Friday, July 28, 2006

Tyrone Wheatley: Clutch Rose Bowl Performer

Tyrone Wheatley's clutch performance in the January 1, 1993, Rose Bowl keyed the Wolverines 38-31 victory over the Washington Huskies. Wheatley, then a super sophmore, ran for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 15 carries. He had touchdown runs of 88, 56, and 24 yards in the game and he was named the Rose Bowl MVP for his outstanding play.

Michigan (8-0-3) had a score to settle with Washington (9-2) heading into the 2003 Rose Bowl game as the Huskies had embarassed the Wolverines 34-14 in Pasadena the previous year. Tyrone Wheatley made sure that 2003 was a different story for the Wolverines as he ran through, over and by the Huskies' defense. Tyrone busted loose in the first half for a 56-yard TD run that put U of M up 17-7. On the Wolverines first possession in the second half, Tyrone broke loose on an 88-yard TD run. However, Washington battled back and eventually pulled ahead 31-24. U of M answered when Tyrone scored on a 24-yard run which was his third TD of the day. That knotted the score at 31-31 heading into the 4th quarter. U of M pulled ahead for good on a Elvis Grbac to Tony McGee touchdown pass with 5:29 left in the game giving the Wolverines a 38-31 lead it would never relinquish.

Michigan's win gave Coach Gary Moeller his first (and only) Rose Bowl victory. It also meant the Wolverines finished the season undefeated (albeit with 3 ties). Tyrone's Rose Bowl game performance ranks right at the top of all-time clutch bowl game performances by a Wolverine. Without his tremendous effort, it is possible that U of M may have suffered a repeat of the fate it had endured the prior year in the Rose Bowl. However, with Tyrone leading the way, U of M was able to find its way to a hard fought victory and exact a measure of revenge on the Huskies. Go Blue!



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