Today is a great day to wish happy birthday to another Michigan Wolverine named Alfred J. Julian. Julian played for the Wolverines from 1956 to 1959. Of course, this meant that he played at the end of Bennie Oosterbaan’s career and the first season of the Bump Elliott Era. Before we look at the Michigan Football career of Fred Julian, we must look at today’s trivia question and answer yesterday’s question.
Who was the Most Valuable Player of the 1951 Rose Bowl game?
Don Dufek was a pile-driving fullback who could get the tough yards when needed. Michigan and Bennie Oosterbaan needed them in the 1951 Rose Bowl. Fortunately, Don Dufek stepped up and delivered for the Wolverines.
Michigan won the famous “Snow Bowl” against OSU in November 1950 and earned the right to play in the 1951 Rose Bowl. California won the right to represent the Pacific Coast Conference in this special bowl game. Although Michigan was favored, California jumped out to a 6-0 lead at halftime. It could have been a lot worse since the Golden Bears outgained the Wolverines by a margin of 192-65 in total yards for the first half. Cal also had an edge in first downs of 10-2. Needless to say, Michigan had to make some adjustments at half time.
Of course, that’s exactly what happened! Michigan held the Bears scoreless in the third quarter, but didn’t do much themselves. Michigan figured out that they could run the ball in the final quarter and that’s what they did. Don Dufek ran four consecutive plays and scored Michigan’s first touchdown early in the final quarter. Harry Allis made the PAT to put the Wolverines up by a score of 7-6.
Fortunately, the Wolverine defense continued to play very well for the remainder of the game and Dufek just kept running the ball. When Don Dufek scored his second touchdown late in the final stanza, Michigan’s victory was assured.
Who was the first Michigan receiver to wear the #1?
(Hint, it was not Anthony Carter who made it famous, just not first!)
Attention Wolverine fans – today is another day to remember a happy birthday anniversary for Michigan Man Fred Julian. Alfred J. “Fred” Julian was born on this day in 1938 in Detroit, Michigan. Julian graduated from Pershing High School in Detroit in 1956. He came to Ann Arbor that fall to continue his studies and his football career.
Fred Julian made the varsity in 1957, but did not earn any starts. However, he played enough on defense and special teams to earn his first varsity letter.
Junior Fred came back in 1958 looking to play more and contribute to the success of the 1958 Wolverine team. The good news was that the gritty Julian started nine games in his junior season. He earned his second letter under Bennie Ooosterbaan. The bad news was that Michigan finished with a final record of 2 wins, 6 losses and 1 tie. It was the worst record in Oosterbaan’s eleven-year tenure at Michigan. Bennie knew it was time to move on and he resigned a few weeks after the end of the 1958 season.
Fred Julian did his best to improve things in Ann Arbor. He started seven games for Bump Elliott’s first team. He averaged 4.0 yards per carry and gained a career-high 289 yards in his senior year. Julian rushed for two touchdowns and caught thirteen passes for 138 yards. One of his scores was the game winner against Illinois (20-15). Fred was a workhorse that season since he also returned punts and kickoffs for the Wolverines. I am sure that he slept well after every game!
Interestingly, Fred was the first, and only, man to lead a Michigan football team in rushing (289 yards) with less than 300 yards in 1959. Yes, that is a pretty low number!
So, Alfred J. Julian was a three-year letterman at Michigan. He gave everything he had to his coaches and his teammates. Today is a great day to celebrate the memory of this dedicated Michigan Man. Fred went on to become an outstanding high school and junior college football coach in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Check out the excellent Wikipedia article linked below. Sadly, Alfred J. Julian left his family, friends and teammates on May 4, 2013 at the age of 75. May Wolverine Fred Julian continue to rest in eternal peace. Go Blue!