Today is a great day to wish a BIG BLUE Happy Birthday to a Wolverine named Bob Wood. According to the 1976 Michigan Football Media Guide, Bob Wood grew up in London, Ohio. After high school graduation, Bob Wood headed to Ann Arbor to play football for Bo Schembecher’s Michigan Wolverines.
Bob Wood’s name first showed up on a Michigan Football Roster in 1972. It appears that he burned his red-shirt that season since a guy named Mike Lantry was kicking for the Wolverines. Bob Wood did not see any game action during the 1973 and 1974 seasons. So, Bob Wood waited and watched and did everything he could to be ready when his opportunity arrived.
Opportunity arrived in 1975 and Bob Wood became Michigan’s starting kicker. He made 11 of 16 field goal attempts that year and became the first kicker in Michigan Football History to kick 11 field goals in one season. He also made 32 of 35 PAT kicks that season. Bob Wood became the first Michigan kicker to kick 4 field goals in one game on September 20, 1975 against Stanford. His last field goal with less than 2-minutes to play helped Michigan earn a tie (19-19) in that hard-fought game.
In 1976, Wood came back ready to do more for the Wolverines. Bob continued to kick and kick well for Michigan during his senior season. He led the Big Ten and the NCAA in PAT attempts and successful conversions (55 of 57). Bob also made 7 of 10 field goal attempts on Michigan’s high-scoring team. Bob Wood was the fourth leading scorer in the Big Ten in 1976 with 76-points. The 1976 team scored 432 points that season which was the most ever by a Schembechler team. He also recorded 9 tackles (7 solo and 2 assists) which has to be some kind of a record for a Michigan kicker!
The only downside to Bob Wood’s career was the 1976 game at Purdue. Michigan was ranked #1 in the country and the Boilermakers were unranked. However, the Spoilermakers played their best game of the season and upset Michigan by a score of 16-14. Lots of people like to blame Bob Wood for that loss because he missed a 37-yard field goal that probably would have won the game. What people don’t remember is that Rick Leach and Rob Lytle both had huge fumbles that probably took 6-14 points off the board for Michigan. Yes, Bob Wood could have been the big hero that day, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was the only game of the season that Michigan didn’t score at least 22 points.
So, Bob Wood ended his Michigan career with his head held high. Like all kickers, he didn’t make all of his kicks − nobody does! He had his “good days” and “some bad ones too” as a kicker at Michigan, but he definitely had more “good!” Bottom line – Bob Wood did a solid job for two seasons and kicked his way into the record books. He was a key part of the 1976 Big Ten Championship team and helped put 18-wins on the board for Michigan Football in 1975 and 1976.
Of course, Bob Wood would not be the topic of today’s blog if he was connected to some Michigan football “firsts.” Here are the best ones that connect Bob Wood and Michigan Football:
- Bob Wood was the first African-American placekicker in the history of Michigan Football.
- Wood was the first Michigan placekicker to make 11 field goals in one season in 1975.
- Bob Wood was the first Michigan field goal kicker to make four field goals in one game in 1975.
- Wood was the first Wolverine kicker to kick a striped ball in 1976.
- Bob Wood played on the first Michigan Football team to play in front of over one-hundred thousand people in every home game (7) in 1976. Of course, that streak still continues today.
- Bob Wood may be the only kicker in Michigan Football history to record nine tackles in one season in 1976.
So, today is a good day to remember the accomplishments of Bob Wood. His name is still all over the record book and some of his accomplishments are still at the top of the list. Bob Wood is another reason that Michigan football is the winningest program in college football. Happy Birthday Bob Wood and Go Blue!