Michigan vs Ohio State Football – Looking Back – 1980


The fourth installment of this year’s series looking back. at the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes us back to 1980. The United States got a needed shot in the arm when the Men’s Olympic ice hockey team upset the Soviet Union and and went on to capture the Goal Medal at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The Cable News Network, commonly known as CNN, started broadcasting on June. 1, and Rubik’s Cube debuted at a toy fair in London.

On the gridiron, Michigan got off to a slow start, losing two of its first three. The Wolverines violated Bo Schembechler’s rule not to let one loss become two, but once the calendar struck October, the Maize and Blue started to jell on both sides of the ball.

Michigan entered the annual clash with Ohio State with three consecutive shutouts on its resume, determined to repeat that outcome vs. the Scarlet and Gray. From the opening kickoff, the game had the feel of a classic defensive struggle, the kind of game that warmed Schembechler’s heart. Despite committing numerous mistakes, including three interceptions, a missed extra point, and a missed field goal, Michigan emerged with a 9-3 victory thanks largely to a defense that all but shut down the Buckeyes when it really mattered. Quarterback John Wangler connected with wide receiver Anthony Carter for the game’s lone touchdown, but the Buckeyes were threatening with less than a minute to go. On fourth down, Ohio State quarterback Art Schlichter faded back to pass and never saw Michigan linebacker Bobby Thompson, who drilled him for the clinching sack, that gave the ball back to Wangler and the offense, who ran the clock out, giving Michigan the Big Ten championship and a perfect record in conference play.

On January 1, the Wolverines put an exclamation point on the season with a 23-6 win over Washington in the Rose Bowl, but it was that ferocious defensive performance in Columbus that gave the Maize and Blue the Big Ten title.

Thanks to youtube poster WolverineHistorian for the video. As always, we own nothing and do not profit in this blog post in any way. The content is provided strictly for the enjoyment of readers.

About Jeff Cummins

Jeff Cummins has written about football since 1998, including nine years with The Record of Hackensack, N.J. He frequently contributes feature stories to Touchdown Illustrated, an insert in the national college football game program, published by University Sports Publications, and he has also written the official pregame stories for the game programs of the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Gator Bowl, and the BCS National Championship game. He has written the preview story for the official program for the NHL Winter Classic at MIchigan Stadium, and numerous college basketball feature stories for College Hoops Illustrated, another game program insert published by University Sports Publications. In addition, he has written stories about theater, music, physical therapy, and newsletter marketing. He’s an avid Michigan football fan and long-time New York Jets season ticket holder, and he can be reached at jeffcummins@optonline.net.