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

So I went over to the Columbus’ 97.1 The Fan website to find the audio of Rich Rodriguez’s call today, and stumbled on this.  Jamie Morris, Michigan football legend, WTKA Sunday radio host and most importantly an official within the U-M athletic department spoke to the Columbus host (Bruce Hooley…Chris Spielman was away) about the upcoming Ohio State game, but also answered a few questions about Rodriguez and Jim Harbaugh.

My frustration with Morris on WTKA is that he’s been such a company man towing the company line on WTKA, that it’s prevented him from offering actual opinions.  But give this is listen as Morris gets candid.

I don’t know if this is just Jamie measuring his words, but he didn’t exactly serve up a wild endorsement of Rodriguez and admitted that Harbaugh would be welcomed back to U-M if he were the Michigan football coach at some point beyond RR’s tenure.  It’s not so much what he said, but that Morris never says anything remotely beyond the company line.

Give this a listen, it gets interesting about 3 minutes in:

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Notes/Quotes:

  • For starters, he referred to Harbaugh as “Jimmy” instead of “traitor”.
  • Hooley asked for a general sense of the radio caller support for Rodriguez.  Morris: “I think we’re at a 50/50 split now…”
  • When asked about whether he’d support anybody as coach (as a Michigan man), and whether he supports this Michigan coach.   Morris pauses and says, “I believe in Michigan.”  He added, “I’m in favor of him.  I believe in Rich Rodriguez and I believe in Michigan.  So I’m lining up behind him and I’m going to go with him and I’m going to believe in him and I’m looking for a big Michigan victory.”
  • Morris is asked about whether the former players support Rodriguez.  Morris: “You know what? The guys respect the position.  A lot of guys that I played with, the guys I talk to..they played for Bo Schembechler so they respect that position.”
  • Then there was this:

Hooley: “Do you think if Michigan loses the game Saturday, do you see any way Rich is not there next year?” 

Morris: “[long pause] You know that’s tough.  You know what?  I think what people want is Michigan football.  They want hard fought plays.  They want a team that goes out there and that performs at the highest level and give everything they got, win or lose.  And then you just let the chips fall where they may.”

Hooley: “Do you think that’s what they’re getting now?”

Morris: “Well…[pause]…not all the time Bruce.  I don’t think so but I’ll tell you what..”

Hooley: “It’s hard to say that when they are 1-6 in the Big Ten I’m sure.”

Morris: “Right.  It’s tough.  But you know what?  Are they getting better?  Yes.  Do I see them getting better?  Yes.  But I’m not your typical fan.  I’m not the guy that’s going to be watching for the long plays and everything.  I’m watching the guys up front; I’m seeing what they’re doing.   I know what we have and I know what these guys are capable of doing.”

Morris:  “Jim Harbaugh is the head football coach for Stanford.  If we were to go a different direction and Jim Harbaugh becomes the Michigan coach, he’d be a welcome addition.  But right now, it’s Rich Rodriguez.  It’s Rich Rodriguez right now and that’s who we’re behind.  So, if you want to talk about Jim Harbaugh, I think Jim Harbaugh’s doing a wonderful job at Stanford and like you say, he’s beat USC two out of the three years he’s been there, which is great.  Makes great for the resume.  But until Rich Rodriguez is fired, or he resigns or whatever, I’m not going to talk about Jim Harbaugh being in the Michigan family as the head football coach, but he was a great quarterback here.”

Hooley:  “If Rich was fired, would Harbaugh be a popular choice?”

Morris: “Oh, without a doubt.  Sure.  He’d be dynamic, he’d do the things like you said…Jim’s a go-getter.  But like I said, Jim Harbaugh’s worried about making it to the Rose Bowl from the Pac 10 side.”

Interesting comments from J-Mo.  The biggest thing that got me, maybe shocked me, was hesitation and in the end, non-response when asked about the possibility of RR not returning.  If nothing else, it looks his feud with Harbaugh (Morris in 2007 “He used to have a contact here at the Athletic Department, but obviously he doesn’t anymore.”) is over.

