Michigan vs Ohio State Football – Looking Back – 1968

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Looking Back is a Special Feature Highlighting
Key Rivalry Games by Jeff Cummins

The first installment of this year’s series looking back at the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes back to 1968. Richard Nixon had just been elected president, the nation watched nightly TV reports on the Vietnam War, and, well, you probably already know that Ohio State routed Michigan, 50-14.

But the truth is, that’s just the outer edges of the story. Anyone who thinks the ’68 Wolverines were bad simply doesn’t see the whole picture. The 1968 team had a roster that was loaded with talent, including running backs Ron Johnson and Grave Craw, tight end Jim Mandich, defensive back Tom Curtis, defensive linemen Tom Goss (future UM AD) and Henry Hill, offensive lineman Dan Diedorf, and junior end Mike Hankwitz, who went on to become one of the best defensive coordinators in college football. After suffering an opening day loss to Cal, the Wolverines reeled off eight consecutive victories, including back-to-back shutouts against Northwestern and Illinois.

The Game occurred on Nov. 23, 1968, and in the first half, Michigan was competitive, with the game tied at 14. Then Ohio State overwhelmed Michigan, and after their final touchdown, the Buckeyes went for two points, and failed. If anything, the attempted two-point conversion may have ignited a spark in the Wolverines for the following season. Shortly after the season ended, Michigan coach Bump Elliott accepted the positions of associate athletic director, and Bo Schembechler was named head coach on Dec. 26, 1968, leading to one of the most interesting offseason in Michigan history.

Thanks to YouTube, ABC Sports, and YouTube poster Dr. Sap for the video clips below. As always, I own nothing and do not profit from this blog post in any way.

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.