Notebook: Receiver Greg Mathews makes up for blown route with game-winning touchdown
Greg Mathews' job called for him to survey his surroundings.
But when the Michigan senior wide receiver didn't look around while reading Notre Dame's coverage, a Tate Forcier pass sailed past him and into the arms of Notre Dame safety Kyle McCarthy.
And when the Irish turned the miscue into a go-ahead touchdown Saturday night, Mathews hoped he would get the chance to atone for his mistake.
"I just went out there and hoped I'd get another chance," Mathews said.
He didn't have to wait long.
With Michigan trailing by a field goal and time ticking away, Mathews made what he referred to as one of the top catches of his career - a 4-yard touchdown catch with 11 seconds remaining that lifted the Wolverines over the No. 18-ranked Irish, 38-34.
But before reeling in the game-winning catch, Mathews went to Forcier and told him that the interception that set up Notre Dame's go-ahead touchdown was his fault. He apologized. The freshman quarterback told him not to worry about it.
Mathews didn't let the mistake faze him and after Forcier completed four straight passes before LaTerryal Savoy dropped a pass end zone. That's when Mathews stepped in, selling a slant route before cutting to the sideline and grabbing Forcier's strike.
And after making the catch at the 1-yard line, capping Michigan's nine-play, 57-yard drive, Mathews had one more job to cap the comeback.
"I just tried to do everything I could not to drop (the ball) and just get into the end zone," said Mathews, who made five catches for 68 yards and the game-winning touchdown. "It was just an amazing play. My body just went numb and I just felt like I was floating.
"It's one of the most wonderful feelings I have ever felt."
Pump up the volume
This season, music is being piped into the stadium during the game for the first time. From "Hell's Bells" during pre-game warm-ups to the popular "Welcome to the Jungle" or "Sweet Caroline", the music is being used to supplement tunes provided by the Michigan marching band. Players have requested that music be used during games for years and finally got their wish.
Players, who have input on music that is played through speakers at practice, offered suggestions for a game day playlist. The stipulation: The music can't take away from the Michigan band's offerings.
And after two weeks of hearing the music that adds to the football experience for fans, players say they're glad to hear some familiar music.
"We need music that we can listen to as a group, you know, for our age group," senior tailback Brandon Minor said. "We keep playing music for alumni, but we weren't really feeling it. Last year, (the music) was just kind of dull and we were just going through the motions.
"But when we get music for our age group, we start bouncing around and feeling it."
The last time
Darryl Stonum's 94-yard kick return for a touchdown was the first since Steve Breaston returned a kickoff 95 yards in 2005 against Minnesota. It was the 13th kick return for a touchdown in Michigan history. Seth Smith holds the school record for the longest kick return with a 100-yard return against Wisconsin in 1994.
The Wolverines last scored at least 30 points in back-to-back games midway through the 2007 season. Michigan beat Eastern Michigan 33-22 before following up the next week with a 48-21 win over Purdue. Eastern Michigan travels to Michigan on Saturday.
Saturday's win was its first victory over a ranked opponent since beating Wisconsin, 27-25 last season....Saturday's last-second win marked the third time a game between the Wolverines and Irish was decided in the final 12 seconds. Michigan's most recent last-second win over Notre Dame came in 1994 when Remy Hamilton kicked a field goal with 2 seconds remaining in a 26-24 win in South Bend. Hamilton was one of three alumni captains for Saturday's game, joining LaMarr Woodley (2003-06) and George Lilja (1977-80).
Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at 734-623-2554 or firstname.lastname@example.org