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.
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.
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.
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!
Here is a summary of the Michigan Football “firsts” that took place during Bo’s First Wolverine win:
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!
The Legend of Bo Schembechler is a football love story. Millions of Michigan football fans loved Bo Schembechler almost as much as he loved The University of Michigan. This insightful book details how “Bo Who” simply became “Bo” to Wolverine Nation and to college football fans across the country and around the world. It details Bo’s twenty-one-year journey to bring Michigan Football back to national prominence and how he kept it there!
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