Since its creation in 1879, the Michigan Wolverines football team has played 21 games on the date of Oct. 17. Only two of those have come against those Spartans from East Lansing that always seems to have a chip (or two) on their shoulders. So in honor of Saturday's game, I'm going to ignore the other 19 games that took place on Oct. 17 - see the scores below, and wonder who the heck is Rush Lake Forest? - and instead, focus on the pair against Michigan State. TL;DR Michigan won both.
34-20 vs. Michigan State in 1970
After being upset by the Spartans in his inaugural season as Michigan's head coach, Bo sought revenge in '70. Michigan State entered the game without scoring a touchdown in their previous two contests, while the Wolverines were rolling, carrying a 4-0 record with no more than ten points surrendered in a game. If it sounds like a perfect situation for the '70 Wolverines, that's because it was, yet they didn't capitalize on it. The Spartans jumped out to an early 13-7 lead by scoring on their first three possessions - a 42-yard rush by back Eric Allen and two field goals by Borys Shlapak - and looked to upset the Wolverines for the second consecutive year. Enter Michigan running back Billy Taylor.
Having already accounted for the Wolverines first touchdown with a 26-yard rush on fourth down in the first quarter, Taylor pounded in another score to tie the game with less than a minute left in the first half. Knotted at 13, Taylor stole any remaining Michigan State mojo with another touchdown run early in the third quarter, putting Michigan up 20-13, a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Wolverines tacked on two more touchdowns - an eight-yard pass from quarterback Don Moorhead to fullback Fritz Seyferth and a five-yard run by back Glenn Doughty - to increase their lead to 34-13. After surrendering 27 unanswered points, the Spartans scored a meaningless touchdown at the end of the game, making the final look a little closer than it ended up being in the second half.
The definitive win kicked off an eight-game winning streak for the Wolverines against Sparty that included back-to-back shutouts in '72 and '73. Overall, Bo finished his coaching career with a 17-4 record against Michigan State.
DEFEAT TIE WIN
3-0 at Michigan Agricultural in 1914
Back when the Spartans were Aggies, the Wolverines dominated the rivalry, tallying a 16-2-1 record during that time. However, Michigan struggled to beat Michigan Agricultural College in 1914, and according to the Michigan Alumnus, the Aggies "outplayed Michigan." The Wolverines won the game due to "her superiority in forward passing," and the fact that the clock ran out on the first half before M. A. C. could score. The game clock playing a critical role in wins and losses in the rivalry would surface again over eight decades later as "Spartan Bob" caused Clockgate. Anyways, the Wolverines found a way to win in 1914, and here's the complete game summary from the Michigan Alumnus:
In the game against M. A. C. at Lansing, Michigan met a worthy foe, and was very glad to come home with a victory. The Aggies, it must be confessed, outplayed Michigan, and probably nothing but the call of time kept them from scoring a touchdown at the end of the first half. Michigan's only effective march toward the M. A. C. goal was checked by a fierce defense, and it was only by taking advantage of her superiority in forward passing that Michigan was able again to get the ball to a place where Splawn [Michigan's fullback] could kick a goal and register the three points which gave Michigan the victory. The victory was a costly one, for injuries were suffered by Hughitt [Michigan's quarterback] and Splawn which kept the former out of the [next] game and reduced the latter's effectiveness considerably.
GAME MOST LIKELY TO REPEAT AGAINST THE SPARTANS
34-20 vs. Michigan State in 1970
I wouldn't be surprised if this game stays close before
one team Michigan runs away with it. Assuming State gets a few injured players back on Saturday, I think they come out with some fire in the Big House before the Wolverines smother the flames, wear a weakened Spartan squad down, and grab a dominant victory.
GAME WE WANT TO REPEAT AGAINST THE SPARTANS
18.5-0 vs. Michigan Statricultural Spaggies
I want another shutout, but more than three points. This is the average of the aforementioned games. Only Harbaugh knows how to score a half-point and that fact keeps Dantonio up at night.
TWO GAMES WITH SPARTY ON OCT. 17 AND TWO VICTORIES FOR THE LEADERS AND BEST. HARBAUGH WILL NOT BE THE FIRST TO LOSE ON THIS GAMEDAY IN HISTORY. HALF-POINTS! GO BLUE!
Overall Record on Oct. 17
1891 vs. Albion 4-10
1892 at Minnesota, 6-14
1894 vs. Olivet, 48-0
1896 vs. Rush Lake Forest, 66-0
1903 vs. Indiana, 51-0
1908 vs. Notre Dame, 12-6
1914 at Michigan Agricultural, 3-0
1917 vs. Detroit, 14-3
1925 at Wisconsin, 21-0
1931 at Ohio State, 7-20
1936 at Minnesota, 0-26
1942 vs. Northwestern, 34-16
1953 vs. Northwestern, 20-12
1959 vs. Northwestern, 7-20
1964 vs Purdue, 20-21
1970 vs. Michigan State, 34-20
1981 vs. Iowa, 7-9
1987 vs. Iowa, 37-10
1992 at Indiana, 31-3
1998 at Northwestern, 12-6
2009 vs. Delaware State, 63-6