Memories of the 1985 Michigan Football Team

Submitted by tybert on December 4th, 2010 at 1:07 AM

Lost in the crapola being written by Terry Foster, Drew Sharp, and others regarding the Football Bust, missing were ANY stories whatsoever about one of Bo's BEST and FAVORITE teams, namely the 1985 Michigan Wolverines. After all, they were the guest of honor at the frigging banquet, weren't they?!?!?

Well, because those dirty rotten bastards DIDN'T talk about the 1985 Team like they SHOULD HAVE, sit back and enjoy the story of one of Bo's finest teams (the TEAM, the TEAM, the TEAM!!!!).

This team, along with the 1976, 1980, and 1997 teams, rank among my favorite UM teams. I don't count the '69 team (although a wonderful one at that), simply because I was too young to remember them.

The 1985 season was my senior year at UM. The team was coming off the ignominy of a 6-6 season and was not ranked in the Top 20 rankings (Top 25 ranking didn't come into vogue until later on). That was a 2nd for a Bo team (the '69 team didn't enter the Top 20 until week 2). Call me foolishly optimistic, but I had an inkling that this team would NOT disappoint the Michigan faithful!

Some defensive minded coach at MSU had beaten UM the year before in Ann Arbor and was the talk of the state. Old Bo was washed up, or so it seemed.

1985 Michigan Football season (as through my eyes and ears)

Date Opponent/Score/Location Memories
9/14 Notre Dame, W 20-12, Ann Arbor
  • Sitting in my nice senior seats, the D looked fine. Plenty aggressive. Gang tackling exhibition.
  • The O looked lethargic in the 1st half.
  • We trailed 9-3 at halftime. ND was going to get the KO to start the 2nd half.
  • Finally...good karma returned to the UM sideline, as ND muffed the 2nd half kickoff and special teams ace Dieter Heren recovered near the 15 yd line.
  • The comatose O set up for a 3rd down and long near the 10. One of my favorite Harbaugh calls - a QB draw surprises the ND Defense, as Harbaugh dives in for the score to put us up 10-9.
  • We stop a late ND drive inside our 20 with a diving interception from Doug Mallory.
  • Those foolishly optimistic feelings I felt during the summer begin to come true. Maybe I was onto something here, and it wasn't just the sun baking my head and giving me silly ideas.
9/21 South Carolina, 34-3, Columbia
  • Watched this one on TV. SC was a Top 20 team.
  • Utter and complete domination by UM. Now I know that I wasn't getting foolishly optimistic thoughts, while my head was getting baked out on the golf courses all summer long.
  • I about fell out of the recliner when even avowed UM-hater Beano Cook mentioned that this might be Bo's best team (egads, what next, dogs and cats sleeping together?!?!?)
9/28 Maryland, 20-0, Ann Arbor
  • Through a mix-up, I actually sold my regular ticket and hoped to buy one in another friend's section. Found out that I couldn't get one for that section and bought one in the South EZ, practically splitting the uprights on this fine sunny day.
  • Maryland was the SI #1 team (and we know what kind of Jinx that brings). Actually, Maryland ended a pretty good 9-3 season when it was all said and done, but this day belonged to the OTHER UM, namely our boys in blue.
  • Three big memories ---
  • We had a 3rd and short in our end. The "old" Bo rams it through the line and tries to outmuscle the D. Maryland is stacked to stop anything inside. Instead, we hit a pass down the middle to the TE for a huge gain. The crowd cheers wildly, both the result of the play and the way Bo showed he could mix things up.
  • We fumbled inside Maryland's 5 with the outcome still in doubt. Pissed off Michigan defenders pop the RB on a dive and force a fumble that we recover. We score a TD shortly after.
  • Maryland has the ball inside out 10, needing to score to make it a real game. This play is right down in front of me. Maryland's QB throws a Threet-like pass into heavy coverage. It must have been tipped by every Michigan man on the field, including the hot dog guy and the drum major. Miraculously, Doug Mallory dives and comes up with the ball in the EZ. Now I KNOW that my foolishly optimistic thoughts about this season are going to come true!
10/5 Wisconsin, 33-6, Ann Arbor
  • Crappy, rainy, windy day. You could still bring umbrellas into the stadium those days, but being a stubborn student, of course I don't bring one!
  • Wisky scores the FIRST TD all year vs. our D, but bobbles the snap on the PAT.
  • We get a Pick Six to ice the game.
  • Damn I'm soaked and need a warm place and a beer or two or three.
10/12 MSU, 31-0, Least Lansing
  • REVENGE day. Got tickets from my MSU friends. Went with my college roommate. Sat in the visitors EZ.
  • Another dominant UM performance. We actually had good special teams in those days. Block a punt for a TD.
  • The crowd around me is about 50/50 UM/MSU fans. Still remember a guy lamenting "what are you going to do now, George?" - George being the one-time MSU coach and now politician of sorts. Well, fellow, it's 4th and 13, so George should punt!
  • Get to see Bo interviewed right down in front of us.
  • I don't think MSU got a 1st down the entire 2nd half
10/19 Iowa, 12-10 LOSS, Iowa City
  • The one time our karma failed us. Watched this one on TV and thought for sure that we'd beat the Iowa team that handed us our last shutout (26-0) the previous year.
  • The one was a classic for the ages. Iowa #1, Michigan #2. UM up 10-9 with 2 seconds to go. Dammit, Paul Jokisch if you were only 9' 8" and not 6' 8" we might have blocked it.
  • Brad Cochran was a great DB for us that year, but couldn't hold onto a gave-clinching INT late in the game (an Iowa guy made a good play to strip him of the ball).
10/26 Indiana, 42-15, Ann Arbor
  • My last Homecoming as a student. Warm late fall day.
  • We make silly mistakes and are flat in the 1st half, score tied 15-15.
  • Bo takes care of the flatness leftover from the Iowa loss and the team roars out and dominates in the 2nd half.
  • All's well that ends well.
11/2 Illinois, 3-3, Champaign
  • Back in the days BEFORE OT and before every game was on TV, missed this one, except on the radio. Bo and Mike White (UI coach) were mortal enemies.
  • Crappy day again, UM has chance to score a late TD but fumbles near the goal line.
  • Absolutely atrocious refereeing again.
  • Illinois tries for winning FG, Heren gets a piece of the ball and it hits the crossbar and bounces back. We celebrate as if we had just WON the game.
  • Nevertheless, the tie doesn't hurt us. Iowa loses at OSU the same day. We still need Iowa to lose another game anyway.
11/9 Purdue, 47-0, Ann Arbor
  • One of the top 5 best Michigan D performances I've witnessed in person. Another crappy, windy, rainy day (that year, we either had nice warm sunshine or crap and rain, nothing in between)
  • Jim Everett, next years #3 overall pick in the NFL draft, had torched out secondary the previous year for 290 yds, ala Rick Stanzi, Ben Chappell etal did against this D.
  • Purdue gets 104 yds total offense (this team was lighting up defenses all season).



