Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

December 10, 1977 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-12-10
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 18-Saturday, December 10, 1977-The Michigan Daily


The Michigan Daily-Saturday, Dece
They said o west young mo

Rose Bowl team differs



and they did

-two straight


Most people you talk to these days
concurathat if Bo's ever going to win a
Bowl game, this will be the year.
Their thinking stems not from the
idea that this year's Wolverine squad is
one of the best ever, but that Michigan's
opponent (Washington) isn't quite of
the caliber of last year's USC team or
Oklahoma's 1975 unit.
In other words, if Michigan was
playing almost anyone else this year,
some sarcastic Michigan fans wouldn't
give the Wolverines a chance.
But as it happens, the Huskies
provide the opposition, and Michigan,
who had tough times in the games they
were supposed to cruise in this year,
will still have to be at their very best.
On paper, this year's Wolverine team
doesn't quite stack up with last year's
squad that finished tops in the nation in
rushing yardage, total yardage and
The big man on Michigan's offense
going into the '77 Rose Bowl was All-
American Rob Lytle, who finished the
year with 1,469 yards on 221 attempts,
for a 6.6 yards per carry average.
Contrast that with Russell Davis' per-
formance this year, who despite his fine
season by most standards, had only a

4.9 yards per carry on 207 attempts for
1013 yards. Davis' average last year as
Lytle's back-up sas 5.9 yards per carry.
At tailback, the performances were
comparable over both years. As the
primary tailback last year, Harlan
Huckleby ran for 912 yards on a 5.9
average. This year Huck teamed up
with Roosevelt Smith and Stan Edwar-
ds to pick up 743, 308 and 152 yards
respectively, for a combined average of
4.8 yards per carry.
The wingback reverse was prac-
tically non-existent weapon in Michi-
gan's offense this year. Last year All-
American Jim Smith came through
with a big run when needed, tallying 158
yards on just 25 carries, while this year
Ralph Clayton and Max Richardson
have carried only 10 times for a com-
bined 17 yards.
One player who significantly im-
proved his performance on offense for
the year was quarterback Rick leach.
Leach this year passed for 1109 yards,
completing 76 passes in 147 attempts for
52 per cent. As a sophomore, Leach
completed just 48 per cent of his aerials
for 973 yards. Both years Leach winged
13 TD passes.
In the rushing department Leach fell
far short of his 1976 stats. The junior
from Flint managed only 370 yards this

season on a 3.5 average, whereas lasst
year Leach carried for 638 yards on a
6.0 yards per carry average.
The receiving department was com-
parable in totals but not individually.
Last year, Jim Smith was the primary
receiver, snaring 26 passed for 714 yar-
ds. This year four receivers were the
primary targets. Ralph Clayton was-the
top receiver with 19 receptions for 393
yards. Gene Johnson was next with 13
catches for 187 yards and three touch-
downs. Huckleby and Davis followed
with 12 receptions each.
Some of the seldom-used receivers
were more important to the team than
in the past. For example. Rick White
caught only three passes all year, but
two of them were for TD's. Mark Sch-
merge caught just two passes, but both
-went for six-pointers this season. Last
year, Schmerge's only reception also
went for a TD.
Michigan sends quite a different
defensive unit to Pasadena this year
than the one the Trojans saw last
January 1. Middle linebacker Ron Sim-
pkins 'was far and away Michigan's
main force on the defensive front, as he
was credited with 113 solo tackles and
45 assists. Even All-American Calvin
O'Neal couldn't match that last year, as
he lead Michigan with 95 solos and 58
Greg Morton, John Hennessy, and
Jerry Vogele were the 2nd, 3rd and 5th
ranked tacklers on last year's squad,
all of whom have since departed. Jerry
Meter, 4th in tackles last year. was the

