After a three-week hiatus due to traveling to Rutgers, Master's schoolwork, and a bye week, TWGDIH returns to remind us all how great Michigan's been in the past, while trying to find some reason to have a sliver of hope heading into a hopeless game today.
Greatest Victory: 86-0 over Ohio in 1902
This is the easiest answer and probably cheating, but how can you not consider the largest win in the Michigan-Ohio rivalry the greatest Wolverines victory on Oct. 25? Right now, the Michigan-Ohio rivalry is bookended by dominating stretches for both teams: the Wolverines started with a 13-0-2 record against the Buckeyes until their first win in 1919, while everyone's already aware of Ohio's 10-2 (11-2 including the '10 vacated win) record against Michigan since 2001.
Now, lopsided scores from over a century ago aren't always considered that impressive when analyzed beneath the surface: most teams were new to the game and without digging through historical scores for all college football teams, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that scores near 80-0 were more common the further back you go in the history books. However, there's one exception to that rule in my eyes, and that's Fielding Yost's 'Point-a-Minute' teams from the early 1900s. Michigan defeated all but two of its opponents from 1901-05, compiling a 55-1-1 record with 50 shutouts, 2,826 points scored, and 42 point surrendered.
In the 1902 Ohio game, Michigan scored 45 points in the first half and 15 touchdowns total in the 86-0 rout over the Buckeyes. As written by The Lantern following the game:
Ohio had expected to be beaten, but 86 to 0 was so far beyond the thought of the most pessimistic, that the 1800 loyal rooters were fairly shocked into dumbness.
Never before did Ohio State have such a score run up against her, and she probably never will again. Few people who saw the game are willing to admit that there will ever again be such a team as the Wolverines. Anything nearer perfect in the way of a foot bal team could hardly be imagined. The Buckeyes were clearly and undeniably outclassed.
An interesting fact that may or may not be true is that Ohio's fight song was penned on the train ride home from Ann Arbor following the blowout loss in 1902. If true, all I have to say is You're welcome Ohio.
Defeat Win: 20-19 over Minnesota in 1958
This game marked the final victory in the Oosterbaan era as he was relieved of his head coaching duties at the end of the '58 season following a six-year period that watched the Wolverines fail to win the Big Ten. The Minnesota game was a battle between a couple of bottom-feeders - Michigan finished 2-6-1 and Minnesota finished 1-8 on the season - but the game itself proved to be fairly exciting. The Wolverines carried a 13-6 lead into halftime and scored a 58-yard rushing touchdown on the first play of the second half to go up 20-6. At this point, the Gophers turned the game around by scoring a touchdown in each of the final two quarters. However, a missed extra-point in the third quarter forced Minnesota to go for two in the fourth, and a failed conversion attempt sealed Michigan's victory.
Game Most Likely to be Repeated Today against Sparty: 21-35 loss against MSU in '08
Unless State runs away with the game from the opening kickoff today (which is a strong possibility), I see today's game unfolding in a similar fashion to the '08 game. Turnovers and missed field goals allowed Michigan to keep the game close through three quarters - the teams were tied at 21 heading into the fourth. But State pulled away in the fourth, scoring 14 unanswered points and sealing the victory behind a pair of Wolverines interceptions.
Game We Want to see Repeated Today against Sparty: 23-7 win over MSU in '97
This is what Michigan fans would love to see today. After surrendering a touchdown to State in the first quarter, Michigan's defense shutout their in-state rivals while snaring six interceptions. The offense did enough, scoring in each quarter to gain the 23-7 victory. To beat Sparty today, Michigan's going to need about six turnovers, or something very similar.
So that's it for Michigan's history on Oct. 25. They've already played MSU twice on this date, and it's likely we see one of the two games repeated. Let's hope it's the older of the two. Go Blue!
Overall Record on Oct. 25
1890 vs. Albion, 34-6
1902 vs. Ohio, 86-0
1905 vs. Albion, 70-0
1913 at Vanderbilt, 33-2
1919 vs. Ohio, 3-13
1924 vs. Wisconsin, 21-0
1930 vs. Illinois, 15-7
1941 vs. Minnesota, 0-7
1947 vs. Minnesota, 13-6
1952 vs. Minnesota, 21-0
1958 vs. Minnesota, 20-19
1969 at Minnesota, 35-9
1975 vs Indiana, 55-7
1980 vs. Illinois, 45-14
1986 at Indiana, 38-14
1991 at Minnesota, 52-6
1997 at Michigan State, 23-7
2003 vs. Purdue, 31-13
2008 vs. Michigan State, 21-35