So now came Houghtlin's turn. With a second-and-six at the 12, Long stopped the clock at :02 and turned his million-dollar Rose Bowl gamble over to a sore-legged kicker who had just missed from a makable distance. As torture, Schembechler called his own timeout. While Houghtlin worried and stewed and prayed and stewed some more, center Mark Sindlinger noticed something funny and said to Houghtlin, "Hey, you sure you're setting up seven yards back? That only looks like six." Sure enough, Sindlinger was right. "I'm glad he told me," said Houghtlin. "Six yards back, I might have got it blocked." Small detail.
Now the snap is good and the hold is good and the kick is good, and as an entire state comes sprinting at him to show its affection, Houghtlin wonders if he'll get out of this alive. "When I was in the middle of that pile-up, I was worried about getting killed—really," he said.
Iowa fans collapsed on the middle of the field and sort of bounced into each other like happy atoms, refusing to leave. After 20 minutes, somebody decided to tear down the goalposts, and after 40 minutes a few realized they were being rained upon. But nobody cared: Iowa 12, Michigan 10. Talk about a cleansing.
"I tell you what," Fry said. "It just goes to show you, the sun don't shine on the same dog's rump every day. All you got to do is hang in there and stick with what you believe in and it'll eventually shine on yours."
Boy howdy, that's right. And ain't it grand? In this, the year of college football's dash-for-alumni-cash, the guy who decided the winner and loser in the highest-stakes football game of the season was a 6-foot, 169-pound walk-on who hadn't practiced since September. Stuff that in your slush fund.