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November 18, 2017 Game Day Michigan vs Wisconsin Football

Posted on November 18, 2017 by Barry Gallagher

Today is another chapter in the one-hundred twenty-five year history of the Michigan vs Wisconsin football tradition. The teams don’t play every year and won’t because they are now in different divisions of the Big Ten Conference. However, the good news is that Michigan has won a lot of games against the Badgers. Once again, it’s time to take a closer look at the history behind this day and this game. It will be a very BIG game for both teams.

Calendar History:

So far, Michigan has played a total of 18 games on the 18th day of November in their 138-year football history. Of course, today will be game number nineteen. So far, the results on this day have usually been very, very good. The Wolverines own an impressive record of 14 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie on the 18th day of November. They hold a big advantage in conference play since they have won ten of twelve games.

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
Non-Conference 6 4 2 0 .667
Conference 12 10 1 1 .875
All Games 18 14 3 1 .806

A Closer Look at November 18th:

Once again, it appears that history is on Michigan’s side on the eighteenth day of November. Here is a little more history about Michigan Football on this date.

Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Ann Arbor against the Northwestern Wildcats. The Wolverines still remembered their first game (an 8-10 loss) from 1892. They put the hurt on Northwestern to the tune of 72-6 – ouch! As you might imagine, the Wildcat thumping is also  Michigan’s biggest win on this date.

Michigan’s first conference game on this date took place against Wisconsin way back in 1905. The Wolverines defeated their Badger guests by a score of 12-0. Michigan posted their biggest conference win on this date happened at Minnesota. Bo’s last Wolverine team defeated the Gophers by a score of 49-15.

Michigan’s first loss on this date took place against the Pennsylvania Quakers in 1916. The Wolverines lost by a score of 7-10 on Homecoming Day. Michigan’s biggest loss/conference loss took place in 1995 at Penn State. Joe Paterno’s team bested Lloyd Carr’s first Wolverine team by a score of 17-27.

Michigan’s last game on this day took place in 2006 – the day after Bo Schembechler died. A broken-hearted Wolverine team put up a great fight, but lost to the Buckeyes – 39-42.

The Michigan vs Wisconsin rivalry has been played-out four times on November 18th and Michigan has won them all! The last game was played fifty years ago in 1967. Bump Elliott’s Wolverines defeated the Badgers by a score of 27-14 in Michigan Stadium.

Today’s game will be the first time that a Michigan vs Wisconsin game has been played on November 18th in Madison.

Tom Harmon vs Pennsylvania in 1939 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Tom Harmon (#98) rushed 29 times for 202 yards and 1 touchdown against Pennsylvania on November 18, 1939. Michigan won the game 19-17. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Notable Wolverine Performances on November 18th:

  • 1939 – Tom Harmon helped lead the Wolverines to a 19-17 win. He carried 29 times for a total of 202 yards.
  • 1950 – Harry Allis returned a blocked punt for a 23-yard touchdown in a 34-23 win over Northwestern.
  • 1961 – Dave Raimey turned 22 carries into 102 yards in a 23-14 win over Iowa.
  • 1972 – Mike “Super Toe” Lantry nails a 30-yard field goal with 1 minute on the clock to push Michigan to a 9-6 win over Purdue.
  • 1989 – Michael Taylor threw 4 touchdown passes in a 49-15 win over Minnesota. Desmond Howard catches 3 of the TD passes and Greg McMurty (7 catches for 165 yards) grabs the other.
  • 2000 – Defensive back Julius Curry takes an interception to the house for a 50-yard “pick-6” in a 38-26 win at OSU!
  • 2005 – Marquise Walker scores on a 41-yard punt return in the 58-0 rout of Indiana.

Series History:

Today’s game is the sixty-sixth game in the Michigan vs Wisconsin football series. Yes, history is definitely on Michigan’s side when they face off against the Badgers – at home and on the road.

The first game of the Michigan vs Wisconsin football series took place at Madison, Wisconsin in 1892.  Frank Barbour’s road warriors defeated the Badgers by a score of 10-6.

In 1893, the Badgers came to Ann Arbor to earn their first victory against Michigan (18-34).

The last game between these two Big Ten teams was in 2016. Michigan won a close one in Ann Arbor 14-7.

So far, the Michigan vs Wisconsin football series has been played out sixty-five different times. Check out the series numbers below:

Type Game # of Games Won Lost Tied Win %
UM Home 35 28 7 0 .800
UM Away 28 21 6 1 .768
Neutral Site 2 1 1 0 .500
Series Total 65 50 14 1 .777

Michigan and Wisconsin have never faced each other on this day at Camp Randall Stadium. So, today’s game will be a first!

Ron Johnson set Rushing Record against Wisconsin in November 1968 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Ron Johnson (#40) set a Michigan and Big Ten on November 16, 1968 by rushing for 347 yards and 5 touchdowns against the Badgers. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Notable Performances Michigan vs Wisconsin Football:

In addition to fifty wins over the Badgers, Michigan players have had some record setting performances against the Red and White. Here some of the most notable Wolverine performances against Wisconsin:

  • Ron Johnson, pictured above, set the Michigan record when he rushed for five touchdowns against the Badgers on November 16, 1968.
  • Ron Johnson also set a single game rushing record when he steamrolled the Badgers for 347 yards in that November 1968 game.
  • Butch Woolfolk set a Michigan record for the longest run from scrimmage when he bolted 92 yards and a touchdown against Wisconsin on November 3, 1979.
  • Seth Smith set the Michigan record for longest kickoff return for a touchdown against Wisconsin on October 29, 1994.
  • Ryan Mallett and Mario Manningham combined for the Michigan’s longest pass play (97-yards) against the Badgers on November 10, 2007.

So, some of the greatest plays and milestones in Michigan Football history have occurred against the Wisconsin Badgers. Let’s hope something magical happens against the Red and White today as well!


The last time Michigan journeyed to Madison they got their butts kicked 24-45 in 2010. Yes, it was ugly. Rich Rodriguez did not have his team ready for that game. I think Jim Harbaugh will have the Wolverines ready for their best game of the season today.

Michigan (8-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten) and Wisconsin (10-0 and 7-0) are almost mirror images of each other.  Both teams have stingy, hard hitting defenses that will make it hard for the offenses to score. Of course, both Michigan and Wisconsin take great pride in their power run games. Simply put, they like to punish their opponents and run the ball down the opposing team’s throat! Neither team has a great passing game. So, it will all boil down to the run game. This should be  the most physical game of the season – so far.

My Prediction:

As of this writing, Michigan is a seven-point (down from 10 points at the start of the week) underdog for this very BIG game. This is one of the biggest games in the history of the Michigan vs Wisconsin football rivalry. I think the Wolverines will come out strong and play their best game of the season. They will take care of the ball and minimize the penalties. Michigan’s run game will total at least 200-yards, but not one of those yards will come easy. There will be some ferocious battles in the trenches – that’s’ for sure! Brandon Peters will play another solid game and spread the ball around to 8-10 different receivers. He will take what the defense gives him, which won’t be much. Fortunately, Quinn Nordin will be wearing his “iron jock.” In the end, I think he will be the difference in the game. Michigan wins by a score of 20-17. Go Blue!


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