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]

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

13. November 2015 · Comments Off on Natural Rivalry Resumed (1942) | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

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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[A tribute the All-American who won the jug while playing for both Minnesota AND Michigan during the heights of the rivalry.]

Guest post by Mark Schlanderer

Bill Daley | Michigan / Minnesota

Michigan 1943 consensus All American fullback Bill Daley passed away on October 19, 2015 at 96 years old in Edina, Minnesota. He was a bruising and fast FB, HB and DB at 6 feet 2 inches and 206 pounds (big in those days). He led the 1943 Wolverines to Coach Fritz Crisler’s first Big Ten Conference championship and a final AP 3rd place National ranking.

Bill Daley’s college football career began with the Minnesota Gophers. In I940, he teamed with All Americans Bruce Smith and Sonny Franck in the Minnesota backfield to win the National Championship. In 1941, Daley was the Gophers team leader in rushing yards and TDs scored, while being in the backfield with the 1941 Heisman winner Bruce Smith in repeating  as National Champions. In 1942, Daley again was the team leader in rushing yards and TDs scored. During this 1940-42 three year period, the Gophers won the Brown Jug Trophy from Michigan 3 times. Daley was inducted into the Minnesota Gophers Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

After the 1942 season, Daley enlisted in the U.S. Navy due to World War II. He was assigned to the University of Michigan Naval training program and became eligible to play football for the Wolverines in 1943. It was in 1943 that Daley attained his greatest individual college football achievements.

Playing against Northwestern with All American Otto Graham at HB and a team that achieved an AP 9th place final National ranking, Daley rushed for 216 yards and scored 2 TDs on long runs of 37 and 64 yards while leading Michigan to a 21-7 win. His 216 yards rushing broke legendary Tom Harmon’s prior Michigan game record of 206 yards. Daley’s record was not broken until 1952 by Ted Kress at  218 yards, which in turn was not broken until 1967 by All American Ron Johnson.

Daley’s next notable achievement was made in the Wolverines’ following game against Notre Dame with 1943 Heisman winner Angelo Bertelli at QB and All American Creighton Miller at HB. While Notre Dame won 35-12 against Michigan and achieved a National Championship in 1943, Daley scored a TD and rushed for 135 yards in this game. It was the highest number of rushing yards achieved by any opposing player against National Champion Notre Dame in 1943.

Daley next made a notable accomplishment in 1943 by scoring 2 TDs against his former Minnesota Gophers team, which allowed Michigan to win the Brown Jug Trophy for the first time after losing it 9 straight years. Thus, Daley became the only player to ever win the Brown Jug 4 times while playing both for Minnesota (1940,41,42) and Michigan (1943). This feat is unlikely to be matched by another player again.

Daley was only able to play the first 6 of 9 games played by Michigan in 1943. He was transferred to the Columbia University Naval Officer training program after 6 games, in which he scored 9 TDs and rushed for a team leading 817 yards as the Nation’s 4th leading rusher.

At the conclusion of the 1943 season, Daley broke the NCAA career rushing record with 2,301 yards that surpassed the prior record held by 1942 Heisman winner Frank Sinkwich of Georgia. Daley’s NCAA record was later broken by Army’s legendary Heisman winner Glenn Davis in 1946.

It is remarkable that Daley’s 1943 season rushing  average of 6.81 yards per carry is still 3rd in Michigan’s all time rushing records. His 1943 rushing yards average of 136.2 per game is 5th in Michigan’s season all time records.

Daley was the only 1943 Michigan player to be awarded as consensus All American. Daley’s 1943 team mates Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch at halfback and Merv Pregulman at tackle both have been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Honor and the College Football Hall of Fame. It is particularly notable, however, that it was Daley who was selected by legendary Henry Hatch (Michigan Equipment Manager for 43 years 1921-63) to be on Hatch’s greatest Michigan All American team of players that he had ever seen play. It is interesting that Hatch would select Daley at fullback, who had played only 6 games for Michigan, along with such Michigan legends as Tom Harmon and Harry Kipke at halfback, Benny Friedman at quarterback, Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer at end and Bob Westfall also at fullback. This selection of Daley by Hatch significantly attests to his greatness as a college football player. 

