This Wolverines game day in history: Nov. 23

Tasos Katopodis

Take a look back at how the Wolverines have fared on the 23rd day of November throughout their 134 year history.

Last week, I changed up the format for this article a bit and didn't recap all of the games, but instead, I looked briefly at Michigan's previous head coaches and how long it took them to win the Big Ten. If you missed it, give it a quick read here. I plan to revisit that topic soon once I have time to accumulate more information about previous coaching staffs and some other. In the meantime, I'm going to kind of go back to how things were with this piece, but instead of mentioning every game, I'm going to just talk about the best win and worst loss (Note: Since over half of the Nov. 23 games are season-enders against Ohio, I'm going to choose to ignore them since I already recapped the Ten-Year War over the summer.)

Worst Most Boring Game: 1929, Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes, 0-0

This one picked itself since it's the only non-win on the list save for the Ohio games. The Wolverines stumbled into this one -- the final game of the year -- with a 5-3 record overall but an ugly 1-3 record in conference play. It had been a disappointing first year for head coach Harry Kipke after replacing two-year head coach Elton Wieman. The fond memories of Fielding Yost were fading fast, but the tie with Iowa seemed to be a step in the right direction for Kipke and the rest of the Michigan squad. After battling to a 0-0 draw to finish '29, Kipke's Wolverines failed to win only four games in the next four years (going 8-0-1, 8-1-1, 8-0, 7-0-1, respectively) as he won the Big Ten four years in a row and back-to-back National Championships in '32 and '33.

In the case of 0-0 ties, weather usually plays a major role and field conditions generally resemble a beach at high tide. According to the New York Times, Michigan Stadium's field had been covered before the game and no precipitation materialized during play; however, wind ended up being the difference maker. Due to strong gusts at field level, Michigan missed its one and only place kick attempt, while the Hawkeyes offense drove down to Michigan's four-yard line twice but came away with nothing on both trips. By all accounts, I don't think Iowa tried a kick on either of those drives, so the wind must have been pretty brutal.

Furthermore, the game held significance for the Hawkeyes since there was a possibility it would be Iowa's last game as a member of the Big Ten. At the time, there were two issues hitting the Hawkeyes program hard: 1) Illegal recruiting allegations on the heels of Iowa's AD stepping down in '29 and 2) Insufficient funds due to the Great Depression hurting the agricultural revenue of Iowa. This latter issue was made even worse since the Hawkeyes had just built Kinnick Stadium in '29. The recruiting issue ended up getting Iowa suspended from Big Ten athletics for January 1930, but after petitioning, they were reinstated later that year. That didn't stop the other Big Ten schools from shunning the Hawkeyes, evidenced by only Purdue playing Iowa in the 1930 season.

Best Game: 1901, Michigan vs. Beloit, 89-0

It's fun dreaming about the 1901 Wolverines, isn't it? As the first "Point-a-Minute" team under Fielding Yost, the 1901 Michigan team outscored opponents 555-0 over the score of the season en route to the team's first National Championship. With a record of 11-0, this means the Wolverines averaged 55 points a game. All I have to say is poor Beloit College.

The Buccaneers -- now a Division III football team in the Midwest Conference -- never had a chance against the powerful Wolverines. Beloit gained only one first down near the end of the game, and as the Chicago Daily Tribune put it, "There was not a stage of the game that Beloit had the ghost of a show at menacing the Wolverines goal" since the Bucs never passed midfield. The win, and more specifically, the point total, was made more impressive by rough field conditions due to rain, which had most expecting a lower output by the Wolverines. Too bad for Beloit, Yost and Michigan's strong line bucking didn't care about a little moisture.

For Michigan, end/halfback Albert E. Herrnstein provided almost half of the touchdowns, scoring six on the day, most of which came at the end of runs ranging from 40 to 60 yards. In the second half, the Wolverines substituted for all of the starters and continued to dominate. In the New York Times recap of the game, the article ends with the following bit: "Beloit expected to score on Michigan -- a feat which has not been accomplished this year."

Poor, poor Beloit.

Overall Record on Nov. 23

9-5-1 (5-5 against Ohio)

Game Scores

1887 at Notre Dame, 8-0

1895 vs. Minnesota, 20-0

1901 vs. Beloit, 89-0

1918 vs. Michigan State, 21-6

1929 vs. Iowa, 0-0

1935 vs. Ohio, 0-38

1940 at Ohio, 40-0

1946 at Ohio, 58-6

1957 at Ohio, 14-31

1968 at Ohio, 14-50

1974 at Ohio, 10-12

1985 vs. Ohio, 27-17

1991 vs. Ohio, 31-3

1996 at Ohio, 13-9

2002 at Ohio, 9-14

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