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November 16, 2006 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-11-16

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8A - Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I

Michigan
vs. Ohio
State week

All week long, Daily
Sports will run its
original coverage of
one of the 102 install-
ments of The Game.
The series continues
today with unedited
coverage from 1973

when Michigan and
Ohio State fought to
a 10-10 tie. Current
sports editor Kevin
Wright also weighs in
on the significance this
game had on Big Ten
postseason football.

'73 fallout led to Big
Ten bowl revolution

Varsity earns i but
Bucks take day's prize
By BOB HEUER Lantry field goal had to suffice.
Daily Sports Writer The Michigan defense held Ohio in check on the
next series and Ohio State's punt gave the Wolverines
It was a win, then a tie, then a loss. possession on their own 49. From there it took only
As Larry Gustafson knelt at the 34-yard line wait- seven plays to knot it up. Dennis Franklin passed to
ing for Mike Lantry's strong left foot to finish off tight end Paul Seal, who high-stepped his way down
Ohio State's desperate Buckeyes, victory seemed to the 19-yard line. Then on fourth and inches from
imminent. the Ohio 10, Franklin faked the dive to Shuttlesworth,
1 But as Lantry's field goal attempt went a few feet slipped inside right end and danced untouched into
wide to the right, an anti-climatic, immensely satis- the endzone.
fying, yet agonizing frustrating 10-10 verdict flick- Lantry added the point after and the stage was set
ered in the scoreboard lights. for a pressure packed, heart rending, nailbiting, ago-
Then came the shocker. nizing finish. Ohio State took the kickoff and drove to
Disregarding the edict of all who witnessed Satur- the Michigan 44 before having to punt. Dave Brown
day's titanic struggle, the Big Ten athletic directors called for a fair catch at the 12-yard line and the last
voted to send Ohio State, not Michigan to the Rose minutes belonged solely to Michigan.
Bowl on New Year's Day. Mixing his plays beautifully, Franklin engineered
Sunday's decision came as acold slap in the face to a drive that had the Wolverines headed for victory
the Wolverines, not to mention the howling Michigan before disaster struck. Under heavy pressure, Frank-
partisans (an NCAA record 105,233) who watched lin fired a short pass to Shuttlesworth for a first down
their team come from the brink of disaster to within at the Ohio state 48. But in the process, the cool
inches of a win over the nation's number one ranked Michigan signal caller was hammered to the turf by
football team. end Van Decree, suffering a broken collarbone - the
But how the six prestige-minded politicos voted injury that probably kept his team out of the Rose
Sunday in no way diminishes the fact that one hel- Bowl.
lauva football game unfolded beneath the threaten- Larry Cips replaced Franklin, but the drive stalled,
ing skies over Michigan Stadium on November 24, necessitating a 58-yard field goal try that sailed less
1973. than a foot to the left of the uprights.
Neither will it diminish the fact that Michigan With 1:01 remaining, Woody Hayes gambled for
dominated the top-ranked Buckeyes in three of the victory, opting to fill the air with footballs. He went
game's four quarters, or that Ohio State gained not with the supposedly pass oriented Greg Hare at quar-
a single first down in the opening quarter and not a terback. But Michigan cornerback Tom Drake picked
single yard in the final six minutes. off Hare's first off-balance toss to give Michigan a
a Despite all that, things looked dark indeed for the second chance at the Buckeye 33.
Maize and Blue at halftime. Behind the incompara- However, an unfortunate timeout call and a hur-
ble running of tailback Archie Griffin, the Buckeyes ried pass out of bounds left the Wolverines at the 27-
powered their way to a 10-0 lockerroom lead. Griffin yard line with 28 seconds and no timeouts remaining.
set up Blair Conway's 31-yard field goal with a 38-yard Bo Schembechler elected to go for the field goal on
sprint, then single-handedly pounded the Wolverine third down and it missed.
defense into near oblivion, gaining 41 of Ohio's 55 Of course everything that happened on the field
yards in its disheartening touchdown drive. became secondary when the decision to send Ohio
But the aroused Wolverines stormed back. Led by State to Pasadena was announced. But one Woody
the punishing running of fullback Ed Shuttlesworth, Hayes post-game statement casts doubt on that deci-
and the superb play of the offensive line, they drove sion. As to why he had gambled with desperation
from the Michigan 33 to the Ohio State 12 as the third passes in the final minutes, Woody said: "We knew
quarter waned. But the Bucks stiffened and a 30-yard we had to win this one to go."
MESKO
From page 5A
But when you're forced to grow
up as quickly as Mesko did, you
really can look at things from a
different perspective.
"I'm glad I'm from a differ-
ent nation, so I get reminded of
where I come from every day,
and I'm more appreciative ofP
where I am today," Mesko said. ,
"You always need to be remind-
ed to not take things for granted,s
because it could change from
day-to-day."
One thing that probably won't
be fluctuating daily is Mesko's
spot in Michigan's starting line-
up. He's persevered through too
much not to take advantage ofA
his newest challenge to the full- ANGELA CESERE/aly
est extent. Punter Zoltan Mesko spins a ball on his finger during Michigan's 34-3 win atIndiana.

