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1969 Michigan Wolverines football team - Wikipedia
Bo Schembechler suffered a heart attack the night before the 1970 Rose Bowl game against an undefeated (but once tied) USC team. The Wolverines lost the Rose Bowl in a defensive struggle by a score of 10–3.
The 1968 Michigan team compiled an 8–2 record (6–1 Big Ten), finished second in the Big Ten, and was ranked No. 12 in the final AP Poll. The season ended with a humiliating 50–14 loss to Ohio State on November 23, 1968. On December 25th, the Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan was searching for a new head coach and that Bump Elliott's resignation was imminent. The following day, Michigan athletic director Don Canham hired Bo Schembechler, the 39-year-old head coach at Miami of Ohio, to take over as the Wolverines' head coach. Schembechler had played football at Miami under Woody Hayes and compiled a 40-16-3 record in six seasons as Miami's head coach.
One of the principal challenges facing the new coaching staff was finding a replacement for 1968 All-American running back Ron Johnson. The leading candidates were Glenn Doughty and Billy Taylor, two sophomores with zero minutes of game experience at the college level.
Another change in 1969 was the removal of Michigan Stadium's natural grass and the installation of 3M's "Tartan Turf" playing surface, purchased at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars.
Ralph Huff 31-yard blocked punt return (Titas kick)
Moorhead 1-yard run (Titas kick)
Valput 2-yard run (Wolins kick)
Eric Federico 5-yard run (Titas kick)
On September 20, 1969, Michigan played its first game under new head coach Bo Schembechler. The Wolverines defeated Vanderbilt, 42–14, at Michigan Stadium. Garvie Craw capped a 71-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and Glenn Doughty ran 80 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Michigan led, 14-0, at halftime. In the fourth quarter, Mike Keller blocked a Vanderbilt punt, and Marty Huff returned the ball 31 yards for a touchdown. On the next Vanderbilt drive, Tom Curtis intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards to set up quarterback Don Moorhead's second rushing touchdown. Michigan led, 14-7, at the end of the third quarter, then scored 28 points in the fourth. On defense, Michigan held Vanderbilt to 55 rushing yards.
Michigan rushed for 367 yards (209 in the first half) and passed for only 42. Doughty led the way with 138 rushing yards on 15 carries, and Moorhead added 103 yards on 11 carries. Jim Mandich caught two passes to move into second place on Michigan's all-time receptions list with 71.
In his first post-game press conference, Schembechler noted: "We're not a fancy ball club. Secondly, when you can punch the football down their throats, that's what you should do." Quarterback Don Moorhead added: "That's Bo's offense -- just basic stuff. We stick it to 'em. It's what he calls grinding meat."
Bill Harris 59-yard pass from Jim Betts (Killian kick)
On September 27, 1969, Michigan defeated Washington, 45–7, before a Michigan Stadium crowd of 49,684 -- the lowest attendance for a Michigan home game since 1963. In the first quarter, Jim Mandich scored on a six-yard pass from Don Moorhead, but the kick for extra point failed. Moorhead scored on a five-yard run off a broken play in the second quarter, and Moorhead's run for two-point conversion failed. Michigan led, 12-0, at halftime. Moorhead ran for two additional touchdowns in the third quarter, and runs for two-point conversions failed each time. Michigan added three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 59-yard pass from Jim Betts to Bill Harris.
Michigan totaled 581 yards of total offense (362 rushing, 219 passing), breaking a Michigan single-game record of 531 yards set in 1943. Glenn Doughty and Moorhead led the team on offense. Doughty rushed for 191 yards on 29 carries. Moorhead rushed for 128 yards and completed 14 of 19 passes for 160 yards. After the game, Schembechler explained his increased reliance on the passing game: "Washington is a very tough inside team. We felt we had to go wide and throw the football." On defense, Tom Curtis and Barry Pierson intercepted two passes each.
Steve Kenemore 8-yard pass from Roper (kick failed)
On October 4, 1969, Michigan, ranked No. 11 in the Coaches Poll, lost to Dan Devine's No. 9 Missouri Tigers by a 40–17 score before a crowd of 64,476 at Michigan Stadium. On offense, Michigan was limited to 82 rushing yards and 99 passing yards. Starting running back Glenn Doughty had 72 rushing yards on 22 carries but suffered an ankle injury. Quarterback Don Moorhead totaled minus 22 rushing yards. The Wolverines were also stymied by mistakes, as they turned the ball over five times on four fumbles and an interception. They also had a punt blocked, gave up seven quarterback sacks, and were penalized 11 times for 78 yards. After the game, coach Schembechler said: "You can't turn the ball over time and again, time and again, and win football games. That was the worst performance by one of my teams in years -- and I haven't had a punt blocked in six years. . . . I didn't know what one looked like."
