The 1951 Rose Bowl victory capped off a nice season for coach Bennie Oosterbaan’s crew.  The 1950 squad featured team MVP Don Dufek and All-American R. Allen Wahl and won the conference title with a 6-3-1 overall record, dropping games to Michigan State, #1 ranked Army [played at Yankee Stadium), and to Illinois.  Despite a tough start the team rallied to win their final three games and added the great victory in Pasadena.

You probably can’t say this for any Michigan Rose Bowl champion, but the win over Cal in Pasadena was not the definitive victory for this team. That distinction will always be reserved for the game over a month earlier on November 25, 1950 in Columbus—a game that will forever be known as The Snow Bowl.

The week leading up to the game was somewhat normal for a November in the Midwest. On Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), Columbus experienced 38 degree temperatures and rain. By 8am Friday morning the thermometer sunk to 5 degrees and it snowed off and on for most of the day. The forecast for Saturday was a chilly 15 degrees and possible snow, but Friday evening to early Saturday morning things took a wicked turn:


A shirtless, unruly hairy beast with bad teeth seen outside Ohio stadium?  shocker

During the night, a storm moving up the Carolina coast pumped Atlantic moisture like a fire hose westward to meet the southward blast of frigid air. The clash of these two air masses reached full fury over Ohio and western Pennsylvania, paralyzing the region with heavy snow, gale-force winds and near-zero temperatures. Pittsburgh lay under a 16-inch snowfall with another foot forecast, forcing cancellation of the Pitt-Penn State game. Southeastern Ohio measured 14 plus inches. Transportation across the state ground to a halt.

As game time drew near the field was buried and around 50,000 brave fans huddled beneath the Ohio Stadium stands and waited to take their seats. A meeting was held between the schools to decide whether to play the game that included Ohio coach Wes Felser, Ohio athletic director Dick Larkin, Michigan AD Fritz Crisler and Oosterbaan. There had yet to be a Big Ten conference game canceled for any reason and this game held greater significance. If the game wasn’t played, Ohio State would earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. But Larkin knew (and certainly Oosterbaan and especially Crisler reminded him) that Michigan could potentially earn a trip to the Rose Bowl with a win. Ultimately Larkin gave the green light and remarked, “We’ll just have to do the best we can.”

When the game started, the teams did the only thing they could. Run a play or two and then punt rather than risk a turnover.

Michigan entered the game third in the conference standings behind the Buckeyes and Illinois. During the game word made it to the Michigan sideline that Northwestern upset the Illini meaning a Wolverine victory would send Oosterbaan and company to Pasadena.

The decisive moment came with time running out in the first half as Fesler made a tactical move that probably cost him his job, as described by Sports Illustrated:

On third and 6 at the Ohio State 13, Buckeyes coach Wes Fesler instructed [Heisman Trophy winner Vic] Janowicz to punt with Ohio State holding a 3-2 lead. Only 47 seconds remained in the half and it is likely that Ohio State could have run out the clock. But Michigan’s Tony Momsen — whose older brother Bob played for the Buckeyes — blocked the kick and then fell on it in the end zone, closing the scoring in a 9-3 Michigan win.

Thanks to WolverineHistorian, a few clips from the game:

 

 

The statistics from the game are remarkable:

  • Ohio State had 41 yards of total offense, Michigan 27.
  • The Buckeyes actually attempted 18 passes, completing just three for 25 yards.
  • Michigan had no first downs; Ohio State three.
  • The teams punted a combined 45 times for a total of 1,408 yards.
  • The team fumbled 10 times but lost only one each.

There’s probably hundreds of other stories about the game from those who witnessed it. HBO’s The Rivalry spent a good portion of the documentary on the game providing some phenomenal footage. The BBC website pulled together an impressive recap and added this anecdote which will definitely get a chuckle out of any Michigan Marching Band fan:

..the Ohio State Marching Band, which considered itself the best in the country (and still does), was offended by an article in Life magazine which claimed Michigan had the best. Ohio State was determined to prove itself and arranged an elaborate performance for half time. However, the brass instruments were chilled and the mouthpieces frozen. It seemed it would be unable to play.

The band planned to silently perform its maneuvers, which included standing together in a shape resembling a Buckeye leaf, while previously recorded music played over the loudspeakers. However, the determined band members got hold of some antifreeze for their mouthpieces and did the performance.

