19311003 Two Bucks, Two Games:  A ducat for a doubleheader (1931)

The 1930s are a underappreciated period of Michigan football, and the goings on in 1931 alone provide a representative morsel.   Click below for a spicy version of This Week in Michigan Football covers a wide range of events on campus in the wacky year eighty four years ago:

For more on the Rum Raid of 1931 click here
For more on the special charity football game played at the end of the 1931 season click here.

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.  

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This morning we take a trip back to 1931 – a difficult time for the American people including those on campus in Ann Arbor. Not only was the country in the midst of the Great Depression, it was illegal to drown your sorrows as the law of the land was still Prohibition– making alcohol possession a crime.

These social forces were evident in 1931 as the year started out with a major booze raid on the local campus fraternities – all told 75 students were nabbed including the captain of the 1930 football team, a forward on the hoops team, the president of the student council and the sports editor at the Michigan Daily. The students were eventually given a slap on the wrist, but they never got back the estimated 50 quarts whiskey and gin that were confiscated by the cops.

The athletic department had other problems, namely how to get fans through the Michigan Stadium gates. The great Depression rendered a two buck ticket to the Big House a luxury, eventhough head Coach Harry Kipke had assembled a championship-calibre squad.

In a ploy to draw fans into the Big House, it was on this day in 1931 that U of M played a double header – that’s right, 2 games on one afternoon – to start the year. The opponents were Central State Teachers College and Michigan Normal, known today at Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan respectively. Naturally the Kipke’s Wolverines took both lambs to the slaughter, pitching 27-0 and 34-0 shutouts—- but only 13 thousand fans bothered to watch.

To conclude the bizarre year, the Western Conference agreed to schedule a full slate of “extra” games to benefit a fund for unemployed workers.   Michigan was originally set to face Northwestern in the Big House, which would have set-up a match of the teams that shared the 1930 conference crown. But just weeks before the game, the conference brass shifted the schedule to have Northwestern play Purdue in Chicago at Soldier Field – and Michigan was left with Wisconsin.

Upon hearing the swich-er-oo folks in Ann Arbor were steaming. Fielding Yost called the whole thing a mess, and predicted a light turnout. The Michigan Daily suggested a boycott. Charity be damned – students were quoted saying they “wouldn’t give a nickel” to see a weak Wisconsin squad.

Ironically the biggest benefactor of the whole event, which raised $154,000, was Meeechigan. Northwestern ended up losing to Purdue 7-0, so those who watched the maize and blue beat the Badgers 16-0 actually saw them earn a share of the league title and perhaps some momentum in the next two glorious years — when Kipke and crew won back-to-back national titles.


For more, check out and For the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff, this is Greg Dooley.


Hurricane Joaquin ain’t so bad.  Saturday’s schedule shift isn’t first time a scheduled game has been moved.  Unfortunately many of the other incidents were brought on by darker circumstances.  Adapted from a 2009 post, here’s a look at a few of those:

1963 – Kennedy

The assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963 moved out the Ohio State game which was scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor the next day.

Played November 30, 1963, scheduled November 23, 1963

Back in 2009 I was able to connect with Dr. Barry Dehlin, a sophomore on Bump Elliott’s 1963 crew, and asked him about his memories of the days surrounding the assassination. Here’s what he wrote:

Naturally the assassination was a shock to all of us. I remember being in the dorm getting ready to go to practice when I heard what had happened. One of those sentinel moments in your life that you will always remember. We still met that Friday and the decision was already made that the game was postponed and would be played the next Saturday which of course was after Thanksgiving. The players would have to stay in town and not go home for Thanksgiving.

It was a cold week of practice but the interesting thing we did was bus to the Lions/Packers game on Thanksgiving. We sat on the field at Tiger stadium to watch the Lions and Packers tie. I believe that was the last game of the Lions and Packers on Thanksgiving for many years. That story I don’t know. [Ed: Correct. That game, a 13-13 tie, was the end of a string of thirteen straight Thanksgiving Day games for the Packers and Lions in Detroit.]