Scott Clayton 2-yard pass from Phipps (run failed)
On October 11, 1969, Michigan, unranked after its loss to Missouri, upset previously unbeaten No. 9 Purdue, 31–20, before a crowd of 80,411 at Michigan Stadium. Michigan had previously lost five games in a row against the Boilermakers dating back to 1962.
On offense, Michigan struggled on the ground, gaining a season low 123 net rushing yards (50 by Billy Taylor, 41 by Glenn Doughty). Doughty re-injured his right ankle in the third quarter, opening the door for Billy Taylor to take over as Michigan's No 1 running back in the second half of the season. Quarterback Don Moorhead picked up the slack, completing 15 of 25 passes for 247 yards. Tight end Jim Mandich caught 10 of Moorhead's passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.
Purdue outgained Michigan by a total of 416 yards to 370. Purdue quarterback Mike Phipps came into the game as the national leader in total offense and a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy. He rushed for a touchdown and completed 22 of 44 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Purdue fullback John Bullock also stood out with 84 rushing yards and 81 receiving yards. However, Michigan's defense intercepted four of Phipps' passes (three by Marty Huff, one by Tom Curtis) and recovered three Purdue fumbles (one of the fumbles by Phipps).
The game also featured Bo Schembechler's first major run-in with Big Ten Conference officials. When Michigan's middle guard Henry Hill assisted an injured teammate (Cecil Pryor) off the field, an official thought Hill was being illegally substituted into the game and threw a flag. Schembechler rushed onto the field to confront the official and was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The dual penalties gave Purdue the ball at Michigan's one-yard line, setting up the first Purdue touchdown.
On October 18, 1969, Michigan lost to Duffy Daugherty's Michigan State Spartans by a 23–12 score in front of a crowd of 79,368 in East Lansing. Led by halfback Don Highsmith (134 rushing yards and two touchdowns on a Big Ten record 30 carries) and quarterback Bill Triplett (143 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries), the Spartans outgained the Wolverines on the ground by totals of 348 yards to 176. On being told after the game that his team had allowed 348 rushing yards, coach Schembechler replied: "That's terrible . . you can't win a football game that way, not unless you're scoring 30 or 40 points."
Forced to throw after Michigan State took a 23–3 lead, Michigan quarterback Don Moorhead completed 13 of 35 passes for 164 yards. Tight end Jim Mandich caught nine of Moorhead's passes for 118 yards. Glenn Doughty rushed for 89 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, but he also fumbled for an 11-yard loss, missed a block leading to a quarterback sack, and was tagged with a safety after he caught a kickoff at the one-yard line, stepped back into the end zone, and downed the ball for what he thought was a touchback. In the fourth quarter, Spartan punter Pat Miller took an intentional safety rather than punting from the end zone.
On October 25, 1969, Michigan defeated Minnesota, 35–9, in the annual Little Brown Jug game, played before a crowd of 44,028 in Minneapolis. Michigan's offense sputtered in the first half, as Ted Killian missed two field goal attempts, and the Wolverines trailed, 9–7, at halftime.
The Wolverines rebounded in the second half, scoring 28 unanswered points. With Glenn Doughty sidelined due to ankle and thigh injuries, Billy Taylor started his first game as Michigan's tailback. Taylor totaled 151 rushing yards on 31 carries and scored Michigan's first three touchdowns. Quarterback Don Moorhead had 61 rushing yards and a touchdown and completed eight of 12 passes for 92 yards. Michigan totaled 285 rushing yards and 103 passing yards. On defense, the Wolverines limited the Gophers to 75 rushing yards, 182 passing yards, and three field goals, and intercepted two Minnesota passes. Middle guard Henry Hill led the defense with eight solo tackles and three assists.
After the game, coach Schembechler called the game "our greatest win of the year."
On November 1, 1969, Michigan defeated Wisconsin, 35–7, in the rain before a homecoming crowd of 60,438 at Michigan Stadium. Michigan scored all of its 35 points in the first half. Billy Taylor, playing in place of the injured Glenn Doughty, rushed for 142 yards, including touchdown runs of 37 and 51 yards in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Barry Pierson added a 51-yard punt return, Tom Curtis intercepted a pass at Michigan's eight-yard line and returned it 27 yards, and Jim Mandich scored on a 12-yard pass from Don Moorhead.