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In a brief edition of eBay Watch, after featuring a few Michigan championship rings that were auctioned on eBay, it’s nice to show one of these beauties being hocked: a 2002-03 Ohio State national championship ring.

The seller is asking a cool $3,750 for this little gem.  The ring includes the score of the 2003 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami on one side and of course, the score of the 2002 Ohio State-Michigan game on the other. 

Sadly, the name of the player or coach who is parting with this memento is concealed:

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But after some analysis down in my mom’s basement the Bat Cave, I got some claretty:

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The auction ends April 25th.

Related:

29. January 2009 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: A Hard Combination to Beat (1905) · Categories: Archive 2009, eBay Watch, Fans, History, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Yost · Tags: , , , , ,

Another vintage Michigan football item showed up this week on eBay, this time a post card celebrating Fielding Yost and his fine 1905 squad. The team is assembled in a line with Yost in the middle, standing on a large sign in the shape of a football that reads ‘Western Championship’. Atop the photo is a block letter title, ‘A HARD COMBINATION TO BEAT’.

The copyright of the postcard is 1905, so I’m guessing this was produced before the season as a souvenir to students and fans. The mention of the Western Championship refers to the undefeated 1904 campaign when the great Willie Heston and the Wolverines ran the table 10-0 and outscored opponents 567-22.

More evidence that this was produced prior to the season, someone wrote on the card “We defeated Wisconsin 12 to 0, as ever.”    The Wolverines indeed defeated the Badgers by that margin on homecoming that season, on November 18, 1905 specifically.   The “as ever” zinger was a 1905 version of smack talk if you’re keeping track; probably about as harsh as it got it those days.

The 1905 crew was a well photographed group. Yost and his teams hadn’t been defeated since he stepped on campus four years prior so it makes sense that folks were eager to get a good look at the machine that was tearing up the football world. Thankfully the Bentley Library has republished a few bonus photos of this team online and they include the shot that was used for the postcard in the eBay auction.  Closer inspection reveals that the “Western Championship” oval on the postcard was likely dubbed-in later (1905 version of photoshopping) as Yost is standing on a small stool:


Bentley Library

Other photos of the 1905 squad that can be found (and can be blown up into incredible detail) on the Bentley Library site:

In a very cool huddle around Yost – Bentley Library

Line up for good measure – Bentley Library

At the Whitmore Lake Hotel – 1905 – Bentley Library*

*[Ed 10/1/09: Thanks to reader Michael F., who correctly identified the correct whereabouts of the photo above.   It is from Walter Graham’s photo album at the Bentley Library, a 1905 shot on the front porch of The Whitmore Lake Hotel.  The team used to train at Whitmore Lake before the season.  Very cool.  Here’s a link to the photo.]

The author of that smack talk was justified in dropping some postcard pomposity, as to that point the 1905 crew were rolling.   Through the shot-out of Wisconsin and onto the next week when they added a 75-0 defeat of Oberlin, Yost’s men were undefeated with 12 wins, outscoring opponents 495-0. The smack would end there unfortunately, as a few days later Michigan traveled to the Windy City and experience something that hadn’t happened in Yost’s five seasons: they lost.  Barely.  Their old rivals Chicago sent The Victors back on the train to Ann Arbor with a 2-0 defeat, the streak broken.

A Bonus eBay Watch:
A member of the 1967 Ohio State football squad is selling the sacred gold pants they receive if they defeat Michigan. It’s not the first time one of these beauties has come up for auction; it won’t be the last.

Coaches and players receive the award which has its roots during Michigan’s brutal season of 1934 when new OSU coach Francis Schmidt sized up Gerald Ford & the two-time defending national champions and observed, “They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everybody else.”

I’ve seen these fetch around $1,000 in the past, we’ll see how this auction goes, here’s a pic:

Related:

19. January 2009 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: Dougovito is a bad Mo Fo (1931-32) · Categories: Archive 2009, eBay Watch, History, Ohio State

The next edition of eBay Watch takes a foray onto uncharted waters–Michigan wrestling. A pair of meet scorecards were offered up on the online auction site this past week, one from the February 14, 1931 battle against Ohio State, the next from a January 9, 1932 meet against the University of Toronto. Both were held at Yost Field House.

