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August 31, 2019 Game Day – Middle Tennessee at Michigan

Posted on August 31, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Hello again, and welcome to my thoughts on Middle Tennessee at Michigan to kickoff another season in Ann Arbor. For the first time in Michigan Football History, the Wolverines begin their 140th  season with a night game. They will also be playing their 151st different opponent when the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State University invade the Big House tonight. Oh yes, this is also the first ever game between Michigan and Middle Tennessee.

(Note-Michigan’s 140th football team will touch the banner to start the 2019 under the lights at the Big House. Today’s game is the first ever home opener ever played at night.)

Michigan Kicks Off Season #140 at Night

Yes, the long-awaited 140th season in Michigan Football History begins today with Middle Tennessee at Michigan. Is it just me? Or, has it taken waaaaay tooooooooooooo loooooooong for August 31st to arrive? Today’s game marks the beginning of year five under Coach Jim Harbaugh. This game doesn’t have a lot of national interest, but Wolverine Nation has been waiting for this game ever since Florida punched out the Wolverines and ended the 2018 season on a sour note.

Coach Jim Harbaugh made some significant changes in his coaching staff during the off-season and it promises to be a special year.  The Wolverines new Offensive Coordinator, Josh Gattis, is running the offensive show and it could be a very exciting time in the Big House tonight. Coach Don Brown lost a ton of talent from the 2018 team, but he doesn’t rebuild his defense, he just reloads. I am confident that his defense will be very strong this year. Hopefully, they can play some zone defense when needed to shut down the crossing patterns that killed us in the Ohio State and Florida games.

Game days are always special days for Wolverine fans and today is no different. Michigan starts season number one-hundred and forty with the usual pressure of great expectations surrounding Jim Harbaugh and his talented Wolverines.

If you want all the pre-game hype information there are many fine websites that you can go to for that information. At Go Blue Football History, we will stick to the history of what has already happened on this day in Michigan Football and predict how they may do against Middle Tennessee State University.

John Navarre Michigan Football 2002 | gobluefootballhisgory.com

Quarterback John Navarre threw for 268-yards in Michigan’s 31-29 win at Washington on August 31, 2002. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Calendar History for August 31st

The University of Michigan has played a total of three games on the last day of August. So far, the results have been perfect. Here is the very short history about Michigan Football on August 31st.

  • 1996 – The Wolverines defeated the Fighting Illini in the Big House by a score of 20-8. It was the first, and only, Big Ten game that Michigan has ever played in August.
  • 2002 – Michigan journeyed to Seattle, Washington and defeated the Huskies – 31-29. Placekicker Phil Brabbs nailed a 44-yard field goal on the last play of the game to earn the victory.
  • 2013 – Central Michigan came to town and left Ann Arbor to ponder a fifty-point loss to the Wolverines. Yes, it was ugly for the Chips, but not for Michigan. The 59-9 win was one of the biggest margins of victory during Brady Hoke’s four-year tenure.

Today’s game provides the Wolverines with an opportunity to keep their record perfect on the last day of August. Bring on Middle Tennessee!

Series History – Middle Tennessee at Michigan

Since this is the first ever game between Michigan and Middle Tennessee there is no history to report. However, Michigan has played a few teams from the great state of Tennessee over the years. Let’s see how Michigan has fared when they play teams from the Volunteer State:

Michigan has played a total of twelve regular seasons against two opponents from Tennessee. The Wolverines own a perfect record of 10-0-1 versus Vanderbilt. They also defeated Memphis 24-7 in the only game played between the two teams. So, Michigan is 11-0-1 in regular season games against teams from Tennessee.

Unfortunately, the Wolverines played Tennessee in the 2001 Florida Citrus Bowl and that did not go well. Lloyd Carr’s seventh season ended with a 17-45 loss. Michigan team #122 finished with a final record of 8 wins and 4 losses.

So far, Michigan’s biggest win over a team from Tennessee took place in 1969 when Bo’s first team smashed the Vanderbilt Commodores by a score of 42-14. Yes, the 2001 loss to Tennessee (17-45) is still the worst defeat suffered at the hands of a team from Tennessee.

On paper, the differences between the football programs at Michigan and Middle Tennessee are significant. Michigan started playing football in 1879. Middle Tennessee didn’t play their first game until 1911. The Wolverines have amassed the most wins in college football with a total of 953. The Blue Raiders enter Michigan Stadium with only 551 wins. So, they are only 402 behind Michigan. Interestingly, both teams have “blue” color themes. Of course, the Wolverines wear Maize and Blue colors on their uniforms while Middle Tennessee dons Blue and White uniforms.

Today‘s Game: Middle Tennessee at Michigan

Yes, the football programs are very, very different, that’s for sure! Michigan is a thirty-four and one-half point favorite as I write this article. Actually, I think it will be much worse. I don’t think the Blue Raiders will be able to stop much of what Josh Gattis dials up for them. The Wolverines have too many skilled players who will put a lot of points on the Big House scoreboard. The defense is equally strong and Middle Tennessee will have trouble making first downs and will not score a touchdown! The Blue Raiders won eight games last year, but this year is a rebuilding year. Unfortunately, the fans from Middlesboro, Tennessee won’t have anything to cheer about in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

My Prediction For Middle Tennessee at Michigan: 

I predict a huge win for the Wolverines on Saturday night. Michigan will pass, run, and placekick the heck out of Middle Tennessee. There will be too many Wolverine stars to mention. Yes, the Blue Raiders and their fans will return home with a serious case of the blues, as in Maize and Blues! Final score: Michigan 66 Middle Tennessee 0.

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