The game then was played the next Saturday and Ohio won on a pass to Paul Warfield in the end zone just over the hands of Jack Clancy. Warfield of course had a fine pro career and so did Clancy, who also was a wideout in the pros. Also remember the college game before 1965 did not allow unlimited substitution. On a fumble or interception only 2 players could be substituted each down for the first series. It was a much different game.

Thanks for letting me reminisce.

Incredible stuff.

The Ohio State loss capped a tough run for Elliott’s squad, as they finished 3-4-2 good for fifth in the conference. The following season, Dehlin along with captain Jim Conley turned things completely around capped off with a 10-0 victory in Columbus and a 34-7 thumping of Oregon State in the Rose Bowl.

2001 – 9/11
The September 11, 2001 attacks took place right in the beginning of the college football season and caused a few ripples throughout the schedule. Michigan pushed games against Western Michigan and Illinois out one week.

Played September 29, 2001, scheduled September 22, 2001

1918 – WWI, Flu
In 1918 football took a backseat to WWI and a massive flu outbreak. The schedule was a complete mess and the Bentley Library added a note to help sort out all the shifts/cancellations:

Scheduled games with Camp Custer (10/12), M.A.C. (Michigan State – 10/19), Ohio State (10/26 at Columbus), Northwestern (11/02), Cornell (11/16), Syracuse (11/16 in place of Cornell) and Minnesota (11/23) were canceled in response to the influenza epidemic and war-related travel restrictions. Only the Michigan State and Ohio State games were rescheduled.

Fielding Yost’s Michigan squad ended up playing and winning five games that season and claimed the national championship.  Here’s a look at the M.A.C. stub:

Scheduled October 19, 1918, played November 23, 1918

You’ll note that the ticket has the date of the day the game was actually played, not when it was originally scheduled. Assuming the Bentley’s facts are correct on the date shuffle, they either printed new tickets (possible) or they were aware of the changes before they printed the 1918 tickets (likely).


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The first of October is a special day in Michigan lore.  Two major milestones occurred on this day, eleven years apart:

October 1, 1927.  The first game in a sparkling new Michigan stadium, where U-M thumped Ohio Wesleyan 33-0.  Later that season temporary stands (borrowed from Ferry Field) were added to accommodate the crowds for the Navy and Ohio State games.  Here’s a look at a pristine Big House:


October 1, 1938.  Fritz Crisler took the whistle on the western sideline for the first time on this day in 1938, and this was the debut of the iconic winged helmet:

Winged Helmet Debut 

And thanks to the Michigan History Calendar, we also know that it was on this day in 1932 that the football program earned win #300 – a 26-0 shutout of Michigan State College in Ann Arbor.

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coolWhoa.  What happened?  Based on my straw poll of the press box, most media folk had BYU winning this one.  

So call BYU a good, at least a decent, team.  That was a mercy kill.  Offhand, that was probably the biggest beatdown of good team since, what? 38-0 Vol. I over Notre Dame in 2003?  

Rudock made good decisions with the pigskin.  Smith missed a couple holes but it didn’t matter because he’s a beast.  The defense was relentless and finished tackles.   Special teams were sound.  The playcalling was straight money and clearly the playbook is being cracked open to the later chapters.  Maybe there is magical khaki dust after all.

Assuming we handle Maryland on the road, heading back home to face Northwestern will be fun to watch.

It feels good man.  To the sights and sounds:

DER-EK JEET-AHH.  The Pope could have visited Michigan Stadium today and no one would have noticed:Jeter with Sarah Harbaugh

Above there’s Derek Jeter killing it in his Michigan hoodie, with suite ticket in pocket (does he really need a ticket?  to anything?) with Sarah Harbaugh on the left. 

Any fool who tried to get too close to #2 had to deal with Big Tony, aka The Captain’s Cleaner:

Derek Jeter's security at Michigan

Coach Edwards.  I strolled over to the opposing team suite (it’s on the same wing and floor as the media).  I asked if any former players from the 1984 BYU team were on prem.  A nice older woman told me, “I’m not sure about players, but the coach of that team is here,” and she gestured to an old man sitting against the window.  Sure enough, the man sitting a couple feet from me was legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards.

