Flanker 1 Awards listed below 17

Defensive starting lineup and awards[]

Player Position Games
Awards NFL Years
Tommy Hendricks Free safety 12 5
Marcus Ray Strong safety 12 1997 All-Big Ten 1
Rob Renes Nose tackle 12 1999 First-team All-American (The Sporting News) 0[66]
Charles Woodson Strong-side cornerback 12 Big Ten Football MVP, Heisman Trophy,
Walter Camp Award, Chuck Bednarik Award,
Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Jim Thorpe Award;
1997 First-team All-American (AP, AFCA-Coaches,
FWAA-Writers, Walter Camp, TSN, FN);
1996 First-team All-American (AP, FWAA-Writers);
1997 All-Big Ten
James Hall Right linebacker 11 12
Glen Steele Defensive end 11 1997 First-team All-American (AFCA-Coaches); 1997 All-Big Ten 6
Sam Sword Inside linebacker 11 1997 All-Big Ten 4
Josh Williams Defensive tackle 11 6
Andre Weathers Weak-side cornerback 10 1997 All-Big Ten 2
Dhani Jones Inside linebacker 9 10
Clint Copenhaver Outside linebacker 8 0
Eric Mayes Inside linebacker 3 0
Rob Swett Outside linebacker 3 0
Juaquin Feazell Right linebacker
Defensive tackle
Defensive end
Ian Gold Inside linebacker 1 8
DeWayne Patmon Outside linebacker 1 2
William Peterson Weak-side cornerback 1 9
Daydrion Taylor Weak-side cornerback 1 0

Full roster[]

