When SMU returned to the football field in 1989, critics claimed that it was going to take a miracle for Forrest Gregg to win a game. SMU had started the season with a 35-6 loss to Southwest Conference rival Rice on September 2nd. Two weeks later, on September 16th, the Connecticut Huskies were in town to take on the Mustangs in just their second game since the end of the 1986 season. With five minutes to play in the game it seemed that SMU was headed for certain defeat. When it appeared that there was no hope, SMU got its miracle. The Miracle on Mockingbird takes its rightful place as one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
The game started slow with neither team able to do anything with the ball until Connecticut scored on with 5:23 left in the first quarter. The Mustangs answered early in the second quarter with a six play forty-one yard drive capped off by a Jason Wolf 2-yard touchdown run. From that point on, however, Connecticut dominated the first half. The Huskies added a pair of touchdowns and a field goal to give them a 23-7 halftime lead.
The Mustang defense tightened up in the third quarter shutting out the Huskies. Jason Wolf scored his second touchdown of the game to bring the Mustangs back to within nine at 23-14. However, the Huskies seemed to have put the game away when they added a touchdown with 7:331 left to play, extending their lead to 30-14. Some SMU fans decided that the game was out of reach and started to head home. They had no idea a miracle was in the works.
Mike Romo led the Mustangs on an eight play 87 yard drive for a score. Romo hit Mitchell Glieber for a 43 yard touchdown pass with 5:05 remaining. SMU was within nine, trailing 30-21. The Mustangs started to believe they could do it. Matt Lomenick brought SMU even closer when he added a 43 yard field goal with 3:14 on the clock, leaving the Mustangs just six point behind the Huskies. When word got around that SMU was battling back, many of the students that had left early started to return.
The comeback was made complete as the Mustangs got the ball back for one final drive with less than two minutes to go. Romo moved the Mustangs 55 yards in thirteen plays to finish the amazing comeback. It all came down to one final play from the four yard line. Romo took the snap from center and dropped back in the pocket as time ran off the clock. With the clock showing zero, Romo found Michael Bowen in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point gave SMU the 31-30 victory.
The Mustangs had scored 17 points in the final five minutes of the game to win the game. That first victory that many predicted might take as many as five years to achieve took just two games and was quickly dubbed the "Miracle on Mockingbird."
They did it with just 41 scholarship players, 38 of which had never played major college football. And on a roster of 89 players, 73 were freshmen. They were undersized and outgunned, but this Mustang team played hard every time they stepped on to the field. Their hard work and belief in each other allowed them to make the valiant comeback against Connecticut. As the 1989 season moved forward, they Mustangs had to play against four Top-20 teams, including a game at No. 1 Notre Dame.
September 16th, 1989 was a magical night in Ownby Stadium. The Mustangs made believers out of us all. It truly was a miracle comeback. The “Miracle on Mockingbird” takes its rightful place as one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.