South Bend an ideal enshrinement place for Desmond Howard, who excelled against Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It is in some ways fitting that the College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony was held in this town.
Joe Raymond | AP Photo
The receiver and kick returner waxed poetically about his last trip to South Bend, Ind., as a player, a game Michigan lost 28-24 in 1990.
“It was one of the most exciting games in my college career,” he said. “It was a night game, probably the only night game I ever played at Michigan. The thing I remember is the atmosphere. It was unbelievable -- it was like a bowl game -- and we didn’t win the game. But I had two touchdowns.
“I scored one touchdown -- and you can look at the footage -- when I went into the end zone, I disappeared into a crowd of people. My teammates had to come in there and pull me out the crowd, because there was just that many people (around the end zone).”
Howard’s better-known game against Notre Dame came in 1991, when he scored a spectacular fourth-quarter touchdown on a diving catch in the back of the end zone.
It came on fourth-and-one in a four-point game, and sealed a Michigan win.
Howard said during a teleconference Thursday it was perhaps his most memorable game in a Michigan uniform because it “put him on the map” nationally for a Heisman Trophy race he would eventually win.
“The next thing I know, I’m on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and that’s what really got the ball rolling for me,” he said.
But the dynamics of the rivalry have changed in the past couple years, with Michigan and Notre Dame struggling to field elite teams and both undergoing coaching changes.
Howard now is a college football analyst for ESPN, and travels the country as a host for the network’s “College GameDay.” He was asked if the program should travel to Ann Arbor on Sept. 10, when Michigan and Notre Dame rekindle their rivalry with the first night game in Michigan Stadium history wearing legacy uniforms.
“I think that it would make perfect sense,” Howard said wryly. “I don’t see why we wouldn’t, outside of neither team will be ranked very high in the preseason. Outside of that little minor detail
“But (the rivalry) has the potential to get back there, under both coaches. I think both coaches will do well. Brian Kelly in the second year at the helm (of Notre Dame), and Brady Hoke’s first season in Ann Arbor as a head coach, and his first big test, and a huge test for Notre Dame on the road.
“It’ll be fun.”