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September 7, 2019 Michigan Football History Game Day – Michigan vs Army

Posted on September 6, 2019 by Barry Gallagher

Wow, the 2019 football season is off to a winning start and it’s time for another Go Blue Michigan Football History Game Day – Michigan vs Army. These two teams have a more history than last week’s opponent Middle Tennessee, but not a lot. Michigan and Army have played a total of nine games through the years. So, we’ll talk about that in a minute. First, we will look at how Michigan has fared on September 7th in their illustrious football history. Then, we will take a look at some of the best Wolverine performances on this date to get a sense of what could take place today. Third, we will look at the “streaks” that have marked this series so far and examine some of the history between Michigan and Army. Finally, I will look into my crystal ball and determine who wins this contest and by how much.

(Note-Pete Elliott (#45 shown above) and his young teammates, played hard, but the Wolverines came up short against the number one ranked Army cadets in their first meeting in 1945. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.)

Calendar History September 7th:

Since 1879, Michigan has played a total of three games on the seventh day of September. So far, the results have been pretty good, actually, they are perfect!

Here is the very short history about Michigan Football on September 7th.

  • 1991 – @ Boston – #2 Michigan 35 – Boston College 13
  • 2002 − @ Michigan Stadium – #7 Michigan 35 – Western Michigan 12
  • 2013 − @ Michigan Stadium – #17 Michigan 41– Notre Dame 30

Overall, the Wolverines are 3-0-0 on this day in Michigan Football History. This will be the first game that Jim Harbaugh has coached against Army and on September 7th. Unless something drastic happens, Michigan should improve their record to 4 wins and 0 losses on this day in Michigan Football History.

Some Outstanding Wolverine Performances on September 7th:

  • 1991 – Michigan journeyed to Boston and came home with a nice victory thanks to Desmond Howard, Elvis Grbac and Ricky Powers. Yes, Howard’s Heisman season started off with a bang! He caught three touchdown passes from Grbac and ran a kickoff back for a 93-yards score. Elvis left the building that day with an efficient day (14-25 for 3 touchdowns and 1 interception) and Powers rambled for 176-yards on 27 carries.
  • 2002 – John Navarre completed 14 of 23 passes for 174-yards and four scores. Chris Perry ran for 118-yards on 17 carries. Braylon Edwards (4 receptions for 93-yards and 2 touchdowns) and Bennie Joppru (3 receptions for 23 yards and one score) did some serious damage in the easy win over WMU.
  • Devin Gardner had a brilliant game against the Irish on this night. He completed 21 of 33 passes for 294 -yards and tossed four scoring passes. Jeremy Gallon was his most dangerous weapon. Jeremy hauled in three of the scoring passes and seemed to be open all night long.

Series History – Michigan vs Army:

The first Michigan vs Army game was played in 1945 and Fritz Crisler’s overmatched Wolverines held top-ranked Army to their lowest offensive output of the season, but still lost by a score of 7-28. The teams continued the series in 1946, 1949, 1950 and 1954 and Army won them all. The good news is that the teams played four more times (1955, 1956, 1961 and 1962) and Michigan won every game. So, the series stands at four wins for Michigan versus five for the Black Knights.

Michigan vs Army Program Summaries

When the series started in the mid-1940s both Michigan and Army were at the top of their games and near the top of the college football world. Here is a quick look at the “Tale of the Tape” for both programs:

Program Area Army Michigan
First Football Season 1890 1879
Total Wins 673 954
Total Losses 518 342
Total Ties 51 36
Winning % .569 .730
National Championships 3 11
Heisman Winners 3 3
All-Americans (Consensus) 37 83
Bowl Record 6-2-0 21-26-0


Today’s game is tenth game of the Michigan vs Army series. Michigan needs to win this game so that they can even up the series at five wins and five losses. Here is a quick look at how the Wolverines have fared against the Army Cadets/Black Knights over the years:

  • 1945 – @ Yankee Stadium  − # 9 Michigan 7 – #1 Army 28
  • 1946 − @ Michigan Stadium − #4 Michigan 13 – #2 Army 20
  • 1949 − @ Michigan Stadium – #1 Michigan 7 – #7 Army 21
  • 1950 − @ Yankee Stadium −  #18 Michigan 6 – #1 Army 27
  • 1954 − @ Michigan Stadium − Michigan 7 – Army 26
  • 1955 − @ Michigan Stadium − #2 Michigan 26 – #6 Army 2
  • 1956 − @ Michigan Stadium − #12 Michigan 48 – #15 Army 14
  • 1961 − @ Michigan Stadium − # 9 Michigan 38 – Army 8
  • 1962 − @ Michigan Stadium − Michigan 17 – #10 Army 7

Yes, this series has not seen a game between these two programs since 1962. That’s a very long time. The recent history in this series favors Michigan since the Wolverines are on a four-game win streak. Bennie Oosterbaan’s 1956 team owns Michigan’s biggest series win (48-14) so far. Michigan’s two biggest losses to Army were both by twenty-one points (7-28 in 1945 and 6-27 in 1950).