Coach Edwards was kind enough to pose for the photo below (left), at the time in much better spirits than when the ESPN cameras spotted him upstairs in the second half, flashing a double head palm:

LaVell Edwards Before and After

He led the Cougars in their finest hour, which was the last and only other time these teams met.  Twas the 1984 Holiday Bowl, where QB Robbie Bosco and crew defeated Bo & your beloved Wolverines to capture the national title.  Sap is still bitter about the whole thing but felt better Sunday morning.

Nasty Beasts.  Yes, the defense was nasty but not as much as these two.  Props to #1000SSS for another good choice on these epic game program covers, this time Bennie and Biff, the actual wolverines Yost procured and trotted out at the 1927 Michigan Stadium dedication game:

Biff and Bennie - Michigan Wolverines 

1980 Recognized:  Speaking of legends, the 1980 team was honored for the 35th anniversary of their championship team – and I ran into a few guys including Rich Hewlett and Doug James on the sideline. 


Thanks to their “in” at adidas (none other than quarterback Johnny Wangler who works for the three stripes) they wore some cool gear including these hats:

Left: Bruce Madej’s hat via @UMGoBlog.  Right: Devin Gardner got one and wore it well (via @MVictors):

Not that Ford but not Bad:  A staple on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (U-M JD ‘96) was a guest of the Regents and chilling with the Jeter Posse:

Harold Ford

Lytle.  Also honored today was the late and great Rob Lytle, such a warrior.  If you want to get a sense for the power of this dude, watch a few minutes of the 1976 Ohio State game.  Or just look at his helmet, here on the NCAA ‘06 cover via Dr. Sap:

Rob Lytle - Michigan



Uniform Notes.  Not much but whilst we’re on the topic:

  • The helmet stickers are getting out of control(!) – the helmets will be Hammersteined by mid-October – but so be it.   Consider that the third (or fourth?) string back is currently bedazzled through 3 games:

Ty Issac Helmet - Michigan

  • Not Uniform Timeline worthy, but Jeter got a 2015 beauty from Coach Harbaugh, naturally the Captain’s #2 and I’m sure Woodson and Hewlett would be ok with that:


  • Another look at the Block M thigh pad that some of the players (maybe 1 in 8?) wear:

Block M on Thigh Pad T00nces the shutout inspiring Cougar, wisely trying to escape the gridiron:


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1984 Holiday Bowl Michigan BYU

For those of you who weren’t old enough to endure the no-holding-calls-ever-made-against-BYU-1984-Holiday-Bowl-disaster, this shutout avenged some of that bitter taste. So you’ll have to excuse me if I enjoy this 31-0 shutout just a little more than any other win this year.  Alright, enough of that – here are your BYU-1st-shutout-of-the-year-Champions:

OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – Could have gone several ways here, (OBJ Darboh, De’Veon Smith, heck, O-Line for that matter), but I’m going with the guy under center – Jake Rudock.  Sure, I loved seeing a Michigan QB RUN for two touchdowns, but it was WAAAY more than that.  He looked comfortable running the offense.  He threw the ball well downfield – in part to the kick-start provided by OBJ Darboh – and he had no turnovers against the Cougars.  Do you realize his turnovers have gone down each game this year?  Utah (3), Oregon State (2), UNLV (1) and now BYU (0).  Umm – I’ll take that ANY DAY!

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Last week I mentioned that Channing Stribling set the tone on D with his early INT.  This week, the D-LINE came out and made a statement against BYU.  Seemed like each series there was a different guy getting penetration and that is a good sign!  When BYU had only completed 2 passes in the first half, I thought I was watching an old Rose Bowl from the 1970’s!  Are you kidding me – 2 completions??  Holy Durkin’s Destroyers, Batman!!  And then for BYU to only finish with 105 yards and 8 first downs – wow!!  Tenacity, technique, depth and coaching – now there’s a potent combination.

