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September 09, 1971 - Image 39

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-09-9

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Section Four-Sports Ann Arbor, Michigan-Thursday, September 9, 1971

Eight Pages



. . 0

Mammoth B u
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The above is the opening line of A Tale of Two Cities, but
is an equally apt description of Michigan's football fortunes
in 1970. Picking up from where the Rose Bowl team of the
year before had left off, the Mammoth Blue Wave surged over
its first nine opponents with relative ease but then lost a
heart rending 20-9 decision to the Buckeyes of Ohio State.
Nevertheless, the Wolverines racked up their best won-
lost record since the 1964 Rose Bowl team. The tem set in-
numerable scoring records and managed to shut out three┬žk
opponents. Prior to the Ohio State game they were ranked
third in the nation.
But Columbus killed it all.
A victory over OSU might have catapulted Michigan into
the number one ranking. A victory over the Buckeyes would
have given Michigan the conference crown and a perfect 10-0
record. And a victory over the Buckeyes would have shown
that their 24-12 victory a year earlier was no fluke.
But instead, the year 1970 was to end with a crash, and
there was no next week to make a comeback. For coach Bo
Schembechler and the returning Wolverines, it has been a
long year of waiting for the time they could prove themselves
to be truly the best.
At the beginning of last year, though, the Wolverines
appeared anything but world beaters. Opening up here
against a weak Arizona team, Michigan's offense sputtered its
way to a meager 20 points, but the defense was tremendous
and held the Wildcats to three field goals in a lackadasical
20-9 season opener.
Many people assumed Michigan would take off from
there, but if the defense continued to improve the offense
managed to slide even further, scoring only 31 points in their
next two games. Out on the coast against Washington and
its less than murderous defense, Michigan managed only one
run of over three yards in a first half that left them on the
short end of a 3-0 count.
In the second half Schembechler replaced tailback Glenn
Doughty with Preston Henry who responded with touchdown
runs of 30 and eight yards. Nevertheless, the Wolverines
could muster only 282 total yards and the big plus for Mich-
igan continued to be its defense, which for the second week
in a row wouldn't allow a touchdown.
Going against Husky quarterback Sonny Sixkiller who
had destroyed Michigan State the week before, the Wolverines
were able to pick off three passes and limit the Washington
runners to a miniscule 20 yards net rushing.
But if Michigan's offense looked weak against Wash-
ington, it looked positively anemic back home against Texas
A&M. The offense could pick up only 212 total yards and 10
first downs. Michigan was behind 10-7 at halftime but their
touchdown had come on a drive of only seven yards.
Overall, quarterback Don Moorhead could connect on only>'
three of 16 passes and had two picked off. Indeed, it seemed as
if Michigan was heading for its first defeat of the year until
it was able to mount a 62 yards drive in the waning moments
to pull out a 14-10 victory.
Sparking the drive was tailback Fritz Seyferth who per-
sonally accounted for 45 of those yards. Even then Michigan
could not breath easily as Texas A&M took the kickoff and
brought it back into Michigan territory.
The Wolverine defense held, however, and Michigan
came out of it with its third squeaker in a row. Oddly enough,
that week's poll moved the less than impressive Wolverines up MC
to seventh.
Next week it was Purdue and for the first time, the Wol-
verine offense began to look worthy of the defense. The de-
fense pulled off its first shutout of the season and limited
Purdue to 36 yards on the ground, but it was the offense that
drew most of the attention in the 29-0 batle.
As quarterback Don Moorhead said after the game, "We
finally put it all together." Moorhead himself who was going
See WAVE, Page 8

'Michigan athletics-winning and losing, but mostly winning

Young cagers ascend rapidly,

but endinNIT

di sappoin tmen t

Making the steep climb from the Big Ten's
second division to the conference's upper
elevations in one year's quick jump, Mich-
igan's basketball fortunes in 1970-71 reached
successes unknown in Ann Arbor since the
days of Cazzie Russell.
Working with the Rudy Tomjanovich-
less remnants of a team that finished tied
for sixth in 1969-70 and an uncertain wealth
of sophomore talent coach Johnny Orr was
able to develop the Wolverines into the Big
Ten runners-up with a 12-2 conference
record and a 19-7 mark overall.
The Wolverines held first place for the
early weeks of the Big Ten season but were
forced into a still creditable second place
abode by old friend, Ohio State. Second place
meant a National Invitational Tournament
trip for the Wolverines, the first ever for
a Big Ten team.
When comparing the 1970-71 Wolverines
with their recent predecessors on the hard-
court one finds several major differences
between the also-rans and the contenders:
height, teamwork, and Henry Wilmore.
Wilmore certainly didn't do it all alone.
In fact his average (25.0) was lower than
Tomjanovich's the previous season, but the
spectacular sophomore put a new excite-
ment into the Michigan team with his fan-
tastic driving, his rugged rebounding, his
one-on-one skill and his talent to hit those
impossible behind the backboard shots.
Bringing Michigan cage fans back to life
wasn't Wilmore's only contribution, though.
The graduate of New York City's play-
grounds had the second highest sophomore
scoring total in Michigan history, ranked
third in the Big Ter: and in the top 25 in the
nation in point production, and made the
all-Big Ten team and received all-America
honorable mention in his first collegiate
Although Wilmore was consistently the
Wolverines' top scorer and most dangerous
offensive threat. Michigan's success was also

For Ford there were ups and downs to
the season but the 6-4 Detroiter was much
more at home at forward than at center
where he had been consistently overmatched
the previous season. Besides his 13 point av-
erage Ford also was important for his de-
fensive work, as Orr generally assigned him
to defend the opposing team's scoring leader.
Replacing Ford in the pivot was another
sophomore, 6-10 Ken Brady. Moving into
the role of a strong, rebounding center that
had been vacant since Bill Buntin left Mich-
igan Brady made a contribution that cannot
be seen simply in his statistics of 12 points
and 10 rebounds per game.
The presence of Brady in the middle gave
Michigan more opportunities for second
shots, and allowed the Wolverines to move
the ball inside more effectively.
Wayne Grabiec, the only junior starter,
made a successful conversion from forward
to guard and gave the Wolverines an out-
side shooting threat to counter Wilmore's
inside play. Grabiec's offensive contribution
cates as his hot hand was several times

was bigger than his 12 point average indi-
instrumental in destroying opposition zone
It was not immediately evident at the
start of the season, however, that all these
talents would blossom and that a winning,
team would in fact emerge. Wilmore and
Brady were without varsity experience and
Brady had had to sit out his freshman
Although the Michigan fans were
hopeful, the Wolverines were generally
picked for a high second division finish in
the Big Ten behind leading contenders In-
diana, Illinois, and Minnesota.
The first five games gave no cause for
optimism, either, as the Wolverines dropped
their first three to national powerhouses,
Notre Dame, Kentucky, and Duke and then
s a lv a g e d two unimpressive and poorly
played victories over local rivals, Eastern
Michigan and University of Detroit.
One thing evident from the start was
See CAGERS, Page 2

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