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Go Blue Game Day September 28, 2019 Michigan vs Rutgers Football

Posted on September 27, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Hello again Wolverine fans – it’s time for Michigan vs Rutgers football in The Big House. The timing of this game is perfect for our beloved Wolverines. It will give the Maize and Blue Footballers a chance to get back on track and post their first conference win of 2019.

Today’s Michigan vs Rutgers football game marks only the sixth game between these two Big Ten rivals. It is only the third time that the Wolverines and Scarlet Knights have met in Ann Arbor. Before I get into my predictions about today’s game, let’s take a closer look at what has happened when Michigan plays on the twenty-eighth day of September. Then, we will shift our attention to the history of Michigan vs Rutgers and talk about who wins this game today and why.

(Note-Tom Harmon (#98) shown above in the season opening game played on September 28, 1940 at the University of California. The future Heisman Trophy winner celebrated his twenty-first birthday in style as he scored 28 points - four touchdowns and four extra-points. Yes, he is the only Michigan Wolverine to score 28 points on September 28th.  Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)

Calendar History:

Today’s game is the fourteenth game that Michigan has played on the 28th day of September. So far, the Wolverines own a record of 12 wins, 1 loss and 0 ties on this day. That works out to a winning percentage of just over ninety-two percent (.923). Wow-that is a very impressive record for any day, don’t you think?

Michigan has a stellar record of 12 wins, 1 loss and 0 ties for all home games played on this day. They are perfect on the road with a nice win at Illinois in 2002. Of course, the good news is that today’s game is at home in the friendly confines of the Big House!

The numbers displayed below summarize Michigan’s overall performance on this day. Yes, September 28th is definitely a very good day to play football at Michigan.

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 12 11 1 0 .917
Conference 1 1 0 0 1.000
All Games 13 12 1 0 .923

Here is a little more history about Michigan Football on the 28th day of September.

  • 1901 - Michigan’s first game on this date resulted in a 50-0 win over Albion. It was also the first game that Fielding H. Yost ever coached at Michigan. So, yes, Mr. Yost had a good start in Ann Arbor.
  • 1929 – This day marks the first time that a Michigan football team played two games on the same day. Yes, the Wolverines defeated Albion (39-0) and Mt. Union (16-6) in a Wolverine doubleheader. It was Mr. Yost’s attempt to fill Michigan Stadium during the Depression Era. It didn’t really work since only about 16,000 people could afford to watch.
  • 1940 - Michigan’s first ever road game in September took Fritz Crisler’s Wolverines to California. Michigan defeated the Bears 41-0 on Tom Harmon’s twenty-first birthday party. The future Heisman winner started the season with a bang as he scored 28 points by himself on four touchdowns and four extra points. Nobody on the Cal team could tackle the elusive Harmon, including a drunk who failed to bring down the future Heiman Trophy winner. Click on the link below (Shift+click) to view Chris Huston’s post from 2017.

Video: Tom Harmon evades drunken Cal fan on his way to the end zone

  • 1974 – Michigan’s biggest win on this day took place against Navy at Michigan Stadium. Bo’s Wolverines abused the Midshipman by a score of 52-0.
  • 1991 – The Wolverines took their first and only loss on this day when Florida State came to town. The speedy Seminoles won a track meet style game (31-51) against Gary Moeller’s shocked Wolverine team.
  • 2002 – Michigan won their only Big Ten game on this day at Illinois. Final Score: Wolverines 45 and Illini 28. This was also the last game that Michigan played on September 28th – until today.

Today’s game will be the first one that Michigan and Rutgers have ever played on September 28th.

Other Notable Wolverine Performances on September 28th:

Michigan Captain and future MVP/ All-American ran for 205-yards to lead the Wolverines to victory at Duke in 1968. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

  • 1968 – Ron Johnson rushed for 205-yards on 31 carries in a 31-10 victory at Duke. Johnson ran for 2 touchdowns and receiver Jerry Imsland also caught 6 passes for 103-yards – one was a 33-yard scoring pass from quarterback Dennis Brown.
  • 1974 – Running back Gordon Bell led the Wolverines with 3 touchdowns. Chuck Heater ran for 2 scores and Rob Lytle added one more. Jim Smith only caught one pass, but it went for a 39-yard touchdown. The 5th ranked Wolverines blasted Navy 52-0.
  • 1996 – Chris Howard ran for 109-yard on 16 carries and scored 4 touchdowns. Quarterback Scott Dreisbach threw a 53-yard scoring pass to Clarence Williams. Yes, Michigan blew out UCLA at the Big House – 38-9.
  • 2002 – John Navarre completed 22 of 37 passes for 264-yards and 4 touchdowns (Bennie Joppru-2, Braylon Edwards-1, Ronald Bellamy-1) in leading the Wolverines to the 45-28 win at Champaign. Chris Perry also rushed for two touchdowns and totaled 90-yards on the ground

