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

3923869756032605793

1 Funchess Leap

As someone covering the history of this program I always love it when I see historic events unfold before us, and fortunately I get to see a lot of that following Michigan.  Saturday was an all-timer and yes, I’m one of those people who can enjoy an epic game even if we come out on the wrong side.  

While many of you who watched the twists (and the result) of the 2000 Northwestern game no doubt hurled a remote or two during the game, I was in Evanston that day and while I was frustrated at times, in the end I was fine knowing I witnessed one for the ages.  Damn I wish we had that two-point conversion back but I’m fine, even good.  Most of all now I’m actually a little excited to see the bowl game and I’m not sure I could say that before kickoff.  

To the questions on the collective mind:

> Should we have gone for 2?  I liked the call, and I have trouble finding fans who disagree.  I know you are out there, but it feels like most everyone liked the balls and more importantly, the call.  If anything we should have gone for two earlier in the game as the nerds will tell you.

> Like the play?   I think most fans did not like the call, I get that, and I didn’t watching it live upstairs.  That said, when I watched the replay I think if Devin throws it half a second earlier and a little more outside it might have been there.    All this said, I probably would have spread things out and gave Devin a few options.

More stuff:

History Notes > from mgoblue:

  • Gardner upped his season passing yards to 2,960 to move to second among Michigan’s all-time leaders in the category. He trails only record holder John Navarre (3,331, 2003).
  • Gallon has posted a reception in 38 straight games, tying Edwards (2001-04) for the Michigan program record. He owns 5+ catches in seven consecutive games.
  • Gallon moved to fourth among Michigan’s all-time career reception leaders with 164, passing Steve Breaston (156, 2003-06) and Anthony Carter (161, 1979-92).

NOT Shutout Streak > Thanks to Craig at HSR for following this little nugget, but with the first score against the Buckeyes on Saturday Michigan now holds the longest string of games without being shutout at 362, passing BYU’s 361 from 1975-2003

Mmmm Shoes  > Those shoes!  Uniform timeline updated

1 Block M shoes 

Mood >  The Mood is my simple/crude measure of how great it truly is at a given point in time to be a Michigan Wolverine.   For the first time after a loss, the Mood goes up this week:mood I understand that’s not how everyone feels and this could even imply the fanbase considers Saturday a moral victory, but there you go.

Photos Galore > Much more on these pages including more epic photos here and here and here.  
On Honoring Falk, Beckmann, and Madej > here.
Sap’s Decals > here.

 

Elsewhere:
mgoblogAce game recap
Maize and Blue NationDefeated but not BeatenPhotos including this one:

image

Follow MVictors on Twitter

I left Columbus with more questions.   Like many of you I’m puzzled why Denard wasn’t used in the second half especially down the stretch.   If he was hurt and out of commission he sure didn’t look it in the postgame and Hoke didn’t say as much in the postgame.  Brady Hoke - Postgame Ohio State 2012

While Hoke never really talks about injuries, it’s not like there’s some gamesmanship required here—the bowl game is five weeks away.   And let’s say he Denard Robinson - Postgame Ohio Statewas dinged up and couldn’t run the ball for some reason–toss him in the backfield as a decoy, no?   

Other than the lack of Denard down the stretch, the other frustration was how he was used in short yardage.   He showed no indication that he was ever going to pass it and really didn’t throw in warm-ups.    So if you aren’t going to have him throw it–at any point–then on short yardage put him in the backfield with Gardner and hand it or toss it to Denard, or fake it to #16 and have Gardner run it, or toss it to Gallon or ARGH. 
After the 2001 Michigan State Spartan Bob game Lloyd Carr summed up how Jordan Kovacs - Ohio State 2012he felt about his team, when he said, “They deserve better.”   

Kovacs was on the brink of tears in the postgame.  The defense made huge players to keep Michigan in this one but the offense couldn’t move the ball in the second half.   The opportunity for a historic  win was out there. 

They deserve better.