By KEVIN WRIGHT
Daily SportsEditor
The 2006 edition of the Michi-
gan-Ohio State rivalry may have
the No.1 vs. No. 2 hype, but the Big
Ten Conference might not be what
is today without the controversy
surrounding The Game in 1973.
"It was the most significant
game in Big Ten history," said
Michael Rosenberg, a Detroit
Free Press columnist who is writ-
ing a book about the ten-year War
- the decade Michigan coach Bo
Schembechler faced Ohio State
coach Woody Hayes. "One team
had to win, and (it) would go to
the national championship."
When the players trotted
off the field after a 10-10 tie on
that fateful Nov. 24 day, they all
thought the same thing: The Wol-
verines were going to go to the
Rose Bowl.
The legendary Hayes even
admitted after the game that "we
knew we had to win to go," when
he was asked about his decision
to throw the ball late in the con-
test.
But the conference athletic
directors had other ideas. They
voted 6-4 to send Ohio State to
the Rose Bowl over Michigan.
According to Rosenberg, the
athletic directors of the other
Big Ten schools didn't appreciate
Michigan Athletic Director Don
Canham.
"He was 20 years ahead of his
time," Rosenberg said. "They
weren't as creative or success-

ful as he was. He was politically
unbelievably savvy, and keeping
Michigan fromthe bowl game was
one way they could beat him."
Canham had already upset his
colleagues when he nixed North-
western's plan to host the Chica-
go Bears games for the season.
Because of the tie, the athletic
directors had to choose between
the two undefeated teams to fill
the Big Ten's spot in Rose Bowl.
In 1973, the Big Ten had just one
team participate in a bowl game.
But Canham wasn't the only
cog in the wheel that turned the
tide toward Ohio State.
A conspiracy theory developed
shortly after the conclusion of the
contest. After Michigan start-
ing quarterback Dennis Franklin
left the game with a broken col-
larbone, Big Ten Commissioner
Wayne Duke called Michigan
source to ask about Franklin's
condition. Duke claimed he called
out of kindness, but rumors cir-
cled that he called the Big Ten
athletic directors and told them
to vote for Ohio State because the
Buckeyes had a better chance of
winning in the Rose Bowl.
But Rosenberg points out the
ironyofthe situation. Hayes didn't
even trust his own quarterbackto
throw the ball. Taking a 10-0 lead
into the second half, Hayes felt
comfortable running the ball. His
refusal to go to the air infuriated
his players and coaches. They felt
if they had thrown the ball, they
would have played for a National
Championship.

"If he had stuck to the original
gameplan, Ohio State probably
would have won," Rosenberg said.
"He had a tendency to clingto the
rushing game in close games."
Hayes didn't, and he thought
he had lost his chance at a bowl
game. But, much to his and
Schembechler's surprise, Ohio
State got the nod.
From the moment the decision
was passed down, Schembechler
took up the fight for his players,
who he thought deserved the
Rose Bowl bid. He told his squad
not to worry about it, that he
would do the talking.
The controversy still resounds
33 years later. At Monday's press
conference, Schembechler ranted
over the outcome, calling it "the
greatest disappointment of my
career."
Still, Schembechler credits
the debacle following that game
as the reason that Big Ten teams
are playing in other bowl games.
Since 1975, the Wolverines have
played in 31 bowl games, includ-
ing 12 Rose Bowls.
Even more intriguing is the
contrasting situations of the 1973
and 2006 teams. The loser of the
1973 game got to go home, but this
season's loser gets the Rose Bowl
as a consolation prize.
So, while this year seems like it
holds all of the cards as the best
game in the storied Michigan-
Ohio State rivalry, it may never
have the off-the-field repercus-
sions that the 1973 showdown
created.

