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Tex Maule
October 21, 1974
The Wolverines countered with a 21-7 triumph over Michigan State and refuse to settle for No. 2
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October 21, 1974

But Don't Tell Michigan

The Wolverines countered with a 21-7 triumph over Michigan State and refuse to settle for No. 2

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Schembechler, an intense driver with an extraordinary talent for organization, was not really pleased with the victory, although it must have been a particularly satisfying one.

"I was quite disappointed with the second half," he said. "We didn't move the ball well. It was bad coaching, and I don't blame the kids, I blame myself. I didn't let our offense run at them and I tried to get too fancy with a 21-0 lead. When you get a little older, like I am, I guess you get a little frivolous."

Michigan's second touchdown might be termed a bit frivolous, but it was not a Schembechler operation. Tom Birney, the Spartan punter, missed a one-hop snap from center on his 21, was crunched by Defensive End Dan Jilek and fumbled the ball all the way into the end zone, where Jilek pounced on it.

Jilek was one of the few Michigan players who admitted special satisfaction in the victory. "It was good to get the touchdown," he said later. "And it was especially good to beat Michigan State. Coach Schembechler never said anything about the vote during the week, but he didn't have to. It was in the back of all our minds. You never forget a thing like that."

And so it seems certain that an undefeated Michigan again will be playing an undefeated Ohio State for the Rose Bowl and, possibly, for No. 1. Although it is no longer true that the Big Ten is the Big Two and eight also-rans, the rest of the conference has not yet caught up to these schools.

A great deal of the credit for the Wolverines' success over the past few seasons belongs to Schembechler, who has lost only six of 60 games since coming to Michigan five years ago from Miami of Ohio. His attention to detail is so meticulous that it extends to charting the position of players and coaches for the annual team picture, and he has a Lombardi-like quality for inspiring players.

Schembechler was brought to Ann Arbor by Michigan Athletic Director Don Canham, who used to be the school's head track coach. Like Schembechler, Canham is an efficient organizer who owns a successful manufacturing company and runs the Michigan athletic department like a business. He hired Schembechler on recommendations by, of all people, Sonny Werblin, then owner of the New York Jets, and George Allen, the coach of the Washington Redskins, neither of whom knew Bo personally.

"George had looked at movies of Miami games, looking for talent," Canham says. "He told me that the club was exceptionally well drilled and well organized, and the coach was doing a hell of a job.

"Then I went East to try to get Joe Paterno for the job, but he did not want to leave Penn State. I ran into Sonny Werblin in Toots Shor's, and he said he had been looking at film and his coaches liked the way Miami looked. 'I don't know what the coach's name is, but I'd look him up,' he said."

So, if Michigan can manage a victory over Ohio State and Franklin can stay healthy, the Wolverines may make it to the Rose Bowl and the national title by way of a New York saloon.

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