Go Blue Game Day | Michigan Wolverine Football History

Game Day – September 29, 2018 - Michigan at Northwestern

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Barry Gallagher

It’s the last week of the first month of the season and that means it’s time for the 2018 version of Michigan at Northwestern. The Wolverines and the Wildcats are two of the Big Ten’s original teams from way back in 1898. Actually, they were foes before they became conference rivals. Once again, we will take a look at the history of this rivalry, but not before we look at the history of Michigan Football on the twenty-ninth day of September. Then, we will shift our attention to the history of Michigan and Northwestern.

Note: Bo Schembechler was a perfect 14-0-0 against Northwestern during his career. Coach Jim Harbaugh is 1-0 and has a chance to make it 2 wins in 2 games with a win today. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Calendar History:

So far, The University of Michigan has played a total of eleven games on the 29th day of September. This has been a very good day for football at Michigan since the Wolverines have a record of 9 wins and 2 losses on this date. The Wolverines are currently on a five game win streak on this day, so that might be a very good indicator of things to come today. Here is quick look at what has transpired on this day in Michigan Football History:

  • 1900. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated Hillsdale College by a score of 29-0.
  • 1951. After two straight wins on September 29th, Michigan lost their first game on this day to Michigan State – 0-25. Yes, it was ugly!
  • 2001. Michigan posts their biggest conference win on this date (45-20) over Illinois at The Big House.
  • 2007. Michigan won the last game played on September 29 at Northwestern by a score of 28-16.

Yes, September 29th has been a good day for Wolverine Football. Michigan owns three  conference wins on this day and no losses – so far.

Best Wolverine Performances on September 29th:

Here are some of the best Wolverine performances on this date in Michigan Football History:

  • 1956. Ron Kramer hauled in a 70-yard scoring pass and Michigan rolled over UCLA 42-13.
  • 1973. Chuck Heater ran for 47-yards on 10 carries and scored one touchdown. Fullback Ed Shuttlesworth scored the other touchdown and Michigan won by a score of 14-0 over Navy.
  • 1979. John Wangler completed 9 of 21 passes for 210-yards in a 14-10 win at California. Stan Edwards rushed 23 times for 67-yards and one touchdown.
  • 1990. Elvis Grbac threw for 172-yards and 2 touchdowns in a 45-17 victory over Maryland. Jon Vaughn turned 22 carries into 89-yards and two touchdowns. Defensive back Martin Davis also scored on a 27-yard “pick-six.”
  • 2001. John Navarre led Michigan to a 45-20 win over Illinois in the Big House He threw for 187-yards and connected with Marquise Walker for a touchdown.
  • 2007. Mike Hart turned 30 carries into 106 rushing yards. Mario Manningham hauled in 10 passes for 123-yards and Shawn Crable recorded five tackles for loss. Wolverines won 28-16.

In 2001, John Navarre led the Wolverines to their biggest win on this day 45-20 - over Illinois. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Yes, there is no doubt in my Maize and Blue mind that a number of Michigan players will have BIG days on Saturday, September 29, 2018. I can’t wait to see who they are – Go Blue!

Series History:

Today’s opponent, the Northwestern Wildcats are only making their seventy-fifth appearance on a Michigan Schedule since 1892. The Wolverines and Wildcats have been foes for a very long time, but you really can’t call them rivals. In the first seventy-four games, Michigan owns an impressive record of 57 wins, 15 losses and 2 ties against Northwestern. That works out to a winning percentage just over seventy-eight percent (.784). The Wolverines have a home record of 35 wins, 6 losses and 2 ties against the Wildcats (win % = .837). Winning in Evanston is harder, but the Maize and Blue footballers have won twenty-two of twenty-nine games for a winning rate of only seventy-five percent (.759). Yes, Michigan has won a lot of games against Northwestern, for sure!