Bruce Elliott 40-yard interception return (Titas kick)
On November 8, 1969, Michigan defeated Illinois, 57–0, before a crowd of 35,270 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. The Michigan Daily reported that the 57-point margin "the worst drubbing either school has received in this long and fabled rivalry that dates to 1898."Michigan totaled 524 yards of total offense (328 rushing and 196 passing).
After a scoreless first quarter, Michigan's Tim Killian kicked a 28-yard field goal in the second quarter. Tailback Billy Taylor then scored on an 84-yard touchdown run. Taylor totaled 155 yards on 13 carries, all in the first half. Fullback Garvie Craw scored four touchdowns, two in the second quarter and one each in the third and fourth quarters. After the game, coach Schembechler said: "Garvie Craw is a strong runner. His average per carry is very low, but he always has the tough yardage to get."
Backup quarterback Jim Betts was responsible for three fourth-quarter touchdowns, on passes to Craw and John Gabler and the other on a quarterback sneak. Betts tallied 157 yards of total offense (106 passing yards and 51 rushing yards). Defensive back Bruce Elliott, the son of former Illinois coach Pete Elliott and a graduate of Champaign Central High School, concluded the scoring on a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown with 39 seconds remaining in the game.
Despite the impressive win, coach Schembechler was characteristically guarded in his post-game press conference: "We didn't play well. The defense was not sharp in the first half and neither was the offense."
Denny Green 14-yard pass from Larry Lawrence (run failed)
On November 15, 1969, Michigan defeated Iowa, 51–6, in Iowa City. Michigan set three Big Ten Conference single-game records with 524 rushing yards, 673 yards of total offense, and 34 first downs. Running back Billy Taylor led the attack with 225 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, all in the first three quarters. Adding to the attack were Glenn Doughty (100 rushing yards), Don Moorhead (90 passing yards, 80 rushing yards), Bill Harris (80 receiving yards), Garvie Craw (51 rushing yards), and Jim Betts (50 rushing yards). Iowa's only touchdown was scored with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Asked after the game whether Michigan could beat Ohio State, Iowa coach Ray Nagel replied: "They can beat anybody in the country."
On November 22, 1969, Michigan, ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll, upset Woody Hayes' Ohio State Buckeyes, 24–12, before a crowd of 103,588 at Michigan Stadium. Ohio State entered the game ranked No. 1, riding a 22-game winning streak, and favored by 17 points. Ohio State running back Jim Otis rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries, but quarterback Rex Kern completed only six passes for 88 yards, and Michigan intercepted six Ohio State passes. Michigan defensive back Tom Curtis intercepted two passes and set an NCAA career record with 431 interception return yards. Barry Pierson also intercepted three passes and returned a punt 60 yards to set up Michigan's third touchdown.
On offense, Michigan running back Billy Taylor gained 84 yards on 23 carries while quarterback Don Moorhead completed 10 of 20 passes for 108 yards and gained 67 yards rushing. Fullback Garvie Craw scored two touchdowns, and tight end Jim Mandich caught six passes for 78 yards. Neither team scored in the second half.
The teams traded field goals in the first half, and USC took the lead with three minutes remaining in the third quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jimmy Jones to Bobby Chandler. USC's "Wild Bunch" defense held Michigan 162 rushing yards and 127 passing yards.
In the fourth quarter, Michigan quarterback Don Moorhead led three drives into USC territory. On the first drive, Michigan took the ball to USC's 13-yard line, but Moorhead's pass on fourth down slipped through Garvie Craw's hands. On the next drive, Michigan drove to USC's nine-yard line where Craw was stopped on a fourth-and-one run. On the final drive, Moorhead threw 12 passes and converted twice on fourth down before time expired. The loss was Michigan's first in five Rose Bowl games.
The following players received varsity letters for their participation on the offensive unit of the 1969 Michigan football team. Players who were starters in the majority of Michigan's games are displayed in bold.
Morris Abrahams, offensive tackle, senior, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Robert Baumgartner (No. 60), offensive guard, senior, Chicago – started 9 games at offensive left guard
The following players received varsity letters for their participation on the defensive unit of the 1969 Michigan football team. Players who were starters in the majority of Michigan's games are displayed in bold.