WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1
"It's a great book. I've got it in my office."
–Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan head football coach
The Michigan History Project is pleased to announce the publication of WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, a special 200-page limited-edition hardcover book with over 1,000 rare and never-before-seen images of University of Michigan Wolverines football from the early 20th century up to the present day.
Featuring an exclusive foreword by star Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, is a must-have for every University of Michigan football fan and a great gift idea for all the Wolverines on your gift list.
Relive the awe-inspring history of University of Michigan football with this deluxe, limited-edition keepsake. Feel the might and majesty of the great Wolverine gridiron tradition blaze forth from every exciting page!
Any University of Michigan football fan would treasure a gift like WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1. Give it as a present to all the University of Michigan football fans on your gift list. For birthdays, graduation, Father's Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa – it makes a wonderful gift for any special occasion.
WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, focuses on pictures from five amazing seasons from University of Michigan football history.
Chapter 1: 1925 University of Michigan Football Season
Michigan outscored its eight opponents by a remarkable 227-3 in 1925. Even though the three points the Wolverines allowed cost them a game, and a possible national championship, legendary coach Fielding Yost called the squad the best he ever led. Yost had stepped aside as coach the previous year, but he returned in 1925 to guide Michigan to a 7-1 record and a Big Ten championship. On the field, the Wolverines were led by the "Benny-to-Bennie" combination of quarterback/safety Benny Friedman and two-way end Bennie Oosterbaan, both of whom were destined for the college football Hall of Fame.
Chapter 2: 1947 University of Michigan Football Season
Among Michigan coach Fritz Crisler's innovations was a single wing offense that featured multiple laterals, jump passes and spinning fullbacks. His deceptive and explosive offensive system reached its peak in 1947, as Michigan's "Mad Magicians" rolled to a 10-0 record. In Crisler's final season as coach, the Wolverines won the conference title and crushed USC in the Rose Bowl to earn the national championship. Two-way back Bump Elliott, halfback Bob Chappuis, fullback/defensive back Jack Weisenburger and receiver Dick Rifenburg led Michigan's powerful offense.
Chapter 3: 1969 University of Michigan Football Season
Bo Schembechler's first season as Michigan's head coach is marked by many as the beginning of the modern era of Michigan football. The then-largely unknown Schembechler took a good Wolverines team and made it better, despite some preseason defectors who ran from their first taste of Bo's disciplined approach. Billy Taylor emerged as the prime running threat, while Jim Mandich had an All-America season at tight end. Safety Tom Curtis led an aggressive defense that intercepted six passes in Michigan's historic victory over top-ranked Ohio State that gave the Wolverines a share of the Big Ten title.
Chapter 4: 1997 University of Michigan Football Season
Some observers felt that Lloyd Carr was on thin ice in 1997, after producing a 17-8 record in his first two seasons as Michigan's head coach. But with a matured Brian Griese directing the offense, and Charles Woodson leading a dominating defense, Carr and the Wolverines went unbeaten to capture Michigan's first national title since 1948. Woodson was the individual star, serving as a shutdown cornerback, punt returner and occasional wide receiver, on his way to becoming the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy.
Chapter 5: 2011 University of Michigan Football Season
After three rough seasons under spread-option guru Rich Rodriguez, new coach Brady Hoke hoped to restore Michigan's luster in 2011. He did so, but needed the help of Rodriguez's star recruit, quarterback Denard Robinson. A veteran offensive line, led by center David Molk, plus a much-improved defense spearheaded by tackle Mike Martin, also helped lift Michigan in Hoke's first season. But the dynamic Robinson was the key to Michigan's success, leading the offense in the air and on the ground, as the Wolverines capped an 11-2 season with an overtime Sugar Bowl victory.
Season summaries by Mike Rosenbaum.
Coming soon – WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 2, with an in-depth look at five different University of Michigan football seasons!
Great Gift Idea for All the Wolverines on Your Gift List
If you're looking for a gift for someone who's a University of Michigan football fan, you've come to the right place. WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, is ideal for gifting to a University of Michigan football fan. It has more than 1,000 rare and never-before-seen historic photos of University of Michigan football, sure to make a delightful gift for anyone who's interested in University of Michigan football.
Look at the pictures below of interesting and happy people proudly displaying WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, which makes a great gift for Michigan football fans. (Click to see a larger image.)
WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, makes a wonderful gift or present for any fan of University of Michigan football. Read these reviews that were posted on Amazon:
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–Jim Harbaugh, University of Michigan head football coach
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–Davy Rothbart, author, filmmaker, publisher of Found magazine, University of Michigan graduate
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Among the thousand-plus rare and never-before-seen images in WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, are amazing pictures of game-winning touchdowns, bone-crunching tackles, the frenzy of Rose Bowl buildup, plus the coaches, fans, cheerleaders, and marching band – everything that has gone into the making of the great University of Michigan football tradition.
A few important facts about University of Michigan football:
- The University of Michigan has the largest alumni base of any university.
- Over 100,000 fans pack Michigan Stadium for every University of Michigan football game. The stadium is the largest in the United States.
- The University of Michigan Wolverines are the #1 winningest college football team in history.
WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, features a detailed presentation of five landmark seasons from University of Michigan football history.
- 1925 – Benny Friedman, Bennie Oosterbaan, and the "greatest team I ever coached," according to Michigan's legendary Fielding Yost.
- 1947 – A perfect 10-0 season for Fritz Crisler's Mad Magicians, led by All-Americans Bob Chappuis and Bump Elliott.
- 1969 – Bo Schembechler's first incredible year as Michigan's head coach, featuring the legendary 24-12 upset of the "invincible" Ohio State Buckeyes.
- 1997 – Fifty years later another perfect season, crowned with victory in Pasadena and a Heisman trophy for standout Wolverine cornerback Charles Woodson.
- 2011 – Star quarterback Denard Robinson led Michigan to an exciting 11-2 season capped with a thrilling overtime win at the Sugar Bowl.
Below, read more about some of the incredible University of Michigan football seasons featured in WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, a limited-edition, deluxe gift book on the history of University of Michigan football with more than 1,000 amazing pictures.
1925 University of Michigan Football Season
All the attributes of a great team can seldom be applied truthfully to any single collection of normal human beings, but it is safe to say that the 1925 University of Michigan football team possessed as many of them as it is possible to acquire by of means of expert coaching applied scientifically to a squad of athletes already having natural ability amounting almost to genius. In fact, Coach Yost felt justified in saying that this was the greatest team that he had ever coached. This was astonishing praise, coming as it did from one who has probably produced more great teams than any other teacher in the history football. But Coach Yost was not alone of that opinion, for sports experts, amateur critics, officials, and even members of opposing teams, have united in singing the praises of this truly remarkable football machine.
The process was repeated with even more devastating results on the following Saturday. This time it was Indiana who suffered. After the game with Michigan State, many were still skeptical. But after Captain Brown and his colleagues finished with Indiana, even the most skeptical were forced to admit that Yost's team had possibilities. The Michigan line was a revela tion. On defense it was impenetrable, and offensively it was fully as good. Among the swarms of substitutes which were sent into the game, it was impossible to find a single recruit who did not play his position like a veteran. Oosterbaan continued his amusing habit of combining football juggling with exhibitions of gymnastics, and Friedman's passing was again above criticism, but the thing most noticeable was the fact that all individual feats were in subordination to the spirit of teamwork which featured every play.
On the afternoon of October 17, a great Wisconsin homecoming crowd was anxiously awaiting the first whistle of agame which was to initiate a rivalry between two coaches who had worked together during the previous three years. The spectators did not have to wait long for excitement. On the first play after the kick-off, Friedman hurled a pass to Gregory, who dashed the remaining 40 yards for a touchdown. While Friedman was kicking goal for the additional point, the Michigan stands went wild. Before they had time to recover from their excitement, Wisconsin had again kicked off, and Friedman was seen weaving his way behind perfect interference through the whole Wisconsin team for the second touchdown in three plays. Michigan scored seven more points in the second period, but for the last half, although both teams threatened occasionally, neither could score. The game ended 21-0.