Terry Basrr Michigan Football 1956 | gobluefootballhistory.com

Terry Barr was the best player on the field in 1955. Here, he ran for a short touchdown to give the Wolverines the lead. Then he scored on a long play (82-yard punt return) to help Michigan defeat the Cadets by a score of 26-2. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Best Wolverine Performances – Michigan vs Army Since 1955.

I found a number of notable Michigan Man performances against the Army Cadets. Check them out:

  • 1955 – After losing the first five games of the series, the Wolverines finally earned a win over Army. The Wolverines, behind Terry Barr and Ed Shannon, throttled the Cadets in a 26-2 victory. At 6 feet tall and 175 pounds, Barr was not the biggest player on the field, but he made some big plays for the Wolverines. He caught a 40-yard pass and scored on the next play to give Michigan an early lead. Fullback Ed Shannon scored on a short run for another Maize and Blue score. However, the biggest play of the day was an 82-yard punt return by the speedy Barr. Michigan’s All-American tight end Ron Kramer also contributed with 4 catches for 67-yards. He also threw a key block on Barr’s punt return, but cracked some ribs and missed the next two or three games – ouch! Overall, it was a satisfying Wolverine win that ended the Army win streak over Michigan.
  • 1956 – Quarterback Jim Van Pelt rushed for a touchdown and also caught a 14-yard pass. Sophomore running back Jim Pace ran for 32-yards on 9 carries and also scored one of the Wolverine touchdowns. Fullback Ed Shannon scored against Army for the second straight season on a short run. He also completed 2 of 3 passes for twenty-five yards to help the Wolverines to their second straight win over Army – 48 to14.
  • 1961 – Senior halfback Bennie McRae led the Wolverines with 95-rushing yards. He also scored a touchdown and so did Dave Raimey and fullback Bill Tunnicliff. Michigan rolled to their third straight win over Army by a score of 38-8 in Ann Arbor.
  • 1962 – Senior halfback Dave Raimey led Michigan to another victory over Army at Michigan Stadium. He rushed 21 times for 89-yards and scored a touchdown. Fullback Jack Strobel rushed 8 times for 28 yards and 1 touchdown. After losing the first five games to Army, this win (17-7) extended Michigan’s series winning streak to four games.

Today – Michigan vs Army.

Both teams have a record of 1 win and 0 losses heading into today’s game. Of course, Michigan defeated Middle Tennessee by a score of 41-20. Meanwhile, Army won a close one over rice by a score of 14-7. Yes, both teams are undefeated, but both coaches are looking to improve in game number two. Michigan knows exactly what to expect from Army and they will do their best to stop the famed Cadet Triple Option Offense. Army will have a tougher time stopping Michigan’s spread offense than it did last week against the Rice Owls.

Army is a well-coached and highly disciplined team. However, they will be outmanned at just about every position. The Wolverines have a huge weight advantage on both sides of the line. In addition, their skilled/tall wide receivers will be a lot for Army’s tough/short secondary to handle. This game will be hard fought, but Army just doesn’t have the roster that it will take to defeat Jim Harbaugh’s best team yet. I predict that it will be a long day for the Long Gray Line in Ann Arbor today!

My Prediction – Michigan vs Army:

The Wolverines are 25 ½ point favorites and it could be a lot more if Shea Patterson gets the passing game in high gear. Oh yes, the vverage score of the first three games on September 7th is 37-18. So, we will start there.

I predict that the 7th ranked Wolverines will defeat Army on September 7th by a score of 45-10. I love Army Football (Note-I served in the Army for 30 years so that makes me a BIG Army fan) because they play with as much passion as any team in the country. You don’t ever have to worry about anybody  from Army leaving early or opting out of a bowl game. The Black Knights will come to play 60 minutes of good football. However, Army doesn’t have the athletes needed to beat Michigan today.

Victory number two for the 2019 season should be in the books around 3:10 pm, Eastern Standard Time on Saturday. Program win number 955 for the winningest team in college football history should help keep the Wolverines on top of the heap for another 30 or 40 years. Go Blue!

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