In remembrance, such a great football player for Michigan was Bill Daley.

image[Ed October 20, 2014.  In honor of the 80th anniversary of the Michigan-Georgia Tech game played on October 20, 1934, a repost on the campus protests leading up to this low point in Michigan football lore.  Original posted April 2009.]

The early 1930s are a fascinating stretch in Michigan football history and I’ve written much on the highs and lows of that period in eBay Watch and elsewhere.  A relative recently asked me which story from Michigan history was the most interesting to me, and the first thing that came to mind was the Willis Ward incident of 1934.  I’ve hit on it in Hail to the Victors 2008, in a few posts here, in a guest post on mgoblog, and even on WTKA radio with John U. Bacon.

This week an eBay auction got me thinking about the incident once again.  A seller is offering a pic of Ward (above) which is described to be an original wire photo.  The bidding started at $9.75.

Here’s a quick debrief on the controversy leading up to the game with Georgia Tech, as summarized in my mgo-guest post from earlier this year:

During the miserable 1934 season, controversy erupted prior to the scheduled game against Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jacket officials made it clear they would not take the field against a black player.  Protests ensued on campus and within the team (it’s rumored that [Gerald] Ford threatened to quit).  I’ve read that future famous playwright Arthur Miller, who was on the Daily staff at the time, tried to intervene.   Eventually the game was played without Ward and resulted in a 9-2 Michigan win.  [For more, here’s a Daily article from 1999, and Ward’s Wikipedia page.]

One correction:  I don’t think Miller was on the Daily staff in 1934 (he’s not listed on the directory in the ‘34 paper) although he did write for the Daily during his stay at Michigan and apparently did try to intervene with the Georgia Tech players.   Ward’s Wikipedia entry cites a story from a Miller biography explaining the future playwright’s role in the drama:

In his biography of Miller, Enoch Brater noted that Miller had friends from Arkansas who knew one of the Georgia Tech players. Brater described Miller’s involvement this way: “Remmel [Miller’s friend from Arkansas] took Miller with them to meet with members of the team, to protest but also to appeal to the athletes’ sense of fair play. ‘Miller was right in the middle of this’, Remmel recalls. Not only did the visiting team rebuff ‘the Yankee’ Miller ‘in salty language’, but they told him they would actually kill Ward if he set one foot on the Michigan gridiron. ‘The Georgia Tech team was wild.’ Miller was furious. He ‘went immediately to the office of the Michigan Daily and wrote an article about it, but it was not published.’

It’s a fascinating story and as I mentioned as an mgo-guest, it deserves a full documentary or movie.  One of the reasons I don’t think it’s been talked about very much is that the events didn’t exactly put Georgia Tech or Michigan in a favorable light, as Ward didn’t play in the game.**

The Protests
Despite mentioning the story in a few places, I really haven’t taken a deep dive.  I recently stopped by the Bentley Library and looked through some of the pages of The Daily in the days around the October 20, 1934 game against the Yellow Jackets.

As a student paper should do, their words focused on the situation on campus and it’s a pretty interesting tale.   Upon learning of the demand by Tech that Ward not play in the game, a group of students formed the ‘Ward United Front Committee’ and collected 1,500 signatures supporting their cause.  The petition read:

“We, the undersigned, declare ourselves unalterably opposed to the racial discrimination evidenced in the proposed exclusion of Willis Ward from the Georgia Tech game.  We support the slogan: Either Ward plays or the game must be cancelled.”

The United Front even reached out to quarterback Benny Friedman, who was coaching at the City College of New York at the time, hoping the legend would tender a statement in support of the cause.

The group scheduled a meeting for the Friday night (10/19) before the game, a time typically reserved for pep rallies.  The Daily wrote the meeting was called with “the purpose of  crystallizing sentiment on the Ward affair.”

The meeting, held inside the packed Natural Science Auditorium, was ugly. Daily writer Bernard Weismann described the scene:

Smoldering feelings on the question of Willis Ward’s participation in the Georgia Tech game burst into flame last night at what was probably the wildest and strangest Friday night rally in Michigan’s history.

Speakers on both sides of the debate tried to weigh in on the controversy only to be heckled by the other side.  The chairman of the event, Abner Morton, took the stage but was overwhelmed by “boos, clapping and ‘wisecracks’”.

