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Game Day October 28, 2017 Michigan vs Rutgers Football

Posted on October 28, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is only the second time for a Michigan vs Rutgers football game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. However, the Wolverines have played a total of eighteen games on this day in their football history. I will follow my normal format for looking at today’s game. First, I will look at how Michigan’s record on this day starting in 1893. Then, I will take a closer look at the first three games that these two conference rivals have played since 2014. Both teams have long histories and tons of tradition. They just haven’t played a lot of games against each other. So. it’s time to take a closer look at today’s game.

Calendar History:

Michigan played their first game on this day in 1893 against the Minnesota Gophers. The Gophers were extremely rude guests since they beat the Wolverines by a score of 20-34 in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines got their first win (18-8) on this day against Case University in 1894.  Heading into today’s game, Michigan has played 18 games on this day. The Wolverines own a record of 14 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie on October 28th. That’s an impressive winning percentage of just over eighty percent (.806). They haven’t been that good in conference play, but they haven’t been terrible either. Michigan owns a winning percentage of just over seventy-nine percent in Big Ten play on this day. Check out the impressive numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 6 5 1 0 .833
Conference 12 9 2 1 .791
All Games 18 14 3 1 .806

The Wolverines have played eleven home games on this date and seven road games. Their home record is ten wins, 1 loss and 0 ties. Michigan’s road record on October 28th is equally impressive since they own a record of 4 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie away from Ann Arbor. So, the numbers on this page absolutely make October 28th a great day for Michigan Football! Once again, history definitely favors the Maize and Blue today!

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

  • Michigan’s biggest win on this date was an 48-0 victory over Drake University way back in 1905. Their biggest conference win was a 42-0 blowout over Minnesota in 1972.
  • The biggest loss on this date was that first game against Minnesota in 1893 (20-34). Michigan’s biggest conference loss on this day was also against Minnesota in 1967 (15-20).
  • Michigan won the last game they played on October 28th against Northwestern (17-3) on Homecoming in 2006.

Notable Wolverine Performances on October 28th:

  • 1944 – Bob Nussbaumer ran for 165 yards and Gene Derricot carried the ball 17 times for 101 yards against Purdue.
  • 1967 – Ron Johnson ran 17 times for 108 yards at Minnesota.
  • 1972 – Ed Shuttlesworth crashed through Minnesota’s defense for 4 touchdowns.
  • 1989 – Tony Boles turned 14 carries into 158 yards against Indiana.
  • 1995 – Brian Griese was razor sharp in a big win over Minnesota. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 271 yards and 4 touchdowns. Amani Toomer caught 4 of those passes for 177 yards. Larry Foote recorded 6 tackles for loss and David Bowen notched 3 sacks in a 52-17 Homecoming Rout over Minnesota.

Brian Griese threw 4 touchdown passes on this day in 1995. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Series History:

Today’s game is the fourth series game between Michigan and Rutgers. This is the first time that these Big Ten rivals have played on the 28st day of October. Check out the series numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
UM Home 1 1 0 0 1.000
UM Away 2 1 1 0 .500
Series Total 3 2 1 0 .667

Today’s game is only the fourth game between these historic programs. This is very interesting since both teams were early adopters of the game of rugby/football in their perspective regions. Of course, Rutgers played in the first college football game ever when they hosted the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University) in 1869.  The Wolverines played their first game ten years later against Racine College. Michigan played a lot of football against eastern teams in the early years, but they never played Rutgers.

The first Michigan vs Rutgers football game took place in Piscataway, New Jersey on October 4, 2014.  Unfortunately, the Michigan program, under Brady Hoke, was heading in the wrong direction. Rutgers was ready for the Wolverines and played their best game of the season. Final score: Michigan 24 Rutgers 26.