11/16 Minnesota, 48-7, Minny
  • I had a crappy excuse for missing this game - homework on my design project.
  • Got score updates from a grad student and remember hearing that we were up something like 34-0 at half.
  • Minny was coached by Lou Holtz and would go to a bowl game (under the repalcement) after Lou blew town to go to work for ESPN (he had a stop or two in between)
11/23 Ohio State, 27-17, Ann Arbor
  • My last home game as a student. Snow on the ground, colder than a witch's tit, real Big 10 FB weather.
  • Our kicker had gotten suspended before the game (sound familiar on the eve of an OSU game?)
  • Jamie Morris fumbles early in the game, some fellow by the name of Spielman hits him. In those days, if you fumbled, Bo yanked you for what seemed like a million years.
  • We tie it up and then take the lead 20-10.
  • OSU throws up a hail mary on 4th and long in the 4th quarter, of course, future studio host Cris Carter (word from Buddy Ryan is that Carter ONLY catches touchdowns) is in the vicinity and comes down with a TD, we are only ahead 20-17 with most of the 4th qaurter to go. Man, now I'm freaking cold and getting nervous.
  • This is where the "newer" Bo showed his changed colors. After a short gain on a dive, Harbaugh hits Kolesar for a 77-yd TD right down freaking in front of my friend and I. Best seats in the house for the game AND that play. Jimmy gets drilled just as he throws the ball but lofts a beautiful pass to the speeding Kolesar. Other than the Woodson PR TD, I don't remember that stadium ever being so loud.
  • We go ahead 27-17 and shutdown the Bucks.
  • No senior season is finished until we go and hang out on the field, freezing out butts off all the while, and looking for a good place to warm up with a whole lotta brewskys.
1/1 Nebraska, 27-23, Fiesta Bowl
  • One of the best bowl games of the season. Watch on TV with my sister. We absolutely SUCKED in the 1st half (down 14-3). It was like the 1984 6-6 team had showed up to play.
  • Thankfully, Nebraska decided to play give-away and we rally to take a 27-14 lead. A late NU TD and an intentional safety make it 27-23.
  • We pick off a well-overthrown pass in the EZ to wrap it up.
  • Those silly, crazy, foolishly optimistic thoughts, baked into my head during the previous summer, come to fruition. 