I’ll bookend end this eBay Watch with another item from the period. It’s a 1951 Michiganensian yearbook, featuring a few photos from both games, here’s a few pics from the Snow Bowl as displayed in the yearbook:

[Originally posted November 16, 2008]

Follow MVictors on Twitter 

Sources:
* From the Ohio State library 1950 OSU vs. Michigan, The Snow Bowl
* An excellent recap from The BBC Website
* Game footage from ohiohistory.com
* Weather Events: Blizzard Bowl
* SI.com on the 10 greatest games in the U-M/OSU Rivalry

Prior to the Purdue game I sat in for a segment on WOMC’s Tailgate Show.  Just before I went on the air, host Lucy Ann Lance summoned over Peg Canham, widow of legendary Michigan athletic director Don Canham.

Mrs. Canham was wearing a stunning necklace and it caught my eye.  Lance knew a bit about it and mentioned that it was a gift from the former AD, made from an old Wolverine football championship ring.

I wanted to know a little more, so I connected with Mrs. Canham afterwards and she was kind enough to send along a photo:

canham

I knew there was something very familiar about her necklace, and it didn’t take long to figure out why.  I’ve featured a few Michigan championship rings on eBay Watch over the years including this one from 1977:

Along with the photo, Mrs. Canham was kind enough to share a few memories about the ring. “He surprised me with the necklace for Christmas shortly after we were married in 1995,” she told me.  “As I’m sure you can figure Don had a jewelry box full of rings but this one was always my favorite because it is the Michigan Stadium, and he knew it.”

She also noted that in the famous photo of Don Canham at his desk (the same one you can find inside Yost Ice Arena on the west wall), the legendary AD is wearing that band, back when it was merely a ring:

doncanham2Don Canham wearing the would-be necklace (courtesy of Peg Canham)

Outside of Ann Arbor, Don Canham is probably best known for revolutionizing the concept of marketing college football and athletics in general.  According to Peg, some of those who worked with directly with him might remember him as “a gruff, tough and ‘all business’ type of person.”

Not true says Peg.

“In actuality he was a very kind, caring person.  He loved children and always went out of his way for them.  This necklace was just one of many sweet things he did for me.”

As we know, while sadly many of these mementos end up in boxes, attics or <gulp> even eBay, this one isn’t going anywhere.  “Now that Don is gone I treasure this keepsake more than ever,” Canham shared.  “I miss that guy every day!”

Currently Mrs. Canham is working on setting up an elite honors program in Sports Management in Don’s name within the U-M School of Kinesiology.    The intent, according to Canham, is “to make it the premier program in the nation taking only the top 10-15 students for this two year program.”   Details are still in the works and she’s already working on contacting potential donors and other U-M affiliated organizations.

What a great idea.  Oh, and when can I apply?

Related:
* Michigan football needed a turnaround. Enter Don Canham.  Daily interview from 2004
* From the Inside  Book by Don Canham  
* Canham items on eBay

09. November 2009 · Comments Off on Chicken Choked · Categories: Archive 2009, Coach Berenson, Fans, Hockey, Yost · Tags: , , , , ,

I sit across from the heart of the Yost student section and it wasn’t hard to make out one particular young mind on Friday night: the dude dressed as a chicken screaming into a megaphone.  

chicken

Turns out that crazy chicken was Andy Reid, sports editor of the Daily.  He made an encore appearance Saturday night but things didn’t go as planned:

Saturday night, I got kicked out. Not cool, dude.

Amidst an entire student section doing the same thing [the vulgar C-YA chant], an usher grabbed my elbow and told me it was time to leave, unless I wanted to be led out of the stadium in handcuffs.

I will admit that I stood out from the other Children of Yost. I may or may not have had a megaphone. And I may or may not have been, ahem, dressed up — if you went to the game, you might have seen a six-foot chicken standing against the glass in section 18.

But that’s even more reason to not kick me out. How is the team supposed to focus and be motivated without a yellow, fuzzy chicken standing behind the glass?

Reid suggests other things could be done to curb the nasty chant (which is delivered when opposing players are sent to the penalty box) including a message from Red Berenson.  Well IIRC, Berenson’s already asked the students to kill the chant and they do it anyway.

I think they should stop doing the C-YA because it’s tired and stale, and there are more than a few young kids at games.  I can also tell you, sitting on the other side of the ice, that you can’t make out a single word that is said anyway.  Seriously, I’m thankful Reid published the actual words to the chant so I could learn what they were saying.

The chicken will return from the State game this week and for what it’s worth, I’d take 30 chickens over these guys.

