When Woody bore down on Freedman, who was focusing his mini-cam with both hands, he could only get his elbow in the way of Woody's fist. The blow, slightly resembling a Kid Gavilan bolo punch, was delivered by Woody with his right hand. This shows that when it comes to exercises in childishness. Woody is ambidextrous.
Despite the fact that he learned at Woody's knee, Bo Schembechler doesn't throttle what they both call "the media people," as in, "I don't have anything against the media people, I just don't want my daughter going to school with 'em." Bo is wont to just ignore them, considering them, as he does before every Ohio State game, a "negative influence." Actually, Schembechler would as soon ignore almost everybody at this crucial time. He says he doesn't even get a kick out of the thundering on-campus Michigan pep rally any more because "the media people make too much of it." Yet he goes, and annually he guarantees a win over the Buckeyes. "The students like that," he says, pleased to indulge them.
Partly because of their similar outlooks, and partly because they don't let anybody talk to their players the week of the game, Michigan-Ohio State has become almost exclusively a Bo-and-Woody show, one in which pupil Bo is now tied with mentor Woody at four victories apiece, plus a tie. As near mirror images—they have the same coaching philosophies and neither likes to be interviewed by media people—their teams play the same brand of ball and their confrontations usually follow a somewhat staid pattern.
Not this time.
Two sky-high teams, bitter rivals with malice aforethought and coaches as taut as twin violin strings, teams renowned for their willingness to deliver massive blows in the name of hard-nose football, they played an entire game without drawing a major penalty. Each was assessed one inconsequential five-yarder.
The higher-ranked team ( Ohio State) lost. So did the bigger, stronger, healthier team (same guys).
The team with a lot of depressing medical charts and missing starters ( Michigan) somehow held together.
The team with the smaller defenders ( Michigan) that could not afford to let the other practice ball control—it was Bo's biggest fear—not only let the other team control the ball, but did so and still held it to six points, on field goals.
The quarterback who was supposed to be the superior passer ( Michigan's Rick Leach) didn't pass so hot but ran for the decisive touchdown; the running quarterback (Gerald), who was sure to throw flutterballs, completed more passes than James Bond. Leach came into the game averaging almost 14 passes a game, threw nine and connected on only three. Gerald, averaging eight a game, threw 16 and completed 13—every one a spiral.
And here's the real teaser. Traditionally, these are teams of swarming, suffocating defense—defenses that surround ballcarriers, having been taught that tackling is a team calisthenic. But this time, whenever Ohio State's squadron of fast backs seemed on the verge of crashing through, or out, one superb individual effort by one superb player or another saved the Wolverines.