[Ed. On this day of what would be Bo Schembechler’s 85th birthday, Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis returns with the next round of the Bo Brackets.   You can find background including how the teams were selected here, and a breakdown of the Schembechler 16 results here.]


1969 vs. 1976



1976 21
1969 10

In an impressive combination of speed and power, Rick Leach, Rob Lytle & Russell Davis combined to rush for 349 yards and three touchdowns as the 1976 squad defeated Bo’s 1969 team, 21-10.

Don Moorehead’s passing (227 yards) and Billy Taylor’s rushing (110 yards) staked the ’69 Wolverines to an early lead until a colossal collision changed the complexion of the contest.   Leading 10-7 midway through the third quarter and facing a 3rd and 7 on their own 23-yard line, Moorehead handed off to Taylor on a draw play. Before Taylor could put two hands on the ball, ’76 linebacker Calvin O’Neal hit the Michigan running back so violently that both players were out cold before they hit the Tartan Turf. Jerry Vogele recovered the fumble for the ’76 Wolverines at the 15-yard line.

Three plays later, Leach kept on an option keeper to give the ’76 team a lead they would not relinquish and the ’69 Wolverines were reeling.

A 4-yard TD run by Davis capped an 80-yard scoring drive in 15 plays to seal the deal late in the 4th quarter.

Afterwards, a noticeably shocked defensive coordinator Jim Young commented on the offensive juggernaut on the other side of the field.   “We knew they were good based on the film we saw, but we never thought they’d be as quick as they were. I mean, some of their linemen were so fast they were almost outrunning their backs! If you would have told me that we would allow almost 350 yards rushing I would have never believed you, but for them to run off 65 offensive plays? Incredible! That is the finest ground game I have ever seen.”


1973 vs. 1971



1973 17
1971 10

This game was your classic smash mouth contest. Both teams wanted to pound the ball on the ground and both had punishing defenses. Not surprisingly, it came down to the last possession.

Tied at 10 with just over a minute to go, the 1973 Wolverines faced a 4th and inches at the 2-yard line of the ’71 Wolverines.

The decision was made to disdain the easy field goal and that was fine with QB Dennis Franklin.

“We all wanted to go for it. When the call was made to run 28 Option, I went to the line looking to see where the defensive end was playing. He was cheating to the outside, so I went with a longer (snap) count. When I did that, their linebacker slid to the outside just a step. That was enough for me to know to hand the ball off the Easy Ed (Shuttlesworth). I didn’t see what happened because the defense thought I still had the ball when I went around the end. I got hit real hard, but when I heard the crowd roar, I knew that Ed made it into the endzone.”

QB Larry Cipa came in for Tom Slade on the last series but his futile passes were knocked down by the ’73 secondary to preserve the 17-10 victory.

Like Shuttlesworth said after the game, “It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take the win and move on, man!”


1980 vs. 1988



1980 21
1988 14

In a battle of Bo’s only victorious Rose Bowl teams, this matchup was one that all UM fans looked forward to. And considering Schembechler’s penchant for keeping things conservative, this game was anything but.  The tone was set right at the opening kickoff as 1980 speedster Anthony Carter returned it 105 yards for a touchdown and the track meet was on.

Demetrius Brown, who started at QB in place of an injured Michael Taylor, responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass to Chris Calloway on the ensuing possession as Brian Carpenter slipped on the coverage.  And when Butch Woolfolk scored on a 92-yard run late in the 1st quarter, it looked like this game was going to be devoid of any defense.
In the 2nd half, things settled down as both teams made some defensive adjustments.
The 1980 squad went back to more of a zone look, while the ’88 team decided to blitz more. Each was successful as both teams turned the ball over.

1980 QB John Wangler was pressured into throwing a 3rd quarter interception that resulted in a 10-yard Leroy Hoard touchdown run which tied the score at 14.
But it was Brown’s only interception of the game proved costly for the ’88 squad.  As wideout John Kolesar came in motion out of the backfield, Brown pump-faked to him on an out and up. He was open at 1980 UM 5-yard line, but his pass hung up in the air just enough to allow Tony Jackson time to come over and make the interception.
From there the 1980 team went 95 yards all on the ground and won the game on Stanley Edwards’ 12-yard scamper with just over a minute to play to make the final score, 21-14.

After the game, Brown explained what happened on that fateful throw.
“When John came out of the backfield, I saw man coverage and he was open. I thought they had five DB’s in the game but I didn’t see their sixth guy. What do they call him, the Penny? I guess I saw the nickel, but I didn’t see the penny.”


1985 vs. 1989



1985 17
1989 14

Jim Harbaugh stoked the flames for this game by predicting victory earlier in the week.
“I have no doubt we will play well as a team and win Saturday. I guarantee it. That ’89 team is good, but I like the guys in my locker room.”
It looked like Harbaugh would have to eat his words as running backs Lerory Hoard and Jarrod Bunch scored in the first quarter to power the 1989 squad to an early 14-3 lead.
In the 2nd half it was the 1985 defense and special teams that turned the tide in this game.

David Arnold blocked a Chris Stapleton punt that he recovered in the endzone for a touchdown, early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 14-10.

On their next possession, 1989 QB Michael Taylor was hit hard from behind by Mike Hammerstein and fumbled. Andy Moeller recovered for the ’85 Wolverines and when Jamie Morris scored from 26 yards out on the next play, suddenly 1985 UM had the lead, 17-14.

It looked like Taylor would redeem himself for his earlier fumble, as he led the ’89 team on a 49-yard drive late in the 4th quarter, but Brad Cochran’s interception sealed the 1989 team’s fate and made Harbaugh sound prophetic.

Afterwards, the ’85 QB deflected praise to his teammates.  “This game wasn’t about the guarantee. It was about all the guys in this locker room. We were the only ones who gave us a chance to win. The way the defense and special teams played was amazing, but that’s what they’ve done all year long.”

Updated Bracket:

the Bo Brackets3

The Bo Brackets – Introduction and how the teams were selected
Schembecher 16 – First round results


Up Next: The Final Four Game Results


  1. I agree again on all outcomes. I’ll go ahead and say that I think the final would be 1973 vs 1985. Suffocating D for ’85; deceptive option for the ’73 offense. Will Bo allow Franklin to truly utilize all the receivers on the ’73 squad? How will the ’85 D cover the mismatch that is TE Paul Seal? Will the ’85 D line allow Franklin any time to throw at all?

    These are the questions that keep us up at night.

  2. @ Jeff – Agreed.

    So far, the outcomes are pretty much as I expected. 1980 vs. 1988 was a little closer than I expected having lived on campus through the Brown years….But the outcome was no douby correct.

    Now, however, is the real game. Was 1980 truly a jinxed team and will they beat what many believe was one of Bo’s best in 1985? Wow….This is getting interesting!

    I don’t even want to think about 1973 vs. 1976…Two teams near and dear to my heart…and one of those awesome QB’s has to lose…..

  3. @MIRuss, I’ve got a thought for you. Let’s say the Big Ten ADs vote to send UM to the Rose Bowl following the 10-10 tie against Ohio in ’73. For once, that was a UM team built to beat SC in the
    Rose Bowl. Seal would give the SC secondary trouble, Franklin was a threat to throw or run (Geez, I remember a kid with dreds from Deerfield Beach who was like that), and if the D wanted to cover the perimeter game, Shuttlesworth would pound them in the middle. And then there are the specials, where Gil Chapman would gash the Trojans in the return game and Lantry can hit from 50.

    Glad ’97 made up for all that for us fans. Still feel bad for the guys on that ’73 squad, but not too bad. Hard to feel bad for an unbeaten team!