number two man behind Simpkins this
In the interception department,
Dwight Hicks has replaced Jerry Zuver
as the leading thief in the backfield.
Zuver had six while Hicks stole three,
but the '76 team had 23 overall com-
pared to just 13 for the current
Michigan's return yardage this year
left something to be desired. Jim Smith
almost had more yardage himself in '76
than the entire '77 squak. Smith racked
up 288 yards in kickoff returns, while
the top man on the present team
Clayton, returned seven kickoffs for 137
on punts, Smith did better than this
year's squad all by himself. His 313 in-
dividual yards topped the 275 piled up
by Hicks, Mike Harden and Mike Jolly.
If the Huskies are gonna get to
Michigan, they'd better get to them
early. Michigan has been outscored by
their opponents in the first period 33-30.
But the Wolverines, as in last year,
have played their best in the second and
third. quarters, outscoring the enemy
108-10 in the second period and 114-16 in
the third. In the fourth quarter, with
most of the reserves in, Michigan held
an 81-38 point advantage.
So the Huskies won't have to contend
with the return threat that the Trojans
had to. On the other hand, the defensive
unit is just as tough, and Rick Leach's
passing has added an extra dimension
to the Michigan offense.

The Michigan football team saved the
best for last in its drive for the Big Ten
title this past season. Suffering through
a sluggish start and a major upset at
the hands of Minnesota, the Wolverines
under Bo Schembechler finally put it all
together in a 14-6 triumph over Ohio
State, earning a share of the conference
championship and a trip to Pasadena.
The Wolverines opened the season at
Illinois, under new head coachsGary
Moeller, Schembechler's former defen-
sive coordinator. No one in the
Michigan camp knew quite what to ex-
pect from Moeller-or rather, if anyone.
did know, no one was talking.
The game was built up to be a tough
one, although in retrospect it seems less
significant. Michigan's 37-9 win was
thoroughly convincing, but then
Michigan was rated among the top
three teams in the country along with
Oklahoma and Notre Dame, in all
preseason polls. The Illini went on to a
ninth place finish and an overall record
of 3-8, including a loss to the most con-
sistent loser of them all-Northwestern
Michigan returned home for noncon-
ference games with Duke and Navy,
hardly football powerhouses. In years
past, the games would have been
blowouts. Instead, they proved two of
the closest contests of the season. The
Wolverines beat Duke 21-9 and just got
by Navy, 14-7. This Michigan team
seemed unsure of itself, less steady
than its predecessors.
For one thing, the list of injuries was
long and tedious. The offensive and
defensive lines were hardest
hit-tackle Bill Dufek was a key loss.
Schembechler was constantly juggling
lineups as one after another lineman
went down.

chise. Yet it was poor blocking that
Schembechler cited after lackluster
performances against Duke and Navy.
He defended the close scores by
claiming that the limit of 95 scholar-
ships would even things out in college
football, meaning that Michigan would
no longer be able to dominate foes as it
had in the past. The reasoning was
hollow. The limit will have more effect
in the coming year, when it will also
apply to redshirted players. Schem-
bechler knows it.
He was more concerned with an
overall lack of intensity on the part of
his team. When he asked reporters to
"please vote someone else Number
One," he was only half-joking.
Fortunately, a big game was right
around the corner to shake Michigan
out of its doldrums. Texas A&M looked
formidable. The Aggies boasted a
wishbone attack with a huge fullback,
George Woodard, who at 265 (or up to
300 lbs., depending on your sources)
weighed more than any player on the
Michigan roster. "They're not afraid to
run that fullback right up the middle at
you. Of course, I could never do that
because that type of football bores me,"
quipped Schembechler.
In addition, A&M had a barefoot
kicker in Tony Franklin who had kicked
a 64-yard field goal, which for a time
was the NCAA record. Franklin made
the Michigan kicking game look even
paler in contrast.
The game was no contest. Franklin
was the only Aggie to score, as
Michigan blitzed to a 41-3 win. The
Wolverine defenders turned in their
fourth outstanding game while quar-
terback Rick Leach and the offense
played their most inspired game to
date. The win was one of the most
satisfying recorded in Michigan
Stadium outside of an Ohio State game.

