For Saturday’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History we go head back to 1949 when U-M was rolling with back-to-back national championships riding a 23 game winning streak that dated back to 1946. Our friends from East Lansing were the opponent but their fans were up to NO GOOD:
As always, this segment will appear all season on 1050AM WTKA and 1330AM WTRX epic KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff prior to each game. You can hear it live inside the Go Labatt Blue Light Victors Lounge starting at 11:30am Saturday. Go Blue!
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script after the jump:
This week we go back to 1949, as coach Bennie Oosterbaan and the Wolverines entered the season as the defending back-to-back national champions. Michigan hoped to continue its remarkable 23 game winning streak that dated back to 1946.
The season kicked off against Spartans of Michigan State College, in this game played 67 years ago today at the Big House.
The more things change the more they stay the same, and wouldn’t you know it, our farming friends from East Lansing had more on their minds than just football.
Before the game Spartan fans invaded Ann Arbor with the hope of executing a variety of pranks, or crimes, depending on your perspective. One group snuck into the stadium painted the initials “MSC” in six-foot block letters at midfield and even defaced the press box windows.
Another group carefully created a structure meant to close off the iconic Engineering Arch on campus. A wooden frame and 60 cement blocks were built and when pieced together, would completely seal off the Arch.
They actually rehearsed the prank and apparently they could complete the stunt within seven minutes.
Shockingly, they clearly missed one key aspect of the plan—and that’s the thought that a group of cars containing piles of out-of-town students, alongside giant pieces of a wooden frame and dozens of cement blocks just might raise the suspicion of the local authorities.
Sure enough, the plans of the 16 Spartan rapscallions were foiled before they started. According to the AP, “Blocks, frames and boys were packed and sent home.”
When they got around to the play the game, over 97,000 fans packed the Big House to watch Oosterbaan and crew battle the Spartans. Remnants of the famed ‘Mad Magicians’ were still in place, as seven different Wolverines attempted passes on this day. All-Conference halfback Chuck Ortman had the most success and connected with Irv Wisniewski for a touchdown. Michigan sealed the 7-3 win when they foiled another Spartan plot – namely their attempt to score on four passes from the U of M 15 yard line in the final minutes of the game.
While Michigan’s undefeated streak was snapped by Army in week 3, the Wolverines, led by All-American Alvin “Moose” Wistert, reclaimed their league title and finished #7 in the final AP poll.