[Ed. You already know that quarterback Steve Smith anchors the offense on the Schembechler All-Bovember team, but I bet you didn’t know this tale!]

By Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis

A few years ago (my gosh, as I write this I realize it was almost 20 years ago!) I met former Michigan quarterback Steve Smith at a card signing.  Smitty was one of my favorite Michigan players growing up because he could do it all from the QB position. He could run – he had 4.5 speed in the 40 – and he could throw.  He was THE #16 before Shoelace wore #16.

After his playing days as a Wolverine, Smith opted for the Canadian Football League because most NFL teams viewed Smith as too short to play QB at the next level.  Not wanting to switch positions, Smith signed with the Montreal Concordes (formally the Alouettes) of the CFL in 1984.  But Nebraska’s Turner Gill also signed with Montreal and Smith ending up being the #2 QB in Montreal behind Gill.

Now mind you, just because I grew up in Canada, it doesn’t mean I was a diehard CFL fan, quite the opposite. I only followed former Michigan players if they came to play football in the Great White North, eh?

As I chatted with Smith about his playing days in Montreal, I mentioned to him that my good friend John Kryk actually had recorded some CFL action of Smitty against the Edmonton Eskimos on VHS videotape.  Smith laughed at the recollection of that game, in particular the interception he threw late in that contest.  With Gill being the main guy at the pivot position, Smith played sparingly in mop-up duty in Montreal.

In this particular game against the Eskies, it looked like Smith would not get much playing time, so Smitty ended up eating a HUGE pre-game meal.  As he told me, it looked like another game where he was not expected play.  As fate would have it Smith’s number was called late in the contest and the former Wolverine showed all of Canada what he had – full stomach and all.

After handing off to the running back on 1st down, Smith’s next play was a quarterback draw where his instincts and adrenaline just kicked in.  Smith took off and flashed his 4.5 speed for a 46-yard run down the sideline.  The crowd, and even the announcers were amazed at how fast he was.

The next time Smith went back to pass he threw a low ball that looked incomplete, but the Edmonton defender scooped up the ball and ran for what appeared to be a pick-six.  But Smitty with his blazing speed had other ideas.

He ran a good 75 yards full tilt, caught up with the Edmonton defender, and dragged him to the ground just before the end zone.  It was an impressive run by a QB playing in mop up duty.  As I recalled that story to Smith, he told me that what the cameras didn’t show after he made that tackle.

Because he had just motored some 75 yards on a full stomach, Smith got up from that tackle and— promptly hurled his lunch right there on the sideline!!

Smith asked me if I could make a copy of that videotape some twenty years ago to show his wife and kids that he really did play pro ball.  I did and the next time I caught up with #16 he was gracious enough to sign this picture for me:


For those of you who didn’t see Smitty play in the CFL, here is the link to his memorable game action against Edmonton:

chess via mgoblue.com

Heading into the season we figured Harbaugh was the answer but that he needed time.  We hoped that time would be short, even just maybe something would happen this year.  We hoped that under his tutelage, a quarterback would emerge to lead this team.  And  we hoped somehow we’d muster a running game and the defense would come together.   So here we are in mid-November with much on the line and with the events of the past few weeks—very hopeful.

Rudock looked like a different cat out there, with a new level of confidence and toughness.  At times he looked a bit like a young coach Harbaugh himself with the fierce runs on third down and balls to fire the pigskin over the middle.  And as Sap said, the passing game is starting to click.

The concerns for these 2 weeks are obvious.  A winless in B1G team in IU won the line of scrimmage and the “yeah but Glasgow” excuse turned into this.   We still couldn’t really run the ball and in space the first “man”, meaning mainly an Indiana 19 year old kid, took us down.  The penalties were horrible.  The linebackers were ineffective at best.  We missed a bunch of tackles.

But you are hopeful, aren’t you?  Despite all that stuff Michigan is a really tough team to beat and they will compete.

