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Go Blue Game Day October 12, 2019 Michigan vs Illinois Football

Posted on October 11, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Today is another Go Blue Game Day post – Michigan vs Illinois football 2019. You know what that means - we are half-way through the 140th regular season in the long history of Michigan football. It also means that today is another day for the Michigan Football team to excel and go to 3 wins and 1 loss in the Big Ten.

(Note - Garvie Craw, Bo’s first fullback (#48 above), scored twelve touchdowns in 1969. Three of them came at Illinois in Michigan’s 57-0 win in Memorial Stadium. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)

Yes, we could use a BIG win like this today too. However, I am certain that Michigan’s fullback will not score three touchdowns in this game. Hopefully, somebody will duplicate this accomplishment.

The timing of this game is perfect for our bellowed Wolverines. It will give the Maize and Blue Footballers a chance to fine tune their defense and get the offense humming before heading to Penn State next week.

Today’s Michigan vs Illinois contest marks the ninety-sixth game between these two Big Ten rivals. It is the first time in this series that these teams have met on twelfth day of October.

Before I get into my predictions about today’s game, let’s take a closer look at what has happened when Michigan plays on October 12th. Then, we will shift our attention to the history of Michigan vs Illinois and talk about who wins this game and why.

Calendar History: October 12th

Today’s game is the twentieth game that Michigan has played on the 12th day of October. So far, the Wolverines own a record of 14 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie on this day. That works out to a winning percentage of just over seventy-six percent (.763). Yes, our beloved Wolverines have been very, very good on this day since 1892.

Michigan has a stellar record of 10 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie for all home games played on this day. They are almost as good on the road with four wins in five games. This is good news because today’s game is in Champaign, Illinois.

The numbers displayed below summarize Michigan’s overall performance on this day. Yes, October 12th is definitely a good day to play football at Michigan.

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 8 7 1 0 .875
Conference 11 7 3 1 .681
All Games 19 14 4 1 .763

Here is a little more history about Michigan Football on the 12th day of October.

  • 1892 – Michigan defeated a team from the Michigan Athletic Association (68-0) in the first game a Wolverine team ever played on October twelfth.
  • 1904 – The Wolverines notched their biggest win ever on October 12th with a 72-0 win over team called Physicians and Surgeons from Chicago.
  • 1929 – Michigan’s first ever road game and loss on this day s day took place against the Purdue. The Boilermakers defeated their guests by a score of 16-30.
  • 1957 – Michigan’s biggest loss on this day took place in East Lansing. Yes, Sparty beat them by a score of 6-35 – ouch!
  • 2002 – Michigan’s last win on this day took place in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines defeated Penn State by a score of 27-24 in overtime.
  • 2013 – The Wolverines lost the last game played on October 12th. It was an overtime loss at PSU – 40-43. Yup, that was ugly!

Again, today’s game will be the first one that Michigan and Illinois have ever played on October 12th and the first contest between the two teams since 2016.

Other Notable Wolverine Performances on October 12th:

  • 1898 – Michigan played the first game ever against the farmers from East Lansing. Final Score – Michigan 34 and Michigan Agricultural College 0. (Note-MAC/MSU is the most common opponent that the Wolverines have played on the twelfth day of October. Michigan owns a record of 7 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie on this day against Sparty.)
  • 1940 – Tom Harmon put on another show in a 26-0 victory over Harvard in Michigan Stadium
  • 1968 – Bump Elliott’s last win over Michigan State was a 28-14 whupping in Ann Arbor.
  • 1974 – Bo’s Wolverine’s earn another hard-fought win (21-7) over the Spartans.
  • 1985 – Jim Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a dominating win (31-0) over the Spartans in East Lansing – how sweet it was!
  • 1991 – Elvis Grbac (3 touchdown passes), Desmond Howard (2 touchdown receptions) and Jesse Johnson (2 rushing touchdowns) put on a show and Michigan blasted Michigan State – 45-28.

Michigan vs Illinois Program Summaries

Here is a quick look at the “Tale of the Tape” for two of the “oldest” rivals in the Big Ten conference:

Program Area Illinois Michigan
First Football Season 1890 1879
Total Wins 608 957
Total Losses 595 343
Total Ties 50 36
Winning % .505 .730
National Championships 5 11
Heisman Winners 0 3
All-Americans (Consensus) 24 83
Big Ten Championships 15 42

Michigan vs Illinois Series History:

Both Rutgers and Michigan have long histories and tons of tradition. They have been meeting on the football field since 1898, but don’t play each other every season. Once again, today’s game is the ninety-fifth game in the Michigan vs Illinois football series. That’s a lot of games. Check out the series numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Ann Arbor 46 34 11 1 .750
Champaign 47 34 12 1 .734
Neutral 2 2 0 0 1.000
Series Total 95 70 23 2 .747

Here are some of the key dates and numbers about this Big Ten rivalry that go back over one hundred years.

  • 1898 -The first game between Michigan and Illinois in Detroit, Michigan. The Wolverines won by a score of 12-5.
  • 1924 – Michigan’s first “biggest” loss (25 points) took place in the dedication game of Memorial Stadium. Red Grange ran wild and it got ugly very fast. Final score: Illinois 39 and Michigan 14. The Wolverines also lost to Illinois by 25-points (20-45) in 2008.
  • 1969 - Michigan’s biggest series win took place in Champaign. Bo’s footballers took the fight out of the Fighting Illini. Final Score: Michigan 57 – Illinois 0.
  • 2011Michigan’s last game in Champaign was a 31-14 victory.
  • 2016 – The Wolverines played their last game against Illinois in 2016. Jim Harbaugh’s team blasted the Illini by a score of 41-8.

Michigan owns the longest winning streak in the series – 16 games. This feat was accomplished between 1967 and 1982. Illinois defeated the Wolverines in four straight games between 1950 and 1953.

Yes, all the numbers in this series are strongly in favor of Michigan. Of course, all that history has nothing to do with who wins today’s game, but it does tell us that the
Wolverines have a very, very good chance to leave Champaign with another win.

In 1987, Phil Webb scored the winning touchdown at Illinois in a 17-14 victory. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.


History tells us that the average score of the previous nineteen Michigan football games played on October 12th is 32.8 to 9.69. And, the average score of a Wolverine-Illini game in Champaign is 18.8 to 11.6. Finally, the odds makers favor the Wolverines by about twenty-one points. I think the Wolverines will do just fine today in Memorial Stadium.

Michigan vs Illinois 2019 - My Prediction:

Michigan will win BIG today. Coach Harbaugh’s Wolverines will play their best game of the season and excel in all three phases of the game. It will be a complete team victory that will give Michigan some excellent momentum heading into next week’s encounter at Penn State.

Illinois will play hard, but they don’t have enough top-line players to match up with the Wolverines. I know Don Brown’s defense will feast on the Illinois offense. They will keep Reggie Corbin under one-hundred yards and limit the Orange and Blue to a couple of field goals. Maybe Shea Patterson can run for three scores and throw for a couple more. If he is on his game,  it could really get ugly for Illinois. Final Score: Michigan 41 Illinois 6.


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