The first game in this series took place on October 29, 1892 and Northwestern won it by a score of 10-8. The Wolverines came back strong the next year and thrashed the Wildcats – 72-6. Michigan has the longest winning streak between the two teams. The Wolverines won nineteen straight games between 1966 and 1992. Northwestern’s best winning streak is a modest three games that happened between 1934 and 1937.

Michigan owns fifteen shutouts over the Wildcats, but Northwestern has only blanked the Wolverines four times. The only overtime game in the series was in 2013. Michigan won it in triple overtime by a score of 27-19.

Here is a quick look at some other interesting facts about the Michigan vs Northwestern series:

  • 1958. Michigan’s worst loss (24-55) takes place at Evanston.
  • 1975. Michigan’s biggest win over the Wildcats. Bo Schembechler’s footballers run over, around and through the Northwestern defense to the turn of 69-0.
  • 1988. Bo wins his fourteenth game against the Wildcats and finishes with a final record of 14-0-0 against his former employer.
  • 2014. Michigan’s last game in Evanston resulted in a 10-9 victory in Bray Hoke’s last season.

Note: Today’s contest will be Coach Jim Harbaugh’s first trip to Evanston as Head Coach.  Hopefully, his team can do as well against the Wildcats today as they did in Ann Arbor in 2015 – a 38-0 win on Homecoming.

Best Wolverine Performances - Michigan at Northwestern:

Here is a closer look at some of the best Wolverine performances against the Wildcats in Evanston:

  • 1943. Bill “Bullet” Daley became the first Michigan running back to rush for over two-hundred yards against Northwestern. (26 carries for 216-yards)
  • 1952. Ted Kress carried the ball 20 times for 218-yards.
  • 1976. Rob Lytle ramblesd for 172-yards on 18 carries.
  • 1982. Keith Bostic took an interception to the house for a 54-yard pick-six!
  • 1992. Derrick Alexander grabbed 3 touchdown passes.
  • 1996. Tai Streets caught 12 passes for 150-yards.
  • 2000. Drew Henson became the first Michigan quarterback to throw for over 300-yards in a 51-54 loss. (Final stats 23 of 35 for 312-yards and 4 touchdowns). Marquise Walker caught 9 of the passes for 134-yards.
  • 2005. Leon Hall returned a fumble for 83-yards – the longest “fumble six” in Michigan Football History!
  • 2011. Denard Robinson rolled up 454 total yards in a big win. He completed 17 of 26 passes for 337-yards and ran for 117 more!

Yes, some of Michigan’s best players have stepped up with big days and big plays against the Wildcats when its Michigan at Northwestern. There are plenty of playmakers on the 2018 version of the Wolverine Football team. Who will make the BIG plays for Michigan in Evanston today?


The good news is that Michigan won the last game played on September 29th (2007) against Northwestern. And, they won the last game they played in Evanston by a score of 10-9. The Wolverines have just been too good for too long against Northwestern for us to expect anything but a decisive victory.

Once again, history tells us that Michigan owns the advantage against Northwestern when they play in Evanston. In the first twenty-nine games, the Wolverines have scored a total of 810 points which averages out to 27.9 points per game in Evanston. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have only scored 426 points which works out to an average of 14.7 points per game. It looks like the score should be something like 28-14 in favor of Michigan.

To make matters worse, Pat Fitzgerald lost his best running back (Jeremy Larkin) this week due to a medical retirement. The Wildcats can’t seem to find the magic that they captured in 2017 and Michigan is getting better by the week. These two teams are heading in very different directions. All signs point to a BIG victory for Michigan at Northwestern on Saturday!

The Wolverines are favored to win on Saturday (18.5 points), but I think it will be much worse. Michigan has better players at every position. This one could get ugly for the Wildcats.

My Prediction:

I think that Michigan steps up with an even better game than they played against Nebraska.  The offense will continue to pound the ball and find open men in the passing game. Don Brown’s defense will stifle Clayton Thorson and the Wildcat offense. Finally, the Wolverine special teams will continue to be, well, ”special.” It will add up to Michigan’s fifth win of the season. Final score: Michigan 48 and Northwestern 10. Go Blue!


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