50 years ago today

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on November 16th, 2018 at 12:05 PM

The greatest game by a RB in Michigan history.

347 yards, 5 touchdowns. 50 years later, still Michigan single game records.

He passed away last Saturday. I wrote a piece on that game if you want to read more about it and about his life: http://theblueprintmichigan.com/50-years-ago-today-the-greatest-game-by-a-michigan-rb-ever/

Really sad he never got his day at Michigan Stadium to be honored. Hopefully they will have something for him tomorrow.

Here's video of his 5 TD runs

Because Bo came the following season and that was our dark period before 2007-2014, Ron Johnson was known of but not as celebrated as he should've been IMO. He was a bright light during a dark time. Think Denard but in 1968.



November 16th, 2018 at 12:20 PM ^

I posted separately to express my admiration for Ron Johnson, but I also want to discuss which game was the best ever by a Michigan RB. I would have to go with Tim Biakabutuka's 313 yards against undefeated OSU. In my view, that was more impressive than yards against an 0-8 Wisconsin team.


November 16th, 2018 at 12:51 PM ^

Most of the 50s and 60s were not the best years for Michigan football. Even after Oosterbaan won his national championship in '48, he finish sub .500 many times during the 50s. Bump almost went undefeated in '64, lost the Purdue game by 1 point and also won the Rose Bowl that season. Even in '68 Bump won 8 games though, but getting blown out by OSU was probably all Canham could stomach. At least our recent  dark years have ended since Harbaugh has arrived!


November 16th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

I was there, that is the emptiest looking place with 60k in it.

I think the attendance was 62k or 63k that day, when capacity was still 101,701.


Lost home opener to Cal, won 8 in a row before trip to national champs OSU.

The infamous 48 to 21, Woodsy goes for 2 to make it 50.

rob f

November 16th, 2018 at 12:28 PM ^

Thanks, WD.

Great post.  I remember well watching that amaizing performance on TV that day. 

Wisconsin barely got their hands on Ron Johnson on many of his runs that game, he was so elusive and slippery, both in spite of and because of the weather the game was played in.


November 16th, 2018 at 12:56 PM ^

The blue disc in the middle of the field with the block M is really cool--I hope we can bring that back at some point.

RIP Ron Johnson.


November 16th, 2018 at 5:02 PM ^

I'm not your dad but probably about the same age if he was there.  I was there too during the first half, before Johnson got hot.  The cold, rainy weather was so lousy that I left at halftime for the first and only time during the last 55 years, and watched Johnson set the record on TV.  I wasn't disappointed that I wasn't there for the whole game though I certainly didn't expect his record would still be intact 50 years later.  Johnson was certainly a prime example of an alum who brought credit to himself and the University of Michigan, "the greatest University in the world."


November 16th, 2018 at 1:07 PM ^

One other thing to consider when evaluating RJ's performance is that he was taken out of the game early in the fourth quarter. Indeed, if memory serves, he left with 14 minutes to go. 


November 16th, 2018 at 1:22 PM ^

I'm sure they'll mention Ron Johnson at the game tomorrow.  I would be shocked if they didn't. 

That was the last game on natural grass at the big house until it came back in 1991.  When Bo arrived, he wanted astroturf because he figured the players would be faster on it. 

And look at the design of the north end zone!  A little block M in the center with stripes.  Were they going for the winged helmet look? 


November 16th, 2018 at 4:51 PM ^

Great post.

Johnson was also the first NY Giants player to gain over 1000 yards in a season.

A physical runner who set records for number of carries he also lived in assisted living after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's 10 years ago. Very sad.


Late Bluemer

November 16th, 2018 at 5:52 PM ^

Love the grass field -- the way football is meant to be played.  Just like those old black and white photos of the Lions at Tiger Stadium or the Giants at Yankee Stadium where there wasn't a blade of grass on the field, just mud.


November 16th, 2018 at 10:19 PM ^

50 years ago... wow. I was 13 years old and playing rocket football. Just becoming aware af M football because from time to time ABC would cover M football on Saturday afternoons. The glory days. Bo to come soon. The kindling of a long and fruitful love of M football. Go Blue - always.