College football lost a legend Friday when broadcaster Keith Jackson died at the age of 89.
The man commonly referred to as the voice of college football often used his catchphrase “Whoa Nellie!” to punctuate a big play. Jackson is responsible for dubbing the Rose Bowl “the granddaddy of them all,” and Michigan Stadium being referred to as “The Big House.”
If you research a major college football game that was played between 1960 and 2006, there’s a strong possibility that Jackson was the man on the call.
Here are five of the best moments from his legendary career.
In the stadium he christened “The Big House,” Jackson delivered one of his most memorable calls on one of the wildest finishes in college football history. It’s listed as a 64-yard Hail Mary from Colorado quarterback Kordell Stewart to Michael Westbrook for the game-winning touchdown, but Stewart launched the ball some 73 yards in the air to complete the play. Jackson punctuated it perfectly with a well-timed “IN-CREDIBLE!”
‘He’s going for the corner … he’s got it!’
The last touchdown call of Jackson’s brilliant career was perhaps the most significant, as he was on the microphone for the amazing Vince Young run that won the 2006 national championship over USC.
Jackson called a ton of Big Ten games during his storied career, so it’s no surprise that his highlight tape is littered with Michigan contests. Many people list his “Hello, Heisman” call of Desmond Howard’s punt-return touchdown against Ohio State in 1991 as his best.
‘Hold the phone’
As Miami began to celebrate the 2003 national championship after breaking up a last-second Ohio State passing play in overtime, Jackson noticed a flag on the field and told everybody to “hold the phone.” That would prove to be wise as the officials called a late pass-interference penalty on the Hurricanes, giving the Buckeyes another chance to punch in the tying score. They did so, and eventually won the game in double overtime.
‘It’s good! He made it!’
The Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama is always one of the biggest games on the college football calendar, and Jackson did the 1985 edition justice. Considering Van Tiffin had already missed a 52-yard field goal during the contest, his game-winning kick from the same distance to beat the Tigers was a surprise, and Jackson captured that perfectly in the call.
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Source: The Score