Saturday, May 12, 2007

2007 team can draw (some) inspiration from 1971 team

Michigan finished 7-5 in 2005 and the Wolverines spent the off-season motivated by the team's five losses. The hard working Wolverines roared to an 11-0 start and a #2 ranking in 2006 before stumbling in the last two games of the season against Ohio State and USC in the Rose Bowl. The 2007 Wolverines have the difficult task of trying to bounce back from those devastating season-ending losses and attempt to "run the table" the entire way this upcoming season. In 2006, the Wolverines were attempting to return to prominence after a disappointing 2005 campaign. In 2007, the Wolverines will be attempting to do what they could not accomplish completely in 2006. The 2007 Wolverines want to FINISH WHAT THEY START. Last season, the Wolverines were 11-0 but could not get the job done in the final two games. This upcoming year, led by seniors Chad Henne and Mike Hart, the Wolverines will look to not only start fast but also to FINISH STRONG!

There are some parallels between the 2006/2007 Wolverines and the 1970/1971 Wolverines. As everyone knows, the 2006 Wolverines were 11-0 when they traveled to Columbus, OH to take on the undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes for the Big Ten title. Unfortunately, the Wolverines came up just a little bit short. That was reminiscent of the 1970 Michigan team that was undefeated (9-0) when they traveled to Columbus, OH to play an undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) with the Big Ten Championship on the line. The Buckeyes managed to defeat the Wolverines 20-9 ending the Wolverines season on a losing note.

The 1971 Wolverines featured All-American RB Billy Taylor and All-American OL Reggie McKenzie on offense. The '71 Wolverines had the daunting challenge of trying to sweep through their schedule undefeated for the second year in a row to set up a season-ending showdown for the title with Ohio State. With the Wolverines potent running attack, Michigan was able to amass a 10-0 record heading into the Big 10 finale at home versus the Buckeyes. In a classic at Michigan Stadium, the Wolverines pulled out a 10-7 win on Billy Taylor's late touchdown run. Thus, the Wolverines advanced to the Rose Bowl as an undefeated team for what turned out to be the only time in Coach Schembechler's 21-year coaching career at Michigan.

The 2007 team hopes to duplicate the feat of the 1971 team squad by going into the Ohio State game undefeated for the second consecutive season. Also, like the '71 squad, the 2007 M/OSU game will be played at Michigan Stadium and this year's team hopes to advance to a bowl game undefeated just as the Wolverines did in that memorable year. Whereas the '71 Wolverines had RB Billy Taylor and OL Reggie McKenzie, this year's squad features RB Mike Hart and OL Jake Long. However, where this year's Wolverines hope to improve upon the legacy of the '71 Wolverines is in the bowl game. The '71 Wolverines lost the Rose Bowl to Stanford by the score of 13-12 on a field goal with :14 seconds remaining in the game. The 2007 team wants to FINISH the season undefeated and leave a legacy that Wolverine fans will not soon forget. Go Blue!


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