A few quick Sights and Sounds:

  • Uniform Timeline – Is the Sharpie-on-helmets timeline worthy?  Yes sir, especially if just about everyone on the team participates.  Updated with the custom #CHADTOUGH tribute to Chad Carr.
  • Mood – Putting aside the sadness globally and locally, the Mood stays pegged on 86.
  • OT success – With the win, I believe that puts Michigan at 10-32 all time in overtime games.
  • Nailbiters in general – The last few weeks have been crazy for sure, but there’s still work to do to top this stretch in 2005:
    • 9/24/2005 Wisconsin – Loss, Wisconsin TD with :24 left
    • 10/1/2005 MSU – Win, Field Goal on last play of game in OT
    • 10/8/2005 Minnesota – Loss, Field Goal with :01 left
    • 10/15/2005 –  Penn State – Win, TD on last play of game
    • 10/22/2005 –  Iowa Win, TD on last play of game in OT
  • Holding – Props to Blake O’Neill for getting a couple rough snaps down, including the crucial extra point at the end of the game.
  • History notes from #1000SSS:
    • Michigan has now won 20 consecutive games in the series against IU and improves to 55-9 all-time vs. the Hoosiers. U-M has won 17 of 18 meetings at Memorial Stadium and has been ranked in all 18 contests.
    • Butt now ranks No. 6 on U-M’s all-time tight end receptions list and No. 9 on the all-time list for yardage by a Wolverine tight end. He is 10th in single-season receptions by a tight end. Butt now has six receiving touchdowns, good enough for a ninth place tie for tight ends.
    • Quarterback Jake Rudock set a single-game record at U-M with six touchdown passes. No QB had more than four previously.


Ace mgoblog:

Michigan survived the chaos and remains alive in the Big Ten race; they can control their own destiny if they beat Penn State and Ohio State takes cares of Michigan State next weekend. After an up-and-down first half of the year, the offense is hitting its stride, albeit with help from the generous Rutgers and Indiana defenses they’ve faced the last two weeks.

Glasgow’s injury looms large, however. Jim Harbaugh announced after the game that the pectoral injury suffered last week will keep Michigan’s D-line linchpin out for the season. Michigan faces a pair of top-notch running backs the next to close the regular season in Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, to say nothing of the other weapons on Ohio State’s offense. The line, the unquestioned strength of the team until this week, now has to stiffen up if the Wolverines want a shot at that ever-elusive Big Ten title.


Indiana showed pass, then, given a chance to think about it, got Sudfeld scramble to the two and one last play.  Then Indiana called timeout to think about it and outsmarted themselves.  Discounting a punt and a field goal attempt, Indiana had called 20 consecutive run plays for 159 yards, two touchdowns, and a field goal.  It was working.  So yes, Durkin and the Michigan defense were probably expecting run, but they never sold out to buy into it.  Delano Hill stuck on his man, fought him tooth and nail, broke up the pass, and Michigan survived 48-41 and walked out of Bloomington with their 20 game winning streak against Indiana intact.


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WoW – what a finish!  Take the W and get out of Bloomington.  A win is a win. Now it’s onward – to your Champions.

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – When things start to click, your game becomes one with your teammates.  Plays that weren’t being made before, suddenly look like old hat.  Jake Rudock is starting to click, but more importantly, he’s clicking with Jehu Chesson.  That deep threat wasn’t there earlier in the season, but in these last two games, especially against Indiana, Jake Rudock to Jehu Chesson has been money.  The two had record-setting performances Saturday night and it’s a perfect time in the season for this to happen.  The threat of a deep passing game can only help the Michigan offense these next two games.  Jake to Jehu – sounds much like another great Michigan QB to WR combination: Benny (Friedman) to Bennie (Oosterbaan).

