UM 9 - - OSU 20
Columbus, Nov. 21, 1970
"M" rushers thwarted - OSU defense immobile
by Pat Atkins
All year long Buckeye fans had been asking when Woody would turn the offense loose.
Yesterday afternoon, when the only moving room was in the air, they got their answer.
With both Ohio State and Michigan defenses performing as expected against the ground attack, kicking and passing dominated the Big Ten championship.
No longer a question mark, the under-pressure passing of Rex Kern -- not the bulling of John Brockington -- caught the Wolverines from behind.
Michigan stopped cold on the ground with 37 net yards rushing, dropped passes, allowed an interception and missed an extra point to stymie its chances for two repeat first places.
"Our defense was good, but our offense could not move the ball. I believe you have to run the football. Somewhere their defense had to crack, but it didn't," Michigan Coach "Bo" Schembechler said.
In the first half, Michigan managed only 18 yards on the ground, its longest run from scrimmage coming then on a six yard delayed jaunt by Billy Taylor. Quarterback Don Moorhead and Kern dueled to an aerial standoff, each throwing touchdown passes.
But soon in the fourth quarter Michigan's Armageddon came, as Kern, using Brockington and Leon Hayden, took the ball 46 yards on the ground in nine plays to the Michigan 27 yard line. A 16-yard completion to Jan White just about assured the field goal by Fred Schram. It came at 4:11 of the third quarter and put Ohio State's lead to 13-9.
Then, with Michigan pressured once again to take to the air from back on its own 20, Stan White picked off a Moorhead pass and ran it back 15 yards to the Michigan nine yard line. Three plays later it was 20-9.
Kern, letter perfect in the first half, lofted the ball high six times for six completions. "Rex Kern did a great job today. We did not play Ron Maciejowksi, because of the way Rex was going – and you don't change horses in the middle of the stream," Buckeye Coach Woody Hayes explained when all was over.
If the Wolverines' passing looked effective, it was only in comparison to their rushing efforts. Schembechler noted, "We didn't move on the ground and that hurt."
Taylor, leading Wolverine rusher with 898 yards going into yesterday's game, pushed for only 31 yards in 15 tries. No other Wolverine even broke into double figures on rushing yardage. Taylor was more successful as a receiver, catching five Moorhead aerials for 53 yards.
In the meantime Ohio State led by Hayden with 117 net yards, rushed for 107 net yards in the first half and 135 in the second.
The ineffectiveness of the Wolverine rushing game began noticeably sapping the strength of Michigan's drives after Moorhead had just brought his teammates to within one, 10-9, on a 13 yard toss to Paul Staroba halfway through the third quarter.
The "M" defense dug in, forcing the Bucks to turn over the ball without a first down. Two hand-offs for a gain of one to Taylor and a rushed pass incompletion were all that the Wolverines could garner.
Once again, the Michigan defense kept the Buckeyes from a first down and a short 30-yard punt by Gary Lago set Michigan up just inside its own territory.
With Michigan gaining momentum and in menacing field position, the record crowd of 87,331 began to chant the letters apprehensively "O-H-I-O." As usual in Ohio Stadium, they needn't have worried.
Taylor went over right tackle to gain his two yards per carry average, then Moorhead passed complete to Doughty. But a Wolverine offside penalty nullified the pass completion.
Penalized into a second down and 13 situation, Moorhead hit Seymour on the right side and saw the ball go off the tight end's fingertips. As Moorhead again tried to pass, Buckeye middle guard Jim Stillwagon rushed in to paste the quarterback on a seven-yard loss.
The Buckeyes, on their next series of downs, scored the field goal, then picked off Moorhead's pass and moved the ball into the enemy end zone for their 20-9 margin of victory.
"We helped them make points with our mistakes," Schembechler said. Hayes' Buckeyes were equally adept at making penalties, throwing interceptions, and fumbling.
But there was, as Schembechler observed, that one all-important difference.
|Scores by quarters:|