There were plenty of positives and memorable moments that sadly get tucked away in a loss:

– Denard’s TD run (aka Crunch (left) then Lunch)
- Roundtree’s TD with agent Dileo running security on the perimeter
- The huge hits on defense highlighted by Frank Clark’s sack
- Several big stops on defense in Michigan territory
- Hagerup’s excellent day punting and overall an outstanding game for special teams.

- This was an epic game all in all.  Hats off to the Buckeye defense and Miller and Hyde.  Looking forward to next year’s battle between these two QBs.

Roy Roundtree postgame Ohio State
And one positive moving forward.  Prediction:  I think we will see the Devin-Denard backfield unleashed in the bowl game and a big win and a conclusion to the season.   And then we’ll all be pissed off talking about what could have been :)

Misc:

* Ohio Stadium.   Wow, what used to be a beautiful stadium is now the car Homer Simpson designed.   It’s an unorganized smattering of unsynchronized advertisements (FYI – Texas de Brazil is coming to Easton Town Center!), disjointed signs honoring form teams/players/coaches, and flashing lights featuring wild-eyed cartoon footballs saying OOOOOoooo:

Ohio State Scoreboard Oy Oy Oy Oy

* Atmosphere.   While the stadium aesthetically is a mess, despite the occupants, the atmosphere is gets high grades.  The pregame tension was wild.  It’s quite a place to witness a Michigan game for sure.  Yes, the south end zone reeked like Jagr and pot at the end of the game but that’s part of the culture, man.

* Top 3.   So Michigan has faced arguably the top 3 teams in the country.  I feel like we should have taken down the Irish and U-M squandered a great opportunity Saturday.   If you asked me to compare each team in the aftermath of each game, I’d rank them 1. Alabama, 2. Ohio State, 3. Notre Dame.   If you asked me to rank them today I’d probably flip Ohio and Notre Dame. 

* We’ll take it.  One set of the disjointed honorary signs are the Buckeye national championships… including Woody’s 1970 team that lost by ten to Stanford in the Rose Bowl:

1970 National Champions I discussed the history of claiming national titles, and whether Michigan should claim 1898, in This Week in Michigan Football history on Saturday’s pregame show.   Whether it’s done by drunken AP voters or some other group, expect OSU to claim some sort of national championship in 2012.

* Don’t Tempt me.   Ever see a kid teasing the lion outside his cage at the zoo?  Pat Omameh Frigid.  Including my coat, I had five layers on me and gloves and a hat.  I was still freezing during pregame.  This was nuts:

Brady Hoke shortsleeves Guessing they had to pry that watch off after the game.

* Formations.   The media was each provided a booklet that included detail of the Ohio State marching band’s formations of the day.   I’m certain I’m the only one who opened it.  Here’s the block M they formed, down to the position of each member of the band:

block M 

Here’s a look at the Script Ohio – the documented formation and the real deal from Saturday.

2012 Script Ohio

Here’s how it looked when the MMB taught the folks in Columbus how to do it back in 1932:

script ohio

Follow MVictors on Twitter

27. November 2011 · Comments Off · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , ,

A few from the field in the fourth quarter and the aftermath:

1 - EverittEveritt Rules

 

1 - knee

So here’s Fitz’s not-a-touchdown.  When I saw it live I thought his knee was down.  Watching the replay, I can’t believe they felt they had enough to overturn it but whatever.

 

1 - Denard bombDenard’s postgame football grenade put everyone on the turf right after the final whistle.

 

16 banged upNothing’s easy.  Denard was dinged up a bit in the student section before ‘The Victors’ and had to find some space

 

1 - 68Seemed like Mike Martin didn’t want to leave the field

 

1 - students

 

Related:

  • Beat Ohio Postgame (Photos)
  • Dr. Sap’s Decals–We Beat Ohio!
  • The Victors
  • Ohio Pregame (Pregame Photos)
  • Let’s Do This!
  • TWIMFbH—Climate Controlled Conditions in Chicago (1896!)
  •  

    Elsewhere:
    Ohio Postgame Presser Transcript: Brady Hoke
    Denard is the story again (Freep)
    Senior leadership, Brady Hoke’s direction bring U-M new dawn
    Victory Formation
    Michigan’s senior class needed streak-ending win over Ohio State

     

    Follow MVictors on Twitter