On a muddy field, Michigan and Illinois battled for four periods on October 24 in the huge Memorial Stadium at Urbana. The redoubtable Red Grange, who had caused so much trouble the year before, did not meet with such free sailing this time. Although he caused plenty of trouble and excitement, he was unable to break away for any long gains. Michigan also found it hard to make headway in the mud, and resorted chiefly to forward passing. The only score of the game was made in the second quarter as the result of Gregory's gain on "Old 83", and Friedman's subsequent field goal. The game ended with the score stilI 3-0. On the following Saturday Michigan defeated the United States Military Academy by the top-heavy score of 54-0. The Navy came to Ann Arbor hailed as one of the strongest teams in the East, but the sailors were helpless before Michigan's varied attack. During the last half almost every man on the Michigan squad had a chance to play, and everyone of them performed splendidly. The game was perhaps uninteresting as a contest, but to anyone who appreciated the fine points of football it was a fascinating exhibition of many-sided excellence.
It was Northwestern who won the distinction of being the only team to defeat Captain Brown and his mates. The feat was performed on Soldiers Field, Chicago, in the midst of a driving rain and a sea of mud. Northwestern deserves a great deal of credit for the smart football it played that day, under almost impossible conditions. They took immediate advantage of every break which came their way. The first score of the game was a field goal by Lewis, Northwestern's fullback, in the first period. Michigan's two points were the result of an intentional safety by the same Mr. Lewis. Final score, Michigan 2, Northwestern 3.
November 14 at Ferry Field Ohio State was defeated 10-0. Only once during the entire game was Ohio able to advance the 'ball beyond her own 46 yard line, and that lone advance was but momentary and only extended a short way beyond mid-field. It was one of the finest exhibitions of defensive football ever seen in Ann Arbor. The lone touchdown was made in the first quarter bv Molenda, after Flora had blocked an Ohio punt. In the second quarter Friedman kicked a field goal for the other three points.
Minnesota came to Michigan on November 21 to play Michigan in a game which was to decide the championship of the Western Conference. Although tied by Wisconsin, the Gophers were undefeated as yet. But the backfield which had run wild against Iowa the Saturday before could make but three first downs against Michigan's formidable defence. On the other hand, Michigan scored five times, twice by line plunges by Molenda, twice as a result of passes to Oosterbaan, and onceby means of a spectacular 65 yard run by Gilbert after he had intercepted a forward pass. The game ended 35-0 with the Brown Jug still in Michigan's possession.
Perhaps there never has been a team which excelled in so many different departments of the game. In forward passing the dreaded Friedman to Oosterbaan combination was feared by all of Michigan's opponents, but all the rest of the backfield and the other ends were also unusuallv skillful in catching Friedman's tosses. Many times during the season Gregory, Grube, Flora, Gilbert, and the rest caught passes for long gains and frequent touchdowns. In straight line smashing it would be hard to find two fullbacks better than Stamman and Molenda, both of whom seemed to be able to tear through opposing lines almost at will. There were also a wealth of halfbacks. Gilbert, Gregory, Herrnstein, Parker, Fuller, S. Babcock, Miller, and Webber all having accounted for many yards around the ends and off tackle. Puckelwartz and Hoffman were able understudies to Friedman at quarterback, both of them showing up unusually well in the Navy game. Although Gilbert did most of the punting during the season, Fuller, Miller, and Parker were also splendid kickers.
The Michigan line cannot be given enough praise. From Oosterbaan at left end to Flora at right it presented the most capable set of linemen to be found in the entire country, each man playing his part both on defense and offense.
The above picture shows Friedman crossing the goal line after running through the whole Wisconsin team for the second touchdown of the game at Madison. On the second play of the game Friedman had hurled a pass to Gregory, who dashed the remaining forty yards for a touchdown. Then the two teams again lined up, and Wisconsin kicked off once more. This time Friedman grabbed the ball and raced ninety yards for the second touchdown, after only three plays. The whole Wisconsin and Michigan teams can be seen trailing behind him as he crosses the line. Below is a Michigan attack on Michigan State's line. Note the excellent interference.
The picture shown above was also taken at Madison. Friedman again has the ball, and his teammates are rapidly preparing a way for him around Wisconsin's left end. We do not know just how far he managed to go on this play, but the determined look on his face and the very efficient way in which the interferer is handling the Wiscon- sin man would seem to indicate that he was not stopped right away. In the other action picture below, a Michigan State man has evidently found a hole in the Michigan line. Needless to say, such holes were not found very often, so the young man from East Lansing was really in quite a unique situation.
In the picture above, the redoubtable Red Grange is about as close to breaking away as he ever came in the game at Urbana this year. Evidently the man trying so hard to put Gilbert out of the way did not succeed, because the longest run made by Red from scrimmage during the entire game was one of fifteen yards at the beginning of the first quarter. But at the start of the second half he almost broke loose in returning the kick-off, and was only stopped after he had returned the ball to his own forty-five yard line. Below, Red Grange is seen on the defensive, dashing across to tackle Friedman. Notice how Edwards is trying his best to put the Illinois captain out of the way.
It is hard to imagine better interference than that given Friedman as shown in the above picture, taken at the Illinois game. There is a hole almost wide enough to march the big Illinois band through. The general ability of the great Michigan line is shown by the fact that, while it was defensively the most impenetrable forward wall in the country, it was just about as good on the offense. The player resting on his arm in the right foreground is Captain Brown who, on the occasion of that afternoon's activity, stopped Mr. Grange time and time again before he could even reach the line of scrimmage. In picture below, Grange is surrounded, and is about to be tackled by Mo lenda.
This picture again shows Michigan's offensive efficiency. The man with the ball is in little immediate danger of being tackled, as all the Navy men in sight are being very nicely blocked out of the way. The man in the center about to throw himself across the path of the oncoming Navy player is George Babcock, while Molenda is seen at the left evidently looking for bigger game ahead. Below another Michigan man is eluding some more Navy tacklers, with apparent success.
Gregory can here be seen in the midst of several Ohio players. In fact it looks as if he were deserted by his teammates. There does not seem to be another Michigan man in sight, but it is probably safe to say that the rest of the team is in action somewhere on the field. If they were not, it was about the only time during the entire season that every man did not take part in every play. The picture at the bottom of the page shows an Ohio man held tightly in the grasp of Edwards, while both of them fly through space.
In this picture there arc only two men left standing. It was taken during the Minnesota game at Ferry Field. Friedman, on the ground at the left, has the ball, but he seems to be held fast by two Minnesota players. At the extreme right Harry Hawkins can be seen looking around to see what success Friedman is having. It is hard to tell whether Friedman has been thrown for a loss, or has gained a few yards through the Minnesota line. In the lower picture, also taken during the Minnesota game, Oosterbaan has just caught a pass over the goal line for a touchdown.
This picture shows one of the times that a Minnesota pass went astray and fell into the hands of the waiting Oosterbaan. The lanky end is seen at the right, getting ready to pick his way through the Gophers for a substantial gain. In the first two or three games Michigan did not appear to have perfected a very good defense against forward passing, but before the season had progressed very far her opponents had little success at the aerial game. Interceptions, such as the one shown here, were frequent. Below, Molenda is seen carrying the ball, while Oosterbaan appears to be doing the Charleston with the Minnesota player at the left.
1947 University of Michigan Football Season
Michigan salutes the great team of 1947. Acclaimed by the nation's leading sportswriters as the Team of the Year, Crisler's Magicians wrote a unique page in gridiron history. The Maize and Blue tide swept undefeated through a rugged nine-game schedule to capture the coveted Big Nine crown with an exhibition of power that reminded the old-timers of the point-a-minute teams of Fielding H. Yost.
Michigan's 1947 team earned for itself the reputation as the slickest unit ever to appear in the ranks of collegiate football, fifty gridiron specialists who blocked, tackled, spun, and passed their way to a permanent berth in Football's Hall of Fame.
