Michigan Wolverine Football History

September 20, 2020 Bo’s First Wolverine Win

Posted on September 19, 2020 by Barry Gallagher

Yes, September 20, 1969 is a special day in Michigan Football History because it is the forty-ninth anniversary of Bo’s first Wolverine win. Nobody knew much about “Bo Who” when Don Canham hired him in December 1968. However, it didn’t take long for Glenn Edward “Bo” Schembechler to prove that was on a mission from his first day on the job. The young Buckeye was relentless in his high expectations for his staff, his players, and of course, for himself. Bo pushed his first Michigan Football team harder than they had ever been pushed in their entire “football lives” and it was time to see if all the hard work would pay off. So, it was important for Michigan to earn Bo’s first win in his first game as the head coach in Ann Arbor.

Part I. Wolverine of the Day: Bo Schembechler

An Eye Witness in 1969

I will always remember Bo’s first Wolverine win because it was the first Michigan Football game that I ever attended. I had no idea that it would turn out to be such a special day in Wolverine Football lore. Nobody knew how long “Bo Who” would last in Ann Arbor, but just over seventy-thousand people showed up (many of them were high school band students) for Bo’s first game at Michigan. The Vanderbilt Commodores were the first obstacle in Bo’s quest for Michigan Football excellence.

Bo Schembehler went from “Bo Who” to just “Bo” in 21 ultra-successful seasons at Michigan. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Michigan jumped out to an early lead when fullback Garvie Craw smashed over the goal line on a 1-yard run. Frank Titus kicked the extra point and the Wolverines led 7-0 at the end of the firstquarter. Glenn Doughty broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown run and it was 14-0 in favor of Michigan at halftime.

Vanderbilt came back with a touchdown of their own and the third quarter ended with Michigan hanging on to a slim lead.   Michigan’s offense was rolling up some big yards, but an interception, two fumbles (1 lost) and eight penalties kept the game close.

The Wolverines finally got untracked and scored four touchdowns to Vanderbilt’s one in the fourth quarter. The game ended at 42-14 in favor of Michigan.

It Was a Memorable Day

So, I had a first-hand look at what Michigan Football would look like for a very long time. There would be running, lots of running. The Wolverines pounded their way to 367 net rushing yards on 54 carries. Don Moorehead completed 5 of 11 passes for 56 yards. Overall, Michigan’s defense played very well and Marty Huff returned a blocked punt for a 31-yard touchdown. It was a business-like effort that was achieved in 2 hours and 30 minutes of playing time. The clock didn’t stop much because the Wolverines kept running the ball. It was not a nationally televised game, so we didn’t have to wait around for a bunch of television time-outs! Bo’s first Wolverine win was definitely short and sweet!

Some Important “Firsts” for Bo’s first Game:

Here is a summary of the Michigan Football “firsts” that took place during Bo’s First Wolverine win:

  • Bo Schembechler’s first game, first home game and first win at Michigan.
  • First game ever at Michigan Stadium that was not played on real grass. Instead, the game was played on Astro Turf, which was fondly called “Canham’s Carpet.” Mr. Canham was hoping this investment would eventually save big bucks on field maintenance costs at Michigan Stadium.
  • Glenn Doughty became the first man to run for over 100-yards for a Bo team. Actually, he had that by halftime and finished with 15 carries for 138-yards and 1 touchdown.
  • Doughty and quarterback Don Moorehead became Bo’s first “rushing duo” to gain over 100-yards in the same game. (Moorehead had 11 carries for 103 net yards.)
  • Fullback Garvie Craw scored the first touchdown of the Bo Era with a 1-yard plunge in the first quarter.

Season #90 in Michigan Football history started just fine. The crowd of 70,183 saw the “future” of Michigan Football. Lots of running, some passing and plenty of bone-crunching defense. Bo’s special teams also played well. And, for the next twenty-one years, this would be the foundation of Schembechler’s football teams.  Yes, some people said that Bo’s offense was boring, but they never got tired of the winning. Speaking of winning, Bo Schembechler won 193 more games before he hung up his whistle at the end of the 1989 season. Noooooooooooooooooooobody coached Michigan to more wins in Michigan Football history. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooobody!



Part II. September 20, 2020 - National Day Calendar Update:


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