December 4th, 2010 at 1:27 AM ^

If you go to You Tube, type in Michigan Maryland Football 1985.

Nice highlights from the game.

This was one of those "tape-delay" games shown on Sunday nights, I think.

Ray Lane (long time Detroit broadcaster) and our own Dennis Franklin call the game.

You can see the real-time and slo-mo replay of the mucho-tipped INT that I talk about.


December 4th, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

That was the first game I got to play in.  I was a sophomore and probably the last guy on the team expected to play.  It was 20-0 in the 4th quarter and I hear Coach Moeller yell my name.  I look over at him and say, "Yeah?"  He looks at me and says, "Get OVER here."

It's important to note that I was a big chewer at the time.  It was not unusual for me and a few other guys to grab a chew at halftime while the coaches made their adjustments.

So I jog over to Mo and he says, "Now, when you get in there, you need to pay attention to the quick slant.........."  Meanwhile, I'm thinking to myself, "wait a minute, YOU'RE putting ME in the game?  Are you f*******g kidding me." 

So I get my instrcutions and run in to relieve the other linebacker and throw out my chew as I get to the huddle. 

That's still a story Andy Moeller likes to recall whenever we run into each other.


December 4th, 2010 at 10:19 AM ^

I remember that most of the fans stayed until the very end, even though we had a safe lead. Maryland got close to scoring, but we knocked some guy OOB before he could score.

What I remember is about 100,000 fans staying around, standing up, and loudly clapping and cheering for players after the clock hit zero. Bravo, Bo's boys!!!

Simply a brilliant performance against a ranked team that would finish 9-3, with all three losses to teams that ended the year in the Top 10.


December 4th, 2010 at 1:30 AM ^

We had a dominate D line with with Mesner and Hammerstein.  I was a Junior!  I also enjoyed my senior season team in '86.  If only we had beaten the Gophers at home. I was shocked that day! Though I loved the Harbaugh guarantee win against OSU, though Bo didn't. I think we should have played a bit better against ASU, we should have won that Rose Bowl.

Roberto Mancini

December 4th, 2010 at 1:38 AM ^

The defense dominated throughout the year, never letting a game get out of hand and always keeping Michigan in each contest, as well as destroying inferior opponents. Needless to say, its something we lack today.


December 4th, 2010 at 3:42 AM ^

to take my "talents" to South U when I was listening to that ND game (1991 BBA). GREAT season and summary. Mythical +1 to you for the post! When I crack 100, point for you.


December 4th, 2010 at 3:28 AM ^

and memories.  It was also my junior year.  That pass to Kolesar seemed to hang in the air forever, at least in my memory.  A friend of mine and I roadtripped out to the Fiesta Bowl.  It was truly bleak at half-time.  Loved the safety they scored in the second half.

Mitch Cumstein

December 4th, 2010 at 8:20 AM ^

Maryland's QB throws a Threet-like pass into heavy coverage. It must have been tipped by every Michigan man on the field, including the hot dog guy and the drum major. Miraculously, Doug Mallory dives and comes up with the ball in the EZ.

This post is full of win. Man I enjoyed reading it.


December 4th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

The defense was dominant in 1985.  I remember that it seemed as though teams couldn't get across midfield in some games.

I also remember Hammerstein getting through the line so quickly against Minnesota that he caught Rickey Foggie while he was still dropping back.

One loss and one tie and didn't give up a TD in either still hurts!


December 4th, 2010 at 10:37 AM ^

Bo was furious after the 84 season.  He totally blamed it on a lack of senior leadership.  We had some guys on that team who were only out for themselves and their future pro careers.  In 85, leadership and The Team became the matra around the building. 

