November 7, 1981 was a day of very mixed emotions in Ann Arbor. For starters, it was the first home game since the passing of the iconic Bob Ufer. Second, the opponent was Mike White and Illinois, a head coach and program that was on a list Bo Schembechler kept that you didn’t want to be on. TWIMFbH:
Game highlights from WolverineHistorian, note back-up QB B.J. Dickey hurling the pigskin down the field late in the fourth quarter:
You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here. And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge today starting at 11:30am.
More from the Rutgers game:
- Scarlet and Prey: Michigan 49, Rutgers 16 | Sights and Sounds
- Scarlet Knight Knockout | Dr. Sap’s Decals
- 5+2 (Pep and Lil’ Wood)
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Today we head back 34 years, to November 7, 1981, when Bo Schembechler’s #12 ranked Wolverines welcomed Illinois.
Normally a crisp fall football Saturday in Ann Arbor is met with great joy, but on this day there was a somber mood in Ann Arbor as this was the first home game since the passing of the iconic Meeechigan radio voice Bob Ufer. Weeks earlier, he was honored by the student athletes when the coveted GO BLUE banner was redesigned to read BOB UFER. The marching band joined the tribute, creating a formation that spelled out his name upon Canham’s carpet. Before kickoff the fans observed a moment of silence.
But there was business at hand and this was a big one – and the opponent created a different type of emotion for Michigan’s head coach. Across that field on the eastern sideline was a program, and in particular, a coach, that General Bo didn’t care for. You see Illinois fired Bo’s friend and assistant Gary Moeller in 1979 and he didn’t think Mo got a fair shake in Champaign. On top of that, Bo didn’t like anything about the man who replaced Mo, coach Mike White. Bo questioned White’s recruiting practices and eventually the NCAA did too as they slapped Illinois with a 2 year probation in 1984.
But Coach White and all-conference QB Tony Eason stunned the 105,000 on hand by jumping out to a 21-7 Illini lead in the first quarter. At that point no doubt Bo glared at his men, and then at the East sideline – and UNLEASED THE HOUNDS. His men proceed to drop another NINE touchdowns on the stunned Illini, enough to make Coach White WINCE.
While he was not known to pile on teams, and while he did take the starters out eventually, the metaphorical gas pedal was pressed down until the final whistle. Anthony “The Human Torpedo” Carter had 6 catches for 154 yards and a pair of TDs, and the Wolverines amassed over 400 on the ground in the beating. All told The maize and blue scored TEN touchdowns, including 4 in the final quarter, and put up 70 on White.
Somewhere up in Football’s Valhalla old Ufe’ certainly smiled as he relentlessly squeezed, the scoring horn after each TD – and he watched his beloved MEEECHIGAN destroy the Illini.