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Thursday January 1, 1970
. . . where the 1970s live forever!

Bo Suffers Heart Attack



Michigan's greatest loss Thursday came long before the war for the Roses began. At 11 a.m. Bo Schembechler, the 40-year-old coach of the Wolverines, was taken to a close care unit at St. Luke's Hospital in Pasadena. He had first complained ot an upset stomach after practice Tuesday. He improved Wednesday but the symptoms had returned Wednesday night, and the team physicians -- Drs. Gerald O'Connor and Robert Anderson -- decided he should be hospitalized Thursday morning. Their diagnosis hinted at What Schembechler's affliction might be.

'"We are fearful," they said, "of an impairment of the oxygen supply to his heart." Schembechler's condition was described as "good" Thursday night but he will be hospitalized for three or four more days for tests. Jim Mandich, the Michigan tight end and captain, spoke in plainer language. "The assistant coaches said before the game that it was a mild heart attack," he reported. Mandich was speaking in defeat, after USC had put the first blemish on the Rose Bowl record of the Michigan Wolverines. "I am not making any kind of excuse," he began. "USC played a fantastic game. They just took it right away from us. However, we couldn't devote all our attention to the football game today and that's a must. I think the assistant coaches were right to tell us about Coach Schembechler ... to just lay it out flat to the team. But he had called every single offensive play for us all year. I'm sure his loss handicapped us."

The same thoughts flowed from the other Wolverines, who retained their poise through an extremely trying situation. "My initial reaction," said quarterback Don Moorhead, "was shock ... shock that Bo wasn't going to be here. He is always kind of my inspiration on the sidelines. After the shock passed, I just thought that we had to pull together and try to get this one for him. I'm sorry we couldn't do it." Defensive end Cecil Pryor, who very nearly blocked a fourth quarter Ron Ayala punt that could have turned the game around, said "Bo and I are pretty close. I know that my play was affected, at least early in the game, until I convinced myself we had to carry on. "And I think Bo's loss affected the younger guys even more. They draw on him a lot. He has a very dominant personality."

Defensive coordinator Jim Young, a 34-year-old assistant with a blond, brush crewcut and glasses, was given the difficult assignment of filling in for Schembechler. The rest of the staff shared the responsibilities that Bo had carried. "They did all they could," said one Wolverine. "But it just wasn't the same without Bo." Michigan, a team that had averaged more than 34 points a game going into the bowl, couldn't get a touchdown. The offense, which had produced 420 yards a game in total offense, got just 289 against the Wild Bunch and friends. "The main thing wrong through most of the game," said middle guard Henry Hill, "was our field position, The offense moved the ball but they were always in a hole, especially in the first half. USC just punched us around."

"Our defense," added defensive hack Tom Curtis, "let 'em control the ball too much. Our offense was continually in a spot where it had to go 80 yards or more to score."

"We didn't play a real good game," said Moorhead. "We weren't going after people like we were against Ohio State."

[source: l.a. times]


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