For Saturday’s edition of This Week in Michigan Football History we take a couple trips, first back to 1994 when we retired the #48 jersey of President Gerald Ford, then down the dial to 1955 as the Wolverines took on Army in the premier match-up in the college football world.

This provided a great opportunity to remember the great Ron Kramer.  On the gridiron the Michigan legend played offensive & defensive end, running back, quarterback, kicker, and receiver– sometimes all within the same game.  Off the gridiron, Kramer was a 9-time letterman and set Michigan’s all-time scoring record on the hoops squad and he excelled in the high jump for the track team.  Here’s more:

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!

You can listen to all of This Week in Michigan Football History clips here.

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script after the jump:

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27. November 2015 · Comments Off on Harmon Wins the Heisman (1940) | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

harmon-2_200 Did you know it was 75 years ago Saturday that it was announced Tom Harmon had won the Heisman Trophy?  Indeed, back then they voted, announced the winner and held a ceremony to honor the recipient at a later date.   So Saturday’s edition of #TWIMFbH talks a little about Old 98 and his finer moments on the gridiron (and off):

Yes, in the radio clip I said Harmon “gave birth”.  Ira busted my chops after that and wouldn’t let me edit it (to say “sired” or “fathered” which is probably a little more accurate, although I wouldn’t be against Harmon in life).

Readers know the 1940 Cal game is one of my favorites; especially the drunk fan incident.  More here and my tribute:



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 at 8am tomorrow, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge across from the Stadium on Main Street.   See you out there.

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13. November 2015 · Comments Off on Natural Rivalry Resumed (1942) | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,

1942 Notre Dame Michigan

This week we mark Saturday’s anniversary of the resumption of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry in 1942, when your beloved #6 ranked Wolverines traveled to South Bend and crushed on the #4 Irish.  But to understand the significance of that day, we first take a trip back to November 1910 to understand why the rivalry was originally cancelled.  Go Blue, Beat Irish!

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 Saturday starting at 11:30am.

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Michigan Jug 1920s

Wooo!  If you want your Jug History dished out slowly over 1,000s of words, read every post in Little Brown Jug Lore here.

If that’s not your speed, here’s the history of the jug CRAMMED into a 3:45 audio clip:

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 tomorrow starting at 11:30am.


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16. October 2015 · Comments Off on Yost Returns to Bust the Galloping Ghost 1925 | This Week in Michigan Football History · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , ,


Lesson:  Don’t mess with Michigan, its football team, or in particular, Fielding Yost or Benny Friedman.  You’ll pay.

Just the great Red Grange about what happened in 1925…or better yet listen to Saturday’s BEAT STATE edition of This Week in Michigan Football History:

More on that 1925 game against Red Grange here.  Or better yet, check out Craig Ross’ brilliant piece on the 1925 season mgoblog’s Hail to the Victors 2015!

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 tomorrow starting at 11:30am.


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1925 was a special year in Wolverine football lore as it featured the return, after taking a season off, of Fielding Yost as head coach. His timing couldn’t be better and he led his beloved Meeechigan with one of the finest, arguably THE best, squads in his brilliant tenure in Ann Arbor.

The 1925 season opened with 39-0 and 63-0 drubbings of Michigan State and Indiana leading to this day in Michigan Football History – a trip to Madison Wisconsin to face the Badgers 90 years ago today. The Badgers were headed by George Little, a former Yost assistant, who coincidently served as the Wolverine head coach in 1924.

Wolverine quarterback Benny Friedman wasn’t a fan of coach Little – and he held a bit of a grudge because he felt he was unfairly sidelined when Little was in charge. But Yost put Friedman in as signal caller and the junior didn’t take long to stun the 44 thousand at Camp Randall – and perhaps exact some revenge on this old coach.

On the first play of the game he tossed a 62 yard touchdown pass. Shortly thereafter he took a Badger kickoff 85 yards to the house. Late in the game he connected with sophomore Bennie Oosterbaan to cap off the 21-0 drubbing.

The following week, October 24, 1925, the eyes of the nation turned Michigan’s trip to Champaign, Illinois to watch Yost square off against the Illini and the great Red Grange. As a junior in 1924, Grange crushed the George Little-coached Wolverines for the dedication of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium. In an iconic performance in college football history Grange tallied 6 touchdowns in that game, including four in the first 12 minutes on runs of 95, 67, 56 and 44 yards.

People talk about that game today, but they really don’t talk about what happened when Yost took back the reins and returned to Champaign in 1925.

