Great Games in IU-Michigan Series History - 1967
Nov. 10, 2006
Should Indiana defeat Michigan on Nov. 11, it would mark the Hoosiers' sixth victory of the season and qualify the team for bowl eligibility. In honor of this week's game, IUHOOSIERS.COM takes a look back at some memorable Hoosier-Wolverine matchups. Today's installment features former IU greats Ken Kaczmarek and Harold Mauro discussing the Hoosiers' 27-20 win over the Wolverines in Ann Arbor on Oct. 21, 1967.
When Indiana fans think of the 1967 football season, what immediately springs to mind is a huge win over No. 3 Purdue in the regular season finale, which catapulted the Hoosiers into the Rose Bowl. But what is often overlooked is a midseason win at Michigan that helped set the tone for the rest of the season.
The Hoosiers won it the hard way, bolting out to a 20-point lead before Michigan tied it in the third quarter. Indiana would regroup, however, scoring in the waning minutes of the game to take the 27-20 victory.
Ken Kaczmarek, a linebacker for the Hoosiers from 1965-67, recalls how it felt to relinquish the big lead.
"Emotionally, when you have a 20-0 lead and blow it, you wonder what's going on," he said. "I remember late in the game, Michigan had a third-and-one, and they gave the ball to (Ron) Johnson, and he looked like he was going to pick up the first down and Dave Kornowa just plastered him."
It was Johnson's one-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 20 in the third quarter. Indiana came into the contest expecting a big performance from Johnson, but perhaps lost focus on the rest of the team.
"We were geared to stop him," Kaczmarek said. "Their quarterback, Dennis Brown, ran an option play well against us, picking up yardage here and there. We had a good lead, and then we got a little complacent."
Indiana halfback John Isenbarger had a big game for the Hoosiers, running for a pair of touchdowns and throwing for another. But it was his gaffe on an attempted punt in the second quarter that allowed the Wolverines to get on the board.
Indiana director of football operations Harold Mauro, the starting center for the 1967 team, snapped Isenbarger the ball for the punt, but Isenbarger took off running and was tackled deep in Michigan territory. The Wolverines took over on downs inside the 20 and Brown eventually turned in a two-yard touchdown scamper to get Michigan on the board.
"It was a hard-fought game," Mauro said. "We were fortunate to stay undefeated at that point in time, and it allowed us to go to the Rose Bowl."
Playing on the road didn't help Indiana's cause, Mauro recalls.
"It kept us undefeated and it kept the momentum going," he said. "It's always hard to win on the road in our conference, so that was a nice feather in our cap.
"They call it the Big House, and it was the Big House," Mauro said. "It was probably the largest crowd we'd played in front of before, until the Rose Bowl when there were more than 102,000 people there."
But the Hoosiers withstood the pressure, and Isenbarger made amends for the botched punt with the game-winning score in the final minutes.
"Isenbarger was knocked out in the second quarter," Kaczmarek said. "But he came back in the end and ran it with a vengeance on the last drive."
The win was a meaningful one for the team and for Kaczmarek.
"It was great for me because that was the only time we played them in my three years. I'm 1-0 against Michigan lifetime," he said with a laugh. "Not too many guys can say that."
The victory kept the Hoosiers perfect on the year, and IU added another three wins to improve to 8-0 before a loss at Minnesota late in the season. Indiana rebounded with a win at the third-ranked Boilermakers the following week, setting up a showdown with No. 1 Southern California and a back by the name of O.J. Simpson in the Rose Bowl. Simpson ran for 128 yards and two scores, and the Hoosiers finished one of the finest seasons in school history ranked fourth in the nation and 9-2 just one season after a 1-8-1 campaign.
This season, Michigan is ranked No. 2, and comes into this weekend's contest against Indiana with a 10-0 record. A win over the Wolverines would be a tremendous help for the Hoosiers as they attempt to return to glory.
"It would put us two or three years ahead of schedule," Kaczmarek said. "It would put Indiana in a bowl game, and I think it would be the Insight Bowl. Going to Arizona for this group of men who have worked so hard, it would be great for them. It would mean two notches up in terms of recruiting. There are probably 10 things it would help. It would accelerate this program two or three years."
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