SPECIAL TEAMS – I almost didn’t award one because there wasn’t anything scintillating out there on Special Teams – and that’s when it hit me.  Do you realize how smart and important it is that Jabrill Peppers fields, or at least makes the attempt to field, each punt?  Not only does it give him a chance to go all the way, it also improves field position for the offense.  There were years, sometimes it felt like decades, where it seemed like Michigan never had a returner who made a concerted effort to catch the ball before it took a twenty-yard roll and ended up being downed at the Wolverine 10-yard line.  Don’t think that detail is glossed over with this coaching staff.  Talent plays a role here for sure, but so does coaching. 

UNIFORM CHAMPION – Maybe it was because AC, Anthony Carter, was in the house, but I gotta give it up to Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen, and even Maurice Ways & Drake Johnson for hiking up those white socks all the way up the their knees.


Remember, we’re wearing football socks – not tennis socks.  Get ’em up!!

CITIZENSHIP CHAMPION – You may not realize how fortunate you are for having being born in this great country, but don’t ever take that for granted.  This week was another reminder of how special it is to be an American.  Amara Darboh is now a United States Citizen, and believe me, take it from a fellow naturalized U.S. Citizen, it IS a BIG DEAL!  

Amara Darboh -

It’s probably why Darboh went all Odell Beckham, Jr. like on that 1st quarter catch!  

Darboh catch

Decal for you, #82, and congratulations!


Decals dealt out in previous weeks:

  • Utah: Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Blake O’Neill, (Uniform: White Road Uniforms), John Kryk
  • Oregon State:  De’Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, Delano Hill, The Coaching Staff
  • UNLV:  Ty Issac, Channing Stribling, Blake O’Neill
  • BYU: Jake Rudock, Defensive Line, Jabrill Peppers, (Uniform: Properly Hiked up White Socks), Amara Darboh


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Tom Brady and Super Drew

Saturday’s edition of TWIMFbH jets back to the conference opener of 1998 – a battle against Nick Saban and the Spartans.  Tom Brady took all the snaps for the Wolverines in this gem, played on September 26, 1998:

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.   See you out there.

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It’s hard to defend any title, especially a national title, but that’s what Michigan and Lloyd Carr set out to do in 1998. Gone was Heisman winner Charles Woodson, but the team returned enough talent to earn a top 5 preseason ranking.

But things didn’t go as planned, and the year started 0-2 with losses at Notre Dame and at home against Syracuse. The Wolverines took the first step toward righting the ship by crushing our friends from Ypsilanti 59-20 to conclude the preseason.

On September 26 1998 the Wolverines opened the big ten slate with a huge one against rival Michigan State and head coach Nick Saban.

One of the big questions of the year was at quarterback, where junior Tom Brady was fighting for playing time in practice with freshman phenom Drew Henson. The jury was still out in the media and with the fans on who should lead the team. Henson had the hype and remarkable raw athleticism. Brady seemed to be a safe but the positively unexciting choice. That season one journalist described #10 this way: QUOTE “Brady still gets rattled, throws into coverage when he shouldn’t and is turtle slow, but seems to be maturing nicely as a leader.

Coach Carr decided to give the properly inflated ball to Brady and he never left the game.

Early on it looked like it could be the Spartan’s day – as a Plaxico Burress TD catch put the Green up 10-3, but that was nullified when Anthony Thomas dashed 69 yards to the hous to even things at 10.

Midway through the second Brady found Tai Streets for a 5 yard strike but our pesky friends from East Lansing wouldn’t go lightly, and they tallied a Bill Burke touchdown late in the second to make it Michigan 20, Spartans 17 at half.

Fans didn’t know at the time but that’s all Carr and Brady needed. The defense, led by Sam Sword’s 11 solo tackles and 4 assists, sacked the Spartans 6 times and pitched a shutout in the second half. The A Train pounded away on the ground, and Brady short touchdown run capped off the scoring in the 29-17 victory.

For more, check out and For the Keybank Countdown to Kickoff, this is Greg Dooley.


OFFENSIVE CHAMPION – When I saw Ty Isaac take it to the house for 76 yards, he looked like the A-Train Version 2.0. Anthony Thomas more or less rumbled or trucked when he carried the rock back in the day. Isaac, while sharing the same number, appears to glide or “motor” effortlessly when he gets in the open field. I’m good with that! I’ll take 76-yard touchdown runs any day no matter how easy #32 makes it look.

