Game Day | M Go Blue Football History | Michigan Football Firsts | Michigan Football History | Michigan Football History Game Day | Michigan Wolverine Football History

Game Day November 4, 2017 Michigan vs Minnesota Football Game

Posted on November 4, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is the one hundred third edition of a Michigan vs Minnesota football game. The Wolverines have played the Gophers more times than another other schools except Ohio State and Michigan State. Before I take a closer look at the Michigan vs Minnesota rivalry, I will recall how well the Wolverines have played on this day in their 138-year football history.

Calendar History: Michigan played their first game on this day in 1881 against the Princeton Tigers. The Tigers were extremely rude to their Wolverine guests since they beat the Wolverines by a score of 4-13 in New Jersey. The Maize and Blue footballers notched their first November 4th win (38-0) against Virginia in 1899.

Heading into today’s game, Michigan has played 19 football games on this day. The Wolverines own a record of 12 wins, 6 losses and 1 tie on the 4th day of November. That’s a solid winning percentage of almost sixty-six percent (.657). They haven’t been that good in conference play, but they haven’t been terrible either. Michigan owns a winning percentage of just over sixty-percent in Big Ten play on this day. Check out the numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 9 6 2 1 .722
Conference 10 6 4 0 .600
All Games 19 12 6 1 .657

The Wolverines have played eleven home games on this date and seven road games. Their home record is 6 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie. Michigan’s road record on November 4th is also above average since they own a record of 6 wins and 4 losses away from Ann Arbor. So, the numbers on this page favor the Wolverines. Although the numbers are not as impressive as other days we have reviewed this season, they are still pretty good. Once again, history definitely favors the Maize and Blue on November 4th!

Here is a little more history about Michigan Football on this date.

  • Michigan’s biggest win on this date was a 63-0 victory over Michigan Agricultural College in 1922. The Wolverines posted their biggest conference win on November 4th at Iowa (34-0) in 1972.
  • The biggest loss on this date came at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers (18-34) in 1893. Michigan’s biggest conference loss on this day was a 0-7 loss against Illinois in 1950.
  • In 2006, Michigan defeated Ball State (34-26) in the last game they played on November 4th.

Notable Wolverine Performances on November 4th:

  • 1944 – Ralph Chubb carried the ball 21 times and gained 134 yards in a 41-19 win at Pennsylvania.
  • 1967 – Ron Johnson rushed for 167 yards on 42 carries in a 7-3 win over Northwestern.
  • 2000 – Anthony Thomas powers his way to 199 yards on 37 carries, but it wasn’t enough. Michigan lost at Northwestern in a shootout 51-54 – ugh!
  • 2006 – Mike Hart (25 carries for 154 yards) and Brandon Minor (12 touches for 108 yards) carried Michigan to a 34-26 win over Brady Hoke’s Ball State Cardinals.

Series History: Today’s contest is the 103rd football game in the Michigan vs Minnesota football rivalry. Of course, it is also the battle for the Little Brown Jug which started way, way back in 1909. It’s hard to believe, but this is the first time that Michigan and Minnesota have ever played a game on November 4th! Also, this is the first time that the Little Brown Jug has been up for grabs in a night game at Michigan Stadium. Today’s game is also marks the first time that Michigan has played two-night games at home in one season.

So far, the series favors Michigan by a large Margin. Check out the numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
UM Home 53 39 13 1 .745
UM Away 49 35 12 2 . 734
Series Total 102 74 25 3 .740

Michigan also holds a big advantage in conference play since 1896. The Wolverines have a record of 71 wins, 23 losses and 3 ties in Big Ten play.

Elvis Grbac connected with Derek Alexander on four touchdowns against Minnesota in 1992. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michgian.1

Series History: The Gophers and Wolverines have been battling on the football field since 1892. Minnesota won the first game by a score of 6-14 in Minneapolis. Michigan got their revenge three years later with a 20-0 win in Detroit.

Here is a little more information about the Michigan vs Minnesota football series so far:

  • Michigan’s biggest win over Minnesota (63-0) was delivered by Brady Hoke’s footballers in 2011. Of course, this was also the biggest conference win over the Gophers.
  • The Wolverines suffered their biggest series loss in 1935 when the Gophers shut them out (0-40) in Ann Arbor. Once again, this was the biggest conference loss for Michigan to the Gophers.
  • The Wolverines own the longest series winning streak – 16 games – which went from 1987 to 2004.
  • Minnesota had the first BIG streak in the series with 9 straight wins (1934-1942).
  • Michigan won the last game they played at Minnesota by a score of 29-26 in 2015.
  • The Wolverines lost the last game they played at home against the Gophers (14-30) in 2014.

