CONFIDENCE PUTS M ON ROAD TO PASADENA
Wolverine Game Plan Successful
By Wayne DeNeff
“We were really fired up. It’s a very emotional game,” said Michigan Coach Bo Schembechler.
“I’ve never seen a Michigan team so high,” said assistant coach Frank Maloney, right after the Wolverines shocked Ohio State, 24-12, wrapping up a share of the championship and convincing one and all that they truly deserve the trip to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl.
“We were high but still loose,” said Maloney, “and we all felt we would win as early as last Monday.”
Maloney, talking in the steam and jubilation of the Michigan dressing room, was echoing the words of Schembechler, who moments earlier had talked with reporters in a small press room on the east side of Michigan Stadium.
Actually, Schembechler never got inside the press room. The 40 or 50 reporters took up all the space and Schembechler stood at the entrance answering questions loud and clear.
“We knew we were going to win from the very beginning,” said Schembechler, who’ll be taking the Wolverines to Pasadena in his very first year as Michigan coach. “We said after Iowa we were going to win.”
The Wolverines, who have had great dedication to success since the 23-12 loss to Michigan State at midseason, rocked the Hawkeyes, 51-6, and lost two touchdowns on penalties just like they lost one against Ohio State.
Still, the game here yesterday was remarkably free of penalties and had to be one of the best jobs of officiating ever seen in Michigan Stadium.
It’s often said that the best official is one who is inconspicuous and nobody knew the officials were around yesterday. Michigan was penalized three times for 16 ½ yards and Ohio State just once for five.
“Great plays on defense saved us in the second half,” continued Schembechler.
“We felt other teams made mistakes early against Ohio State and had no momentum,” said Schembechler. “We wanted to keep our game plan and I felt if we were close at the half we’d be in good shape.
“We wouldn’t have wanted to go to the Rose Bowl if we lost. And they wouldn’t have wanted us. Now we’re going as co-champions of the Big Ten and don’t forget it.
“In the second half we didn’t do a good job offensively. We had opportunities to score and we didn’t. But the defense was terrific all day.”
Michigan captain Jim Mandich said it was the “biggest win of my athletic career. We expected to move the ball that well in the first half. We knew we could do it but I wasn’t sure of victory until the last 57 seconds.”
Defensive back Tom Curtis said he figured the game was in the bag “after we stopped them for the second time in the third period. Of course, as soon as we stopped their running game we knew we had them.”
“We saw in the films we could stop them by playing our type of game,” said defensive back Barry Pierson, perhaps the most outstanding player for the Wolverines on a great day for all.
“Our pressure on Kern made the difference,” said Pierson. “They had to go to things they hadn’t done before.”
Although the Wolverines clearly dominated the game, Ohio State game out above even in the statistical report. Michigan had 21 first downs and Ohio 20. Total yardage was 374 for the Wolverines and 377 for the Buckeyes.
The big difference was in the pass interception columns where the Wolverines had six to one for the visitors from Columbus.
PHOTO CAPTION: Jubilation!: The Michigan bench erupts with unrestrained enthusiasm as the clock runs out on their opponents. Wolverine captain Jim Mandich (88) is hoisted off the field by Mike Hankwitz (81), head coach Bo Schembechler (arrow) congratulates his players and staff, and other players charge onto the field to deluge their teammates.
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