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Playing against a spread offense like IU only brings out the worst in your defense.  It exposes lack of depth.  It exposes poor tackling in open space.  It’s never a pretty picture on D.  As the game wore on, and as IU’s Jordan Howard kept ripping off huge run after huge run, I wasn’t going to select a Champion on defense.  It just felt as if I would be rewarding the player who got torched the least.  Throughout the game I noticed Delano Hill was not getting burned as much, so I was leaning towards him.  In overtime I kept thinking that just one player needed to make a play.  It was only fitting that Delano Hill made THE play – AWESOME!!

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPIONJourdan Lewis is making a case for being a two-way player.  I got no problem with him returning kickoffs.  He has the open field vision to “run where they ain’t” and that’s critical on kick returns.  While Jabrill can do the job back there, Jourdan is showing everybody that there is no major drop off with #26 returning kicks.

COACHING STAFF – Maybe it’s just me, but I truly believe the timeout Michigan took in overtime when IU had the ball on their last possession, really made a difference.  I think the Indiana coaching staff took the extra time to out-think themselves. Instead of going Beast-mode, they went to the air and, well…we know how that turned out!  I know it’s an old saying, but I gotta say it: “Hoosier Daddy?”

UNIFORM CHAMPION – So cool to see the entire Michigan team write “#ChadTough” in their own personal way on the back of their helmets.

chad Tough

A special tribute to a special kid.  A touching and class act by the Michigan Family.  GO BLUE!!  GO CHAD!!

Virtual Sap helmet:


Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).
    • Northwestern: Jehu Chesson, Jourdan Lewis, Offensive Line, (Uniform: Maize and Blue gloves).
    • Michigan State:  No Champions
    • Minnesota: Wilton Speight, Michigan defense, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Stickers crossing the stripes! :O)
    • Rutgers: Jake Rudock, Taco Charlton, Jim Harbaugh
    • Indiana: Jake Rudock, Jehu Chesson, Delano Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Coaching staff, (Uniform: #CHADTOUGH on helmets)

1942 Notre Dame Michigan

This week we mark Saturday’s anniversary of the resumption of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry in 1942, when your beloved #6 ranked Wolverines traveled to South Bend and crushed on the #4 Irish.  But to understand the significance of that day, we first take a trip back to November 1910 to understand why the rivalry was originally cancelled.  Go Blue, Beat Irish!

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 Saturday starting at 11:30am.

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More »

[Ed. Given it’s Movember again, had to repost this beauty from back in 2013 from Dr. Sap, celebrating the greatest ‘stashes in U-M history.]

The All-Schembechler mustachioed offense.   I supplied the stache’d Schembechler and the mustache ratings.


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Offensive Guard

3 Star


4 Star

Offensive Guard

4 Star

Don’t let the look deceive you, #76 was as good as it gets on the O-line.

Anchored the All-American O-line in 1981.  Every player ended up being an All-American selection.

The standard by which all U-M guards are measured.


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Offensive Tackle
5 Star

1 Star

Offensive Tackle
2 Star

Dude still looks tough today even without all the hair and the bowtie.

Fastest dual-threat QB Bo had and could do it on the ground or in the air.

Bo’s largest player at 6-8, 322. Fact: was a Road Grater and Pancake Machine


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2 Star

Tight End
4 Star

Wide Receiver
3 Star

Knew he was special when he scored a touchdown the 1st time he touched the ball.

Most memorable catch was the game-winning touchdown against Notre Dame in 1980.  I still refuse to accept the final score!

Played opposite AC but had a knack for getting BOTH feet in bounds.


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4 Star

1980-19830 Star

3 Star

The charter Movember member loved to wear stylish teal Puma cleats back in the day.

Might have been the lightest player to don the maize & blue but he delivered the game-winning FG against Iowa in ‘83.

Completed Rose Bowl vendetta with his 1-yard TD run against Washington in the 1981 Rose Bowl victory.



Thanks Sap!  I needed that after Saturday.   Will we see a defense?  TBD!
Update:  Yes, we have a Defense!

