Today we are going back to look at Michigan’s First Night Football Game on September 23, 1944. The Wolverines were having trouble filling their football schedule during the War Years (1941-1945). So, they turned to an opponent that they had not played since 1909. Yes, Michigan played little Marquette College in 1909 and beat them by a score of 6-5. After thirty-five years, it seemed like a good idea to play them again. So, Michigan agreed to travel to Milwaukee to play in a historic game.
(Note - The 1944 Michigan Football team is shown above. Bob Nussbaumer (#40) is seated in the first row - fifth man from the right. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)
Yes, that was a long time ago - seventy-five years to be exact. The game was historic because it was Michigan’s first night football game - ever! I can’t imagine that the lighting was great, but there was enough light to play the game. Apparently Michigan had trouble hanging onto the ball (4 or 5 fumbles), but they managed to grind out a 14-0 win for Coach Fritz Crisler. The “hero” of the game was junior running back Bob Nussbaumer who turned 17 carries into 117-yards.
(Note - For more information about Bob Nussbaumer check out the link below:
September 23rd is one of the best days to play football at The University of Michigan. The Wolverines have played seven games on this day and won them all. Yes, the Maize and Blue footballers have a perfect record of 8-0-0 on the twenty-third day of this month.
The Wolverines have a record of 3-0-0 against Big Ten teams on September 23rd. They own wins over Illinois (2000), Wisconsin (2006) and Purdue (2017).
Of course, Michigan has won all of their non-conference games on this day against the likes of Marquette (1944), Duke (1967), UCLA (1972 & 1989), Notre Dame (1978).
Yes, our Wolverines need to play more games on September 23rd, don’t you think?
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