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Game Day October 7, 2017 Michigan vs Michigan State Football

Posted on October 7, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is another chapter in the Michigan vs Michigan State football rivalry. As the sports “mouths” like to say, “It doesn’t get any bigger than this.” However, this time, the words are fitting for the Mitten State rivalry game. Let’s take a closer look at the history of this day and of the football series between Michigan and Michigan State.

Calendar History:

So far, Michigan has played a total of nineteen games on October 7th. The Wolverine record on this date is very, very good with 16 wins and 3 losses. This works out to a winning percentage of just over eighty-four percent (.842). Michigan has played seventeen home games on this date and their record is 15 wins and 2 losses. They are 1-1-0 on the road on this date. The Wolverines have not done as well in conference play on this day. They have three wins in five games. Here is a quick look at the numbers:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 13 13 1 0 .929
Conference 5 3 2 0 .600
All Games 19 16 3 0 .842

Interestingly, Michigan vs Michigan State football games have been played three times on October 7th. All three of those matchups were played in Ann Arbor and the Wolverines prevailed in every game. Check it out:

  • 1933 - Michigan wins 20-6.
  • 1939 – Wolverines win 26-13.
  • 2006 – Michigan prevails 31-13.

Once again, it appears that history is on Michigan’s side when they play on the seventh day of October. Here is a little more history about Wolverine Football on this date.

  • Michigan’s first game on this date took place in 1893. The Wolverines hosted a team from the Detroit Athletic Club (mostly Michigan Alumni players) and posted a 6-0 win.
  • The Wolverines lost their first game on this date to Navy by a score of 21-26.
  • Michigan’s biggest win on this date was a 48-0 blowout over Case in 1922.
  • Their biggest conference win on this date was a 24-0 masterpiece against Wisconsin in Bo’s last season (1989).
  • The largest margin of defeat on this date was a six-point loss to Northwestern (13-19) in 1995.
  • Michigan won the last game they played on this date against, who else, Michigan State in 2006. The Spartans lost to the sixth-ranked Wolverines by a score of 31-13 in Ann Arbor.

Notable Wolverine Performances on October 7th:

  • October 7, 1967 – Ron Johnson rushes for 270 yards on 26 carries in a loss to Navy.
  • October 7, 1972 – Dave Brown returns a punt for an 83-yard touchdown in a win over Navy.
  • October 7, 1989 – Lance Dottin scores a touchdown on a 22-yard “pick six” against Wisconsin.
  • October 7, 1995 - Tim Biakabutuka runs rolls up 205 yards on 34 carries, but the Wolverines lose to Northwestern.
  • Drew Henson completes 26 of 35 passes for 256-yards at Purdue, but the Wolverines fall.
  • Mike Hart turns 22 carries into 122 yards and Michigan defeats MSU in 2006.

Series History:

Today’s game is the 110th edition of the Michigan vs Michigan State football rivalry.  This is the most hyped and anticipated game in many years. And, it promises to be a record setter for many reasons. In case you haven’t heard, it is the first night game in the history of the series. I predict that it will also be a record-setter for attendance. Look for the crowd to be close to 116,000 people! Wow, the fourth series game on October 7th promises to be one for the ages!

The first game between Michigan and Michigan State was played in Ann Arbor in 1898. The Wolverines defeated the farmers from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) by a score of 39-0. Michigan’s first loss against the Aggies took place in 1913 - with a score of 7-12. The last game between these two Big Ten rivals was October 29, 2016. Michigan won that game by a score of 32-23.

The Wolverines command the series with an advantage of 69 wins, 35 losses and 5 ties. Michigan could be the first team to win 70 games in the series. Michigan is ranked #7 today, but Sparty is unranked. In games played in Ann Arbor where Michigan is the only ranked team, their record is stellar at 16 wins and 4 losses. The numbers tell us that Michigan has an 80 percent chance of winning today while Michigan State has a 20 percent chance to spring another upset in Ann Arbor.

Finally, the last “UM-MSU “rival” game at Michigan Stadium took place on October 17, 2015. The Spartans called it one of their greatest victories – period! Most Wolverines simply refer to it as the “Ten Second Nightmare!” That’s all I am going to say about that one. We have seen the replay a thousand times and ABC will be sure to show it twenty-more times on Saturday night. Believe me, Michigan’s players are ready to move on and put that game in the “MSU was lucky to win it” category!