— ———————-

Related: eBay Watch: Billy Sauer’s Mask (2007)

Next up on eBay Watch, someone’s listing what they claim is the winged helmet and facemask belonging to former Michigan hockey goalie Billy Sauer:

Michigan hockey helmet

The seller says this mask was worn in the 2007 NCAA playoffs and Frozen Four, per the description:

Game worn Billy Sauer University of Michigan helmet worn during the 2007 season including the NCAA Playoffs and Frozen Four.  Itech mask with gorgeous Michigan paint job by Gilders(see all attached pictures).  Helmet shows good usage with puck/stick marks on the top of the helmet and as well as on the chin area.

Tough to argue on the authenticity here, and the seller points out a chip on the chin that appears to be on a photo of Sauer:

billy sauer's facemask

According to a quick Googlestalk, Sauer is currently playing with the ECHL’s Charlotte Checkers.  Looks like he’s struggled a bit early on but he did get his first professional win last week on Wednesday.  Great to hear.

The seller didn’t explain how he came to own the mask or why it was put on the block.  It doesn’t appear to be tied to a University charity or fundraiser.

The auction closed tonight, and no one bit on the $1,599.00 asking price, which seems way steep.

Other cool stuff:

illinois homecoming pin 1927

ohio state gold pants

A pin from the 1927 Illinois game at Champaign.  Starting at $29.

Another pair of the gold pants Ohio State players get for beating Michigan.  This one from 1981– no player initials.

The U-M Media Relations department circulated this after the game.  I’m not publishing it because I have some beef with the calls or think they had a major impact on the game.  I haven’t seen the replay of the lateral yet but assume they made the correct call, and it looked like Michigan got a huge break on the fumbled punt that was negated by the bad interference call.  I’m not sure who’s asking the questions–

Following are the quotes from Todd Geerlings, the Referee from today’s Michigan-Purdue Game.

What was the interpretation on the fourth down review with the forward lateral? What was it that the replay official saw?

TODD GEERLINGS: “The replay official saw that the ball, when it left his hand to the point where it touched the receiver’s hand, was clearly forward from the 13 to the 12 yard line. That’s why we had an illegal forward pass from the spot of that pass.”

Who called for the review?

GEERLINGS: “The booth called for the review and I announced that on the field prior to. The coaches on the field were trying to but Purdue did not have a challenge left so they couldn’t have. They were trying to but just as I got the buzz on the pager, I just turned to Purdue and said ‘We got it’ but I think people thought they had challenged it. They were trying to, but they did not.”

If they had been able to challenge it…

GEERLINGS: “They could not have challenged it. They had a challenge earlier in the game, which they used, and they did not have a challenge remaining, so they could not have challenged it.”

If they had the challenge, once they had challenged it, everything would be open for review, correct? Or would have it changed what would have been reviewed?

GEERLINGS: “It would have not changed anything if they challenged it or the booth buzzed it. We looked at the same things and what we found was that the ball was clearly forward from the time it left the passer’s hand to touching the hand of the receiver.”

What did you see on the play?

GEERLINGS: “My role is rolling with the quarterback. I was behind by maybe five or six yards. I knew it was very close but I could not tell if it was forward or backward because I was five yards upfield from that. The head linesman was right there and said ‘Hey, it’s very, very close.’ But he was coming up to get progress and was slightly behind and didn’t have a perfect look at it. He did not have enough information on the field to rule it forward.”

With the punt return muff call earlier (by Hemingway)…

GEERLINGS: “It’s a judgment call, deemed to have interfered with.”

Related:  Rodriguez postgame in press conference, including the Danny Hope confrontation.

12. October 2009 · Comments Off on The Rift Reality, Part II · Categories: Archive 2009, Fans

I see there’s a little bit of a freak out happening on this whole Forcier/Rodriguez rift nonsense.  Do I think Forcier did and probably said something that pissed off Rodriguez?  Yes, I think so but I think it’s more about what he was doing on the field.  TATE!!!!

Do I think this will carry over into next week?  No, in fact I’m sure it’s already far gone and Rodriguez and Forcier’s coach-player relationship will be better for whatever miscommunication occurred.

Do I think Forcier is the absolutely the #1 option at quarterback (despite the depth chart that still lists Sheridan as an “OR” haha)?  For sure.

Will Robinson get more snaps next game?  Sure and I would like to see Robinson get more snaps against Delaware State to get more comfortable.  The last pass was horrible but he’s a freshman (look at some of Stanzi’s passes- yikes) and it’s not like Forcier was having success delivering the ball to the wide-outs.