Top coach in the football game today is Fritz Crisler, head mentor and athletic director of the University of Michigan. "The lord", as he is known in the Wolverine gridiron camp, led his Maize and Blue juggernaut to the number one spot in collegiate football and earned for himself the honored New York World-Telegram award of Coach of the Year in his final season at the Michigan football helm.
Michigan is fortunate in having the flnest supporting cast in gridiron coaching ranks. Much of the credit for our great team of 1947 belongs to Fritz Crisler's football staff . They are (kneeling, from left 10 right): Wally Weber (Freshman Coach), Forrest Jordan (Assist· ant line Coach), Ernie McCoy (Chief Scout), Art Valpey (End Coach), Jack Bloll (Head line Coach), and Bennie Oosterbaan (Backfleld Coach).
George Little took over the head mentor's reins in 1924 as "Hurry Up" Yost left for his first leave of absence in 24 years as head coach at Michigan. Yost returned to his football post for the '25 and '26 campaigns to lead the Wolverines to two more Conference crowns.
Elton Wieman come into the Michigan gridiron picture in 1927 as Yost retired from his coaching post to devote full time to the job of athletic director of the University. A former Wolverine All-American, Harry Kipke, stepped into the driver's seat in 1929 and guided the Maize and Blue eleven to four Big Ten titles and one National championship during the next nine seasons.
The late Fielding H. Yost, the architect of Michigan's four million dollar athletic plant, wrote the most colorful page in the Wolverine gridiron saga. The first team that "the Judge" coached won eleven games in ringing up 500 points to 0 for the opposition. This famed 1901 club, the first of Yost's "point-a-minute" teams, defeated a strong Stanford eleven, in the first Rose Bowl game, by the same score that another Great Michigan team was to equal 46 years later.
Michigan's gridiron history is marked by a great coaching tradition, From the advent of Fielding H. Yost to the reign of Fritz Crisler, Michigan's coaches have led the Maize and Blue to 15 Conference championships and three national titles, with an amazing record of 296 wins and 19 ties against 79 defeats.
The story of Fritz Crisler's ten years at Michigan is one of unparalleled coaching achievement. Since Crisler moved into the head coaching position in 1938, the Wolverines have earned one national championship, captured one undisputed Conference crown, shared another - with Purdue in 1943 - and finished second six times in the Big Nine race . Crisler's Maize and Blue elevens have rolled up 2,234 points against the opposition's 732 in compiling 71 wins over 16 defeats. The dean of coaches has tutored ten All-Americans in ten campaigns and has placed scores of Wolverine gridders in All-Conference berths.
The Wolverine head mentor, originator of the Crisler System, has proven that offensive units built on "poise and finesse" and defensive units with "fury and fight" have introduced a new era in collegiate football, the era of the specialist, 1938-1948.
Named on every major All-American team, Bob Chappuis will be remembered as one of Michigan's most outstanding All-Americans. The rugged Wolverine tailback swung the meanest pitching arm in Collegiate football and was a constant threat on the ground as well as in the air. "Chap" walked off with the Big Nine's "total offense" crown for the second straight eason in rolling up 1,019 yards, six games – for a record average of 169.8 yards per game. Completing 48 out of 86 passes for 976 yards and twelve TD's, Chappuis sparked the Wolverine offense throughout the season. Chap ranked fourth in the nation in total offense with an amazing total of 1,395 yards in ringing the curtain on his collegiate career.
Michigan's fighting gridders were well represented on this season's crop of All-American and All-Conference teams. The nation's leading sport scribes, scouts, and coaches placed ten Wolverines on fifteen of the top post-season gridiron selections. Seven players from Michigan's offensive and defensive units were awarded All-American berths as the final votes were tallied. Len Ford, Michigan's lanky defensive end and one of the best flankers in the business, joined fleet-footed Bob Mann as the Maize and Blue "end" delegation to three All-American selections. Dan Dworsky and J. T. White, Wolverine defensive and offensive centers, were each named to All-American berths. Captain Bruce Hilkene was honored on the Frank Leahy All-American team while Michigan's other offensive tackle, Bill Pritula, appeared on the UP All-Big Nine squad. Howard Verges, Michigan's brilliant quarterback, and hard-hitting fullback Jack Weisenberger were named on the leading press All-Conference teams.
CLARENCE L. MUNN, Michigan State College: "The Michigan team of 1947 was great when they played us and they were great every grome thereafter. A truly wonderful gang of fellows. Their feats will live long in football annals."
Fritz Crisler's dream team lived up to the dopesters pre-season expectations as they powered to an impressive 55-0 victory over MSC in their '47 curtainraiser. Seventy thousand cheering fans saw everyone but the waterboy cut loose with a varied attack that left an out -classed Spartan eleven completely agog. Halfback Bob Chappuis unveilled his All-American form with three touchdown plunges and a beautiful aerial for a fourth.
Scatback Bump Elliott broke away for the longest run of the day (pictured below) with a 56-yard jaunt that set up a Wolverine TO. Big Len Ford was a standout in the pass catching deportment as he set up one marker and streaked 35 yards for another. Don Dworsky, backing up on alert Wolverine line, scooped up a loose Spartan fumble and tore 35 yards for another Maize and Blue score as Walt Tenninga passed for the finol tally. Off ond away. MichIgan 's Bump Ellioll slreoks for the promi,ed lend, l en Ford cut s loo se on on "end-c ro und."
MARSHALL SCHWARTZ, Stanford University: "The 1947 Michigan Football Team was for superior to any team I played against during the 1929, 1930, and 1931 seasons when I was a member of the Notre Dame squad. That takes in quite a bit of talent."
Gene Derricotte spearheaded the second quarter offense as he plunged over twice to make the halftime score 42-0. The brilliant punt returning of Elliott and Derricotte kept the Indians with their backs to the wall as the Michigan defense shone. Stanford's quick-opening T clicked in the second half as the Indians pushed across two touchdowns to stave a shutout. Wally Tenninga counted for the last Wolverine tally on an aerial to Don Kuick.
WALTER " MIKE" MILLIGAN, University of Pittsburgh: "I think the Michigan students should be proud of their 1947 football team. It was a great team."
Rounding in to season form, the Wolverines swamped a tired Pittsburgh eleven as they hit pay dirt ten times to roll up their biggest score of the campaign. The hard-charging Panther line held fast in the first period but the Chappuis to Mann combination broke the ice in the second frame as the speedy end raced for the end zone. From then on it was every man for himself as eight Wolverines shared the remaining touchdowns with Jim Briske booting every conversion.
Derricotte personally accounted for three markers on an 80 yard punt return, a dash from scrimmage, and an interception. Mann and Tenninga each plunged over twice as Weisenburger, Bump Elliott, Len Ford, Pete Elliott, Tom Peterson, and Don Kuick accounted for the rest of the scoring spree. The Maize and Blue forward wall turned in one of their best performances of the year in holding the Panthers to 19 yards in 21 attempts. Bill Pritula, Stu Wilkins, and Dick Rifenburg (89) blast a hole for Jack Weisenburger's touchdown plunge.
BOB VOIGTS, Northwestern University: "On January 1, 1948 I had the good fortune to see one of the greatest teams of history compete in the Rose Bowl."
Michigan made an impressive Conference debut against a tough Northwestern squad in overpowering the Wildcats 49 to 21. Bump Elliott and Gene Derricotte got together to give the Wolverines an early 14 point lead, with Hank Fonde plunging over for the second score. Northwestern's explosive backs, Frank Aschenbrenner and Art Murakowski, working from the old criss-cross line buck contributed the Cats' first tally.
Bump Elliott bums a ride from Wildcat Jules Siegle as Wolverines Len Ford (87), Rolph Kohl (76), Lloyd Heneveld (61), and Al Wistert (11) close in for the kill. Trapped by a host of Wildcat linemen, Weisenburger flips a lateral to quarterback Pete Elliott.
BERNIE BIERMAN, University of Minnesota: "We salute Michigan, 1947 champions. The precision, smartness, and spirit with which they played made them one of the greatest offensve teams of modern times."
