September 23, 2017 Game Day – Michigan at Purdue

1890 Michigan Football Team | bigbluefootballhistory.com
The 1890 Michigan Football team led by Captain WIlliam McCauley was the first team to play Purdue. Michigan won the game by a score of 34-6. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Today’s game between Michigan and Purdue marks the fifty-ninth meeting of these two foes. It is the Big Ten season opener for both teams. Jim Harbaugh’s young Wolverines are off to a perfect start with a record of 3 wins and 0 losses. However, that doesn’t mean that Michigan has played perfectly in every game. The Maize and Blue footballers are a work in progress, but have shown encouraging signs in every game. Of course, there have been plenty of discouraging moments in every game so far for the Wolverines. The Purdue Boilermakers are off to an excellent start (2-1) and have been an exciting team to watch. Today’s game will be a BIG TEST for both teams.

Before I get into my predictions about Saturday’s game, let’s take a closer look at what has happened so far when Michigan plays on September 23rd. Then, we will shift our attention to the long history of Michigan and Purdue.

Calendar History: So far, The University of Michigan has played a total of seven games on the 23rd day of September. The results have been outstanding since the Wolverines have a perfect record of 7 wins and 0 losses on this day. Here is quick look at what has transpired on this day in Michigan Football history:

  • September 23, 1944. Michigan’s first game on this date took place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Wolverines defeated Marquette 14-0 in the first night game that the Maize and Blue footballers ever played.
  • September 23, 2000. Michigan played the first conference game on this date and defeated Illinois by a score of 35-31. Interestingly, this game was also played at night in Champaign, Illinois.
  • September 23, 2006. This was the last time the Wolverines played on this day. It was another Big Ten game against Wisconsin and Michigan defeated the Badgers in Ann Arbor by a score of 27-13.

September 23rd has definitely been a good day for Wolverine football. Michigan owns two conference wins on this day and five non-conference victories. Let’s hope that trend continues today.

Series History: Today’s opponent, the Purdue Boilermakers are making their fifty-ninth appearance on a Michigan Schedule. The Wolverines own a decided advantage with an overall record of 44 wins, 14 losses and 0 ties. Michigan has a 28-5 record in Ann Arbor and a record of 16 wins and 9 losses in Lafayette, Indiana. Here is a closer look at some of the milestone games in the history of this series:

  • The first game between Purdue and Michigan was played way, way back on November 1, 1890. The Wolverines defeated the Boilermakers in Ann Arbor by a score of 34-6.
  • Game number two marked Michigan’s first road game against Purdue and it wasn’t a good result. Purdue won the game by a score of 0-24. This still is the worst defeat that the Wolverines have suffered at the hands of the Boilermakers.
  • The Wolverines earned their first road win against Purdue in 1893 with a convincing 46-8 victory.
  • Michigan’s biggest series win at Purdue came in 1948 when Bennie Oosterbaan’s future National Champions defeated the Boilermakers 40-0.
  • The last time these teams met in Lafayette was in 2012. The Wolverines defeated the Boilermakers by a score of 44-13.
  • The last time the Wolverines lost at Purdue was in 2008 (42-48).

Although they started playing each other in 1890 these two teams have not played a lot of games against each other. Michigan has definitely been the better team, especially in Ann Arbor. However, Purdue has more than lived up to their “Spoilermakers” nickname on more than one occasion against Michigan. Purdue doesn’t win against Michigan very often, but when they do it is usually painful! New coach Jeff Brohm’s version of Boilermaker Football will present some interesting challenges for the Wolverines.

Best Wolverine Performances on September 23rd: Here are some of the best Wolverine performances on this date in Michigan Football History:

  • 1944 – Bob Nussbaumer ran for 117 yards on 17 carries against Marquette.
  • 1967 – Tom Stincic recovered 2 fumbles in Michigan’s narrow 10-7 win against Duke
  • 1972 – Ed Shuttlesworth ran 24 times for 115 yards at UCLA. (UM won 26-9)
  • 1989 – Kicker Bob Bergeron nailed 4 field goals to help defeat UCLA 24-23 in California.
  • 2000 – # 10 Michigan travels to Champaign to defeat #19 Illinois. Anthony Thomas rambles for 228 yards on 35 carries. David Terrell hauls in 6 passes for 116 yards.
  • 2006 – Mario Manningham grabs 7 passes for 113 yards in a 27-13 win over Wisconsin.
Denard Robinson vs Purdue in 2012 | bigbluefootballhistory.com

Denard Robinson rushed for 235 yards the last time Michigan played and won at Purdue in 2012. Photo courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library at The University of Michigan.

Best Wolverine Performances and “Firsts” Against Purdue: Here is a closer look at some of the best Wolverine performances on the road against the Boilermakers:

  • 1971 – Kicker Dana Coin nails a 25 yard game winner to help Michigan win a close one 20-17.
  • 1976 – Calvin O’Neal became the first, and only, Michigan defender to make 24 tackles in a single game on November 6, 1976. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as unranked Purdue knocked off #1 Michigan 14-16. Ugh! That one really hurt!
  • 1977 – Dominic Tedesco returned a “pick-six” for 30 yards in a 40-7 Wolverine win.
  • 1984 – Chris Zurbrugg threw four touchdown passes in another losing effort (29-31) in Lafayette.
  • 1994 – Ty Wheatley (20 rushes for 148 yards) and Tim Biakabutuka (12 rushes for 100 yards) become the only Michigan rushing duo to accomplish this feat in Lafayette, Indiana. Wolverines win Big 45-23.
  • 2000 – Drew Henson completes 26 of 35 passes for 256 yards in another togh loss at Purdue. Boilers win 31-32.
  • 2002 – John Navarre throws for the most yardage ever by a Michigan quarterback at Purdue He connects on 17 of 35 passes for 271 yards. More importantly, Michigan wins 23-21!
  • 2012 – Denard Robinson runs over, around and through the Boilermakers for 235 yards on 24 carries. Michigan wins BIG 44-13.
  • 2012 – Ramon Taylor records Michigan’s longest “pick-six” at Purdue when he returns an interception for a 63-yard touchdown in Michigan’s BIG win.

So, some of Michigan’s best players have stepped up with big days and big plays in Lafayette, Indiana. Who will make the BIG plays for Michigan today?

Today. Jeff Brohm has Purdue fans super-excited about their football team. They are fun to watch if you like offense. Their defense seems to be a little behind the offense, but are still capable. There is no doubt that Purdue will open up the playbook and throw everything they have at the fifth-ranked Michigan defense. There will be some interesting matchups when Purdue has the ball. Michigan’s offense needs to find some consistency and finish some red-zone efforts with touchdowns instead of field goals. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate the amazing season that Quinn Nordin is having, but the offense needs to find more ways to score six points, instead of settling for three! Once again, Michigan has the talent on offense to dominate Purdue’s defense. We will see how it all goes down!

My Prediction:

I think that the first twenty-five games in Lafayette, Indiana provide us with all we need to know about the result of today’s game. Again, Michigan has a record of 16 wins and 9 defeats at Purdue. The Wolverines have scored 657 points and allowed 426 points in those games. Hence, the average score of a Michigan at Purdue game is 26.28 to 17.04. I will round things off and predict that Michigan’s wins today by a score of 26-17. 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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