Game Day – October 22, 2016 Homecoming Day Michigan vs Illinois

Michigan Homecoming Day | bigbluefootballhistory.com
The 1926 Michigan football team was the first to play Illinois in a Homecoming gme. This was Fielding Yost’s last team. The Wolverines won the tenth conference title for their beloved coach. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Calendar History: Michigan has played a total of sixteen games on the twenty-second day of October and the results have usually been very good. The Wolverines own a record of 12 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie on this date in Michigan football history. They hold a big advantage in non-conference play as they have won three games, tied one and lost none. Their conference record on October 22nd is excellent. Michigan has won nine of twelve games against Big Ten teams. Once again, history is on Michigan’s side on the twenty-second day of October. There is a seventy-eight percent (.781) that the Wolverines will win again on October 22, 2016!

Here is a little more history about Michigan football on this date.

  • October 22, 1892. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Wolverines defeated DePauw College by a score of 18-0.
  • October 22, 1904. The biggest win in Michigan football history took place against West Virginia. Fielding Yost’s Point-a -Minute team crushed his alma mater. Michigan won by a score of 130-0!
  • October 22, 1921. Michigan’s first loss on this date took place in Ann Arbor. The Buckeyes beat Michigan on Homecoming Day by a score of 14-0.
  • October 22, 1927. The official “Dedication Game” for new Michigan Stadium was played on this date. The Wolverines shut out the Buckeyes that day by a score of 21-0!
  • October 22, 1932. Michigan’s first game against Illinois on this date went to the Wolverines. Final score: Michigan 32 Illinois 0.
  • October 22, 1994. The last time that Michigan and Illinois played on this date. Michigan defeated Illinois by the score of 19-14 in Champaign. (Note-Michigan holds a record of 2 wins and 0 losses on October 22nd against Illinois.)
  • October 22, 2005. The last game that Michigan played on this date was played at Iowa. Michigan defeated the Hawkeyes by a score of 23-20 in overtime.

Series History: Today’s opponent, the Fighting Illini will be making their ninety-fifth appearance on a Michigan Schedule. The Wolverines hold a big advantage over the Illini. Their record so far is 69 wins, 23 losses and 2 ties. That works out to a winning percentage of almost seventy-five percent (.745). The only Big Ten team that Michigan has beaten more than Illinois is Minnesota. The Wolverines own 73 wins over the Gophers in 101 games.

The first game between Michigan and Illinois took place at Detroit, Michigan on November 12, 1898. Michigan was on their way to their first Western Conference title. Illinois played well, but not well enough. Final Score: Michigan 12 Illinois 5.

The last game between these two Big Ten teams was a Homecoming affair on October 13, 2012. It was a blowout with the Wolverines winning by a score of 45-0.

History is definitely on Michigan’s side in this series, especially when the game is played in Ann Arbor. I like the fact that Big Blue has won just under seventy-five percent (.744) of their home games against Illinois.

In addition to sixty-nine wins over the Illini, Michigan teams and players have had “milestone moments” and “record setting performances” against the Orange and Blue.

Here are some milestones and record setting Wolverine performances against Illinois:

  • November 3, 1928. Joseph “Dynamite Joe” Gembis kicked the first field goal in Michigan Stadium history and it was a winner. Final Score: Michigan 3 Illinois 0.
  • October 27, 1984. Michigan defeats Illinois (26-18) for win number 250 in Michigan Stadium.
  • November 7, 1981. Ali-Haji Sheikh kicks ten points-after-touchdown in a 70-21 win.
  • November 10, 1990. J.D. Carlson kicks five field goals in a 22-17 Michigan win to tie all-time record for field goals in one game.

Listed below are some of the best Wolverine performances against Illinois:

  • November 8, 1969. Bruce Elliott records the longest pick-six (40-yards) in a 57-0 Michigan win.
  • November 8, 1969. Garvie Craw rushes for four touchdowns.
  • October 21, 1972. Gil Chapman records the longest kickoff return (72-yards) in a 31-7 win.
  • November 14, 1992. Steve Morrison records 23 tackles −second best ever in UM football history. (22-22 tie)
  • October 23, 1999. Tom Brady completes 23 of 38 passes for 307 yards in a 35-29 loss.
  • September 28, 2002. John Navarre throws for four touchdown passes in a 45-28 win.
  • October 18, 2003. Steve Breaston records the longest punt return (74-yards) in a 56-14 win.
  • October 16, 2004. Mike Hart sets a record for carries and rushing yards (40/234) in a 30-19 win.
  • November 6, 2010. Roy Roundtree catches 9 passes for 246 yards in Michigan’s triple overtime win 67-65.

Some of the greatest plays and milestones in Michigan football history have occurred against the Illinois. Let’s hope that trend continues today.

Homecoming. Today’s game marks the sixteenth time that Illinois has been a Michigan Homecoming opponent. The Wolverines have a record of 10 wins and 5 losses in the first fifteen games. The first time that Michigan played Illinois on Homecoming was on October 23, 1926. Michigan won the game by a score of 13-0. This game would be Fielding H. Yost’s last Homecoming Game and it would be the last Homecoming Game at Ferry Field.

Michigan Homecoming 1926 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Michigan’s first Homecoming game against Illinois took place on October 23, 1926. Michigan won by a score of 13-0. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library.

Historically, Michigan has played very well on Homecoming Day. The Wolverines have posted a record of 88 wins and only 27 losses on this special Maize and Blue day. This is a winning rate of almost seventy-seven percent (.765). (Note-Exhibition record of 1-1-2 is not included in these numbers.)

Today. The football programs at Michigan and Illinois are in very different places today. Illinois is struggling in year one of the Lovie Smith Era. The Illini come in with a record of 2 wins and 4 losses. They have only won a single game in three Big Ten contests so far. Michigan’s record is perfect (6-0). The Wolverines are ranked third and fourth in the country. Michigan is absolutely better than Illinois in all three phases of today’s game which is why they are a thirty-six-point favorite to win. This game could get ugly early for Illinois. Look for a BIG Michigan win today! This will be the 271st consecutive game with a crowd in excess of 100,000 at Michigan Stadium. The Homecoming masses will leave with a big smile on their faces. 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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