Next up was a professor named Harold J. McFarlan who was forced to dodge “coins that were tossed at the speaker” along with the catcalls, and eventually he just walk off stage.   Morton then returned and challenged his hecklers to bring up a representative to speak their piece, which prompted “taunts of ‘yellow’” from the other side of the crowd.

Finally someone from the opposition group stepped up and argued that it wasn’t right to require Ward to play especially if he could be injured by the Tech players, and further, that the coaches had earned the right to say whether Ward should be exposed to potential harm.  The shouts and taunts from the crowd continued.

Breaking the hysteria was a gent named Sher Quraishi (fact: he’s the founder of that co-op house on State Street that stands today) who decided to tear everyone a collective new one:

[Quraishi] was the first to obtain a semblance of attention from the entire audience.  He branded the audience a “bunch of fools,” unable to learn from the mistakes of others.  “You with the advantage of a university education can’t even allow a meeting to be held until you are bawled out.”

Snap!  Things settled down after that and many left the meeting before it concluded.  Those who stayed agreed to formally protest the scheduling of the Jackets by the the university’s Board in Control of Athletics.

The Deal
The day of the game The Daily printed quotes from the key administrators in the athletic department.  Legendary coach and acting athletic director Fielding Yost told reporters, “I haven’t anything to do with it,” when asked whether Ward would play.   Chairman of the Board of Athletics Ralph Aigler echoed the sidestep as well, saying, “In the 22 years I have been a member of the athletic board, I have never had anything to say about who played; I am not going to begin now.”

Ward himself was reached and referred the questions to coach Harry Kipke saying, “I haven’t anything to say about it, you had better call the coach.”   An attempt to get a comment from coach Kipke at his home and at Barton Hills Country Club (where the team stayed before the game) failed.

A deal was struck before the game, and we know that Georgia Tech coach Bill Alexander agreed to hold out his regular starting end Emmett ‘Hoot’ Gibson.  There are a few accounts describing an all-night debate between Alexander and Yost (although Yost is incorrectly referred to as Michigan’s coach in many versions), and I’ve also heard that Gibson never forgave his coach for agreeing to such a deal.

There are various accounts in his Wikipedia entry as to where Ward resided during the actual game.  The Daily is pretty specific: he watched the game from the press box, sheltered from the “downpour which started with the opening kickoff and continued intermittently all afternoon.”   The Chicago Tribune also placed Ward and Franklin Lett ( another African American who is on the extended 1934 team roster but not in the team photo)  in the press box, specifically within the “broadcasting booths.”

Parting Shots
Several beautifully composed letters were printed in the Daily in the days after the game, generally venting their disgust over the entire incident: from the behavior on the students, to the actions of the athletic department for scheduling this game, to the Michigan Daily for its coverage and editorials.

Here’s an excerpt of one student’s view of the Friday meeting, describing some of the behavior as “Hitleristic” (keep in mind this was 1934):


One note, submitted by five students, was particularly poignant.  It blasted The Daily for its coverage of the controversy.  Two small excerpts, here’s the first:


And in further ripping the Daily, a few excellent questions for the athletic department:


Despite the sharp criticism of The Daily leveled by the missive above, the paper definitely did a fine job covering the temperature on campus that week.   Should they have dug deeper into some of the questions raised in the letters?  Probably, but I’m not clear on the type of access or control that they possessed at the time.  I don’t know if Arthur Miller’s draft piece still exists, but it would be fascinating to see what he wrote after facing the Tech players.  Was it squashed by the Daily brass?

In its editorial wrapping up the incident (and this was mentioned in the 1999 Daily piece on Ward as well as in his Wikipedia page), the Daily wrote:

“It was the peculiar characteristic of the Ward-Georgia Tech matter that everyone who touched it did so only to lose in respect and esteem.”

The auction of the Ward photo ends April 30th.

**Update:  This point (that we don’t hear about the stories where ‘good’ didn’t triumph) expressed better by The Joe Cribbs Car Wash:

For the past few years, one of the most tried-and-true feature story tactics from the likes of ESPN has been the “team from the earlier part of the century heroically stands up against discrimination.” I mean, who doesn’t love one of those stories? Easy journalistic money.