State's most recent v
was in 1969. This seas
Michigan State 'eem
(Next year may be d
coach Darryl Roger
season's end that tU
really the Big One an
since the only team y
key for is Ohio Stat
stated that Rogers p
way due to his "great
Michigan in the past.
have provided the sl
The following Satu
Wisconsin Badgers to
Jardine's club was 5-C
talking far and wide
Rose Bowl bid since it
conference game tha.
could come out with
Unfortunately, the Ba
no one of much co
Michigan taught then
56-0 shellacking. Jar
season's end.
Then it was Michiga
lesson. The Wolverin
nesota and were clob
generated nothing,
defensively, and we
every phase of the gan
Schembechler cal
defeat a Michigan te
during his tenure as
would be whether or n
lay down and die, or
Michigan beat Iowa
week, 23-6. There wa
noteworthy about the
Michigan was back
column. A lot of fa
Wolverines should ha'
margin, but for Schei
team any win was g
one will ever know jus
to practice after thatc
he said. "I'm proud o
way they fought back.
The Wolverines n
western 63-20 amidst

win in the series denied-that t
on, Michigan vs. its Big Ten aff
ied just another Then Mich
Lafayette, the
set. The 40-7
ifferent. Spartan revenge enoug
s stated at the a new coach
he Big Ten was other former
d the Little Nine this one liked
you really had to quarterback,
e. Schembechler of the nation
robably felt that Michigan s
success" against maligned for
Rogers may just its true colors
park the rivalry completions o
The Purdue
rday brought the ce and for a
Ann Arbor. John Michigan can
0 at the time, and (evidence: los
about a possible year, loss at
played one more losses).
n anyone else and Leach for h
the best record. good perform;
dgers had beaten The Flint jun
insequence, and away at the
n a lesson with a season's end
dine resigned at Michigan fool
Leach took
total offense
n's turn to learn a leader, caree
ies went to Min- and career lea
bbered 16-0. They tion. But alas
offensively or an unmixed I
re dominated in leads Michiga
me. thrown in a ca
Going into C
led it the worst was no quest
am had suffered but there wer
coach. The test Injuries per
ot the team would field goal ki(
would come back best. Tailbac
more bench
although Sche
at home the next as a factor
as little that was when it came
game except that defense, whi
in the winning season, allow
ns felt that the slack.
ve won by a wider The Michi
mbechler and the Buckeyes at
ood enough. "No pany got r
st how hard it was Buckeyes 14-
devastating less," citing games
f my team for the Stadium.
The Wolver
roses for the
Text beat North- years-and ti
t rumors-always time.

And the performance of the offensive
line did not meet the coach's expec- With its confidence up, Michigan
tations in the early going. The subject headed to East Lansing to face the
of a great deal of preseason publicity, Spartans' much talked about passing
the offensive line was thought to be one attack. But Leach's passing stats that
of Michigan's great strengths while the day weren't at all shabby either, and
defense was more questionable. One Michigan won easily, 24-14. A lot of the
writer went as far as to say that the clout has gone out of the intrastate
Michigan unit could anchor a pro fran- rivalry, especially- since Michigan

MICHIGAN'S Roosevelt Smith (26) gives himself a helping hand, and hands
Wisconsin's Scott Erdmann a headache during action in a mid-season game.
Smith filled in admirably this season while Harlan Huckleby was injured.
Now Featuring
3 CAN'T YOU just hear it in the
314 E. Liberty Open - Days a Wee blastoff! ! !" Wisconsin's Dave Cro
Ann Arbor,, Michi anof a fellow Badger in an effort to bl
mission was a failure, as Labunn
~ ~ W ~W W - ,56-0.
.,f>. * , ;.. 4, >* «'- . , . ix vSt a;yy s. ..m . . ' 'R !i ml iri!1 ! "i . .. . ., . f . e.1 , Y 1 * * Vns t a 1- i .4 'fs . *x.~?..-i: . h.e., N.p.y.. -r S F
,.. -"a is ,*" *.Ida . s.* . - ,c

control tower? '". . . 3, 2, 1. ignition,
ossen (14) launches himself onto the back
ock a Nick Labun extra-point attempt. The
made the point and Michigan went on to

1977 Michigan Wolverines Big Ten Co-Champions

Back to Top

© 2024 Regents of the University of Michigan