I couldn’t find out what happened in the Ohio State meet but I’m guess the Victors prevailed as the Buckeyes don’t have much of a wrestling program:

Carl Dougovito wrestles for Michigan against Ohio State

Based on what I can make out on the scorecard, Michigan shut-out the grapplin’ Canucks 34-0:

Michigan vs. Toronto in Wrestling meet

Slotted to wrestle in the 165 class against the Buckeyes was a gent named Carl Dougovito. A year later Dougovito would cement his place in Michigan wrestling lore by slimming down a bit and claiming the NCAA championship in the 158-pound class [click here to see the full bracket]. By taking NCAAs he earned a photo up on the Bentley website and it’s a real beauty, take a good look:

Carl Dougovito Bentley Library – Carl Dougovito is a man’s man

The Bentley library actually makes a mistake there, as does a 2008 release from mgoblue.com. They each list Dougovito as 1932 NCAA champion in the 175 pound class, but it’s pretty clear from the NCAA records that he indeed won in the 158 pound division. If you don’t believe the bracket itself, believe Bruce Madej’s book The Champions of the West, where it confirms that Dougovito shed a few pounds to compete and win at 158.

Dougovito took his talents to the U.S. Olympic trials and got completely screwed, having to settle on an alternate position on the 1932 US Olympic team. Again, from the Bentley Library:

At the U.S. trials, Dugovito had apparently earned first place at this weight with convincing wins in the semi-finals and finals. A check of the standings, however, revealed that under the scoring system in use, one of the semi-finals losers was still eligible for a wrestle back match. So thirty minutes after what he thought was the championship, Dugovito was forced to wrestle another match. An exhausted Dugovito fought Jack van Bebber to a draw, but lost his title on a referee’s decision. Van Bebber easily won the gold medal in Los Angeles.

The auction closed Monday evening, the scorecards sold for a mere $2.99.

Related:
eBay Watch: The Fall of 1934
eBay Watch: 1933 and the Dickinson Formula
eBay Watch: 1933 MSC Ticket Application
Gerald Ford, Michigan Man
eBay Watch: Michigan Baseball Visits Japan (1932!)

Just posted on YouTube, a quick interview with Ohio State center B.J. Mullens this week on the upcoming Michigan game.

Interviewer: Let’s be honest, give me your thoughts on the University of Michigan.
Mullens: They suck. I mean come on. We’re going to go up there and beat them pretty bad. That’s a rival and that’s how it’s going to be.
Interviewer: Do you give a damn for that whole state?
Mullens: No. Not at all.

So that’s fine, I don’t have an issue with a Buckeye trashing Michigan or vice versa, even dropping a “sucks” here and there. But the final question inadvertently produces a great moment in the history of this rivalry:

Interviewer: In as many S.A.T vocabulary words as you can, your opinion of Michigan.
Mullens: Boo.

Isn’t that grounds for an NCAA investigation? A cow could have scored as well on that question. I love it because you know the interviewer is a Buckeye grad, yet he inadvertently delivers a perfect Stuttering John question.



Update 1/17: Good question from Biggie Munn, ‘what in the hell sport did this raj cat play that he did not lose to um in 4 years?‘. Midway through the interview Raj offers that he “went four years and never lost to Michigan”.

Best I can tell Raj was in the homecoming class and his bio reveals he’s a super huge Buckeye fan. Beyond that, I doubt Raj was raining down threes or delivering touchdown dances on old Mich during his time in Columbus.

As for BJM, I consulted some folks at the Princeton Review and they confirmed that the S.A.T would give zero points for that answer. Had the question been, “What do ghosts say?” or “Who’s your favorite golfer?” or, “Name a key character in To Kill a Mockingbird?” or even, “What’s a common urban term for one’s ladyfriend?”, BJ would have been offered some credit.

12. January 2009 · Comments Off on When the Game Must be Moved · Categories: Archive 2009, Detroit Lions, History, Ohio State, Rose Bowl, Tickets


Played January 11, 2009, scheduled January 9, 2009

Red Berenson and crew continued its roll yesterday afternoon, wrapping up a sweep of Miami, OH with a 4-0 shutout. The rare Sunday tilt was of course due to the postponement of Friday’s scheduled game, due to the structural issues uncovered at Yost Ice Arena.