No. Name Pos. Class Hgt. Wgt. Hometown State High School / Previous College
68 Zach Adami OG Sr. 6–5 282 Maumelle AR Little Rock Catholic
75 Adam Adkins OL Fr. 6–4 260 Troy MI Troy
37 Kurt Anderson LB Fr. 6–5 240 Glenview IL Glenbrook South
34 John Anes FB So. 6–2 224 Kentwood MI East Kentwood
79 Jeff Backus OT So. 6–6 273 Norcross GA Norcross
46 Kraig Baker PK Sr. 6–1 188 Terre Haute IN North
18 Mark Bergin QB Jr. 6–2 195 Rochester Hills MI Rochester
51 Eric Brackins LB Fr. 6–2 208 Pigeon Forge TN Gatlinburg-Pittman
10 Tom Brady QB So. 6–5 215 San Mateo CA Serra
67 David Brandt C So. 6–4 276 Jenison MI Jenison
59 Grady Brooks OLB So. 6–2 256 Dallas TX Lincoln
74 Jason Brooks OL Fr. 6–4 267 Cleveland OH St. Ignatius
3 Todd Brooks WR Sr. 6–0 193 Freeport IL Freeport
18 LeAundre Brown CB So. 5–10 177 Arlington TX O. D. Wyatt
22 Kevin Bryant WR Jr. 6–0 175 Farmington Hills MI Harrison
88 Mark Campbell TE Sr. 6–6 250 Clawson MI Bishop Foley
82 Chad Carpenter TE So. 6–4 243 Bloomington IN South
42 Jared Chandler PK So. 6–1 170 Westlake OH Westlake
29 Michael Weaver DE Jr. 6–0 236 Buffalo NY New York
43 Clint Copenhaver OLB Sr. 6–4 237 Brighton MI Brighton
50 David Crispin ILB Sr. 6–1 234 Dearborn Heights MI Crestwood / Air Force
34 Jason Cummings RB Sr. 5–11 171 Kalamazoo MI Central
95 Jeff Del Verne PK So. 5–11 217 Sylvania OH St. John's
4 David Downs CB Jr. 5–7 167 Detroit MI Cass Tech / Holy Cross
12 Scott Dreisbach QB Sr. 6–4 208 Mishawaka IN Penn
6 Manus Edwards TB So. 5–8 178 Henderson NV Green Valley
90 Juaquin Feazell DE Sr. 6–4 268 Fort Valley GA Peach County
49 Jay Feely PK Sr. 5–10 190 Odessa FL Tampa Jesuit
7 Chris Floyd FB Sr. 6–1 227 Detroit MI Cooley
39 J. R. Ford RB Jr. 5–8 184 Columbus OH Independence
36 Robert Fraumann LB Fr. 6–3 210 Deerfield IL Deerfield
64 Steve Frazier C Jr. 6–4 280 Kingwood TX Kingwood
99 Jake Frysinger LB Fr. 6–4 235 Grosse Ile MI Grosse Ile
20 Ian Gold RB So. 6–1 200 Belleville MI Belleville
14 Brian Griese QB Sr. 6–3 207 Miami FL Columbus
56 James Hall DE Jr. 6–3 250 New Orleans LA St. Augustine
41 Tommy Hendricks CB So. 6–2 200 Houston TX Eisenhower
17 Chad Henman WR So. 5–10 181 Temperance MI Bedford
45 Jeff Holtry OLB So. 6–3 235 Salt Lake City UT West
8 Chris Howard RB Sr. 5–11 214 River Ridge LA John Curtis
53 Ben Huff DT Sr. 6–4 273 Charlotte NC Providence
76 Steve Hutchinson OG So. 6–5 293 Coral Springs FL Coral Springs
31 Kenneth Jackson CB Jr. 5–10 179 Houston TX Cypress Creek
35 Ray Jackson TB Fr. 6–4 210 Indianapolis IN Lawrence Central
77 Jon Jansen OT Sr. 6–7 298 Clawson MI Clawson
9 DiAllo Johnson FS Jr. 6–3 185 Detroit MI Orchard Lake St. Mary's
83 Jerry Johnson WR So. 6–4 180 Crowley LA
49 Matthew Johnson SS Jr. 5–10 180 New Buffalo MI
55 Dhani Jones ILB So. 6–2 220 Potomac MD Winston Churchill
38 Anthony Jordan LB Fr. 6–1 210 Jersey City NJ St. Peters Prep
13 Jason Kapsner QB So. 6–6 220 Eden Prairie MN Eden Prairie
85 Marcus Knight WR So. 6–1 180 Sylacauga AL Comer
3 Brandon Kornblue PK Jr. 5–10 160 Boca Raton FL Boca Raton
95 Patrick Kratus DE Jr. 6–3 260 Rocky River OH St. Ignatius
70 Ben Mast OL Fr. 6–5 285 Massillon OH Washington
26 Eric Mayes ILB Sr. 5–11 220 Kalamazoo MI Portage Northern
24 Patrick McCall RB Fr. 5–11 189 Carson CA Carson
60 Nate Miller OG-C Sr. 6–3 264 Imlay City MI Imlay City
69 Todd Mossa OL Fr. 6–4 295 Darien CT Darien
97 Lance Ostrom TE Sr. 6–7 255 Plainwell MI Plainwell
23 Scott Parachek WR Sr. 6–1 191 Temperance MI Bedford
8 Ryan Parini FS So. 6–2 179 Grand Rapids MI Catholic Central
78 Noah Parker OG Sr. 6–4 283 Milton FL Milton
15 DeWayne Patmon DB Fr. 6–1 183 San Diego CA Patrick Henry
23 William Peterson DB Fr. 6–0 197 Uniontown PA Laurel Highlands
45 Darren Petterson WR Sr. 5–10 172 Flint MI Carman-Ainsworth
71 Jeff Potts OT Jr. 6–7 290 Three Rivers MI Three Rivers
25 Terrence Quinn WR Sr. 5–10 187 Flint MI Northwestern
58 Rob Renes NT Jr. 6–1 279 Holland MI West Ottawa
40 Eric Rose DB Fr. 6–3 200 Liberal KS Liberal
93 Chris Roth FB So. 5–11 204 Windsor ON Belle River
17 Cory Sargent P So. 6–3 185 South Lyon MI South Lyon
42 Tate Schanski RB Jr. 5–11 191 Perry MI
65 Andy Sechler OLB So. 6–1 197 Union City MI Union City
66 Bill Seymour DL Fr. 6–4 227 Granger IN Penn
4 Russell Shaw WR Sr. 6–0 180 Los Angeles CA Locke / El Camino CC
36 Aaron Shea TE Jr. 6–4 250 Ottawa IL Ottawa
57 Chris Singletary OLB Sr. 6–2 240 Detroit MI St. Martin de Porres
27 Demetrius Smith FB Fr. 6–2 265 Calumet Park IL Richards
99 Jeff Smokevitch ILB Jr. 6–0 207 Birmingham MI Seaholm
81 Glen Steele DE Sr. 6–5 281 Ligonier IN West Noble
92 Chad Stock PK Jr. 5–10 185 Temperance MI Bedford
86 Tai Streets WR Jr. 6–4 185 Matteson IL Thornton Township
44 Rob Swett ILB Sr. 6–3 229 Chalfont PA Central Bucks West
93 Sam Sword ILB Sr. 6–2 242 Saginaw MI Arthur Hill
73 Paul Tannous OT So. 6–5 270 Houston TX Cypress Creek
28 Daydrion Taylor FS Jr. 6–0 192 Longview TX Longview
32 Anthony Thomas RB Fr. 6–1 220 Winnfield LA Winnfield
84 Shawn Thompson TE Fr. 6–4 220 Saginaw MI Nouvel
80 Jerame Tuman TE Sr. 6–5 233 Liberal KS Liberal
38 Jason Vinson P Sr. 6–2 194 Troy MI Troy
63 Eric Warner OG So. 6–5 250 Brighton MI Brighton
16 Brent Washington CB Jr. 6–0 184 Inkster MI John Glenn
30 Andre Weathers CB Sr. 6–0 183 Flint MI Central
5 James Whitley DB Fr. 6–0 180 Norfolk VA Norview
33 Clarence Williams RB Jr. 5–9 196 Detroit MI Cass Tech
15 Dan Williams QB So. 6–0 164 Temperance MI Bedford
91 Josh Williams DT Jr. 6–3 270 Houston TX Cypress Creek
5 Maurice Williams DL Fr. 6–7 280 Detroit MI Pershing
94 Eric Wilson DT So. 6–4 266 Monroe MI Monroe
2 Charles Woodson CB Jr. 6–1 197 Fremont OH Ross
19 Aaron Wright WR So. 6–0 172 Highland Village TX Marcus
52 Chris Ziemann OT Jr. 6–7 270 Aurora IL Waubonsie Valley