The Wolverines came back to win the second game in 2015 by a score of 49-16 in Ann Arbor. The last game between these two Big Ten teams was played in 2015. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines routed the Scarlet Knights in New Jersey. Final score 78-0 in favor of Michigan. Ouch! (See highlight video below)

So, this “young” series stands at 2-1 in favor of Michigan. This will the second game in the Big House for Rutgers. I am sure they want to do better than they did in 2015, but I don’t think they will.

Notable Michigan vs Rutgers Football Performances So Far:

  • 2015 – Jake Rudock completes 18 of 25 passes for 337 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also runs for a touchdown (4 yards) and scores on a two-point conversion!
  • 2015 – Kenny Allen kicks two field goals (28 and 34 yards)
  • 2015 - Jake Butt grabs 4 passes for 102 yards.
  • 2015 - Jourdan Lewis records 2 pass breakups and sets a new Michigan record.
  • 2016 – Michigan scores 9 rushing touchdowns and 2 passing.
  • 2016 - Khalid Hill scores three touchdowns (2 rush and 1 receiving)
  • 2016 – Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon and Jabrill Peppers all run 2 touchdowns each. Bobby Henderson and Jehu Chesson also reach the end zone on this day.

Note-The one-sided highlight video above of the 2016 Michigan vs Rutgers football game at Rutgers was posted by Michigan Football in 2016.

Homecoming. Today’s game marks the first time that the Michigan vs Rutgers football game has been scheduled for Homecoming in Ann Arbor. Michigan won their 2016 Homecoming game against Illinois last year (41-9).

Historically, Michigan has played very well on Homecoming Day. The Wolverines own an impressive record of 89 wins and only 27 losses on this special Maize and Blue day. This is a winning rate of almost seventy-seven percent (.767). (Note-Homecoming “alumni game exhibition” record of 1-1-2 is not included in these numbers.)

Michigan’s most dominant Homecoming win took place on November 8, 1902 against Iowa. Michigan racked up107 points and the Hawkeyes failed to score. Yes, 107-0 was a pretty lopsided outcome! The biggest Wolverine loss (33 points) on Homecoming Day came way back in 1937 against Minnesota. The Gophers played the role of very rude guests and left town with a 39-6 win – ugh! Michigan’s longest Homecoming win streak is twenty-two games (from 1968 to 1989. Bo Schembechler earned the bulk of those wins since he finished his Michigan career with a stellar record of 21-0-0 on Homecoming Day. So far, Jim Harbaugh is 2-0 on this special day in Michigan Football history.


When you look at the entire season, Michigan gets the edge in this game. Overall, the Wolverines have 5 wins and 2 losses. Rutgers is sitting on a record of 3 wins and 4 losses. However, both teams have a record of 2 wins and 2 losses so far in the Big Ten. If you look at the last two games for each team - Rutgers is the better team. The Scarlet Knights have won two straight Big Ten games for the first time since they joined the conference in 2014. Michigan, of course, is 1 win and 1 loss (a BIG one) in the last two games. Even though both teams are even in conference play Michigan is a heavy favorite in this game. The odds makers favor the Wolverines by about 24 points. It could get worse. Of course, the BIG question is, “Which Wolverine team will show up today?” If the defense plays like is capable of, it will be a rout unless the offense completely caves in. (Unfortunately, this is a possibility based on the last few weeks of offensive inconsistency and undisciplined play.)

My Prediction:

Michigan owns a victory in the only So far, the Wolverines won the only previous Michigan vs Rutgers football game at the Big House. Unless, the Wolverines get lost on the way to the stadium, a second win in Ann Arbor will be history by late afternoon today. Rutgers is certainly playing better than they were earlier this season when they lost to Eastern Michigan. However, Michigan’s defense will be looking to get itself back on track which is bad news for the Rutgers offense. John O’Korn should be able to direct the Michigan offense to at least four touchdowns. I look for a good balance between running and passing today. No, Rutgers won’t give up 78 points to Michigan again this year, but they will see the Wolverines out point them by the end of the game. I predict a nice 34-6 win for Michigan today. Go Blue!


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