I was poking around the U-M Bentley Library tonight doing some research for the final segment of This Week in Michigan Football History for Saturday’s pregame show.   I went over to page #1 of Wolverine lore: 1879 & the first game ever played against Racine College in Chicago at White Stockings Park.   (No, the teams didn’t switch sides when they crossed midfield, hahar). 

The Bentley page for the 1879 team now includes a recap of the Racine game from the Michigan Chronicle, the student newspaper of the day.

So check this out.  Near the start of the first game ever played, before a point was officially tallied or a single line of history written, maize and blue backers had a major gripe with the referee over a call:


I love that the writer took the high road on the disputed kick during the game but insisted “a kick was made” in the recap piece, and added the parting shot, “he is as liable to be mistaken as anyone else.”  

It’s in your blood, Michigan fan—getting screwed for 131 years.


  1. Nice article about the first game every played by the UofM boys in 1879. I wish the article had mentioned that the 1st Touchdown in Michigan Football history was scored by a young gent named Irving K. Pond, who would go on to greatness as an Architect along with his brother. Hanging in my Michigan Den I have a beautiful autograph of the great Pond framed with the 1879 team photo and photo of Pond. After 40 years of UofM Football Autograph collecting, i can say my Pond autograph is the favorite (along with the Gustave Ferbert signature). I would gladly send a pic of the signed Pond item if you wish…Thanks for continuing to dig up Great Michgian Football History..

    • Greg from MVictors

      Dennis, I got into Pond's touchdown (and some differing view on that) here: http://mvictors.com/?p=7979

      The Chronicle story I link to in this new post: http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/images/1879/raci

      ..validates that the first time the ball crossed the end zone was earlier in the game as Pond claimed, but the funny thing – it didn't bother to say WHO scored first! And it isn't quite a dramatic as Pond described in my post linked above. The other funny thing – if Pond had the first touchdown he didn't "score", you only got points for the kick in those days as I understand it, which is probably why they had some much fuss over the missed kick. Interesting stuff.