Players selected in the 1998 NFL Draft[]

On the last day that underclassmen could declare for the 1998 NFL Draft in early January, junior Woodson decided to forgo his collegiate eligibility. Woodson joined a class of more than a dozen underclassmen that included Leaf, Moss, Green, Enis, Takeo Spikes, Benji Olson and Olin Kreutz. Underclassmen who returned for more college play included Donovan McNabb, Kevin Faulk and Amos Zereoué.[68] The following Michigan players were claimed in the 1998 NFL Draft.[69]

Player Position Round Pick NFL Club
Charles Woodson Defensive Back 1 4 Oakland Raiders
Chris Floyd Fullback 3 81 New England Patriots
Brian Griese Quarterback 3 91 Denver Broncos
Glen Steele Defensive Tackle 4 105 Cincinnati Bengals
Chris Howard Running Back 5 153 Denver Broncos

Team members advancing to the NFL[]

Tom Brady as a New England Patriot
Dhani Jones

A total of 31 members of the 1997 Michigan Wolverines team played in the NFL. A 32nd player, Rob Renes was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts but suffered a career-ending fracture of the L-5 vertebrae two weeks into training camp with the Colts in 2000. A 33rd player, Russell Shaw, played seven years in the Arena Football League. The 31 team members who played in the NFL are:

Player Position NFL teams
Jeff Backus Tackle Detroit Lions (2001–2012)
Tom Brady Quarterback New England Patriots (2000–2019), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2020–present)
David Brandt Center–guard Washington Redskins (2001), San Diego Chargers (2004)
Mark Campbell Tight end Cleveland Browns (1999–2002),
Buffalo Bills (2003–2005), New Orleans Saints (2006–2008)
Jay Feely Placekicker Atlanta Falcons (2001–2004), New York Giants (2005–2006),
Miami Dolphins (2007), New York Jets (2008–2009), Arizona Cardinals (2010–2014)
Chris Floyd Fullback New England Patriots (1998–2000), Cleveland Browns (2000)
Ian Gold Linebacker Denver Broncos (2000–2003, 2005–2007), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004)
Brian Griese Quarterback Denver Broncos (1998–2002), Miami Dolphins (2003),
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004–2005, 2008), Chicago Bears (2006–2007)
James Hall Defensive end Detroit Lions (2000–2006), St. Louis Rams (2007–2009)
Tommy Hendricks Linebacker Miami Dolphins (2000–2003), Jacksonville Jaguars (2004)
Chris Howard Running back Jacksonville Jaguars (1998–2000)
Steve Hutchinson Guard Seattle Seahawks (2001–2005), Minnesota Vikings (2006–2012, Tennessee Titans (2012)
Ray Jackson Running back Tennessee Titans (2003)
Jon Jansen Offensive lineman Washington Redskins (1998–2008), Detroit Lions (2009)
Dhani Jones Linebacker New York Giants (2000–2003), Philadelphia Eagles
(2004–2006), Cincinnati Bengals (2007–2010)
Marcus Knight Wide receiver Oakland Raiders (2001–2002)
DeWayne Patmon Defensive back New York Giants (2001–2002)
William Peterson Defensive back New York Giants (2001–2005), Philadelphia Eagles (2006–2007),
Jacksonville Jaguars (2008), Detroit Lions (2009), San Francisco 49ers (2010)
Marcus Ray Defensive back Oakland Raiders (1999)
Aaron Shea Tight end Cleveland Browns (2000–2005, San Diego Chargers (2007)
Glen Steele Defensive tackle Cincinnati Bengals (1998–2003)
Tai Streets Wide receiver San Francisco 49ers (1999–2003), Detroit Lions (2004)
Sam Sword Linebacker Oakland Raiders (1999), Indianapolis Colts (2000–2002)
Jerame Tuman Tight end Pittsburgh Steelers (1999–2007), Arizona Cardinals (2008)
Anthony Thomas Running back Chicago Bears (2001–2004), New Orleans Saints (2005),
Dallas Cowboys (2005), Buffalo Bills (2006–2007)
Andre Weathers Defensive back New York Giants (1999–2000)
Clarence Williams Running back Arizona Cardinals (2000)
Josh Williams Defensive tackle Indianapolis Colts (2000–2005)
Maurice Williams Offensive lineman Jacksonville Jaguars (2001–2009)
Charles Woodson Defensive back Oakland Raiders (1998–2005, 2013–2015), Green Bay Packers (2006–2012)
Chris Ziemann Guard New York Giants (2000)



Offensive statistics[]


Player GP Att Net Yards Yds/Att TD Long
Chris Howard 12 199 938 4.7 7 51
Anthony Thomas 12 137 549 4.0 5 58
Clarence Williams 9 59 276 4.7 1 16
Chris Floyd 11 63 269 4.3 2 31
Patrick McCall 9 13 41 3.1 1 11
Ray Jackson 6 11 41 3.7 0 18
Tate Schanski 10 4 25 6.3 1 11
Charles Woodson 12 5 21 4.2 1 33
Brian Griese 12 58 20 0.3 2 40


Player GP Att Comp Int Comp % Yds Yds/Comp TD Long
Brian Griese 12 307 193 6 62.9 2293 11.9 17 58
Tom Brady 4 15 12 0 80.0 103 8.6 0 26
Charles Woodson 12 1 1 0 100.0 28 28.0 0 28
Jason Kapsner 3 3 2 0 66.7 21 10.5 0 20
Scott Dreisbach 3 3 1 0 33.3 19 19.0 0 19


Player GP Recp Yds Yds/Recp Yds/GP TD Long
Tai Streets 12 28 476 17.0 39.7 6 58
Jerame Tuman 11 29 437 15.1 39.7 5 53
Russell Shaw 12 25 284 11.4 23.7 2 39
Chris Howard 12 37 276 7.5 23.0 1 26
Charles Woodson 12 12 238 19.8 19.8 2 37
Anthony Thomas 12 22 219 9.9 18.3 0 28
Clarence Williams 9 22 179 8.1 19.9 0 26
Aaron Shea 12 9 85 9.4 7.1 0 23
Chris Floyd 11 7 83 11.9 7.5 0 43
Mark Campbell 12 6 61 10.2 5.1 1 24
Patrick McCall 9 5 32 6.4 3.6 0 10
Marcus Knight 11 3 30 10.0 2.7 0 20
Brian Griese 12 1 28 28.0 2.3 0 28
Kevin Bryant 11 1 18 18.0 1.6 0 18
Aaron Wright 8 1 17 17.0 2.1 0 17
Chris Roth 1 1 1 1.0 1.0 0 1

Defensive statistics[]

Tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks[]

