Sunday, November 16, 2014

Michigan and Ohio State Rivalry-Orange County

 Michigan and Ohio State University

I’d like to thank Shelly Komer for inviting me to attend and present on November 12, 2014 to the Orange County Chapter of the University of Michigan Alumni Association.  I invited my wife Linda and my good friend Jonathan Jordan (my 100 mile Ride and Tie partner) to the breakfast presentation and book signing.

I gave some explanations to the group as to why and how the young Michigan Wolverines were victorious over the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 22, 1969. Some of my reasons included: 1. Frank Gusich mentioned about the extreme conditioning tactics of coach Schembechler and he thought he would be in suburb physical condition in the fourth quarter of every game. And because of this superior conditioning, his team would be victorious. 2. Reggie McKenzie claimed that the Mellow Men watched the 1968, Michigan and Ohio State game when Michigan got slaughtered and lost 50 to 14. He said his teammates vowed never to let that happen again. 3. The players stated that they marveled when their coaches shoveled off the snow on the practice field prior to Monday’s practice of that Ohio State game. They knew the coaches were totally behind them. 4. Coach Schembechler, coach Moeller, and other coaches and players i.e. Frank Gusich, Tom Curtis, Jim Betts, and Thom Darden were all from Ohio. In the communities in which they grew up, it was simply Buckeye territory. Not only did these men not go to the most prestigious school in Ohio, they left and went to its archrival. So for bragging rights it was important for a win. 5. Reggie McKenzie remembered Mad Dog Jim Mandich in the tunnel with his fists clenched, tears running down his face, spitting out unintelligible words-he will never forget Capt. Mandich’s passion. 6. Thom Darden remembered Bo slamming the blackboard and the seniors throwing and breaking chairs as they left before going to the tunnel. Darden will never forget that either. 7. During the season’s practices, coach Schembechler ran Ohio State’s basic plays so the defense would know what likely was coming on that Saturday. They were prepared. 8. Also, prior to that Ohio State game, the practice squad had a number 50 on their helmets signifying the year be fore’s humiliation. 9 On the blackboard, the Michigan state and Ohio State games were circled. Everyone knew, without a word being spoken, the importance of those rivalry games. And 10.

The week before the Ohio State game, the Wolverines were in Iowa City and they demolished Iowa convincingly. After the game, on the way back to Ann Arbor, the players wanted to play Ohio State, right then and there. In other words, they were ready in their own minds. The group ego expected to win that game, and it didn’t matter when or where that game was played. The power of positive thinking/expectation was so immense that nothing would diminish it.

Ohio State scored first, but missed the extra point; Michigan scored, and kicked the extra point; Ohio State scored again and missed the extra point; Michigan scored, and kicked the extra point. Michigan went on to score 10 more points. Final score Michigan 24 Ohio State 12.

Not only did the 10 year war start between Bo and Woody, but the transformation of Michigan football began.

Go Blue !

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