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February 20, 2019 Black History Month Tribute – Bob Wood

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today’s Black History Month Tribute salutes Michigan Man Bob  Wood. According to the 1976 Michigan Football Media Guide, Robert “Bob” Wood grew up in London, Ohio which is also where Michigan teammate Jim Hackett hailed from. After graduation, Bob Wood headed to Ann Arbor to play football for Bo Schembecher’s Michigan Wolverines.

(Note – Bob Wood (#3) is shown above with the 1976 Michigan Wolverine Big Ten Co-Champion Football team . He is seated in the front row – sixth man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day – Robert Wood

Slow Start in Ann Arbor

Robert Wood’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1972. It appears that he burned his red-shirt that season since a guy named Mike Lantry was kicking for the Wolverines. Bob Wood did not see any game action until the 1975 season which was the year Mike Lantry graduated from Michigan. So, Bob Wood waited and watched and did everything he could to be ready when his opportunity arrived.

Robert Wood Michigan Football 1976 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Bob Wood was the first African American placekicking specialist to play at Michigan. He is also the first to Michigan Man to kick 11 field goals in one season and 4 in one game. Photo courtesy of the 1976 Michigan Football Media Guide.

Bob Wood Was Ready When His Opportunity Arrived

Opportunity arrived in 1975 and Robert became Michigan’s starting kicker. He made 11 of 16 field goal attempts that year and became the first kicker in Michigan Football History to kick 11 field goals in one season. He also made 32 of 35 PAT kicks that season. Bob Wood became the first Michigan kicker to kick 4 field goals in one game on September 20, 1975 against Stanford. His last field goal with less than 2-minutes to play helped Michigan earn a tie (19-19) in that hard-fought game.

In 1976, Robert “Bob” Wood came back ready to do more for the Wolverines. Bob continued to kick and kick well for Michigan during his senior season. He led the Big Ten and the NCAA in PAT attempts and successful conversions (55 of 57). Bob also made 7 of 10 field goal attempts on Michigan’s high-scoring team. Robert Wood was the fourth leading scorer in the Big Ten in 1976 with 76-points. The 1976 team scored 432 points that season which was the most ever by a Schembechler team.

Big Loss at Purdue Ruins a Perfect Season

The only downside to Bob Wood’s career was the Purdue game in 1976. Michigan was ranked #1 in the country and the Boilermakers were unranked. However, the Spoilermakers played their best game of the season and upset Michigan by a score of 16-14. Lots of people like to blame Bob Wood for that loss because he missed a 37-yard field goal that probably would have won the game.

Unfortunately, what people don’t remember about the 1976 upset is that Rick Leach and Rob Lytle both had huge fumbles that probably took points off the board for Michigan. Yes, Bob Wood could have been the big hero that day, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was the only game of the season that Michigan didn’t score at least 22 points. Yes, that one hurt, it hurt a lot, but you have to give some credit to Alex Agase and his Purdue team that day. They earned a tough win and proved once again that there are no “easy” road games in the Big Ten.

Michigan Man – Bob Wood

So, Robert Wood ended his Michigan career with his head held high. Like all kickers, he didn’t make all of his kicks − nobody does! He had his “ups” and “downs” as a kicker at Michigan, but he definitely had more “ups!” Bottom line – Bob Wood did a solid job for two seasons and kicked his way into the record books by the time he left Ann Arbor. He was a key part of the 1976 Big Ten Championship team and helped put 18-wins on the board for Michigan Football in 1975 and 1976.

Yes, today is a good day to appreciate the contributions of Robert Wood to the great history of Michigan Football. I hope Bob Wood has a very Happy Birthday today. Go Blue!

https://wikipedia.org…/1976 Michigan_Wolverines_football_team





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