After losing on a last-second Hail Mary at Nebraska, Northwestern thought it knew misery.
Then Saturday happened.
Michigan kicked a game-tying field goal on the final play of regulation and won it in the first triple-overtime game in NU history. Final score: 27-19.
The key play in triple overtime was a 14-yard sack of Trevor Siemian. That came after Michigan’s Devin Gardner scored from five yards out for a touchdown. Gardner also kept it on the two-point conversion.
On fourth-and-23 from the 38, Michigan intercepted Siemian in the end zone to end the game. Finally.
For Northwestern, this is the season of: What can go wrong, will go wrong.
The Wildcats (4-6, 0-6 Big Ten) lost their sixth straight game, NU’s longest streak of futility since 2006, Pat Fitzgerald’s first season.
The Wolverines (7-3, 3-3) tied the game in regulation in remarkable fashion.
On third-and-23 with 18 seconds to play, Gardner hit Gallon for 16 yards. Out of timeouts and short of a first down, Michigan could not stop the clock. But the Wolverines got their kicking team on the field and snapped the ball with one second to play. Brendan Gibbons knocked home a 44-yarder as time expired.
Other painful moments for Northwestern: a seven-yard shanked punt, several dropped interceptions, a Michigan fumble in double-overtime recovered by the Wolverines and a botched referee’s announcement on a ruling that led Northwestern to punt on fourth-and-inches.
Michigan also had two moments that will be hard to forget: Coach Brady Hoke passed up a short, game-tying field goal on fourth-and-2 inside six minutes. The Wolverines got stopped. And Gallon dropped what would have been a walk-off touchdown, a dart from Gardner in the second overtime.
The game was also notable for NU’s Wounded Warrior jerseys. The controversial stars-and-stripes uniforms contain no names on the back. Instead they have the eight core values of the Wounded Warrior Project: Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country and Service.
The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off at NUSports.com\WWP with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to aid injured service members. The auction closes Wednesday.