Of course, you don’t ever hear about about the stories where teams had the chance to take a similar stand and didn’t..

Yost’s Warning to you Drunks (1933)
1933 and the Dickinson Formula
1933 MSC Ticket Application
Harry Kipke and the Fall of 1934
Smoke ‘em if you Got ‘em (1935-ish)

08. October 2014 · Comments Off on Charity Shmarity (1931) | The Charity Game at Michigan Stadium · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

[Ed. With the talk of boycotting Saturday’s game (or at least the kickoff), a repost.  It’s not the first time there was talk on campus of boycotting a home game, although the circumstances in 1931 were quite different. Originally published in July 2011.]


I rarely feature ticket stubs on eBay Watch but this one is pretty unique.  In 1931 the Western Conference agreed to schedule a full slate of games to benefit a fund for the many Depression-era unemployed worker at the end of the season.   The league also agreed the games would count in the tight conference standings.

A full unused ticket to the game between the Wolverines and Wisconsin on November 28, 1931 went up on on eBay:

Wisconsin Ticket Stub
Check out the backdrop of the stub with the football player tossing a bag of loot (“A Forward Pass”) to the mass of needy onlookers with arms outstretched.

It’s actually not a shock that this ticket appears to be unused given the story of this one.  Charity be damned, barely 9,000 fans (some reports say only 7,000) bothered to show up for the game.  This ticket sold for $1, others went for $2.  Regular season ducats went for between $2-$3 that season.

Why the poor turnout?

Well, it seems that early in the process of determining the match-ups for the charity games, it was decided that Michigan would square off in the Big House against Northwestern.  The teams had shared the conference crown in 1930 and were near the top of the standings again.  Thinking they could raise more money by putting Northwestern in Chicago’s Solider Field, a couple weeks before the date they changed course and pitted the Wildcats against Purdue. Michigan was left with Wisconsin.


Everyone in Ann Arbor – from Fielding Yost to the editors of the Michigan Daily — went berserk.   After the Badgers were assigned, director Yost told reporters, “This whole thing has been such mess that I won’t even venture a conservative guess on how many will turn out.  It won’t be many.”

The Daily suggested a boycott.  Students were quoted saying they “wouldn’t give a nickel” or even “cross the street” to see a weak Wisconsin squad.

Ironically the biggest benefactor of the whole event, which raised $154,000, might have been Michigan.  Northwestern ended up losing to Purdue 7-0, so those who watched Michigan defeat Wisconsin 16-0 actually saw them earn a share of the league title.

The Wisconsin win propelled Michigan into the next two championship seasons when Kipke and crew won back-to-back national titles in 1932 and 1933.

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One headline in the November 1, 1903 Sunday edition of the Minneapolis Tribune declared, “VICTORY, THOUGH THE SCORE IS TIED.”  Further down toward the fold it blared, “YOST AND MICHIGAN PRACTICALLY BEATEN.”

It was that fierce battle, played Saturday October 31, 1903, that spawned the greatest of the college football rivalry trophies.  At the direction of coach Fielding Yost, Michigan’s student manager Tommy Roberts purchased a five gallon jug that was left behind in the aftermath of this epic clash that served as first, a Gopher souvenir, and later as the trophy that’s been presented to the winner since 1909.

The Tribune described Yost’s Michigan team, winners of 29 straight heading into that game, this way:

Her lineman were giants on the attack, and were adamant on defense.  Her backs were great battering rams, with the speed of the wind, guided by an intelligence in play almost superhuman.

Her team work was near perfection, and the eleven representatives of the maize and blue were like some powerful machine, continuously in motion.

That line is a nod to Yost’s revolutionary tendency to speed up the pace of play, earning him the famous tag ‘Hurry Up’.

Now, we know the game ended in a 6-6 tie when the teams exchanged touchdowns, then worth 5 points each, in the second half.  Michigan took the lead when the great Wolverine back Willie Heston found the end zone first midway through the half.  The Gophers tied the score in the final minutes of the game and added the extra point to secure the tie.  Depending on who you read, the game was either called with “a few seconds” remaining on the clock (Tribune), or two minutes left to go (Detroit Free Press).  Afterwards thousands of Gopher fans stormed the field to celebrate the game-tying tally.

