Michigan Football: Michigan at Nebraska — History Lesson — Preview
There is no doubting the storied past of Michigan football, and there also is no doubting the past accomplishments and tradition of Nebraska. One publication has stated this week’s match-up will set a record for most combined wins of any college football game ever played.
Like most football powers, Nebraska’s football legacy started in the 1890’s from very humble beginnings. One game against a YMCA team started a century plus of football excellence. The powerful program soon took off and achieved success in an environment tough to find completion, West of the Missouri in the middle of the Great Plains before viable transportation.
The turning point was the hire of legendary but then unknown Bob Devaney in 1962 from Wyoming. Nebraska took a very distinguished history and elevated the program to elite. A now famous sell-out string started, Nebraska became perhaps the most traveled visiting team in the nation and a record of 35 straight bowl games was achieved. Legendary players, legendary games, Heisman trophy winners, and national titles became the norm.
Nebraska was not alone in the glory years of Devaney and later Tom Osborne. Oklahoma put fearsome teams on the field winning national titles and routine 10 win seasons. The Big Eight, between the two behemoths, was at the top of its power.
The 1971 match-up was one of many “games of the century,” it was a splendid game, one of the best ever, no question. Johnny Rodgers ran a punt back 72 yards to seal a 35-31 Nebraska win.
Nebraska’s offense used the I formation in the power game and the option series with the wingback so popular in the 1970’s. It is said that Tom Osborne suggested the use of the I formation to Bob Devaney and the rest became offense history.
Michigan and Nebraska have had some tarnish lately, but make no mistake; these two teams remain crown jewels in the college football crown. Saturday’s game is a chance to learn about the past and enjoy a match-up that promises excitement. If teams were to be ranked by true pride in the accomplishments and tradition of a team, Michigan and Nebraska would be fighting for a national championship each and every year.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff
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