A rugged line-backer, Dan Dworsky (59) shows some of the sterling defensive play that earned for him the title of "lineman of the Week" following the Gopher clash.
A monstrous Gopher line had the "Little Brown Jug" within their grasp but the speedy Michigan backfield proved too hot to handle as the Wolverines ran up a 13-6 victory margin. After a scoreless first period, the Gophers drew first blood on a long drive sparked by Evy Faunce. Bob Chappuis faded back in the closing minutes of the first half and rifled a pass to Bump Elliott who outran the Minnesota secondary and raced for the end zone. Briskie split the uprights which put the Wolverines ahead 7-6. Dan Dworsky and J. T. White made the difference in the second half as the rugged Wolverine line-backers stopped the Gophers dead in their tracks.
The Wolverines put the game on ice as Weisenburger ran an interception to the 21 and Derricotte went all the way on the first play from scrimmage. Gene Derricatte is the man with the " balled head" teaming with J. T. White (55) to break up a Minnesota pass.
RAY ELIOT, University of Illinois: "Michigan's 1947 football team ranks with the greatest our college game has produced. Its oftense had marvelous precision; its defense was sound, its overall strength was tremendous. Moreover, the squad personnel had admirable qualities of character and true sportsmanship – necessary attributes of true champions."
A determined Wolverine team outclassed "Lady Luck" and the fighting Illini 14-7 in a slam-bang contest that proved to be the roughest stop on the Rose Bowl Road.
Bump Elliott drew a capacity homecoming crowd to its feet as he pulled a dizzy punt from the air and streaked 74 yards down the sideline into the Illinois end zone. Key blocks by Bob Mann, Dick Rifenburg, and Gene Derricotte paved the way as not a hand was laid on the spectacular Bloomingiton back.
Russ Steger, Illinois' jarring fullback, dampened the spirits of the 8,000 Wolverine students who made the Champaign trip, as he charged to the Michigan goal to knot the score. A Chappuis aerial clicked to the Bumper who carried the ball down into Illini territory where Hank Fonde crashed over from the nine. Brieske converted and that was the scoring for the day.
The Wolverine defensive unit, spearheaded by the brilliant play of Dan Dworsky and Len Ford, did a yeoman's job and stopped several Illinois drives right at the Golden Gates. Some beautiful downfield blocking by Derricotte, Mann, and Rifenburg on an Illinois punt sprang Michigan 's Bump Elliott on a 74 yard touchdown jaunt for the initial Wolverine tally.
.ittl. Hank Fonde barrels for Ihe Wolverines' wInnIng teueh: lawn against the tIIini with the aid of some wicked blacking ~y Howard Verges (Ieftl. Ed McNeill. and len Ford (an. michigan illinois
"BO" McMILLIN, University of Indiana: "Michigan is the best offensive team I've ever seen, and I saw Army last year. They've got all sorts of passing strength and a well diversified attack."
HARRY STUHLDREHER, University of Wisconsin: "The 1947 Michigan football team was one of the finest I have seen in a long time. Its all-around striking power and balance were superb."
Turning in their best performance of the Conference campaign, the Wolverines romped 40-6 over Wisconsin, the hitherto top offensive outfit in the Big Nine, to capture their first undisputed Conference crown since 1933 and place the Rose Bowl bid securely in the Michigan camp. The Wolverine defensive line was tops as they held the highly touted Badgers to a pitiful six first downs. It was all Michigan – the Maize and Blue capitalized on every Wisconsin mistake and pulled a few tricks of their own in pushing six touchdowns across the Badger goal.
Chappuis heaved three touchdown posses, two to Yerges and one to Rifenburg, and broke away for some beautiful runs to lead the Wolverine attack. Weisenburger crashed 23 yards through center for another score while DerricoHe snagged a Girard punt and went 77 yards with some sensational down-field blocking. Mann pulled in a pass from Bump on the 3 and Peterson carried it across for the final tally.
The fine offensive play of Dom Tomasi and the rest of the line highlighted the contest.
WESLEY E. FESLER, Ohio State University: "We of Ohio thoroughly enjoyed our competition with the Michigan team of 1947. We left Ann Arbor with a feeling of respect and admiration."
With the Big Nine crown safely tucked away, the Ohio game turned into a pre-Rose Bowl warmup as the Wolverines chalked up 450 yards and 21 points to march to an undefeated season. Bob Chappuis recorded his most outstanding performance of the Conference schedule as he personally accounted for 307 yards completing 12 passes out of 26. Bump Elliott climaxed a 62 yard march with a reverse for the first Wolverine score. Chappuis ended another Michigan drive as he took a lateral from Yerges and circled end for the second tally. Dom Tomasi recovered a State fumble to set up Michigan 's last TD which Weisenburger recorded off tackle.
Derricotte, Dworsky, and Ford gave the Buckeyes a tough afternoon in the defensive department. Ohio's Jim Clark runs into trouble as the Michigan forward wall led by Dan Dworsky.
On a hot, sultry California day back in 1902, eleven "iron men" from Ann Arbor made gridiron history. The scoreboard read Michigan 37, Stanford 0, when Boss Weeks, the Wolverine quarterback, said to the battered Stanford captain, "In view of the circumstances, I suggest we end the game by mutual agreement. " With a brave refusal the Stanford team resumed play, but a few minutes later, as the last Stanford reserve was carried from the fleld, the Indian captain said, "we'll call it a day." And so ended the first Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena on New Year's Day, 1902.
A great tradition was born on that day, the tradition of Michigan athletics. Exactly 46 years later, another Michigan team carried on that tradition begun by the first "point-a-minute" team of Fielding H. Yost.
"Hurry Up" Yost would often recall how his boys ran up eight touchdowns against their California hosts to set a Rose Bowl scoring record that stood until a second great Michigan team made the trip to Pasadena. Michigan used 11 players in the 1902 game as Yost's four substitutes went along for the ride. The streamlined Wolverine gridiron machine of 1947 put 35 specialists into the fray.
This year's Rose Bowl delegation had the coordination and deception unknown to the rugged, bone-crushing outfit of Heston and Weeks. The record books exclude many of the marks that were set in that first Pasadena contest, for football has come quite a way since 1902. However, there is one thing that time hasn't changed. The spirit of competition, the sportsmanship, and the will to win that is Michigan.
Everything but the Hollywood Bowl fell before the Wolverines on New Year's Day as the "Magicians of Michigan" spun, faked, passed, and ploughed their way to the most impressive victory ever witnessed in the famed Pasadena Bowl.
The Wolverines chalked up nine modern Rose Bowl records as a dazed Southern California team took their worst shellacking in 60 years of Trojan football. It was Michigan all the way as the Maize and Blue tide swept up the field for a record 491 yards.
Michigan's offensive line led by Dom Tomasi, Stu Wilkins, Capt. Bruce Hilkene, and Bill Pritula ground the cumbersome Trojans into the California turf while the fleet-footed Wolverine backs scampered for 243 yards. Jack Weisenburger sparkled in the ground attack as he tore through the Southern Cal line for three touchdowns to tie Elmer Layden's Rose Bowl record. All-American Bob Chappuis had one of the best days of his career. The accurate Wolverine tailback passed the opposition dizzy to chalk up a new Rose Bowl total offense record, completing 14 passes for another mark and toting the pigskin with devastating effect.
Bump Elliott, in addition to his blocking and scorinq role, turned in an expert performance in one of the toughest assignments of the day. The red-headed star was the key man in Fritz Crisler's strategy as he continually lured the Trojan defense out of eoslticn with his decoy tactics. The pass-catching of ends Bob Mann and Dick Rifenburg was sensational, while backs Hank Fonde and Gene Derricotte added their talents to the Wolverine offensive punch.