I remember getting choked up before the Notre Dame game.  I grew up in Southern Californa as a HUGE Notre Dame fan.  I wanted to play football for the Irish from the time I can remember watching football.  Luckily for me, Jerry Faust and his staff happened.  Anyway, I was so pumpe up for the ND game that I was in tears and some of the guys around me must have thought I was a complete lunatic.  I wasn't starting or playing and it wasn't like I needed to get psyched up for the game. 

Anywaym, the image burned into my memory from that game was Harbs taking a quarterback draw into the endzone for a score as he high stepped it and raised his hands above his head.

I didn't travel for the South Carolina game, but I remember everyone talking about the pre-game music blaring out of the loud speakers.  (I think it was the theme from Space Odessey or something like that).  Anyway, Coach Mo said it us more jacked up than SC.  It was also the day our defense grew an identity.

Maryland was pretty well thought of and had a HUGE offensive line.  I think they thought they could come in and dictate what they wanted to do.   IF the SC game was where we got our identity, the Maryland game was when we confirmed it.  This was our 3rd game in a row against a major opponent and we've basically dominated them all.

God, going up to East Lansing and thoroghly beating their ass was gratifying.  They had won the year before in Ann Arbor after Harbaugh broke his arm trying to recover a fumble.  Spartan Asylum was pretty quiet that day..

Iowa was devastating.  We kept them out of the end zone and still lost on Rob Houtlin's 4th field goal.  That's when I learned I really hated kickers.

The thing I remember about the Indiana game was that it was tied at halftime and it was one of the few times Bo came unglued at half.  Usually it's very controlled and organized.  But this time, Bo went ape shit.  We were still thinking about the week before and took Indiana lightly.  Oh well, sucks to be them.

Man did Bo hate Illinois and Mike White.  It made it all the more painful to tie those bastards and not get a frickin TD. 

Purdue and Minnesota sucked.  I remember getting in the Purdue game and running into that big stupid drum while trying to tackle a guy on the sideline.  Of course, some douche from the band had to make some silly comment.  I should have kicked that drum and put a big hole in it.

The Game.  I remember it was cold, and flurries, and portable lights.  And I can see that pass to Kolesar like it happened this morning.  Harbs got drilled on that play too but stayed in the pocket and made a perfect throw to Kolesar.  The place went absolutely crazy.    One other very stupid image I have of the game is Byers making a decent run and his shoe coming off.  Don't ask why I remember that, but I do. 

Funny you mention Chris Carter and the Eagles because after Carter was drafted by the Eagles as a junior, Bo would no longer allow Eagles scouts onto the practice field.  He was pissed that guys would actually leave college one year early to go to the pros and he was gonna punish the team that started the trend (in his mind.)

The Fiesta Bowl.  We put in a special defense where Andre McIntyre was going to be a third linebacker called "the bull."  He would play between Mallory and Moeller and follow the FB.  So, we spend our entire bowl preparation perfecting this defense specifically designed to stop the Huskers running attack.  Well, as it turns out, The Huskers come out with something totally different and this defense we've just spent 4 weeks perfecting is useless.  So, down 14-3 at half, we had to scrap the entire plan and come up with something new.  Nebraska didn't play give-away, they just weren't expecting us to change our entire defensive scheme at half.

Anyway, the image I have from that game is the beautiful stadium with the hills cresting over the top of the upper levels, and Garland Rivers intercepting that pass at the end of the game to preserve the victory.  We also carried Bo off the field on our shoulders.

The one thing I regret is not taking more notes about what was going on at the time.  I don't have a great memory (too many hits to the head, maybe?) and I wish I would have made notes in the programs we were given before each game.  I had plenty of time to do it.  I was never a starter or someone who weighed heavily on the game plan.  Thank God for the internet and posts like this to help me reminisce about that great great season.




June 6th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

we lost 3 starting offensive linemen on 3 consecutive plays late in the maryland game. that spelled the difference between being #1 or #2.

our offense was sloppy and took a lot of penalties the next week vs wiscy.

our offense gained less than 200 yds vs sparty. the defense won the game 31-0.

our offense could only make 8 first downs in the entire iowa game. sparty had put 31 on that iowa defense.

our offense scored only 3 at illinois. again our great defense stood alone for us.

we got a couple linemen back the next week vs purdue and won the game 47-0.

this team was an unbeatable powerhouse when healthy.