Naturally the Tribune saved a few good lines for the hometown victors tie-ers:

When [All-American tackle Fred] Schacht made his two gains of four yards each, the of the maize and blue went to pieces.  They could not stand it.

Michigan was fighting against eleven madmen, and the madmen won.

Century old Chart
You’ve got to love this—the Tribune even included a diagrammed play chart from the 1903 game on the front page.  Click to supersize it, it’s pretty cool after you figure out the key:


What happened next is of course the stuff of Little Brown Jug Lore.

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Thanks to Buddy at Stunt3 for forwarding this over.  Check out this clip from The Munsters featuring Wisconsin and Michigan star Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ Hirsch.  

Buddy added, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he’s the only former Wolverine ever to appear on that show.”  LOL.  Yes, although Al “Grandpa” Lewis was an usher at Ferry Field.  Who knew?

The clip brings up so many questions, but how did Hirsch know the ball that hit him came from, specifically, a punt?  Why couldn’t it have been an errant toss from the parking lot?  

Somehow Hirsch’s acting career didn’t pan out.  Yeessh.

Speaking of Hirsch, the traitor former star is one of the athletic directors to go against Michigan in the 1973 Rose Bowl vote..and perhaps that hit on the noggin from Herman’s prolifically punted pigskin damaged his medulla oblongata:

* Don Canham (Michigan)
* Bump Elliott (Iowa)
* Bill Orwig (Indiana – former Michigan hoops and football player and assistant coach).
* Paul Giel (Minnesota – said he voted for Michigan).

* Ed Weaver (Ohio)
* Cecil Coleman (Illinois)
* Tippy Dye (Northwestern)
* George King (Purdue)
* Elroy Hirsch (Wisconsin – played for Michigan via the V12 program from 1943-44)
* Burt Smith (Michigan State – U-M graduate)

Thanks to Buddy for sending it over.   I wonder what the Stunt3 guys are up to next?

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Today on 1050AM WTKA “Touchdown” Billy Taylor was studio to promote the Perseverance Bo Schembechler - Miami, OH documentary.

I mentioned in my review earlier this week that one of the outstanding stories in the movie was about the recruiting trip BT and Thom Darden made to Oxford to visit Miami, OH and then coach Bo Schembechler (inset photo via the U-M Bentley Historical Library):

* Thom Darden talking about how the recruiting trip he and Taylor made to see Bo Schembechler while he was still head man at Miami, OH.  (Bo didn’t exactly wine and dine them).

This morning TDBT provided some more hilarious details on that trip to see Bo, and the aftermath, and it’s priceless:


For the full interview this morning check out the WTKA podcasts.

PERSEVERANCE – The Story of Dr. Billy Taylor premieres Friday 11/16 in Ann Arbor


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001 - Paul BPaul Bearer: “This is Paul and Paul is my friend.  I will hold him and hug him and squeeze him and love him..”

Much of the postgame chatter naturally focused on the personal fouls.  My take—State’s mostly meaningless penalties kept Michigan in the game, kept drives alive, and the yardage from those penalties was U-M’s most consistent offensive weapon.  M rushed for 82 yards while picking up 124 thanks to the maize flags.  Was it dirty?  Certainly a few plays were cheap and Will Gholston will be sitting a game (ok, or three) after the Big Ten reviews the game.   But Michigan lost because they didn’t execute on offense and there were plenty of opportunities.  It’s on Michigan.  At times guys were wide open—we’re talking 20 yard radius open—and Denard either didn’t have time or didn’t see them or tossed a bad pass.

I give State credit for those blitz packages but mainly for bottling up the running game.  If this is going to work, M must get more production out of the backs.  Hoke said it, “…We had 82 [rushing yards]. That’s pretty much it.”   Quoting Dr. Sap quoting Bo, “AND WE HAD NO BLOCKING AT THE POINT OF ATTACK!"

Now, on the pfs I’ll say this–if Michigan finished a game with six personal fouls, I’d be really pissed about that whether we won or lost.

My advice to Wolverine fans?  Follow Hoke’s lead and focus on Michigan.

