Game Day – Michigan vs Florida September 2, 2017

1995 Michigan Football team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
Michigan’s 1995 Football Team played the first ever game on September 2nd in 1995. Michigan defeated Illinois by a score of 38-14. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Game Day – Michigan vs Florida, September 2, 2017.  The 138th season in Michigan Football History starts now with this Game Day preview. Game Days are always special days for Wolverine fans and today is no different. Michigan starts another season with the usual pressure of great expectations surrounding Jim Harbaugh and his talented Wolverines. If you want all the pre-game hype information there are many fine websites that you can go to for that information. However, at Big Blue Football History, we will stick to the history of what has already happened on this day in Michigan football and how they have fared against today’s opponent  – the University of Florida.

Calendar History: The University of Michigan has played a total of three games on the second day of September. So far, the results have superb since they have won every game! Here is the very short history about Michigan Football on September 2nd.

  • September 2, 1995. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Champaign, Illinois. The Wolverines defeated the Fighting Illini by a score of 38-14.
  • September 2, 2000. Michigan’s first September 2nd game in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines played very rude hosts to the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Final score: UM 42 and BGSU 7.
  • September 2, 2006. Michigan’s last win on this date also took place in Ann Arbor. Michigan defeated Vanderbilt (27-7) for the tenth time in series history.

Interestingly, Lloyd Carr is the only Michigan coach to lead a team on this date so far. Of course, that will change as Jim Harbaugh takes his team to Dallas to wrestle with those Florida Gators. Hopefully, Jim Harbaugh will keep the September 2nd “mojo” going!

John Navarre Michigan Football 2002 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

John Navarre #7 led Michigan to their first victory in the first ever game against Florida in January 2003. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Series History: Today’s opponent, the Florida Gators will be making their fourth appearance on a Michigan Schedule. Once again, the Wolverines are perfect against this SEC foe. Michigan’s record against the Gators currently stands at 3 wins and 0 losses. Hopefully, we will see a fourth win attached to that win column today.

The first game between Michigan and Florida took place on January 1, 2003 at the Outback Bow. Lloyd Carr’s Wolverines won by a score of 38-30.

Game number two was also played on January 1st. This game was played at the 2008 Capital One Bowl. The Wolverines gave Lloyd Carr his final victory by defeating the Gators 41-35. You may remember that Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow led the Gators that day. However, Chad Henne won the quarterback battle and the game! Go Blue!

The last game between Florida and Michigan took place on January 1, 2016. This time, Jim Harbaugh led the Wolverines to victory over the Gators. The game was supposed to be close, but Michigan dominated and won going away. Final Score: Michigan 41 and Florida 7.

So, history is definitely on Michigan’s side in this series. The average score of a Michigan vs Florida has been 40-24 in favor of the Wolverines. I think Michigan can score that many, but Florida will be lucky to get two scores today.

In addition to a perfect record against Florida, there are three “firsts” associated with this game.

  • Today’s game is the first time that Michigan has played Florida outside the Citrus State. So, there is no “home field” advantage for the Gators. (Of course, it really has not mattered since Michigan has beaten them three straight times in their home state.
  • Today is the first time that Michigan and Florida have ever met in a regular season game.
  • Finally, this is the first game of the season for both teams.

Best Wolverine Performances on September 2nd: Here are some of the best Wolverine performances on this date in Michigan Football history:

  • Anthony Thomas (23 rushes for 108 yards) and Chris Perry (10 rushes for 103) yards teamed up for the first, and only, 100-yard rushing “duo” performance against BGSU on this date in 2000.
  • Chad Henne became the first, and only, Wolverine to throw 4 touchdown passes on this date against Bowling Green in 2006.
  • David Harris recorded 4 Tackles for Loss for 25-yards against Vanderbilt in 2006.
  • Mike Hart rushed 31 times for 146-yards against Vanderbilt in 2006.

Best Wolverine Performances Against Florida: Listed below are some of the best Wolverine performances against the Florida Gators:

  • January 1, 2003 – John Navarre completes 21 of 36 passes for 319-yards.
  • January 1, 2003  – Braylon Edwards catches 4 passes for 110-yards.
  • January 1, 2003  – Chris Perry catches 6 passes for 108-yards and scores 4 touchdowns.
  • January 1, 2003  – Victor Hobson records 12 tackles including 2 TFLs and 1 interception!
  • January 1, 2008  – Chad Henne completes 25 of 39 passes for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns.
  • January 1, 2008  – Mike Hart rushes 32 times for 129-yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • January 1, 2008  – Adrian Arrington grabs 9 passes for 153-yards and 2 touchdowns.
  • January 1, 2016  – Jake Ruddock completes 20 of 30 passes for 278-yards.
  • January 1, 2016  – DeVeon Smith runs 25 times for 111-yards.
  • January 1, 2016  – Jehu Chesson catches 5 passes for 118-yards.
  • January 1, 2016  – Joel Bolden records 7 tackles to lead Michigan’s defense.

So, some of Michigan’s best players have stepped up with big days and big plays against Florida. Let’s hope that trend continues today.

Today.

The football programs at Michigan and Florida have both been very good for a very long time. Although this is only the first game of the year, it is a very BIG game for both teams. Florida is looking to win their 28th straight season opening game. However, they are really shorthanded with all the players lost to injury and suspension. Yes, SEC teams have tons of quality players, but you can only go so deep on your roster before inexperience and lack of skill start to show. Yes, Michigan is young, but many of their players have a lot of game experience. It is not like Michigan is starting over. The Wolverines also have an experienced quarterback who can lead the way to victory.

My Prediction:

Michigan defeats Florida by a score of 40-13 and wins game #936 in program history. Florida’s season opening winning streak ends at 27! Go Maize & Go Blue!

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher

Barry Gallagher is a self-proclaimed Michigan Football Archeologist. He spends a considerable amount of his time digging into the 138-year history of Wolverine Football. He is on a mission to share his findings with Maize and Blue football fans everywhere. He is the author of one book about Michigan Football titled "21-194-13 Michigan Football's Greatest Era". His second book titled, "The Legend of Bo Schembechler-How an Unknown Buckeye Became the Winningest Coach in Michigan Football History" was released on September 12, 2017. You can learn something about Michigan Football everyday by going to his website at: bigbluefootballhistory.com. You can also follow him on Social Media.
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