For Saturday’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History takes us back to the special year of 1927 – the season the Big House was first open for business. Can you dig it? Yost could and did!
As always, this segment appears on 1050AM WTKA and 1330AM WTRX’s epic KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff prior to each game. During home games you can hear it live inside the Go Labatt Blue Light Victors Lounge starting 4 hours prior to kickoff. Go Blue!
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script after the jump:
1927 will always be a special year in Meeeeechigan football lore – as it was during that season that Michigan Stadium opened for business. And it was on this day 89 years ago that the Big House was officially dedicated. But did you know it almost never happened?
While Fielding Yost’s million dollar structure was magnificent – there was actually some question whether the Big House would be ready for the 1927 season as planned. In 1926 excavators on the construction site unearthed massive flowing spring. A million gallons a day were pouring into the site putting the project on the brink of disaster.
Eventually the crews figured out how to divert the water and complete the project. And while it’s a popular tale in Wolverine lore, there is little evidence that a crane or a steam shovel is buried beneath the Big House gridiron.
On October 1, 1927 Ohio Wesleyan played the first game in Michigan Stadium and this was no random act of scheduling. Fielding Yost started his coaching career at Wesleyan 30 years earlier and believe it or not, in 1897 Yost actually coached and suited up and played against Michigan in a game that ended in a scoreless tie.
The Big House was officially dedicated on this day in Meechigan football history – October 22nd 1927 – in a game against Ohio State. Five years earlier Michigan was the guest when our friends from Columbus dedicated their beloved Ohio Stadium – but Yost tainted the Buckeye’s special day by delivering a 19-0 nothing shutout.
To prepare for the Big House dedication, Yost conducted a quick “mini-renovation.” He had the old bleachers from Ferry Field propped up around the bowl to add another 10,000 seats.
Yost invited two guests that did not need a seat – namely “Bennie” and “Biff” – a pair of live wolverines! It seemed like a good idea – but the beasts were so vicious it was too hard to keep them on campus – so they were sent to the Detroit zoo.
The Buckeyes put up a good fight, but over 84,000 fans watched Michigan roll to a 21-0 victory thanks to a 3 touchdown performance from halfback Louis Gilbert. The Big House was open for business, and I’m happy to report BUSINESS IS BOOMING. Go Blue!