Bob Chappuis picks up a flrst down over the Trojan tackle on some nice blocking by Howard Yerges and Dom Tomasi. The "Bumper" is off for another first down with a Bob Chappuis pass early in the second quarter. Center J. T. White (55) appears in the background. Fullback Jock Weisenburger plunges over for the first Wolverine score through a hole over center opened by Stu Wilkins (68) and Dom Tomasi. Bump Elliott (18), Yerges, Chappuis, and McNeill (85) look on. Weisenburger heads for his third touchdown of the day ond a modern Rose Bowl scoring record. Dom Tomasi (65) removed a Trojan from the play. A jump pass from Chappuis to Bump Elliott connects for a Wolverine touchdown. Elliott took the tOil on the Southern Cal 6 and went over standing up on a beautiful block by Bob Mann that took out the last Trojan defenseman (33).
No rehash of the Rose Bowl contest would be complete without some words of praise on the stalwart Wolverine defense, which held the Trojans to 91 yards on the ground and a pitiful 42 through the air.
"Killer" Kempthorn and Dan Dworsky, the best line backing combination in the business, smothered everything that came their way as the forward wall broke up the interference.
Len Ford and big Al Wistert spent more time in the Southern Cal backfield than the most alert Trojan back, as the rugged pair of Wolverine linemen broke up one play after another. On one occasion Wistert hit the Trojan ball-carrier so hard that the pigskin squirted out of his hands to be recovered by Dworsky, setting up a Chappuis to Yerges touchdown pass.
Wolverine flanker, Ed McNeill, just wouldn't be stopped as he forced the Trojan runners in and racked up the interference. Safety-man Gene Derricotte, the leading punt-returner in the Big Nine, stood on the sideline marker time and time again to snag would-be "out of bound" boots and run them back for valuable yardage.
Quentin Sickels and Joe Soboleski were in there all the time while the vicious tackles of defensive quarterback Pete Elliott stopped a good share of the Trojan plays .
And so the story went; just a case of "heads up" ball on the part of 35 Wolverines who knew their job and did it well.
Safety-man Gene Derricotte, the leading punt-returner in the Big Nine, stood on the sideline marker time and time again to snag would-be "out the pained expressian on this Southern Cal back indicates "no gain" as he hits the impenetrable Wolverine line. Left, End Ed McNeill shows same of the fine defensive play that marked his afternoon in the Pasadena bowl.
Below, read about other exciting University of Michigan football seasons that are not featured in WOLVERINE: A Photographic History of Michigan Football, Vol. 1, a limited-edition, deluxe gift book on the history of University of Michigan football with more than 1,000 amazing pictures.
1932 University of Michigan Football Season
Chosen as end on the All-American Board Team. He is a rugged player, a hard man to down, and one who possesses real determination. He does not attempt to be an individual star, yet becomes one because he is in every play , fighting as a team player . He is a hard man to evade, and few men are able to skirt his end with much success. When the play comes at the other end, he frequently backs up the line at that point. On the offense, he seldom fails to gain on an end-around play, and has a real eye for passes. He blocks well, and forms perfect interference. Michigan can be justly proud of this all-around player.
Fielding H. Yost, director : Franklin C. Cappon, assistant director and basketball: Harry G. Kipke, football: Ray L. Fisher, baseball,' C~arles B. Hoyt, track and cross country ; C~lfford Keen, wrestling: Matthew Mann, swimmmg; Ed Lowrey, hockey; John Johnstone, fencing and tennis; Wilbur D. West, gymnastics; Thomas C. Trueblood, golf. Assistant coaches: Jack L. Blott, Raymond O. Courtright, Bennie G. Oosterbaan, J. Kenneth Doherty, Walter B. Weber, Raymond V. Roberts, trainer; John Brosovich, assistant trainer.
National and Conference Champions! Arising from a storm of criticism and praise that completely hid the true worth of Michigan's fighting Wolverines, this phrase echoed and reechoed across the country, stamping this team as one of the greatest ever to be produced at Michigan. Led by Captain Ivan Williamson, tutored by the ever-alert Harry Kipke, and directed by All-American Harry Newman at quarterback, and inspired by numerous potentialities both on the defense and the offense, the team swept through the season undefeated.
As the season opened, the critics doubted the ability of the team to win more than two or three games. The State game loomed as the crucial test of the team, but even then the team only looked forward to hard fights with Northwestern, Ohio State, and others that were doped to place in the upper brackets of the season's standings. This surprising victory did not allay all the fears, yet the campus was at last justified in silencing the taunts of the State rooters. The victory over Northwestern is believed by many to be the turning point of the season. In this game, Rentner was completely stopped in his attack, and Michigan even showed a decided offensive. It also proved that Michigan had as fine a defensive unit as it had the previous year, although there were still some obvious faults to be corrected.
In the Ohio State game, when Michigan lost the services of Fay and Heston, hopes for a championship began to dim. A shift was made in the line-up, Ted Petoskey went to full-back, and Michigan defeated Illinois easily. The succeeding games saw Michigan a much improved unit, although more caution was used as the season neared its close. Princeton threw a scare into the Michigan rooters when the easterners nearly upset all predictions, but the Wolves "hawked" the ball blocked a punt and won the game. The final game with Minnesota proved that Michigan could not be beaten, when, under the handicap of sub-zero weather, the team fought off every Gopher thrust, and avoiding all chances, elected to try the field goal that was to declare Michigan as the national champions. It was typical of Michigan resourcefulness, but it won a game. Two championships just naturally trailed along. Under the Dickinson ratings, Michigan was rated about one point above Southern California, and although there was considerable protest, it appears that more touchdowns cannot defeat a better team with a harder schedule. Besides developing a perfect team organization, the coaching staff also developed numerous stars who were to win individual recognition. Newman and Petoskey received All-American honors, increasing Michigan's long total. Wistert, Williamson, and Bernard were awarded places on the All-Conference team. Newman and Petoskey, of course, were also given positions on this mythical eleven. Other stars were a shade under those from other schools. Each man stood out, but still they were able to work together perfectly, all champions.
MICHIGAN-26 MICHIGAN STATE-0
ENTERING the game as the underdogs to a highly touted Spartan team, Michigan opened up a bewildering array of passes and runs to completely outclass their opponents before a crowd of 50,000 people. In the first quarter Regeczi bucked over the line after a long march down the field for the first score. From then on State could offer little resistance to the attack led by Newman, Everhardus and Fay. Aided by Regeczi's consistent punting, Michigan was in a position in the third quarter for the second touchdown, a wide sweep around the end by Heston. In the fourth period Everhardus got loose for a 26 yard run for a touchdown which was matched by another short run by Fay for six more points.
Throughout the game, Newman was a constant threat with his passes and his punt run-backs. On one occasion he received a fifty yard punt from Eliowitz and ran it back 35 yards. He also scored three consecutive points after touchdowns. The line showed considerable strength in holding the Spartan runners to small gains, stopping the highly advertised Monnett and Eliowitz, besides opening wide holes for the Michigan backfield. On one play, however, Wistert received a serious ankle injury that kept him away from practice for some time. Michigan's superiority was evident by the fact that they scored twelve first downs to State's one, while they completed seven passes for a total of 128 yards.
One of the surprising features of the game was the consistently good blocking that the backfield produced. The ball-runners were able to break away time and time again despite the consistent attempts of the Spartans to break into the defense. The opposition was constantly thrust out of the way by hard and fast blocking, sensational in view of the early season dope. On the second play of the game, Eliowitz nearly upheld the pre-game prediction by making a 76 yard run which ended on the 9 yard line. It appeared that State would then walk away with the game from a Michigan team that yet had to prove its worth. However, on the next play State lost the ball, Michigan punted out of danger, and from that point on, the Wolverines had matters well in hand and the ball in State territory.
In addition to Regeczi's punting , Coach Kipke found a valuable line-plunger in the same person. On his attempts at crashing the Spartan forward wall, he averaged nearly two yards. When yardage was needed, he was always able to provide it, and his consistent plunging led the team down the field, he would not be stopped and made the first score of the season. Featured in Regeczi's punting was the fact that the ball never touched the ground in the middle of the field, but always managed to keep safely to the sidelines, where the State runners, renowned for their open field running, could be easily bottled up by the Michigan forwards. This sensational victory was well earned.
