Bo Schembechler knew in his bionic heart that Michigan could win the Rose Bowl if it could stop Southern California's powerful running attack.
He also knew he'd need some surprises for USC coach Larry Smith, who broke into football in the 1960's as Schembechler's assistant.Schembechler, who suffered a heart attack in 1970 and underwent quadruple bypass surgery a little over a year ago, concocted a plan that worked to perfection Monday as the Wolverines beat the Trojans 22-14, giving the Big Ten successive victories over Pacific-10 schools.
"I've said all week the most important thing was to stop their running," said Schembechler, whose personal record now is 2-7 in Rose Bowl games and 5-11 in all bowls. "(Southern Cal quarterback) Rodney Peete can beat you himself. If you let those big backs run, Rodney Peete's going to have a field day.
"We did a good job stopping the run in the second half. That made all the difference."
- Rushed for 208 yards, 142 by Leroy Hoard who earned MVP honors.
- Held USC to 138 net yards rushing, just 31 in the second half.
- Surprised the Trojans by throwing the ball 24 times, three more passes than Peete threw.
"I told the team before the game to expect the unexpected," Schembechler said. "I was going to do whatever it took to win this game.
"I also told the defense to expect to be in some funny field position."
The victory enabled No. 11 Michigan to finish the season 9-2-1 and almost assured the Wolverines a Top Ten finish in the final poll.
The fifth-ranked Trojans, who lost to Michigan State last season in Smith's first Rose Bowl, finished 10-2.
Smith accused the Trojans, who led 14-3 at halftime, of sloppy tackling and failing to play four solid quarters of football.
"I'm not disappointed. I'm just darned angry, that's all," Smith said. "It just seemed like we thought maybe we had the game won. We just couldn't get the momentum because we couldn't get our defense off the field. The best way to defense our offense is to keep them off the field."
The Wolverines went 53 yards in 14 plays with their first possession for a 49-yard field goal by Mike Gillette. Gillette later missed field goals from 34 and 22 yards and also had trouble punting on the painted natural grass, averaging 34.8 yards on four punts.
Peete, playing his final game for USC, had touchdown runs of one and four yards in the second quarter. Little did the Trojans know that was all they would get.
Part of the answer was turnovers. When the Trojans lose, turnovers generally are the reason. They turned the ball over four times in the season-ending showdown with Notre Dame and suffered five more turnovers against Michigan.
The Trojans had driven to the Michigan 32 when Peete was intercepted by John Milligan with 50 seconds remaining, sending many in the crowd of 101,688 heading for the exits.
Hoard, who became the first runner to gain over 100 yards against the Trojans this season, began to take charge midway though the third quarter.
Hoard broke a 32-yard run to key a nine-play, 92-yard drive that put Michigan ahead 15-14 on his 1-yard sweep around right end on the first play of the fourth quarter. Hoard broke two tackles on a 61-yard run that started the Wolverines' final touchdown drive, which he capped with another 1-yard dive with 1:52 remaining.
Peete, with his 158 yards passing, finished the season with 2,812 yards through the air, breaking his own school record. Trojan split end Erik Affholter, who had five catches for 56 yards, finished with 68 catches for the season and 123 for his career, both USC records.
Although only regular-season statistics are used in compiling records for the NCAA, USC adds bowl-game figures for the purpose of determining school records.