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I put this out there last week and it sparked some interesting feedback on Twitter:


For those who don’t make it to the Big House on the regular, north is the student section or generally left on your TV, south has the flag pole.   For me I’m torn.  The greatest moments that I’ve seen in person are probably the Desmond catch on fourth down against Notre Dame in 1991 in the north, and the Desmond (‘91) and Woodson (‘97) punt returns against Ohio State that went to the south. 

A quick breakdown of huge moments by endzone, a big thanks to Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag:


  • Hello Heisman punt return vs, Ohio State 1991
  • Woodson punt return vs. Ohio State 1997
  • Denard first TD vs. Western Michigan 2010
  • Kip Taylor – first touchdown in Michigan Stadium 1927
  • Wangler to Carter vs. Indiana 1979
  • Henne to Manningham vs. Penn State
  • Forcier to Mathews vs. Notre Dame
  • Treezy UTL1 vs. Notre Dame



  • The Catch – Desmond vs. Notre Dame 1991
  • #BraylonFest vs. Michigan State 2004
  • Mercury Hayes vs. Virginia 1995
  • Harbaugh to Kolesar vs. Ohio State 1985

I know there’s a big recency bias so far – consider this a work in progress.

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Scarlet Chomp

So much changes from one season to another, but we haven’t seen anything like this.  Even in 1969, Bo inherited a squad that went 8-2 including 8 straight and was in the top 10 during the entire month of November. Even Yost’s perfectly perfect 1901 debut was preceded by a 1900 team that was no slouch. To head into a game against a team who beat you last year as 4 touchdown favorites and beat them by five– feels damn good.  Sure, it was an imploding Rutgers squad and it was far from perfect, but it’s all good. With the circumstances of the evening now there’s a shot at not only a top tier bowl game, there’s possibly more.   To the sights and sounds:

Game Program.  Another one out of the park (and the hand model is Costanza-esque!):

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MSU and the East Divison.  State got f*cked, we got fluked, so be it.  I give us around a coin toss chance of beating both Indiana and Penn State to set up The Game.  Either way the Ohio game will be epic but wouldn’t that be something?  But I’m worried enough about those two games to think about anything or anyone else.

Refs.  Ok, State really got screwed.  A theme of these games continues to be the crappy refs and the crappy replays.  I’m sick of it.  I propose we get rid of one of them – the replays.  Let the crappy refs call the game and let’s let the chips fall and let us get back to our miserable lives. I’m ok with the consequences (including Michigan incorrectly losing the ball on the first play of the game Saturday).  I’d rather have: 1) my time, 2) my sanity, and 3) the flow of the game back.  Caption contest winner dedicated to the refs:


Mood and Uniform Timeline.   Put The Mood at 86. I’m wearing Michigan stuff at brunch on Sunday and so should you.  No updates to the Uniform timeline but note that added to the list of freaks with decals inside the stripes are Desmond Morgan (HT: Mike of the #THC) and Jourdan Lewis.  STOP!

Jabrill Hand

Too soon???   North end zone in the final seconds of the State game.  This is right after the MSU guy grabbed the ball.  I can see your O face, click to enlarge if you can deal with it:

o face

The guy in the bright maize M sweatshirt in row 1 middle is my favorite.   He dropped his head immediately after State grabbed the ball, flashing instantly through the 5 stages of grief:

o face

Kickoff Grab. Props to the gent in the first row of Section 13 who snagged the kickoff and immediately tossed the pigskin up the stands to head out of the stadium.  I’m not sure if it made it out?   Well done either way.

A: The preferred tie brand of M head coaches and Jeopardy champions. Q: What is Van Boven?  Check out J! on Wednesday for the return of champion John Schultz and his VB tie.   John is not quite at Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag status as a J! champion, but I’ll be watching this week.