Throughout the quarter the ball see-sawed back and forth, Northwestern trying desperately to match this score. Finally, having pushed deep into Michigan territory, they crossed the Wolves on a fake pass and run. Olson, back of the line, ran to his left, threatening a pass in that direction. Suddenly he turned and passed to the other side of the field, where Potter was standing alone. Evading a few tacklers, he crossed the goal line; then a Wildcat attempt to kick failed to tally. Until the third period, the game was rather slow, outstanding only in the way that All-American "Pug" Rentner was stopped. He was expected by everyone to do some sensational running, but on every attempt he was smeared by a stubborn Michigan defense. In the third quarter, after a long exchange of punts, Northwestern made a second costly fumble in midfield. Newman immediately elected to pass, caught Northwestern off their guard, and the ball was snared by Fay on the twenty yard line, from which point he carried it to the two yard line. In another play he had carried it over the line. Northwestern was still a threat, until Newman gathered in a punt and ran it back thirty yards. At this point he proceeded to put the game "on ice," calmly booted a field goal, and brought the score to 15-6.
From that point Michigan turned to strictly defensive football, but Northwestern apparently had lost heart after that disastrous field goal, and made no strong attempts to cross the Wolverine goal line.
From a standpoint of rushing, Michigan was outplayed, mounting up only 97 yards to Northwestern's 127. The Wildcats also scored eight first downs to one for Michigan. But the Wolves were superior in handling the ball, and in waiting patiently for the breaks managed to defeat a highly-touted team. Newman was a constant threat on his punt run-backs, and the Northwestern defense was kept constantly on the alert watching his shifty tactics. His pass to Fay for the first score proved that he had not lost his passing eye, made the Wildcats spread their defense, and gave an advantage to Regeczi who plunged the line for consistent gains. Above all, this game silenced all previous talk that Northwestern with Rentner was invincible, and that Michigan would never cross the Wildcats' goal line.
MICHIGAN-14 OHIO STATE-0
THE future All-American quarterback, Harry Newman, found a strong Ohio State team apparently stopping the Michigan running attack cold; so, he was forced to resort to a passing attack that completely fooled the Buckeyes. Ohio succeeded in stopping the Wolverine backfield. But they could not reckon with a quarterback who could flip passes at will and locate receivers at every point, nor a team that could take advantage of every break.
In the third period Cramer pulled another "boner" by running on the fourth down from punt formation. Consequently, Michigan took the ball deep in the Ohio territory. Newman picked up 15 yards around the end, and after gaining 15 more by a penalty, passed to Williamson, who was all alone, for the second touchdown. Newman again converted the extra point. The Ohio State backfield, particularly Cramer and the sophomore star, Oliphant, was able to skirt the ends at will. At times the Michigan forward wall looked woefully weak, but on a few dangerous thrusts that the Buckeyes made into the Michigan territory, the line was able to repel the advances. Bernard and Petoskey were the stars on the Michigan defense.
The game proved costly for the ~Iichigan hopes through the injury of three of the Michigan star players. Heston was forced to leave the game with a fractured leg that definitely put him out for the season. Stan Fay cracked some ribs in a pileup, although he did not know it until the game was over. He was laid up for a few weeks, as was Marcovsky, outstanding lineman. The redeeming feature of the game was the accurate passing of Newman, who completely crossed up the Ohio defense. The total gain by means of the aerial route was 87 yards .
In the first period, Michigan started right off with a touchdown that was the result of a pass from Newman to Williamson with a net gain in yardage of 34 yards. On the first play after the following kickoff, Petoskey, through a wide hole in the Illinois line, went for 56 yards and another touchdown. It took only this to completely demoralize the Illinois team and first downs for Michigan came almost at will.
In the second quarter, Michigan resumed its onslaught, and immediately marched the kickoff down the field about 80 yards, from which point Everhardus scored on a 14 yard slant around the end.
Later in the game, Newman started at his eight yard line and ran 73 yards to the Illinois nine. Then he crossed the defense by tossing a pass to Ward who waited on the two yard line. Petoskey wasted no time in diving over the two teams piled up at the goal line.
As for the Illinois attempts to gain ground, the fact remains that they were able to gain only 28 yards through a revised Wolverine team. Incidentally, at no time during the game were they out of their own territory. Gil Berry and Pete Yanuskas , the usually versatile Illinois backs, were tied hand and foot by the Michigan forward wall that constantly broke through to stop them before they could get their plays under way. Willis Ward played a smart game at end in Petoskey 's place, and showed that he will hold down one of the wing positions of next year . Whitey Wistert, playing a hard and clever game in his tackle position, showed real aptitude at figuring out the opponents' play.
AFTER travelling into Indiana with a crippled team, the Michigan squad pushed over a touchdown which converted them from a totally outplayed team into one again victorious. Petoskey entered the game badly battered as a result of his hard game at the fullback post against the IIlini the week before. Because of an injury to his shoulder, John Regeczi was hindered considerably in his punting, yet was able to present an exhibition notably over par. In the first and second periods, Michigan was fighting tooth and nail to pierce the Indiana defense, and since the ball changed hands so frequently, the game was somewhat slower than those so far witnessed. A chart of the game shows that neither team was able to mark up consistent gains, and each was restricted to its end of the field.
Finally, in the third period, Newman was trapped, attempting to pass. He started around the end and went to the six inch line before he was stopped. A series of plunges proved the Indiana line impregnable. On the last down Michigan lined up for a left end run with Newman back. He started in that direction, reversed and went around the other end for a touchdown. He place-kicked the extra point.
There were no more threats of scoring until the last quarter, when Michigan, nearly exhausted by the hard driving Hoosiers, was forced to give way. Indiana advanced the ball to Michigan's five yard line where Kipkes team dug in their cleats and took the ball on downs. At this point Petoskey was so exhausted that he was ordered out of the game by Williamson : for the second time of the season he refused and finished the game, although he was almost out on his feet. Michigan made one previous scoring threat in the first quarter, but Newman chose to pass. A touchback resulted when the ball went incomplete over the goal line. From then on the game settled into a punting duel, with neither team seeming to have the edge. In rushing, Michigan seemed to have the edge, registering 8 first downs to Indiana's four, and rolling up 127 yards against 77 for the Hoosiers.
After Princeton had recovered the ball on the 16 yard line, James pushed through to the two yard line, and on the next play Bales took the ball over easily. Fortune kicked the extra point. It took only this to make Michigan hopes take a big drop. However, the Michigan ends went under a long punt that hit the ground and bounced toward the goal line, closed in on Bales and threw him back of the goal line for a safety . He had unwisely attempted to pick up the wet ball on the bound, fumbled, was forced to chase it into the end zone where Ward brought him down with a vicious tackle.
In the third period Regeczi's punt from midfield placed the ball deep in Princeton's territory. Princeton attempted a return kick, but Wi11iamson broke through and blocked it. The ball was batted around in the air by the players until Bernard pulled it down and ran over the goal line to put Michigan in the lead.
Princeton's attack seemed to falter at this point, and in the fourth quarter a poor kick by Princeton brought the ball only up to their own 37 yard line where Regeczi received it and ran outside on the 17 yard line. He was injured on the play after both teams had been offside, but Michigan was given possession with the gain because of roughness of Princeton's part. It was Newman's turn to drop back and flip a pass to Ward, who was standing alI alone in the end zone.
In the fourth quarter with only a minute to play, Michigan had finally worked its way into the Chicago territory. There Newman crossed up the entire team and the spectators, didn't stall as was expected, faked a pass, and started wide around his end. None of the Chicago men were on that side, since the ends were well blocked in. Thus Newman was able to advance across the goal line, 27 yards away, without being touched. Petoskey 's kicks after both touchdowns were wide. These two runs provided enough excitement for the spectators to make up for the rest of the game which was unusually slow.
Regeczi, due to injuries, was confined to the sidelines, and Everhardus took over the kicking consignment for the day. His punting was a surprise when he averaged 43 yards on his attempts. One of his kicks from his goal line, traveled 83 yards before it was finally downed by the Chicago safety man.