I’m not concerned about any of this stuff at quarterback, but I can’t say that about the Boubacar situation, which Ira and I covered with Andy Mignery and Sam Webb on the WTKA pre-game show Saturday.  More this morning from the Freep but note this is part reporting, part editorial:

CISSOKO OUT? Rodriguez sounded pessimistic about Boubacar Cissoko’s future, leaving his suspension open-ended and saying he expects Troy Woolfolk to stay at corner. Maybe Cissoko can work his way back into good graces, but it seems he has a long way to go. It’ll be interesting to see whether Cissoko has the desire to change and meet Rodriguez’s standards.

Related:
The Rift Reality (Part I, I guess)
My Team is on the Field (looking at the Iowa/RR incident)

Another nice win as Michigan pulls away in the second half to take down Ron English and the EMU Eagles.  Tip of the hat to English whose squad put together a gutty first half and played hard throughout.   It’s easy to forget about the giant holes in our defensive line when guys are sprinting for touchdowns right and left (or north and south I guess), but it remains a concern. 

Miscellanea:

QB Depth:  As Tate Forcier lay flat on the ground with his face in the turf, visions of sugar plums and roses (which remain on the far right of the possible season outcome continuum) got a bit blurred.  Denard’s two poor passes over the middle show he’s not ready to be the quarterback of this team and that’s not a shock.  Big things could happen with Forcier at the helm but if he goes down and Robinson is inserted, we become a better team than 2008 but not much more.

Speed:  There are many reasons to be giddy about this season, but we’re seeing that promise of speed with three demonstrations that are on par with any burst we’ve seen in years, maybe since Steve Breaston in the 2005 Rose Bowl.  Consider (I’m going to collect these like when fans put up K’s at baseball games):

  • Robinson’s fumble-turned-touchdown run against Western.
  • Stoneum’s kick-off return against Notre Dame, when he was 100% gone well before he reach midfield.
  • And now add Carlos Brown’s 90 yard jaunt yesterday.

Punt option:  This prompted a rare in-game post, but I’d love to see Rodriguez consider dropping in the punt roll-out option with Mesko once again especially on those fourth and short situations.  I hated that thing at first but with Zoltan back there handling it I’m completely comfortable after watching how it was employed last season.   And speaking of special teams, if you wondering how the Wolverines didn’t get a piece of this punt, this will only help a little bit (from the M photostore):

block

The Delany Film Festival:  Boy, I completely agree with Rodriguez on his disappointment with the Big Ten’s decision to step in suspend Mouton.  And it’s a personal slight against Rodriguez, suggesting he’s not imposing proper discipline on his players.  That punch was nothing.  At best, this deserved a discussion after the game with Mouton and maybe some M stadium steps—but that should be left to Michigan to decide.  That said…

…someone needs to tell Rodriguez to suspend the Delany Film Festival.  He was embarrassed by the commissioner and that was wrong, but to start a public campaign to challenge the Big Ten by poring over game films to find players behaving badly?  I didn’t hear the quote first hand, I assume Rodriguez wasn’t joking about this.  The right thing to do would be to have a conversation with Delany to understand why the Big Ten did what they did, share his disappointment and then quietly move on.  He did speak with Delany but that’s not exactly how it went.  If Rich Rod is behind this, one of his trusted inner circle guys needs to tap the Emperor on the shoulder and tell him to direct that energy elsewhere.  Where is that going?  Michigan finds tape of player X kicking player Y, suggests the Big Ten suspends player X, Conference takes no action, Michigan cries hypocrisy, rinse, repeat?  Drop it.

Square Dancing?  Colde English?  Nice to see former Michigan coach Ron English and Rodriguez share a nice embrace at midfield and exchange pleasantries after their hard-fought battle (via AnnArbor.com and the great Lon Horwedel):

shake 
Yikes.  OK, so read what you want but select one of the below:

      a) English is still pissed about not getting a good look from Rodriguez for the defensive coordinator position last year, especially after RR went with an outsider.

      b) There really is a Coach Carr camp that doesn’t like Rodriguez

      c) English was pissed that Denard Robinson tossed a bomb later in the fourth quarter up four touchdowns

     d) English was pissed that guys like Graham and Warren were still in the game with 5 minutes to go

     e) All of the above.