DEFENSIVE CHAMPION – Channing Stribling’s interception on UNLV’s first drive set the tone for the Michigan Defense. If the opponent wants to take the football to start the game, Durkin’s D has to let them know that they will not be able to move the ball and that’s what #8 did. The INT was emotionally charging for Michigan and emotionally deflating for UNLV. 

SPECIAL TEAMS – Blake O’Neill did it again! Not one, but TWO punts downed inside the opponent’s own 20-yard line. When your defense is playing like Michigan’s was today, and your punter makes the opposition go more than 80 yards for a score, that is a great combination and a recipe for success. Baxter’s effect on special teams is already evident. What’s next – a blocked punt? I think so!!!

– – – –

Here’s Sap’s virtual helmet updated with the three additional stickers he’s awarded to date:

Dr. Sap Decals - 2015 UNLV Decals dealt out in previous weeks:


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1970 Michigan Football

When Bo (Bo Who?) Schembechler arrived in 1969 fans were certainly unsure of what they had.  But it didn’t take Bo long to win over the hearts of the maize and blue faithful, the clincher of course being the stunning 24 to 12 victory over Woody Hayes and his dominant 1969 squad to claim the Big Ten Title and a trip to Pasadena.

But was the debut season and the win over the Buckeyes a fluke?  It was on this day in Michigan Football History, 45 years ago Saturday that Schembechler launched into his 2nd year at the helm.  The Arizona Wildcats came to town for an early season Big 10 vs. Pac 10 clash:

You can listen to all 6 years of This Week In Michigan Football History here.  And don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA 1050AM starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.   See you out there.


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When Bo Schembechler arrived in 1969 fans were certainly unsure of what they had. But it didn’t take Bo long to win over the hearts of the maize and blue faithful, the clincher of course being the stunning 24 to 12 victory over Woody Hayes and his dominant 1969 squad to claim the Big Ten Title and a trip to Pasadena.

The nation was quickly sold on Bo as well, and he took home several coach of the Year honors in his rookie campaign.

With a dream debut season in the rearview mirror, It was on this day in 1970 that Bo launched into his second season at the helm. Bo’s squad returned stacked, including would-be All Americans tackle Dan Dierdorf, guard Henry Hill and linebacker Marty Huff, along with quarterback Don Moorhead , Billy Taylor and Reggie McKenzie.

Immediately the expectations, and the stakes, were raised. The Blue came in ranked #8 in the land and on September 19, 1970 they faced the Arizona wildcats in front of over 80 thousand Meechigan faithful.

Those on hand were treated to beautiful day and a bit of classic Bo football. Michigan put up 10 points in the first, highlighted by a 29 yard TD toss from Moorhead to Touchdown Billy Taylor. Back Lance Scheffler added a 6 yard run in the fourth and Michigan kept the Cats out of the endzone in the 20-9 victory.

Bo’s men cruised through the rest of the 1970 season, going undefeated and #4 in the land before falling short in the 2nd edition of the 10 year war.

The dominance would continue throughout the decade, where Bo’s Michigan teams played 109 regular season games – won 96, tied 3, lost just 10 from the period of 1970-1979 – and Schembechler quickly re-established the dominance of Michigan football that just as Yost and Crisler had done decades before him.

Huh?  On eBay right now, a placemat and a menu from Bo’s Steakhouse.  It was apparently located somewhere on Boardwalk where the Seoul Garden restaurant resides today.  Did this actually exist at some point? 

Sadly the menu contains very few Bo-era menu tie-ins.  I was hoping for the something along the lines of the Hammerstein Half-Pounder, the Bergeron Burger (includes thickcut John U. bacon), AC Iced Tea, Touchdown Billy Taylor Tator Tots, Jumbo Elliott Shrimp, Bubba Paris Potstickers, Erik Campbell Soup De Jour, etc.


Bo's Steakhouse Placemat

Menu Cover 


Bid on these beauties here, and someone hit me up if you know the history of this place.


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