30 years later, John Wangler to Anthony Carter still the talk of the town
Three decades later, the moment is fresh in John Wangler's mind.
Fifty-four, pass, post.
Six seconds remaining. Scored tied.
But as soon as Wangler - then Michigan's quarterback - found a streaking Anthony Carter on that autumn day in 1979, everything changed.
The 45-yard touchdown pass that propelled the Wolverines to a 27-21 homecoming win over Indiana remains of the most memorable in Michigan football history.
In the huddle, Carter looked at his quarterback and told him to get him the ball.
"I'll be open," Carter said confidently.
Wangler delivered the pass, hitting Carter in stride and sending Michigan Stadium into bedlam. And as Carter reached the end zone, Michigan radio broadcaster Bob Ufer was screaming at the top of his lungs in the press box.
“Oh my God - Carter's in the end zone...Look at the crowd! You cannot believe it! Michigan throws a 45-yard touchdown pass," Ufer exclaimed. "Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter will be heard until another 100 years of Michigan football is played!"
Thirty years later, the radio call gives the players goosebumps.
"I've said 100 times that Ufer's call was better than the play," Wangler said Saturday. "But it was just a tremendous sequence of events. Everything came together, and for us to win like that on homecoming was really special."
Wangler, Carter and former Michigan running back Butch Woolfolk were recognized as honorary captains for Saturday's Michigan-Indiana game. The former teammates rarely see each other, but whenever they are together, they are constantly asked about the play that is kept alive on grainy YouTube footage.
And even after all these years, Wangler - a Oakland County businessman and Carter - who lives in Florida - are still linked by the dramatic touchdown pass.
Wangler never tires of reliving the moment. At age 51, the pass gives his children a link to his football past 30 years after his magical moment at Michigan Stadium.
"If people remember," Wangler said, "that's a wonderful thing."
For Carter, a freshman at the time, was the start to a collegiate career that resulted in the speedy receiver being recognized as an All-American three times and as the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player as a senior.
Despite all the accolades and a career in professional football, Carter is still widely known for his catch against Indiana.
"It still seems like yesterday," said Carter, who was called College Football's Original No. 1 during Saturday's in-game ceremony. "People still talk about it, and so that's a great indication of what that play really meant."
"It's one of those plays that people are always going to remember. No matter what happens with Michigan football, people are always going to remember that one particular play."
Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2554 or email@example.com