The Michigan Wolverines suffered a ton of disappointment in the 1960s, but even in those most discouraging of days, there were reasons for optimism.
Take Gary Moeller. In the fourth installment of the series on the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, Moeller was the captain of the 1962 Buckeyes team that thrashed Michigan, 28-0. Ohio State finished the season with a record of six wins and three defeats, while Michigan finished with two wins and seven defeats. On the surface, there’s nothing good for Michigan fans to take from that game. But as we learn in life, sometimes, you have to look beyond the surface.
Moeller was a true student of the game who played both center and linebacker for the Buckeyes, giving him a thorough knowledge of the game. 1962 was his senior year, and he went into coaching afterward, and got a job Miami University (Ohio) in 1967, serving as an assistant on head coach Bo Schembechler’s staff. When Schembechler moved to Michigan in 1969, Moeller moved with him. After Schembechler retired following the 1989 season, Moeller took over as head coach at Michigan, the school he had worked so hard to defeat less than a decade earlier. Moeller coached the Wolverines for only five years, but during that time, he did much to develop the Michigan roster. In 1997, three years after Moeller resigned, Michigan won the national championship, completing an incredible 12-0 season against arguably the toughest schedule in the country. Moeller recruited many of the players who starred on that ’97 team, and the Wolverines won the national championship that season, 25 years after Moeller served as an Ohio State captain. Sometimes, you never know who your allies will be.
Oh yes, The Game in 1962. Ohio State held Michigan to 142 net yards of total offense. The bright spot for Michigan? The Wolverines eventually recovered from this defeat. Even when things look bleakest, there is always hope for the future.
Thanks to the Bentley Historical Library for the box score below. As always, I own none of this material.