So far, Michigan and Michigan State have played a total of one-hundred and nine games. Check out the series numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
UM Home 73 49 21 3 .692
UM Away 36 20 14 2 .583
Series Total 109 69 35 5 .656

Al Herrnstein scored 7 touchdowns against the Aggies in 1902. Michigan won the game 119-0. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The Univeristy of Michigan.

History is definitely on Michigan’s side in this series and the numbers really favor the Wolverines in Ann Arbor.

Notable Wolverine Performances and Milestone Wins vs MSU in Ann Arbor:

In addition to sixty-nine wins over the Spartans, Michigan players have had some record-setting performances against the Green and White. Here are some of the most memorable Wolverine performances against Michigan State when both teams face off in Ann Arbor:

  • October 8, 1902 – Al Herrnstein scores 7 touchdowns (Yes, you read it right) in a 119-0 rout over MAC in Ann Arbor.
  • September 27, 1941 - Wolverines record the 50th win in Michigan Stadium history with a 19-7 win over the Spartans.
  • October 13, 1954 – Tommy Hendricks returns a punt for a 67-yard score in a 33-7 win over Michigan State.
  • October 9, 1976 – Rob Lytle rushes the ball ten times for 180 yards. (One is a 76-yard touchdown score.) Top ranked Michigan blows out MSU by a score of 42-10. (Note-A total of 13 Wolverines have recorded 16 games with 100 rushing yards, or more, against MSU in Ann Arbor.)
  • October 9, 1976 – Jerry Zuver returns a “pick-six” for 60-yards in Michigan’s rout over Sparty.
  • October 13, 1990 – Desmond Howard returns a kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, but got tripped up on the last play of the game. MSU wins 27-28 – ouch!
  • October 10, 1992 – Derrick Alexander blasts off on an 80-yard punt return on the way to a 35-10 Michigan win.
  • October 8, 1994 – Remy Hamilton kicks four field goals in 40-20 Michigan win!
  • November 2, 1996 – Scott Dreisbach throws 4 touchdown passes in a 45-29 victory.
  • October 30, 2004 – Chad Henne completed 24 of 35 passes for 273-yards and 4 touchdowns in a 45-37 triple overtime win.
  • October 30, 2004 – Braylon Edwards catches 11 passes for 189-yards and 3 touchdowns in the first ever triple overtime win in Michigan Football history – sweet! (Note-Seven Wolverine receivers have posted 100-yard, or more, games against Michigan State in Ann Arbor.)
  • October 20, 2012 - Michigan becomes the first, and only, team in college football history to win 900 games with a 12-10 win over Michigan State.

Yes, some of the greatest plays and biggest milestones in Michigan Football history have occurred against the Michigan State Aggies/Spartans. Let’s hope something magical happens against the Green and White today as well!

Michigan’s only All-American placekicker, Remy Hamilton, totaled 4 field goals in a big Wolverine win over MSU in 1994. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.


At this point in the 2017 season, Michigan and Michigan State are both playing well. Each team is perfect in the Big Ten. Michigan’s record of 4-0 has them sitting as the seventh ranked team in the country. Meanwhile, Sparty, at 3 wins and 1 loss, has already matched the victory total for 2016. This is truly a HUGE game for both teams. The team that loses will likely be out of the Eastern Division championship race. Yes, there is a lot riding on the outcome of this historic game. Of course, game #110 in series history will be a “history maker” since it is the first night game in series history.

As of this writing, Michigan is a ten-point favorite, but that is seven points less than they were earlier this week. I think it will be close for most of the game, but Michigan will prevail.  Of course, a Spartan win today would be huge, but I don’t think it will happen.

I do think that Michigan State will give the Wolverines all they can handle. However, Michigan is the better team and they will find a way to win. I’m looking for a decisive win in the first night game in this historic rivalry. The only thing I am really concerned about tonight is the weather. With threats of rain, high winds and thunderstorms in the area, it could be a lot like the season opener in 2011 against Western Michigan. Michigan won the game, but it had to be stopped twice, and ended early, because of the weather. It could be a wild night at the Big House and definitely a nightmare for Warde Manual and Mark Hollis. I truly hope that everything goes well on and off the field.

My Prediction: I think that the first three games between UM and MSU on October 7th provide us with all we need to know about the result of today’s game. Again, Michigan is undefeated on this day against Michigan State. John O’Korn will play well in his first Michigan start and the defense will blow up the MSU playbook. The average score of the three previous games on the seventh day of October is 25.7 to 10.7. I think it will be very close to that with Michigan prevailing by a score of 27-10. Go Blue!

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