Player GP Tac Ast Tot TFL TFL Yds Sack Sack Yds
Sam Sword 11 69 22 91 12 25 2 9
Dhani Jones 12 62 28 90 9 39 6 36
Marcus Ray 12 44 27 71 4 11 0 0
Tommy Hendricks 12 37 23 60 3 6 0 0
Josh Williams 12 32 21 53 11 60 7 43
James Hall 12 30 21 51 8 45 8.5 29
Glen Steele 10 32 16 48 14 62 7 48
Andre Weathers 11 33 14 47 3 10 0 0
Rob Renes 11 30 17 47 9 35 4 23
Charles Woodson 12 27 17 44 5 23 1 11
Ian Gold 12 24 10 34 3 4 0 0
Clint Copenhaver 12 19 10 29 7 23 1 8
Juaquin Feazell 12 18 10 28 6 39 4 35
Eric Mayes 4 15 10 25 2 5 0 0
William Peterson 12 18 6 24 2 4 0 0
James Whitley 12 16 3 19 0 0 0 0
Daydrion Taylor 8 13 3 16 0 0 0 0
DeWayne Patmon 9 6 5 11 0 0 0 0
Eric Wilson 11 6 5 11 1 3 1 3
Rob Swett 11 3 7 10 1 1 0 0
Brent Washington 8 6 1 7 0 0 0 0
Jake Frysinger 11 6 0 6 0 0 0 0
Grady Brooks 8 5 1 6 0 0 0 0
Ken Jackson 7 4 2 6 0 0 0 0
Aaron Shea 12 5 0 5 0 0 0 0
Pat Kratus 7 3 2 5 0 0 0 0

Interceptions and pass break-ups[]

Player GP Int Int Rtrn
TD off
Int Rtrn
Charles Woodson 12 8 7 0 4 9
Marcus Ray 12 5 43 0 30 4
Andre Weathers 11 2 53 1 43 4
Tommy Hendricks 12 2 0 0 0 2
DiAllo Johnson 6 1 37 0 37 2
Clint Copenhaver 12 1 19 0 19 2
Dhani Jones 12 1 17 0 17 1
Daydrion Taylor 8 1 0 0 0 0
Sam Sword 11 1 0 0 0 2
DeWayne Patmon 9 1 0 0 0 0
William Peterson 12 0 0 0 0 5
Juaquin Feazell 12 0 0 0 0 1
James Whitley 12 0 0 0 0 3
James Hall 12 0 0 0 0 3
Ian Gold 11 0 0 0 0 2
Rob Renes 11 0 0 0 0 2
Josh Williams 12 0 0 0 0 1
Eric Wilson 11 0 0 0 0 1
Brent Washington 8 0 0 0 0 1
Eric Mayes 4 0 0 0 0 1
Jeff Holtry 4 0 0 0 0 1

Special teams statistics[]

Kickoff returns[]

Player GP Returns Yds Yds/Rtrn TD Long
Clarence Williams 9 14 285 20.4 0 31
Anthony Thomas 12 8 200 25.0 0 43
Tate Schanski 10 2 23 11.5 0 15
Kevin Bryant 11 1 18 18.0 0 18
Eric Wilson 11 1 0 0.0 0 0

Punt returns[]

Player GP Returns Yds Yds/Rtrn TD Long
Charles Woodson 12 36 301 8.4 1 78
Russell Shaw 12 11 80 7.3 0 27
James Whitley 12 3 15 5.0 0 7
DiAllo Johnson 6 1 13 13.0 0 13
Jake Frysinder 11 0 4 0 4


Player GP Punts Yds Yds/Punt Long 50+ Inside 20 T'back
Jason Vinson 12 57 2183 38.3 54 7 15 4
Brian Griese 12 3 117 39.0 41 0 2 1
Kraig Baker 12 1 36 36.0 36 0 0 1
Jay Feely 12 1 23 23.0 23 0 0 0

Field goals[]

Player GP FGs Att Long Blocked
Kraig Baker 12 14 19 42 0
Jay Feely 12 3 4 51 0

PAT conversions[]

Player GP Att Made
Kraig Baker 12 37 35
Jay Feely 12 2 2

Awards and honors[]

The individuals in the sections below earned recognition for meritorious performances.[71][72]




  • Captains: Jon Jansen, Eric Mayes
  • Most Valuable Player: Charles Woodson
  • Meyer Morton Award: Clint Copenhaver
  • John Maulbetsch Award: Marcus Knight
  • Frederick Matthei Award: Clarence Williams
  • Arthur Robinson Scholarship Award: Rob Renes
  • Dick Katcher Award: Glen Steele
  • Hugh Rader Jr. Award: Zach Adami
  • Robert P. Ufer Award: Chris Floyd
  • Roger Zatkoff Award: Sam Sword


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