The purpose of today’s post is to wish a Happy Birthday to a Wolverine named Roger Zatkoff. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Roger Zatkoff was born on this day in Hamtramck, Michigan. Zatkoff grew up to be a pretty good athlete at Hamtramck High School. He had a number of good choices to play college football, but he chose Michigan.
Roger Zatkoff arrived in Ann Arbor in the fall of 1949. Freshman Roger Zatkoff was listed on the 1949 Michigan Football Roster as a fullback. First year players were not eligible for varsity play at this time. So, Zatkoff learned Bennie Oosterbaan’s Single Wing Offense and hit the books.
Sophomore Roger Zatkoff, who had a great spring practice, returned for his sophomore season in 1950. Coach Bennie Oosterbaan decided that he needed Roger on the defensive side of the ball instead of the backfield. Zatkoff started nine games and helped Michigan win their third consecutive Big Ten Championship. The Wolverines also won the 1951 Rose Bowl game and posted a final record of 6-3-1. Roger Zatkoff was named the Meyer Morton Award winner because of his outstanding play in “Spring Ball.”
Zatkoff was back in 1951 and Coach Oosterbaan penciled the hard-hitting Zatkoff as a starting linebacker for every game. The Wolverines ended the season with a final record of 4 wins and 5 losses. Michigan’s defense was pretty stingy in 1951. They allowed a total of 122 points which averaged out to just over thirteen points per game. Unfortunately, the offense scored a total of 135 points in 1951. Michigan averaged just over fifteen points per game, but failed to score in three games and only scored 7 points in two others. Hopefully things would get better in 1952.
Once again, senior linebacker Roger Zatkoff started every game for Coach Oosterbaan’s Wolverines in 1952. Michigan ended the season with a final record of 5 wins and 4 losses. Roger Zatkoff earned first team All-Big Ten honors for his outstanding play in 1952.
So, there you have it! Roger Zatkoff finished his career as an accomplished Wolverine. He was good enough to get drafted in the NFL and good enough to play for six seasons for the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. Zatkoff retired from the NFL in 1959 to focus on his very successful manufacturing business. In 1991, The University of Michigan named their season award for “Best Linebacker” after Mr. Roger Zatkoff. Please take a moment to appreciate Roger Zatkoff’s contributions to the history of Michigan football. I hope that Roger Zatkoff has a very happy birthday today. Go Blue!
Who was the first Michigan football coach to win 9 games in one season?
William McCauley, Michigan’s third coach, became the first Michigan coach to post 9 wins in 1894. His Wolverines posted a final record of 9 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie. McCauley’s footballers came back in 1895 and won 8 of 9 games. William McCauley left Ann Arbor after the 1895 season with the best two-year run in the early history of Michigan Football.
Who was the first Michigan placekicker to score 10 extra points in a single game?