Michigan vs Rutgers Football Program Summaries:

Here is a quick look at the “Tale of the Tape” for two of the “oldest” programs in college football:

Program Area Rutgers Michigan
First Football Season 1869 1879
Total Wins 653 955
Total Losses 661 343
Total Ties 42 36
Winning % .497 .730
National Championships 1 11
Heisman Winners 0 3
All-Americans (Consensus) 3 83
Big Ten Championships 0 42

Michigan vs Rutgers Football Series History:

Both Rutgers and Michigan have long histories and tons of tradition. They just haven’t played a lot of games against each other. 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 and they also claimed the first-ever national championship in that inaugural season. 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.

Today’s game is the sixth game in the Michigan vs Rutgers football series. Check out the series numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
UM Home 2 2 0 0 1.000
UM Away 3 2 1 0 .666
Series Total 5 4 1 0 .800

Michigan has won both games played against Rutgers in Ann Arbor and they haven’t been close. Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines romped to a 49-16 victory in 2015 and won again (35-14) in 2017.

It certainly looks like that trend will continue today, but Michigan’s inconsistent play in the first three games makes it difficult to predict the final result.

The numbers tell us that the average score of a Wolverine-Scarlet Knight football game at the Big House is 42-15. I believe the defense will uphold their end of the score in this game, but I just don’t know if Michigan’s offense is up to the task.

Hopefully, Michigan’s “Speed-in-Space” offense will protect the ball and find many ways to score points in today’s game. I think the Wolverines will keep their home winning streak going against Rutgers today.

Michigan vs Rutgers Football Season Summaries-As Of September 27, 2019:

Here is a quick look at some of the important numbers to keep an eye on for today’s football game:

Program Area Rutgers Michigan
Wins and Losses 1-2 2-1
National Ranking Not Ranked #20
Points Per Game 21.3 26
Rush Yards/Game 120 yds/game 127 yds /game
Avg, Yards/Rush 4.0 yds/carry 3.5 yds/carry
Pass Yards/Game 233 yds/game 237 yds/game
Avg Yards/Rec. 12.7 yds/catch 12.7 yds/catch
Avg. Yards/Game 353 yards/game 364 yards/game
Avg. Points Allowed 27.0 25.7


So far, the numbers for both teams are very similar. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that the numbers would be this close at game time, I would have laughed at you. Well, the numbers are real and nobody from Michigan is laughing about them – including me. The Wolverines have a slight edge in most areas, but Rutgers averages more rushing yards per carry (4.0 to Michigan’s 3.5). Michigan’s speed in space offense has only yielded 12.7 yards per reception which is exactly what Rutgers is averaging. Todays’ game appears to be a pretty even matchup, but the betting lines are heavy in favor of the Wolverines (27-29 points).


Unfortunately, both Michigan and Rutgers have a quarterback in the concussion protocol. Dylan McCaffery (Michigan) and McClane Carter (Rutgers) are both being watched closely by their respective medical staffs. It looks like Rutgers will be going with their second-string quarterback while Michigan looks a little better with starter Shea Patterson scheduled to begin the game. However, Patterson has had some injury issues early in the season and still has not hit his stride.

Michigan and Rutgers share the same record in conference play at 0 wins and 1 loss. Of course, this will change after today’s match is decided.

After losing their first ever game against Rutgers in 2014, the Wolverines are on a four-game winning streak.

History tells us that the average score of the previous thirteen Michigan football games played on September 28th is 32.8 to 9.69. The odds makers favor the Wolverines by about four touchdowns.

Michigan vs Rutgers Football 2019 - My Prediction:

Michigan will win BIG today. Coach Harbaugh’s biggest challenge will be getting his starters enough reps to work the bugs out of the new offense and stabilize the defense. On paper, Michigan has the better player at every position. Of course, they still have to play the game.

No, Rutgers won’t give up 78 points to Michigan this year, but they will watch the Wolverines out-point them by the end of the game. I really don’t know how well Michigan will play today, but I predict a nice 35-6 win for Michigan today. However, I really hope they can roll up 50 or more points while keeping everyone healthy for Iowa next week. Go Blue!

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