For 12 months, Yost planned and schemed on how to stop Illinois’ Grange. He went with a seven-man front and a diamond-shaped secondary. Illini coach Bob Zuppke tried to counter the wily Yost by shifting Grange from halfback to quarterback. Twenty-five times the Galloping Ghost Iceman carried the ball, and 25 times he was sent to the turf by bone-crushing hits.

The only score of the game came just before the first half ended when Friedman converted a 25-yard field goal. Michigan prevailed 3 to nothing and the Ghost legend was taken down a peg. Michigan finished the year 7 and 1, claimed the Western Conference and outscored opponents 227-3.

02. October 2015 · Comments Off on TWIMFbH: A Booze Raid, a Double Header and Battling The Depression (1931) · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , ,


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.

25. September 2015 · Comments Off on TWIMFbH: “Turtle Slow” Tom Brady takes on Nick Saban’s Spartans (1998) · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

11. September 2015 · Comments Off on TWIMFbH – Winning the September Heisman (2009) · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , ,



Admit it.  Perhaps not to the extent of @mgojen, but you have a few fond memories of the RichRod era.  You squealed like a little girl when this happened back in 2009:


It was indeed a fantastic moment in an otherwise rough stretch.  All this happened six years ago this Saturday so why not?  It’s the subject of This Week in Michigan Football History:

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.



While Rich Rodriguez’s tenure in Ann Arbor was widely a struggle, it certainly wasn’t without its moments. One of those came on this day 6 years ago, and Charlie Weis and his #18 ranked Fighting Irish visited the Big House for what would prove to be another epic chapter of the great rivalry between our storied programs.

The Wolverines got the upper hand early, as over 110,000 fans saw the Blue jump to a 14-3 lead thanks to a Brandon Minor run and at the end of the first quarter and a blazing 94-yard kickoff return by Daryl Stonem.

But the second quartered was owned by the Irish as quarterback Jimmy Clausen tossed a pair of touchdown strikes to receivers Golden Tate and Michael Floyd. Weis waddled into the locker room up 20-17 and certainly felt pretty good.

coach weis

But there was fight left in the the Wolverines and they didn’t back down. After freshman qb Tate Forcier found Kevin Koger for a short touchdown pass in the third, the stage was set for an epic final stanza.

Early in the fourth Forcier had Michigan in Irish territory when we he took the pigskin on a classic RichRod quarterback zone read, juked one defender out of his jock and went 31 years untouched into the South End Zone – saluting the fans on his way as he crossed the end zone.

But Notre Dame countered with a pair of touchdowns and with just a couple minutes to go the Wolverines trailed 34-31. From there Forcier when back to work and moved the Blue down the field, barely escaping disaster along the way and burning quickly through the remaining timeouts.

Finally – with just 11 ticks left – Tate took the snap, shuffled back and found Greg Mathews in the end zone right in front of the Irish band. Meeechigan prevailed 38-34 and another brilliant chapter of the rivalry was written.

For more, check out and

03. September 2015 · Comments Off on TWIMFbH: Let’s Finally Play (Most of) A Football Game. Fergodsakes. (2011) · Categories: 2015 · Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Brady out of the Tunnel Brady trots out of the tunnel for the first time (& leaves headset in locker room by mistake)

To kickoff the sixth season of This Week in Michigan Football History we dip back to 2011, to the official start of the last glorious period of redemption for Michigan football.   Yes, our friends from Kalamazoo visited the Big House for a bizarre and historic day, when an otherwise obscure figure in Wolverine history made history as did Mother Nature.  Dig it:

Don’t forget to catch the whole KeyBank Countdown to Kickoff on WTKA starting 4 hours before each game, and of course live in the Bud Light Victors Lounge when they lace them up in Ann Arbor.

For those so inclined, here’s a little more from my 2011 post on the history of games ending early:

It’s certainly not the first Michigan football game to end before the planned allotted time.   Most notably two of the most famous games in college football history ended early:

The 1902 Rose Bowl (the first bowl game ever played) ended with plenty of time on the clock because Yost, Heston and crew were putting a colossal smack down on Stanford.  From the Bentley:

With eight minutes remaining in the game, Stanford captain Ralph Fisher approached the Wolverine bench and offered to concede; Michigan consented.

While this game yielded the Little Brown Jug, the great 1903 Minnesota-Michigan battle between the Western powerhouses also ended early.  The common story is that after the Gophers scored a late TD to tie the game, the Minnesota fans stormed the field and the coaches agreed to call the game. (I’ve heard other claims that approaching weather was a factor in the decision, but haven’t seen much evidence to back that up).  The Sunday November 1, 1903 Minneapolis Tribune says the game ended with “but a few seconds left to play.”  The Detroit Free Press from that Sunday said two minutes remained, headline:

Freep Nov 1 1903Detroit Free Press  November 1, 1903

As you can imagine they were a little more liberal with the clock in those days, and there were many times when the teams agreed to end the game, mostly due to the Yost beat down that was going on.