So onto next week.  Let’s sink the Bismarck and the Hoosiers in Bloomington – Go Blue!


mgoblog, Ace:

Jarrod Wilson, long lauded here for being comfortingly boring, made an exceptionally un-boring play when he got over the top of a pass to Grant and dove for an interception. Jourdan Lewis, whom Chris Laviano inexplicably targeted with frequency, matched and surpassed the school single-season record for pass breakups previously held by Leon Hall and Marlin Jackson; his record-breaking 19th PBU killed a late Rutgers drive.

mgoblog, Brian

Maize and Blue Nation, Brad:

A week after secondary coach Mike Zordich said his group “laid an egg” against Minnesota, they flexed their muscles, and showed their strengths against the Rutgers passing attack, only allowing 97 passing yards on the day.

Andy @ umgoblue:

Peppers has reinforced his stature as Michigan’s best player this season. He is becoming a legend at Michigan. Ninety-two plays against the Gophers on offense, defense and special teams was a remarkable performance. And while he shared the load some with Jordan Lewis on kick returns Saturday, he had that outstanding 18-yard TD run after a lateral on what looked like it was going to become a wheel route, but was cut up field. This was as nifty a run as you will ever hope to see as he made tacklers miss. The usually more restrained Harbaugh was justifiably effusive in his post-game praise for both Jordan Lewis and Jabril Peppers.




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I know Rutgers is not Ohio State, even though their uniforms may look the same but nonetheless a win is a win, and when other Big Ten teams are losing, Michigan just needs to keep winning.

So, with that in mind…ONWARD–to your Champions!

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION –  As I watched Jake Rudock warmup before the game from the sideline (thanks IMG & Carhartt [Ed. this coat is sweet!]), he looked tentative and tight and I wondered how healthy #15 would be come game time. Well, 337 passing yards later, it was pretty obvious how healthy he was.  I’m not saying that Jake Rudock is Rick Leach, but he did throw for two TD’s and ran for another – much like the old Guts and Glue of the Maize and Blue did in his day.  Rudock’s TD run into the north endzone corner reminded me of another touchdown that old #7 scored back in 1977 in the same endzone.  It looked like this (something that I put together a few years ago):

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – So many defensive guys played rock solid on Saturday, but Taco Charlton stood out in my mind.  He may not have had the best game statistically (3 tackles and 1 sack) but he seemed disruptive throughout the game and I think that is why Rutgers had zero passing yards for most of the first half.  If that D-Line is not getting to the QB, I think they are least getting into the MIND of the opposing team’s QB – just as good in my opinion!

SPECIAL TEAMS CHAMPION – Not saying that no one deserved mention but…the placekicker missed a field goal.  The punter didn’t boot one until the 4th quarter.  Rutgers returned a kickoff for a touchdown…so yeah – got some work to do here.

HEAD COACH – I wondered why Rudock and the offensive starters were still playing in the 4th quarter when the game was obviously not in doubt.  Something must have happened, but what?  Then I found out about what transpired in the tunnel at halftime.  When your team gets called out like the Rutgers players did in the tunnel, coach Jim Harbaugh felt – like Kid Rock so aptly put it – SOMEBODY’S GOTTA FEEL THIS!  So while other Michigan coaches may have taken a knee with the game no longer in question, coach Harbaugh took a knee to the head of Rutgers – and I soo dig that!  You know why?  CUZ SOMEBODY’S GOTTA FEEL THIS!!!  GO BLUE!!

Because one side of my virtual helmet is full of stickers, it’s time to fill up the other side:


Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

    • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
    • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
    • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
    • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh
    • Maryland: Drake Johnson, Desmond Morgan, Kenny Allen, (Uniform: Blue lyrca leggings).
    • Northwestern: Jehu Chesson, Jourdan Lewis, Offensive Line, (Uniform: Maize and Blue gloves).
    • Michigan State:  No Champions
    • Minnesota: Wilton Speight, Michigan defense, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Stickers crossing the stripes! :O)
    • Rutgers: Jack Rudock, Taco Charlton, Jim Harbaugh