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ROSE BOWL / Michigan 21, Washington State 16

The Key Play

Jerame Tuman's 23-yard Touchdown Pass From Brian Griese With 11:21 Left in the Game

January 02, 1998


Michigan, leading, 14-13, early in the fourth quarter, had second and 13 at the Washington State 23.


Quarterback Brian Griese bootlegged to the right while receivers Tai Streets and Charles Woodson streaked down the left sidelines. Tailback Chris Howard drifted into the right flank, drawing the cornerback. Meanwhile, tight end Jerame Tuman raced from the left side of the line diagonally toward the right side of the end zone. Griese threw a perfect pass that Tuman caught all alone.


"Our game plan was to throw intermediate passes, but they took it away from us so we decided to go deep," assistant head coach Fred Jackson said. "We call it 'Play action Nebraska.' It's something [former coach] Gary Moeller put in our playbook in 1992. We have 10 or 12 different variations, different looks. The long ones [53- and 58-yard touchdowns] to Streets were off the same formation, only we didn't send as many guys deep. They were great plays because the offensive line gave Brian great protection. Without that, it would have been tough to carry them out."


Tuman: "It was just a great call, great protection and Brian made a great throw. It's something that's always been in our game plans, but it might have caught them by surprise because we haven't needed 'Nebraska play action' much. Brian never threw much long before because he didn't need to. We knew he could do it, though. He's a great leader, a great person."

Griese: "When I saw Jerame run behind the safety, I knew we had it [touchdown] if I got it there and he held on. It looked easy, but nothing was easy against Washington State. What made it look easy was that no one was looking for it. We really hadn't gone that deep all season."

Note: Only once all season had Griese thrown for 50 yards on a play. Tuman averaged 15 yards and Streets 14.5 during regular-season play.

Coach Lloyd Carr: "I know we've heard that Jerame doesn't go deep, but he showed 'em, didn't me? The Cougars put so many guys up front to stop our running game that it enabled Tai [Streets] and Jerame to get deep. And Brian was really great on his play-action. He just froze the corners."


Coach Mike Price: "Griese executed their pass game exceptionally well. When he had guys wide open, he hit them and they held on to the ball. They were a well-disciplined, well-coached team that did the things it was supposed to do. Griese probably had the game of his life. He ran that bootleg play to perfection."


The Griese-to-Tuman pass turned out to be the winning touchdown after Washington State kicked a field goal to pull within 21-16. Griese's 251 passing yards, along with some timely running, earned him player-of-the-game honors.

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