Eleven natives return
home for The Game

By MATT SINGER
Daily SportsEditor
If No. 2 Michigan knocks off No. 1 Ohio State in
Columbus on Saturday, it will probably have some
native-born Buckeyes to thank.
The Wolverines have traditionally picked off top-
notch talent from their neighbor to the south, and
this year's squad is no exception.N
Eleven players on Michigan's NOTEBOOK
roster have roots in the Buckeye
State. Nine could be key contributors for the Wolver-
ines at Ohio Stadium.
Saturday's matchup will be the final chance for
fifth-year senior safety Willis Barringer (from Toledo,
Ohio), senior linebacker Prescott Burgess (from War-
ren, Ohio) and fifth-year senior center Mark Bihl(from
Washington Court House, Ohio) to face off against
their home-state school.
"You know, Michigan has done alot for me, this uni-
versity, both the football program and academically,"
Bihl said. "I'll play my last game at Ohio Stadium, go
back home, represent this university in my home state,
represent my team being from Ohio. It's agreat experi-
ence. And to end at a place, a great stadium like Ohio
State's, it's something you'll never forget."
This year's contest should be especially unforget-
table. For the first time ever, the undefeated Buckeyes
and Wolverines will be facing off as the two top-
ranked teams in the country.
Given the enormous ramifications of The Game, the
players' emotions, which are always boiling over for a
Michigan-Ohio State contest, will be even more diffi-
cult to check.
"I trytojusttreatitlike anothergame,"Bihl said. "It
really isn't another game. It's Ohio State-Michigan, it's
the greatest rivalry in college football. It's what every
young kid watching the third Saturday in November,
fourth Saturday, playing Ohio State and Michigan,
they wantto play in this game."
Sophomores Mario Manningham and Brandon
Harrison, redshirt freshman punter Zoltan Mesko
and freshman guard Justin Boren, all Ohio natives

will be marching into Ohio Stadium as Wolverines for
the first time on Saturday. According to Bihl, the emo-
tions of playing in the Horseshoe will hit these young
transplants especially hard.
"Just as a fifth-year senior, you evolve," Bihl said.
"My first (Michigan-Ohio State game in Columbus),
when I wasn't playing and was redshirted, I was as
hyper as you could get. It's just something you have
to get comfortable with and just calm yourself. If you
don't, thatcan really affect your play negatively."
While Ohio natives will undoubtedly play a crucial
role for Michigan, Ohio State has just two Michigan-
ders on its roster. The more notable of the two, Detroit
native defensive end Vernon Gholston, starts for the
Buckeyes.
CINDERELLA MAN: Michigan isn't used to being
the underdog. But after suffering through a 7-5 season
and being plastered with a No. 14 preseason rank in
the AP Poll, the Wolverines felt like the world no lon-
ger expected anything fromcthem.
The situationmirrored the plot of"Cinderella Man,"
a 2005 film which profiled the comeback of seemingly
washed-up boxer James Braddock.
During film sessions after each game, Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr showed the team clips of the movie.
The message came throughloud and clear, andnow, 11
winslaterthe Wolverines feelthat the filmis aperfect
metaphor for their 2006 squad.
"Itmeans alot," seniorco-captainLaMarrWoodley
said. "No one believed in (Braddock). No one believed
thathe still had it and that's like the same thingwith us.
Nobody believed that we had it. But now we're proving
a lot of people wrong. We're not that same team from
last year. We're still fighting to getto the top."
USING THE DIGITS: Barringer played it coy at
Monday's press conference, offering one- or two-word
answers to most questions from the much-larger-
than-average media contingent. But he did respond to
a questioner who asked him whether Ohio State coach
Jim Tressel, who boasts a 4-1record against Carr, has
Carr's number.
"He should call him some time," Barringer
replied.

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