Hello there and welcome to another edition of the Stumbler. Apologies for this segment not running in its normal time slot yesterday, but a nasty bout with the flu nearly did me in (it’s going around folks). Luckily, I’m back up and running, so let’s get to:
The Item: A 1975 Michigan – Ohio State Football Program
Would you take a look at this little beauty, a vintage program from the 10-year war. On Nov. 22, 1975, this booklet was being handed out to fans in Ann Arbor for the incredibly reasonable price of one American dollar.
This from the seller:
Found in an old estate sale was this 1975 program from a college football game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes. The date was November 22, 1975. The program measures 8 1/2" x 11" and is made of very heavy stock paper. Great program from a game coached by Bo Shembechler for Michigan & Woody Hayes for OSU. The great OSU running back Archie Griffin is also featured in the program. The program is 65 pages filled with great articles, pictures, & stats. The cover does show minor age with slight ripples in the paper, but there are no major folds or creases.
That’s right, friends, 65 pages of 1975 goodness. Read it, frame it, unframe it and repeat as necessary.
Featured on the cover is Michigan senior RB Gordon Bell, who finished the 1975 season with 1,390 rushing yards, an additional 314 kickoff return yards and received the team’s MVP nod.
Heading into the game his image is promoting, Bell was in a tight three-way contest for best back in the B1G. The battle came down to Bell (134 ypg in conference) Wisconsin’s Billy Marek (125.1 ypg in conference) and crowd favorite Archie Griffin (123.7 ypg in conference).
Bell looked like the best back on the field during the '75 matchup, rushing for 124 yards on 21 carries and throwing for one TD compared with Archie’s 46 yards on 19 carries. However, Griffin got the last laugh as his Buckeyes bested the Wolverines, 21-14, capping off an undefeated regular season and ultimately helping him nab his second Heisman trophy.
To end the 1975 season, Griffin tallied 1,450 yards on 262 attempts with 4 TDs. He also won the award for most visible swagger of any player in the country.
With that said, let’s take a look at that 1975 matchup.
The Clips – Put ‘Em in a bowl and beat ‘Em for three hours
On the first drive of the game, the Buckeyes rode a balanced attack, ultimately coalescing in this Cornelius Greene to Pete Johnson score:
The Wolverines answered right before halftime with a little trickeration, as freshman QB Rick Leach pitched the ball to Bell, who heaved it into the end zone to WR Jim Smith for a score. 7-7 at half.
The third quarter was scoreless as both offenses failed to gain any momentum. Then in the fourth, a Wolverines punt pinned the Buckeyes in the shadow of their own end zone. Two straight runs resulted in Archie and Johnson getting stuffed at the line. Then Woody decided to do the most Woody thing ever and punt on third down.
The short field helped Michigan find pay dirt as Leach breached the end zone on a one-yard option keeper. 14-7 bad guys with roughly 7 minutes left to play.
With 80 yards standing between the Buckeyes and a tie game, Greene led a methodical drive working the ball all the way to the Michigan 1, where Hayes elected to go for it on fourth down.
Touchdown Buckeyes, 14-14. That’s when Griffin stole the show, but it’s not the one you would expect. Archie’s little brother, Ray, intercepted a Leach pass on Michigan’s ensuing drive, returning it to the UM 3-yard line and setting up another Johnson score. Just like that, it was 21-14.
That’s all the scoring the Buckeyes would need as Leach was picked once again on Michigan’s next drive by Craig Cassady (son of “Hopalong”) to put the game on ice. The win sent the undefeated #1 ranked Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl to play #11 UCLA. Unfortunately the Scarlet and Gray couldn’t make it 12-0, falling to the Bruins, 23-10.
The loss surely made Woody upset, but it may have made the aforementioned program a little more valuable, as it was Griffin’s last win as a Buckeye.
So get bidding Buckeye Nation and thanks for stumbling in.