When it was over, Moeller stayed in character, diagramming the final pass in his head. "We all know how to defend it," he said. "They just caught it." So, too, did McCartney stay true to himself. "Amen," he said. "This is a testament to faith."
In the full darkness outside Michigan Stadium, while three buses waited to take the Buffaloes to the airport and on to the rest of a season that seemed instantly charmed, Stewart and Westbrook walked away from the friends and family and roommates and fans. They walked to the base of a maize-and-blue concrete wall, stood beneath a spotlight and hugged.
There was much in the miracle for each man. For Westbrook, it was the perfect ending to his chance to come home—"to finally play in front of my friends." And it more than justified the decision he made last spring to remain at Colorado for his last year of eligibility. And for Stewart, that rare and lethal quarterback who can both drop back and run the option, it washed away the pain of being called a choker after he fell to pieces in last year's 21-17 home loss to Nebraska.
As Stewart stood in the darkness outside Michigan Stadium, he was asked about a play made 10 seasons ago by a tiny quarterback in a huge game. "Doug Flutie," Stewart said. "I remember the play. Now it's Flutie and me."
It is a comparison that will be made, a debate that has now begun. Which is the more memorable play? Stewart's pass was 16 yards longer, Flutie's more improvised. Stewart's came in an early-season game, Flutie's came in the Orange Bowl, in late November. Flutie's led to a Heisman Trophy, Stewart's...we shall see. But most of all there is the image, replayed again last weekend, of Flutie running up the field, jumping aboard a teammate and of his Boston College roommate Gerard Phelan tumbling backward into the end zone with the ball cradled in his stomach. Of stunned Miami players, 47-45 losers. It is where we remember Flutie, always, never anywhere else.
Some people tried to enlarge the picture on Saturday in Ann Arbor, to give perspective to Colorado's victory. "This puts us in great position for the national championship," McCartney said. And so it may. But for Kordell Stewart, like Flutie, there is no need for enlargement. His pass was big enough all by itself.