Remembering Pelluer's 2-Pointer: 222 Days to Michigan

Dan Raley

Down 24-10 to sixth-ranked Michigan in the fourth quarter, things looked a little bleak for quarterback Steve Pelluer and his 1983 Washington football team. Yet the guys in the purple shirts weren't ready to concede, especially No. 16.

The Huskies regrouped as Pelluer cooly guided them down the field on two scoring drives, the last capped by a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mark Pattison with just 34 seconds left.

Already in a frenzy, the Husky Stadium sellout crowd could barely stand it when the home team lined up to go for 2 and the win.

Pelluer had one more magical play in him.

Under a suffocating pass rush, the senior from Bellevue, Washington, lobbed the ball toward tight end Larry Michael, who had a step on his Michigan defender  running right to left across the back of the end zone.

With that guy hanging on him, Michael made the catch for a 25-24 victory - and what many people consider the greatest 2-point conversion in Husky history. 

"It wasn't a pretty pass but he went up and grabbed it, and the crowd went crazy," Pelluer said. 

This is one in a series of past Michigan moments for the Huskies, who host the Big Ten powerhouse on Sept. 5 in coach Jimmy Lake's first game in charge. The countdown is on: it's 222 days until kickoff.

The Pelluer-to-Michael 2-pointer certainly ranks right up there among the three best UW plays against Michigan. It joins Mario Bailey's 38-yard TD catch and subsequent Heisman pose in the 1992 Rose Bowl won by his team 34-14, and Mark Pattison's 73-yard scoring reception from Hugh Millen against the Wolverines in the Big House in 1984 securing a 20-11 victory.

Yet the conversion pass 37 years ago had far more drama and redemption than the other moments.

Pelluer, who enjoyed a 27-for-33, 269-yard, two-TD passing day, got blindsided as he stood in the pocket, coughed up the football and it rolled more than 20 yards into the UW end zone. Michigan recovered and took its two-touchdown lead. 

Some fans among the 60,638 headed for the exits following that play, convinced the outcome was clear. Luckily, Pelluer and his teammates stuck around. 

"I kind of felt bad for the folks who left at the beginning of the fourth quarter because it was a great finish," said the Huskies quarterback, who would be named 1983 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. "It was one of my favorite college memories of all-time."

Comments (1)
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Jamestown29
Jamestown29

Great game, great interview and a great block by Dennis Maher on the 2 point conversion.


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