The great John Kryk of Natural Enemies emailed me with some brilliant stuff, explaining this further:

It not only happened often during Point-A-Minute years (and before) as a result of Yost maulings, but in those days the full 70 minutes (two 35-minute halves) were ONLY played when the opponent was of sufficient strength or reputation.

For instance in 1901 Michigan played 10 regular-season games. Only two (Chicago and Iowa) had halves of 35-35. This was by mutual agreement.  Games not only could, but usually were, shortened by mutual agreement.  Sometimes it was even put into the contract a year before.   For instance, the halves were only 20 minutes long in Yost’s first game vs Albion.   Against Pop Warner’s Carlisle team they were 27.5 and 27.5 — obviously a compromise between 25 and 30.

This practice continued at least until the end of the decade. By the early 1910s, with the change to four downs, 100-yard fields and 60-minute, four-quarter games, the practice of pre-determined or ad-hoc shortening was eliminated.

I’m sure there have been other anomalies over the years.  Only one I know of, because of my research focus, is the 1943 Michigan Notre Dame game. The M stadium scoreboard clock malfunctioned, and players and coaches couldn’t believe how long the 3rd quarter was going.   It became evident that it had stopped for a long time. Crisler, Leahy and the officials agreed that they’d probably played (I think it was something like) a 23-minute third quarter, so by mutual agreement they played only a seven-minute fourth quarter.

So in that way, yesterday’s was the shortest 3rd quarter in modern times, and that ‘43 ND game was the longest.

That is raw historical horsepower, people.  [Get yourself some Natural Enemies if you don’t have it.]


To open the 6th year of This Week in Michigan Football history, we first salute today’s debut of Coach Jim Harbaugh as the leader of your beloved Wolverines and certainly, positively, without a doubt- the dawn of a new Glorious era for the maize and blue.

Many fans had a similar, perhaps less justified, feeling on this day in 2011, as September 3 of that year marked a different head coaching debut as former Michigan assistant Brady Hoke took over the western sideline for the first time.

His fiery introductory press conference speech back in January won fans over and united much of the fractured fan base. After 3 choppy years with Rich Rodriquez at the helm it the Meechigan faithful were wounded. But now it was time to see what Hoke could do on the field.

The opponent on this day five years ago was Western Michigan, and the day proved historic for a couple of reasons – one on the field and one off the field.

Michigan got off to a slow start and trailed 7-0 in the first quarter but rallied with 3 TDs in the second thanks to 2 Fitz Toussaint runs and a fantastic 94-yard interception return by Brandon Herron.

Later, after a jarring hit from Jordan Kovacs relieved a Broncos of the ball, Herron grabbed the pigskin and took it 34 yards for a another score. In doing so he became the first Wolverine since 1940 Heisman winner, Old 98 Tom Harmon, to take a pair of returns to the house.

The other story on the day was Mother Nature. Storms in the area forced the game to be suspended early in the second half. The game restarted 30 then stopped again after a lightning strike with a minute and a half left in the third. After a long suspension the teams agreed to call it a day, and declared Michigan the 34-10 victor.

This was the first Michigan game in recent history to end early – but despite several news reports saying otherwise, it was certainly not the first time all-time. The first Rose Bowl in 1902 ended with eight minutes to go, after Fielding Yost’s undefeated squad was up 49-0 on Stanford when the Cardinal Captain begged Hurry Up to call off the dogs.

Just a couple of years later on Halloween in 1903, the Minnesota-Michigan game in Minneapolis ended early when Gopher fans stormed the field after a late game tying score. Yost, Willie Heston and the rest of the Wolverines left town with a couple minutes left on the clock, leaving behind certain a 5 gallon stoneware crock we affectionately know today as the Little Brown Jug.


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This week we rolled back 17 years (wow, 17 years!) to November 8, 1997 for one of the most anticipated and hyped-up Saturday’s in recent history.  ESPN dubbed it Judgment Day, and the big winner of the whole exercise was your beloved Wolverines who crushed JoePa and the Nittany Lions 34-8:

While I didn’t get to it in the clip, that game featured one of the hardest hits that I’ve ever seen when U-M’s Daydrion Taylor smoked Penn State’s Bob Stephenson.  The collision ended the careers of each man.

You can catch all of the This Week in Michigan Football History clips here

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