1994 Hall of Fame Bowl Recap
Michigan 42, NC State 7
For a quarter and a half, NC State surprised No. 19-ranked Michigan by playing them dead even. But big plays in the second quarter accounted for three touchdowns that gave the Wolverines the head start they needed toward a 42-7 victory in the Hall of Fame Bowl.
The Pack outgained Michigan in total offense in the first quarter 75-38, but the field position battle resulted in neither team scoring in the first 15 minutes. The Wolverines began to flex their muscle at the start of the second period, marching 80 yards on 11 plays to paydirt. All-America running back Tyrone Wheatley did the honors, scrambling 26 yards for the touchdown.
State was unable to move on its next possession and was forced to punt. Michigan’s Derrick Alexander broke the game wide open on the return, racing 79 yards for the touchdown.
Down 14-0 and with Michigan having the momentum, the Wolfpack showed their mettle by moving to the Wolverine 18 yard line in 10 plays. But on fourth-and-one, the Pack mishandled the snap, Michigan recovered, and State’s scoring threat was halted.
With five minutes remaining before intermission, the Wolverines started downfield from the State 15 yard line. Michigan moved to the State 31 yard line and faced fourth and 10 with just three seconds remaining. Following a timeout, Michigan quarterback Todd Collins lofted the ball into the corner of the end zone, where Amani Toomer won the jumping contest amid three Wolfpack defenders, and the Wolverines had another touchdown on the half’s final play. If the returned punt knocked the Pack for a loop, the last-second touchdown pass knocked them out.
Michigan’s defense turned up the heat in the second half, making three interceptions that resulted in three more Wolverine touchdowns. Michigan defensive back Clarence Thompson got things started for the Maize and Blue defense when he intercepted State’s first-possession pass and returned it 43 yards for a score. Linebacker Steve Morrison added another interception on State’s second possession, and Wheatley took advantage by ripping off an 18-yard scoring run.
The Pack got its only score on its next possession as quarterback Geoff Bender directed a six-play 63-yard drive. Tailback Gary Downs had a big 22-yard gain on the sweep during the drive, but it was Bender to tailback Brian Fitzgerald for the 12-yard touchdown play. A Steve Videtich PAT made the score 35-7 in favor of the Wolverines.
Following a Michigan punt, Bender was intercepted once more, this time by Ty Law. It took the Wolverines just three plays to score from 36 yards as Ricky Powers powered his way in from 16 yards out for the game’s final score. The two teams punted back-and-forth to each other in the final period as Michigan won 42-7.
The Wolfpack actually had the ball five minutes longer than Michigan, but six turnovers spelled doom on this day. State managed 312 total yards to Michigan’s 466.
While Wheatley grabbed the MVP award for rushing for 124 yards and two scores, State senior Gary Downs made a name for himself by breaking the century mark with 102 rushing yards in his final game for the Pack. State receiver Eddie Goines led all pass catchers with seven receptions for 72 yards.
UM Wheatley 26 run (Elezovic kick)