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Between halves the 97,000 watched the two magnificent bands toot and high-step each other to a draw and wondered if Michigan was ever going to throw a pass to Kramer and whether State would ever push past the three-yard line. Early in the third quarter State received its second big break. A hurried punt by Kramer wobbled out of bounds on the Michigan 39. Grimly, State set to work. The first-string back-field of Morrall, Planutis, Peaks and Kowalczyk carried the attack to the five. In front of the State bench Hugh Daugherty squatted and carefully reached for a blade of grass. Quarterback Morrall twice sneaked into the center of the Michigan line and got to the one-yard line. Then Planutis dove over right tackle and landed in the end zone. He rolled once, tossed the ball high over his shoulder and was swarmed under by backslapping teammates. Then he calmly converted to tie the score at 7-7.
Five minutes later the Michigan line forced the break that won the game. Back to punt for State, Earl Morrall juggled the ball and suddenly was hemmed in by three blue jerseys. His kick was blocked, was nearly caught on the fly by Kramer and ended up under the belly of Michigan's Captain Ed Meads on the MSC 21-yard line. Six plays later Quarterback Jim Maddock started a sneak from the one, then slid to his right and dove into the end zone with the winning touchdown. Kramer converted, and Michigan had taken a giant step toward the Big Ten championship. At the end of the game the Michigan stands were on their feet and chanting, " Rose Bowl... Rose Bowl... Rose Bowl...."
The 97,000 slowly filed out of the stadium to the brassy blare of The Victors, played by the Michigan band. They had seen a rugged ball game. Both teams blocked and tackled viciously. On the runback of one punt State blockers literally turned two Michigan linemen upside down. Spartan Halfback Peaks was hit so hard on another play he turned a somersault over the back of his tackler.
Throughout the game Bennie Oosterbaan stared dyspeptically at the field, restlessly pacing the grass in front of the Michigan bench. His face wore the same expression no matter what happened—blocked punts, intercepted passes, touchdowns by either team—despite the fact that he has reason to feel more at home in Michigan Stadium than any man in the world. Oosterbaan was captain of the Michigan team in 1927 that played the first game in the stadium and he's been at Michigan ever since, first as an assistant coach and since 1948 as head coach.
In the locker room after the game, Oosterbaan managed a weak smile. "They were tough," he said simply. Someone asked why Michigan had passed only twice and neither time to Superman Kramer. "We couldn't get out from behind the eight-ball," Oosterbaan answered. "Their quick kicks and our mistakes kept us back there all the time." Had Michigan planned to pass? "Hell, yes," said Oosterbaan.
Oosterbaan's team is fast, experienced and tough. His first two lines are nearly on a par, each averaging around 202 pounds a man, and his backfield is swift and powerful on the ground and has fair depth. But to date Oosterbaan has not uncovered a top-notch passer to exploit his fine set of receivers headed by Ron Kramer.
Kramer, a junior who stands six foot three inches, weighs 222 and has a pair of marvelous hands, is the complete athlete. In track he high-jumps six feet four. In basketball he averages 16 points a game. In football he is the key man of Michigan. He punts, kicks off, converts, runs the end around and, of course, catches any pass that's thrown in his general direction.
In fact, Kramer is so good that he is being compared with Oosterbaan himself, who was an All-America end for Michigan from '25 through '27. This week his growing reputation as the new wonderman of the Big Ten may well meet an even tougher test. Into Ann Arbor from the plains of West Point comes Earl Blaik's new Army team, which was attracting some superlatives of its own by soundly trouncing Penn State 35-6 while Michigan was barely squeaking past the Spartans. The Kramer partisans who were shouting so loudly for the Rose Bowl last Saturday afternoon seemed to have their sights set a couple of months too far in the future.