Michigan Stadium was painted Maize on Saturday night as the Wolverines welcomed the Washington Huskies for a primetime showdown under the lights. It was the official “Maize Out” game for the 2021 Michigan football season, and the crowd didn’t disappoint. The atmosphere helped fuel Michigan to a 31-10 victory to move to 2-0.
“Great job by all,” Head coach Jim Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “What a phenomenal show that was put on Saturday night.”
With an official capacity of 107,601, (108,345 were in attendance on Saturday) Michigan Stadium holds more people than any other college football stadium in the country. The sheer number of people doesn’t always make for the most daunting atmosphere for an opponent, however.
Other Big Ten schools such as Penn State, Wisconsin, and Ohio State are often talked about more when it comes to the toughest places to play in the conference. Michigan pulled out all the stops on Saturday to make sure the environment was as difficult on Washington as it could be as they push to be considered the toughest venue in the Big Ten.
“It all starts at the top, with Mark Schlissel,” Harbaugh said. “The cultures he’s created here at the University of Michigan, I love it.”
It was evident immediately that the crowd was going to play a factor as Washington was penalized five yards for a delay of game on the first play of the game. Coach Harbaugh took notice of how that can be used to Michigan’s advantage.
“First and foremost is the student section,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something to really think about, making sure we kick the ball down there, let them start in that frenzy. It’s that good.”
The Michigan crowd has another opportunity to make an impact this Saturday as more Huskies travel to Ann Arbor, this time from Northern Illinois University.