Michigan vs Ohio State THE GAME — Looking Back — The 1989 Edition

SPECIAL TO UMGOBLUE.COM

We resume the series on The Game with the 1989 game. It was John Cooper’s first trip to Ann Arbor, and Cooper never managed to get a win in Michigan Stadium. From Bo Schembechler to Gary Moeller to Lloyd Carr, Michigan coaches made The Big House invulnerable during Cooper’s tenure. Coaching strategy wasn’t always the same among the three coaches, but under Schembechler, the strategy was very simple: stick to the basics. Carr’s teams lined up in the I-formation sometimes, in a full house backfield at other occasions. One thing is certain, though. They could run the ball, and with authority.

Schembechler believed in fundamentally sound blocking, and in ball security. This stick-to-the-basics philosophy enabled the Wolverines to hone their precision, and to build a rock-solid esprit de corps, similar to that enjoyed by the Packers under Vince Lombardi. Schembechler’s teams didn’t always fare well in bowl games, or against Notre Dame, but in the Big Ten, Schembechler almost always had his teams ready to go.

With a modest lead against the Buckeyes, Schembechler decided to seize control of the line of scrimmage for good. His team did that with a beautifully executed 81-yard drive consisting of 13 consecutive running plays. Period. The touchdown gave Michigan a 14-0 lead, and clearly established that Michigan was the team in charge that day.
Simplicity. Imagine if anyone dared to use 13 consecutive running plays now. They’d risk their own job security. Thanks to expressfan and WolverineHistorian on YouTube, and to ABC. Enjoy!

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.

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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.