Elsewhere:

  • Michigan State/Notre Dame:  I’m still trying to gauge what kind of teams Notre Dame and MSU have right now, but what a game in South Bend.  Cousins’ interception was awful and awfully inexplicable considering the game he managed all day (other than when Dantonio put Nichol in, which I don’t understand).  I was impressed with State and I love Blair White.  I see the October 3 game as a toss up right now, maybe slight edge to the Spartans.  All in all, not a bad outcome for Michigan fans: one rival loses, and the other loses their best player.
  • Bad Booth:  One thing I can’t get over is the not-TD catch by Floyd where he broke his collarbone.  I’m not sure what the bigger crime is to the replay officials:  not asking for a replay in the first place (umm, on a frickin’ play in the endzone, is that one we should look at….?) or, after Weis challenged, not seeing that Floyd easily made the catch and had one, probably two feet in bounds.  AT BEST – the replay guys punted saying the didn’t have conclusive evidence that he had enough control, but that’s really a thin argument given what NBC showed.  Why do I care?  That’s incompetence man.  Delany should suspend those guys for the season.  Or punch them.  Or make them run steps with Mouton.
  • Carroll.  Dude, fool me four times, but come on with the love affair of Pete Carroll and his uber-laid back teams, and towel-snapping Friday walkthroughs, and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle blah, blah blah.   He’s now lost to below average UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington teams in the past few years yet all we do is paint Carroll like a god, often wearing a thong.  Bill Plaschke in the LA Times took a few shots and added this observation, lol:

    The path got longer afterward, when several USC players were seen loudly examining stat sheets in the locker room, never a good sign after a team loss.

The Free Press is now saying that word that Greg Paulus visited Michigan yesterday and is considering playing for Rich Rodriguez is a April Fools joke?  On April 14th?  Really funny.

The original Freep headline read:  ‘Ex-Duke Point Guard Paulus may play football at Michigan’.   The new headline reads: ‘Greg Paulus’ Michigan football workout reported as April Fool’s Joke’ and includes this:

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by Fox Sports as an April Fool’s joke. We apologize for the mistake.

Hilarious.  What’s odd about the Free Press retraction is that there’s no retraction on the FoxSports.com piece that broke the story, at least not yet.   This rumor spread like wild fire, boiling all the way up to Dan Patrick’s tired radio show prompting a poll question:

image

What a circus, man.

Update (a few minutes after posting this): My nerves, now the Free Press is retracting the retraction, going back to the original heading with the following note:

Editor’s note: We have talked with an editor at Foxsports.com and have learned this story is true as reported. Again, apologize for the mistake.

Update #2, around 12:30pm: Freep has now pulled the retraction editorial note with this:

Editor’s note: Story updated at 11:31 a.m.

Already busted, homes.

Related: Carty weighs in on this, including the eligibility rules. One more take on this, I suggest we wait to get some more details on why he was at practice before we jump to the conclusion he wants to play for Rodriguez, and Rich Rod wants him on the roster. He may have been in town to get some advice, or to hit Zingerman’s, or to hang out with Peedi and Fresh.

Related #2:   Paulus on Dan Patrick 4/16.

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Can someone clear up the pronunciation of Tate Forcier’s last name?  I thought fans and media settled nicely on the Frenchish “FOUR-see-eh”, which is backed up by the pronunciation guide listing for his brother Jason in the 2006 Weekly Releases:

forcier

But then I heard the podcast of former AA News columnist Jim Carty (who probably takes such things seriously and must have bumped into brother Jason on his beat) who on WTKA Monday referred to Tate as “FOUR-sear”.   Ben Holden did the same today WTKA’s Big Show.

Then I stumbled onto this on mgoblog, where Brian’s uber-assistant Tom VanHaaren recently was asked this question in the comments of a blog post.   Clear as mud:

User ‘MH20’: ..BTW, did you ask Tate off the record how his last name is pronounced?

TomVH:  Yea I actually did, and it didn’t settle anything. He said it’s either For-see-ay, or For-see-er. He said either pronunciation is fine. I think he says For-see-er though, FWIW. That’s how I’ve been pronouncing it when I read it to myself on here.

Update 2/18:  Sean at MSC pointed out this column from Angelique, which starts this way:

Tate Forcier doesn’t really care how you say his last name.  Tate Four-See-A. Tate Four-Sear.

So which is it?

“I don’t care,” he said, smiling.

But how does he introduce himself?

“I say Tate Four-See-A — it’s easier,” he said, laughing. “Four-Sear, it’s like, I don’t know, I don’t feel it.”

I’m going to call him “FEISMAN”.