To climax a season of victories, the Varsity faced a hard combination to defeat, zero weather and an unusually strong Minnesota team, and scored a victory which meant a championship. Harry Newman gambled on a field goal, won, and so provided the only score of the day. Regeczi had been sending long spirals down the field all afternoon, constantly driving a determined Minnesota team back to their own goal line, but always they were able to kick back, and prevent the Wolves from closing in. Michigan had made three scoring attempts during the game but everyone had failed.
With only seconds remaining in the first half, Michigan found itself in possession of the ball on the four yard line. Bernard had recovered a fumble by Manders on the 24 yard line, from which point Newman had passed to Fay for an eight yard gain. The fast thinking, fast acting quarterback then slanted off tackle to the twelve yard line. Everhardus tried to push ahead, but Wells, All-Conference tackle, broke through and nabbed him for a four yard loss. Newman then tossed a quick pass to Petoskey who was tackled in his tracks on the four yard line. The time was short, only time for one play remained, and Newman called for a kick. Stan Fay was holding the ball, an all-American toe was against the ball, and sent it sailing over the bars for the points that spelled victory. Hardly were they lined up for the next play when the gun went off ending the half.
The second half found Michigan firmly entrenched in its defensive position, making no attempts to score, and being perfectly content to hold the Gophers back of their own 45 yard line. Minnesota lost all chances when Michigan ball hawks took every occasion to recover a fumble. The Gophers managed to fumble the ball eight times, recovering four of them. But they proved to be :l. distinct factor in their defeat. Regeczi averaged 43 yards on his punts. Victory, an undisputed conference title, and the Dickinson National Championship can be said to have come from football as only Michigan plays it: Cause a break, take advantage of it, score, and then let the others try to score against an air tight defense.
"Doc" Morrison's successor, selected as center on mythical team. Like his predecessor, he charges hard on the line, and is a hard man to get by while backing up the line.
ALL CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
1932 Wolverine captain, chosen as an All-Conference end for the second time. One of the finest ends developed at Michigan since Oosterbaan.
Awarded tackle position for his hard playing and smart football tactics. He adds strength to the line, and analyses the opponents attack well. Throughout the season his work was outstanding.
1951 University of Michigan Football Season
Don Peterson, versatile Wolverine backfield standout, was chosen by his teammates as the most valuable player of the 1951 football season. The fleet-footed Racine, Wis., senior played every backfield position except quarterback. Aside from his regular post at right half, Don's knowledge of the Michigan spin technique enabled him to step into the fullback slot whenever necessary. In this respect, he followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Tom, who was a fine spinner on the championship Wolverine teams of 1948 and 1949. Don thrilled Michigan football fans all season, smashing through the center of the opposition forward wall, skirting around end, and handling many Maize and Blue passing chores. He carried the ball 152 yards for an overall average of 3.6 yards per try. The 5' 10" team sparkplug scored four times during the season, and helped set up many touchdown drives. The Wolverines will miss the steady performances of this workhorse.
Bennie Oosterbaan and his staff will face an extremely stiff challenge to replace the senior football talent who graduate this year. The biggest loss will be in key line positions, left vacant by guard Ray Kelsey, guard Jim Wolter, end Russ Osterman, end Bob Dingman, guard Pete Kinyon, end Fred Pickard, and tackle Tom Johnson. These men formed the nucleus around which the Wolverine squad, particularly the defensive unit, was built.
Captain Bill Putich, team quarterback, and all-around backfield star Don Peterson, voted this year's most valuable player, are key losses for the Michigan offense. Putich called signals in a consistent, capable manner throughout the 1951 season, and Peterson utilized his talent at all of the backfield slots except the quarterback one. Few Wolverine football stars have displayed more spirit than dependable Tom Johnson or more football know-how than Bill Putich or Don Peterson.
Bill Putich of Cleveland, Ohio, captained the 1951 Wolverine squad and handled the vital quarterback slot. Tough and wiry with that natural confidence which makes a good field leader, Bill also proved himself a competent blocker and passer. The best-remembered feat of his football career came against Michigan State in 1950 when, sent in for one play, he pitched a touchdown pass to win the game for Michigan and earn himself the monicker of "OnePlay" Putich.
The Maize and Blue has known much better football seasons than 1951. The most distressing factors of the season were the losses to an Ivy League and to a West Coast team. The once-powerful Wolverine grid machine was dormant until the season's finale against Ohio State, except for temporary displays of power against Minnesota and, perhaps, Indiana and Iowa. "Too much football," the critics shouted before the season opened ; "too little football" would have been more appropriate by the season's close. As the "champions of the West" tumbled from their tottering throne, local sentiment was "The King is dead; long live the Hockey team. "
One of the best and probably one of the most underrated tackles in the entire country was Tom Johnson, Michigan's outstanding lineman this season. Despite his 227 pounds and 62" height, the Muskegon tackle possesses a cat-like quickness and an amazing ability to recover and change direction. He was one of the few 60-minute players on the Wolverine team, fast enough to play an important part in Michigan's split-second offensive, and strong enough to match any defensive player in the country at that phase of the game. Quiet and soft-spoken off the field, Tom is what coaches like to call "a ball-players' ball player" as soon as the opening whistle blows. Whatever success the Wolverine line achieved this season was due in large measure to Tom Johnson. Captain-elect Merritt "Tim" Green poses after the final 1951 spring practice at which he was awarded the Meyer Morton Trophy. Reliable tackle Tom Johnson is helped off the playing field after an injury sustained in the Michigan State game.
0 ... 25
A seemingly-unbeatable Michigan State football team utilized a powerful ground offensive to roll up a 25-0 victory over the Wolverines, the most one-sided Spartan victory in the 53-year history of the rivalry between the two schools. State's crushing ground attack resulted in a net gain of 249 yards; Michigan, by contrast, in 36 rushing attempts ran up a grand total of minus 23 yards. Only once did the Wolverines penetrate far enough into Spartan territory to threaten ; their master stroke of the afternoon, however, clanged to a dead stop on the Spartan eight midway in the third period. Biggie Munn's powerful State defense held the Maize and Blue offense to a net gain of six yards for the afternoon. During the first period, it looked as if the game might develop into a close contest, but early in the second, crafty Spartan quarterback AI Dorow guided his team for 79 yards in 25 plays, carrying the ball into the end zone himself on fourth down from the one yard line; the first State touchdown march gained momentum from two crucial offside penalties against Michigan, an injury to ace Wolverine tackle Tom Johnson, and a pair of passes from Dorow to end Bob Carey for 15 and nine yards respectively. From there on the Maize and Blue grew steadily weaker, allowing the Spartans to score twice in the third period and once in the fourth. Said Spartan coach Munn, "I couldn't be prouder of my boys."
13 ... 23
An aerial-minded Stanford eleven, led by quarterback Gary Kerkorian and All-American end Bill McColl, displayed real passing wizardy to drop the Wolverines by a 23-13 score and end Michigan's undisputed reign over West Coast teams. McColl caught seven of Kerkorian's passes for a grand total of 143 yards, while Indian end Sam Morley hauled in four more for a 60 yard total.
On the ground, the two teams were fairly evenly matched; 16 of the 19 Wolverine first downs were earned by rushing. End Lowell Perry and Bill Putich, Michigan captain and halfback, were responsible for the two Wolverine tallies. Fullback Don Peterson and quarterback Ted Topor also stood out for the Maize and Blue. Stanford touchdown drives, sparked by Kerkorian and a steel-reinforced web of Indian blockers, went for 65, 72 and 54 yards respectively. The final three points came as a result of Kerkorian's field goal with only 41 seconds left to play. This was the first time that a Michigan team had ever been humbled by a West Coast e1even,and the crowd of 57,000 was more than a little stunned.