This wasn’t the first time a scheduled game had to be moved, and unfortunately many of the other incidents were brought on by darker circumstances. I thought this would be a nice opportunity to look at some of those instances:

1963 – Kennedy

The assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 moved out the Ohio State game which was scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor the next day.


Played November 30, 1963, scheduled November 23, 1963

I was able to connect with Dr. Barry Dehlin, a sophomore on Bump Elliott’s 1963 crew and ask him about his memories of the days surrounding the assassination. Here’s what he wrote:

Naturally the assassination was a shock to all of us. I remember being in the dorm getting ready to go to practice when I heard what had happened. One of those sentinel moments in your life that you will always remember. We still met that Friday and the decision was already made that the game was postponed and would be played the next Saturday which of course was after Thanksgiving. The players would have to stay in town and not go home for Thanksgiving.

It was a cold week of practice but the interesting thing we did was bus to the Lions/Packers game on Thanksgiving. We sat on the field at Tiger stadium to watch the Lions and Packers tie. I believe that was the last game of the Lions and Packers on Thanksgiving for many years. That story I don’t know. [Ed: Correct. That game, a 13-13 tie, was the end of a string of thirteen straight Thanksgiving Day games for the Packers and Lions in Detroit.]

The game then was played the next Saturday and Ohio won on a pass to Paul Warfield in the end zone just over the hands of Jack Clancy. Warfield of course had a fine pro career and so did Clancy, who also was a wideout in the pros. Also remember the college game before 1965 did not allow unlimited substitution. On a fumble or interception only 2 players could be substituted each down for the first series. It was a much different game.

Thanks for letting me reminisce.

Incredible stuff.

The Ohio State loss capped a tough run for Elliott’s squad, as they finished 3-4-2 good for fifth in the conference. The following season, Dehlin along with captain Jim Conley turned things completely around capped off with a 10-0 victory in Columbus and a 34-7 thumping of Oregon State in the Rose Bowl.

2001 – 9/11
The September 11, 2001 attacks took place right in the beginning of the college football season and caused a few ripples throughout the schedule. Michigan pushed games against Western Michigan and Illinois out one week.


Played September 29, 2001, scheduled September 22, 2001

1918 – WWI, Flu
In 1918 football took a backseat to WWI and a massive flu outbreak. The schedule was a complete mess and the Bentley Library added a note to help sort out all the shifts/cancellations:

Scheduled games with Camp Custer (10/12), Michigan State (10/19), Ohio State (10/26 at Columbus), Northwestern (11/02), Cornell (11/16), Syracuse (11/16 in place of Cornell) and Minnesota (11/23) were canceled in response to the influenza epidemic and war-related travel restrictions. Only the Michigan State and Ohio State games were rescheduled.

Fielding Yost’s Michigan squad ended up playing and winning five games that season and claimed the national championship. Ticketmuseum.com had a stub from the Michigan State (still named Michigan Agricultural College) game that season:


Scheduled October 19, 1918, played November 23, 1918, scheduled

You’ll note that the ticket has the date of the day the game was actually played, not when it was originally scheduled. Assuming the Bentley’s facts are correct on the date shuffle, they either printed new tickets (possible) or they were aware of the changes before they printed the 1918 tickets (likely).

23. December 2008 · Comments Off on New adidas Coaches Gear? · Categories: Archive 2008, eBay Watch, Fans, Jokes, Ohio State

Fight fire with fire, the cure for Sweatervestitis:

Michigan Sweatervest!

Yikes. Receiving this from your grams would tie a nice bow on a miserable year. Speaking of the holidays, are you 100% guaranteed to receive a Michigan related gift every year?

For the holidays, how much Michigan stuff do you typically get?

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Related: More stuff from eBay:
* Someone’s selling Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense playbooks on eBay man! Bollocks. [Hat Tip: Spawn of MZone]

* You can own the website domain, images and content on UMICHFOOTBALL.com for $499, here’s the auction (with free shipping!).


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