Page 14-Saturday, September 17, 1977-The Michigan Daily
And now for the
big event .. .
The Michigan Daily-Saturday,
on the lii
By SCOTT LEWIS
Ask Bo Schembechler which game is
most dominant in his mind right now,
and he'll say it's today's clash with
Ask the same of Woody Hayes and
he'll obviously answer with Minnesota,
his opponent this afternoon.
But ask any Michigan or Ohio State
fan what the majority of his football-
cluttered thoughts are pointing toward,
and he'll undoubtedly answer "the
Michigan-Ohio State game."
As the fan must put up with the
relative tedium of the first ten games of
the season, his salvation is that the "big
game" looms closer each day.-
The week preceding the game is
unlike any other week of the school
year. All sports-related conversation
revolves around the game, and
speculation surrounding the eventual
winner never ceases.
Every possible combination of out-
comes is played over and over in each
fan's mind, with his team ending up the
winner in each separate fantasy.
Classwork falls by the wayside this
week, because every fan rationalizes
that his professors must understand his
or her tormented state. As a result, test
scores traditionally fall bit by bit as
On the coaches' and players' side of
the ledger, serious preparations take
place. Practices run at the peak of ef-
ficiency, as everybody involved gives
one hundred percent, if not more.
The coaches must answer similar
questions from the press all week, and
their carefully worded replies would be
the envy of every politician. Practices
are closed to the public.and security is
never tighter around the practice field.
To understate somewhat, this is no
ordinary football game. But why is this
football game different from every
other football game of the year?
A look at the past nine Big Ten
seasons serves to answer this question.
In all but one of those seasons, the con-
ference chainion--or co-champion was
decided by the Michigan-Ohio State
No other, team has represented the
Big Ten at the Rose Bowl those years
other than these two squads. This has
brought about the expression "Big Two
and Little Eight."
Most observers view the 1968 game as
the turning point in the previously meek
rivalry. Before '68, the games involved
nothing different than any other college
The games were rarely televised, and
Michigan Stadium rarely sold out for
the Wolverine-Buckeye games in the
past. The games were more like frien-
dly get-togethers, and its tradition out-
weighed its significance in the con-
But what happened in that 1968 game
has lived forever in infamy in the
minds of Michigan football partisans.
Both teams entered the game in
Columbus undefeated in the Big Ten,
with the eventual winner to gain a berth
to the Rose Bowl. Ohio State's
devastating squad which included Jim
Otis, Rex Kern, and Jack Tatum over-
powered Michigan that day, virtually
scoring at will.
With the clock running out the
Buckeyes tallied one last tire to up the
score to 50-14. At that point Woody
made the fateful decision to vie for a
two-point conversion, thereby totally
crushing coach Bump Elliott's morale
in what became his final game as
Michigan coach. The tryfailed, but the
was hhd begun.
The following year a fella by the
name of Bo Schembechler held the
responsibility of stopping the top-
ranked Buckeyes, and revenge was a
Every Michigan player wore the
numeral "50" on their practice jerseys
in commemoration of the previous
year's shellacking. Early in the week,
Hayes said, "This is the greatest team
in Ohio State history."
Yes, Michigan was up for the game.
And the relatively mediocre
Wolverines outfought Ohio State. man-
for-man, ending up the victors, 24-12.
Michigan wins the second battle.
Since then, Michigan has deated
Ohio State twice, lost four times, and
one game ended in a tie. In those
games, the Buckeyes outgained
Michigan in total yardage only twice,
but missed field goals, stalled touch-
down drives, and failure to come up
with the big play cost the Wolverines
In the eight Bo vs. Woody battles,
Michigan has averaged 13.5 points per
game to OSU's 12. The Wolverines have
also outgained the Buckeyes by an
average yardage of 316-238.
Going into this year's game the war
shows no signs of calming. Both teams
are easily the best in the Big Ten and a
season-ending spectacle much like the
past years' seems very much in the of-
Michigan vs. Ohio State (1968-???):
By JOHN NIEMEYER
Ever since Bo Schembechler took
over the head coaching spot at Michigan
in 1969, he has been accused of
mercilessly devastating opponents on
Relentlessly rolling up 50, 60, and
even 70 points a game against the likes
of Wake Forest, Northwestern and
Navy, the Michigan offenses have been
nothing less than awesome in recent
Last year's offensive showing ap-
peared as though it might be the coup
de grace. The Blue machine racked
up more points (432) and more yards
(5160) than any team in the country.
Impressive as the 1976 Wolverine of-
fense was, however, the 1977
Wolverines could be even better.
Of last year's powerful 11, nine star-
ters return. And the remaining two
positions will be filled by experienced
Taking the helm for the third year-in
a row will be junior Rick Leach. The
former Sports Illustrated Coverboy
specializes in running the finely honed
Wolverine option attack. While he
doesn't possess the lighting quickness
of some option quarterbacks, he has
excellent judgement and is an ex-
tremely deceptive runner. Last year he
netted 638 yards on the option.
One of Michigan's perennial shor-
tcomings has been its passing attack.
Last year Leach hit 50 out of 105 for 978
yards and 13 touchdowns. That isn't all
bad. In the two "big games" of the
season, however, Leach's passing was
miserable, a fact which disappointed
coaches, fans and Leach himself.
Michigan has added former Bowling
Green head coach Don Nehlen to its
staff this year. Nehlen's teams tended
to be v
by a ki
on its c
Score Bowl Rep
50-14 Ohio State
20-9 Ohio State
14-11 Ohio State
10-10 Ohio State
12-10 Ohio State
21-14 Ohio State
Bo's record at Michigan
Year W L T Pet Pts Opp
1969 8 3 0 .727 352 148
S1970 9 1 0 .900 288 90
.<1971 11 1 0 .917 421 83
1972 10 1 0 .905 264 57
1973 10 0 1 1.000 330 68
S1974 10 1 0 .909 324 75
\; 1975 8 2 2 .800 324 130
1976 10 2 0 .833 432 95
Total 76 11 3 .873 2743 746
Best line in the land
THREE MEMBERS OF Michigan's experienced offensive line are All-
American guard Mark Donahue (left), tackles Mike Kenn (middle) and Bill
Dufek (right). Dufek was injured in fall practice and is out until mid-season
with a cracked fibula of the left ankle. Sophomore John Powers fills in for
Dufek at strong tackle.
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