33 ... 14
The Michigan team ran and passed to a 33-14 victory over an inferior Hoosier eleven. The Wolverine passing attack, sparked by Don Peterson and Bill Putich, unleashed itself early in the first half for the first time in the 1951 season. Sustained drives of 67 and 88 yards, heavily dependent on aerial attack, gave the Maize and Blue a 13-0 half-time lead. In the second half, Michigan's running attack swung into high gear, and helped by the passing of freshman Duncan McDonald, pushed over three more scores in drives of 74, 35 and 60 yards. Peterson was top offensive man of the day, carrying the ball for 70 yards and completing two of four passes for 67 more. An improved Wolverine pass defense checked heralded Indiana end, Lou D' Achille.
21 ... 0
Although the Hawkeyes won the battle of statistics with 15 first downs to the Wolverines' 11 and a 310 total offense total to Michigan's 227, the Maize and Blue made the most of its opportunities to defeat Iowa, 21-0. Fullback Don Peterson sparked the Wolverine offense to its two first half touchdowns, scoring the second himself. The Wolverines capitalized on a fine defensive game, as well as Hawkeye bad breaks and mistakes. Iowa fullback Bill Reichards personally accounted for 152 yards rushing, more than the entire Michigan ground attack combined. But the Hawkeyes could not seem to get going once they moved into Wolverine territory. Dave Tinkham played a fine game, consistently breaking up Iowa passes, and intercepting a Hawkeye pass on his own two and running it back to the Iowa 49. The result was the widest margin of victory ever recorded in the series between the two schools since Michigan ruined the Hawkeyes, 107-0, in 1902.
54 ... 27
It was a fine homecoming, despite chilly air and overcast skies, as the Wolverines won a wild, thrill-packed ball game from Minnesota, 54-27. From the opening two minutes, when the Gophers scored on the kickoff and Michigan roared back on the second play from scrimmage for a countering touchdown, the battle was like nothing ever seen before between these two old-time rivals.
The 81 point total was the highest ever recorded in the history of the Little Brown Jug rivalry which dates back to 1892. The Gophers stunned the 87,000 customers as fullback Ron Engel ran back the opening kick-off 94 yards for a touchdown, after fumbling the ball on his own 15. With only one minute and 55 seconds gone, Wolverine Wes Bradford took a handoff from Ted Topor and sliced through the left side of the line for 49 yards and a touchdown. From then on it was a duel of surprises. Lowell Perry, stellar Michigan end, turned in one of the finest performances ever recorded on a Maize and Blue gridiron. Perry played fine ball all afternoon, scoring the fourth touchdown on a 75 yard run down the left sideline, and catching two scoring passes, one good for 71 yards and the other for 25. The Wolverine line, particularly tackle Tom Johnson was outstanding offensively as well as defen sively. On defense, Merritt Green and Bob Timm consistently stopped Gopher runners. Michigan's Governor G. Mennan Williams was more than a little amazed: "I was a few minutes late," he said, "and missed two touchdowns." Queried Gopher coach Wes Fesler, " How can we score four touchdowns, run the ball inside the enemy 10 three other times and still lose by such a margin?"
Some of the Michigan squad watch excitedly from the bench as Wolverine gridders continue to pile up yardage against an out-classed Minnesota team. The Maize and Blue reached their season's peak during the annual Homecoming clash.
0 ... 7
Just 71 seconds of playing time remained in the game when Illini right end Rex Smith slipped into the end zone all by himself to catch a feathery eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tommy O'Connell and hand the Wolverines a heart-breaking 7-0 defeat. With less than six minutes of play remaining, it looked as if the struggle would end in a 0-0 deadlock when Michigan fullback Don Peterson sent a quick kick screaming out of bounds on the Illinois 17. But the Illini fought back with a touchdown drive which resuited in a storybook climax and an Illinois Rose Bowl bid. The Big Red handed the Wolverines their third non-conference defeat of the season by a 20-7 score. With three minutes gone in the second period Michigan scored its lone touchdown after Merritt Green recovered a Cornell fumble on the Big Red 43. But Cornell, taking advantage of Wolverine miscues, bounced back to hand Michigan her biggest upset of the season. The first Cornell touchdown dri ve covered 80 yards in 11 well-picked plays; Jackie Jaeckel, substitute quarterback, and halfback Bill Whalen were the principals.
7 ... 20
With the count tied at 7-7, Cornell's Bill Kirk snatched a Putich-Pickard pass on his own 46. Another Jaeckel pass from the Wolverine 39 to Stu Merz on the 20 resulted in paydirt. The third Big Red score was set up when Cornell intercepted another Putich pass on the Michigan 20. Two of the five Wolverine fumbles were recoved by the Big Red; Cornell intercepted four Michigan passes, largely because of shabby Wolverine line play.
0 ... 6
Strategic pass interceptions and equally strategic fumble recoveries enabled the underdog Wildcat team to win an upset victory on this cold November afternoon. In fact Northwestern defense men managed to snag as many Wolverine passes as Michigan receivers did. Probably the most excited man in the stadium was the Wildcat coach, who hopped around the sidelines shouting encouragement and rebukes to his scrappy charges. By contrast, Northwestern field general, Bob Burson, was as calm as could be, pausing to survey the Michigan defense and to discuss signals with his backfield.
An alert Northwestern pass defense was largely responsible for a 6-0 Wildcat victory over the Maize and Blue. Northwestern scored the game's lone touchdown with 11 minutes remaining in the second period on the fine running of fullback Chuck Hren, who chalked up gain after gain during a second-period touchdown march. After Hren's touchdown, the Wildcats played sound, conservative football, depending on five pass interceptions to dim slim Wolverine hopes of reclaiming the conference championship for four seasons in a row. Statistically, Michigan won the game with 17 first downs, 244 yards gained on the ground, and five pass completions; whenever the Wolverines scented paydirt, however, the once proud Maize and Blue folded completely. The Michigan defense played a good game, holding the Wildcats to 156 yards rushing. Among the standout defensemen for the Wolverines were Russ Osterman, Don Dugger, Roger Zatkoff and Larry LeClair. Michigan's sometime-powerful offense was dormant. Wes Bradford, Frank Howell, Bill Putich and Don Peterson all made occasional gains, particularly when the ball was deep in Wolverine territory. Bob Voigts, Northwestern coach, said, "We've been waiting for this one; we were sure we could handle the Wolverines." Said Michigan's Bennie Oosterbaan, "We just ran out of steam."
7 ... 0
A 49 yard drive, late in the second period, gave the Wolverines a 7-0 win over a favored Ohio State team in the final game of the 1951 football season. Fullback Don Peterson scored the touchdown on a six yard pitchout from the T -formation. Three tailbackquarterback passes were the key elements in the Michigan touchdown drive. Captain Bill Putich threw two of these passes to Ted Topor for gains of 15 and 9 yards; the third one went from Putich to Don Zanfagna. Neither team was able to hold the ball for too long; possession alternated 16 times in each half and there were 19 punts. Both offensive platoons lost the ball six times on fumbles and interceptions; the Wolverines, however, converted every crucial break to their advantage. It was an even game in every department. The Buckeyes had a slight edge in total offense with 222 yards to Michigan's 215, but most of the Ohio State gains came deep in their own territory. The game was, however, primarily a defensive one.
The real story of the struggle revolved around two fine defensive teams which, time and time again, stubbornly refused to give up yardage. Tackle Tom Johnson and linebacker Larry LeClaire sparked the Wolverines to a magnificent, impregnable defense, reminiscent of the Harmon and Chappius-led teams, which refused to permit the Buckeyes closer to the goal line than the Michigan 19. Ohio's front line, led by defensive left end Sherwin Gandee, played equally inspiring ball, on one occasion holding the Wolverines with first and goal-to-go inside the six yard line. It was a thrilling climax to a rather mediocre season . "These boys just didn't know the meaning of quit," said Michigan coach Bennie Oosterbaan. Ohio State coach Woody Hayes expressed a similar sentiment. "We're not making any alibis about the game," he said. "Michigan played a great game. The Wolverines had the more determined spirit and that was the difference." But it was big Tom Johnson, outstanding Wolverine tackle who played his usual terrific and devastating defensive game, who expressed the attitude which has been typical of Michigan's fighting grid elevens for scores of years. Said Johnson, "It's the only way to end a season."