More takes from East Lansing (I’m still here):

  • I was impressed with Gardner when he was in there and continues to look sharper than Denard tossing the rock.  Hoke agrees and said afterword, “I think Devin at times can throw the ball a little more accurately.”   I understand Speilman spent half the game railing on why Michigan shouldn’t take the ball away from Robinson, but that’s bunk, and I like inserting him in there from time to time. Plus you know State focused the past two weeks on Denard, why not move Gardner in there to mix it up?   Based on a few texts and tweets I know there are folks thinking Devin should start against Purdue but that isn’t going to happen unless 16 is banged up.
  • Now, was Denard banged up?  He might have been.  There were a few times when it seemed he could pick up 20 or more but got hung up by a linebacker or safety.  He seemed to be missing that extra burst but perhaps State was a little quicker than I expected.
  • Will Hagerup did a wonderful job executing what seems to be either a lost art or a endangered strategy: punting the ball out of bounds.  Of course this might be endangered because more and more coaches go for it in the opponent’s territory.  Michigan should have gone for it at least once, maybe twice, in the first half.
  • Overall the team is clearly tackling better than last year.  I don’t know exactly why that is, but I chalk it up to guys being in better position and knowing their assignments.  It’s the biggest change from 2010 to 2011 and it’s great to see.
  • Speaking of going for it, while it seems eons ago, the fake field goal that preserved the first scoring drive seemed to be well devised but was a tad shaky on the execution.  Bottom line it got the first down so hats off.

Off the field:

  • Surprise.  The team surprised the players (and everyone else) by having the all-white legacy uniforms and Victors Valiant undershirts chilling in their lockers after pregame warm-ups.  I like surprises I guess, and while the reaction of tweets was mixed, most folks seemed to like them.  Of course we lost so…you have to wonder if we’ll ever see those again, brother. 
  • The Formal Whites.  Media relations correctly noted that the all whites were last used in the 1975 season, capped by the 1976 Orange Bowl.
  • MSU Press Box.  It’s a very large and nicely laid out facility split on two sides (north a south).  It’s not quite as nice as the Michigan press box but close, and it sits a level or two higher than the Big House field.  Two things to nitpick: MSU charges the media for food (in fact the credential comes with a price list in case you didn’t plan to bring any money), and they asked media not to tweet live scores as that might compromised the delayed TV feeds.  The former is fine I guess, it’s a few bucks and many schools like Michigan charge for things like parking.  The latter is just silly and thankfully it doesn’t look like it was enforced. 
  • Trash.  The wind combined with the trash on the field caused quite a spectacle—a mean plastic hotdog bag tornado that could have swept up small dogs.
  • Three Times. Quarterbacks that have beaten Michigan 3x: Bob Griese, Terelle Pryor, Troy Smith, Kirk Cousins, Tippy Dye (Ohio State).

A quick look at the last time, I believe, Michigan donned the all white uniforms:  The 1976 Orange Bowl against eventual national champion Oklahoma:


1976 2

The band got into the white theme during halftime when they rolled out their tribute to a famous Great White Shark—Jaws:


Here’s the full release from media relations on the road whites:

Michigan Unveils Legacy Road Uniform for MSU Game

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Prior to kickoff of the Battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, the University of Michigan football team unveiled a legacy uniform designed by apparel provider adidas.

“Our players really enjoyed the uniforms from the night game with Notre Dame so we decided to surprise them and the country with a new-look design for the Michigan State game,” said head coach Brady Hoke. “This is such a great in-state rivalry that we decided to honor the former players that played in this game.”

The legacy jersey is a compilation of design elements from different eras of Michigan football. It features player numbers on the front and back of the jersey with a block M above the heart and repeating striped sleeves. The shirts under the uniform have “Victors” on the left bicep and “Valiant” on the right bicep.

The white pants are a throwback to the 1974 and 1975 seasons when the program wore all white on the road. In addition, the Wolverines wore two-tone socks with blue on top (calf) and white on the bottom.

Player numbers continued to appear on the famous winged helmet that first appeared in the late 1960s. After wearing them on the helmets for the Notre Dame game, head coach Brady Hoke decided to continue the tradition before the start of the conference season to pay homage to the former players that represented the program in the past.

Michigan warmed up in its traditional road uniforms but returned for the start of the game in the new legacy uniforms.