Notable Wolverine Rushing Performances Against Minnesota in Ann Arbor:

  • 1951 – Wes Bradford rushes 13 times for 177 yards in a 54-27 Homecoming rout of the Gophers. Lowell Perry scores on a touchdown on a 75-yard punt return.
  • 1970 – Fritz Seyferth scores four touchdowns in a 42-0 win.
  • 1972 – Ed Shuttlesworth pounds into the end zone four times in another 42-0 rout.
  • 1974 – Rob Lytle (20 carries for 158 yards) and Gordon Bell (19 carries for 105yards) help Michigan run over, around and through the Gophers 49-0.
  • 1976 – Rob Lytle (20/158 yards) and Rick Leach (10/114 yards) deliver a 1-2 punch that knocks out the Gophers 45-0 on Homecoming.
  • 1979 – Butch Woolfolk (29/194) and Lawrence Reid (17/179) deliver over three hundred yards on the ground and Michigan wins again over Minnesota 31-4.
  • 1982 – Lawrence Ricks (29/184) and Kerry Smith (11/113) help the Wolverines roll over the Gophers again – 52-14.
  • 2007 – Brandon Minor (21/157) and Carlos Brown (13/132) help Michigan roll over Minnesota by a score of 34-19.

Note-You may have detected a pattern here. If Michigan has two 100-yard rushers against Minnesota, the Wolverines win and win BIG! (Note – so far 5 wins and 0 losses)

Notable Wolverine Passing and Receiving Performances Against Minnesota in Ann Arbor:

Michigan’s quarterbacks and receivers have also posted some BIG numbers against the Golden Gophers over the years. Check them out:

  • 1947 – Bump Elliott caught 3 passes for 112 yards in a 13-6 win.
  • 1992 – Elvis Grbac threw 4 touchdown passes to Derek Alexander who caught a total of 7 passes for 130 yards in a 63-13 Homecoming victory.
  • 1994 - Todd Collins completed 15 of 27 passes for 352 yards in a 38-22 win.
  • 1995 - Brian Griese completed 14 of 19 passes for 271 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 52-17 Homecoming victory. Amani Toomer grabbed 5 of Griese’s passes for 177 yards.

Some of the Longest Plays in Michigan Football History vs Minnesota in Ann Arbor:

  • 1951 – Lowell Perry returned a punt for a 75-yard touchdown in 54-27 win.
  • 1995 – Brian Griese connected with Amani Toomer on a 75-yard touchdown pass/run in Michigan’s BIG Homecoming win (52-17)
  • 2005 – Steve Breaston lugged a kickoff for a 95-yard score, but it wasn’t enough. Gophers won 20-23.
  • 2007 – Carlos Brown dashed for an 85-yard touchdown in a 34-10 victory.
  • 2013 - Blake Countess takes a “pick-six” 72-yards for a score in another Homecoming rout of the Gophers (42-13).

Denard Robinson was part of 3 victories over the Gophers and never lost to Minnesota. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today. Michigan has won 23 of the last 25 “Jug” games. Once again, they have the edge in this game. The calendar history and the series history are both on Michigan’s side. And, yes, the Wolverines also have better players at just about every position on the field. Even though they appear to be out of the Big Ten East Division championship, Michigan is still in the hunt for a ten, or eleven, win season. Of course, a tough schedule remains, but they have a good shot to finish very strong with a BIG win today.

Michigan’s defense will be too much for the Gopher offense. Also, Brandon Peters and crew will put many points on the board. Of course, there should be a lot of running. I BOLDLY PREDICT THAT IF MICHIGAN HAS TWO 100-YARD RUSHERS TONIGHT, THEY WILL WIN GOING AWAY. Yes, I know I’m going out on a limb with that forecast, but you just can’t argue with history on the importance of the run game in the battle for the Little Brown Jug!

My Prediction:

Michigan will increase their winning percentage in Ann Arbor against the Gophers tonight. I think they will play one of their better games of the season. The Jug will remain in Ann Arbor for another season – that’s a fact!

 I am looking for a balanced offensive attack and a dominating performance by the defense. Yes, it could get ugly. I predict a BIG 45-6 win for Michigan tonight! Go Blue!





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *