The Cloudy History of the Michigan Spring Game

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on March 29th, 2016 at 7:05 PM

EDIT - Bumped per request - LSA

Spring football. For the average joe fan, it's the final drop of Michigan Athletics they'll taste until the Fall.

Spring football culminates in the annual spring game (or in last year's case, the Spring Stretchy and Punting Exhibition). 

But it always wasn't like that. For many, many years Michigan played a Blue-White game every single season up until Lloyd Carr first started messing with it in 2000 when one of the squads were spotted a 17-0 lead to begin the game...

Being the insane statistics and numbers fan that I am, I have been doing a lot of research using the Google Newspaper archives to look the history of the Michigan Spring Game.

While the Google News archives are not complete by any stretch since there are many, many years and months missing from the Michigan Daily archives, I found a pretty decent chunk of information. Not just from the Daily, but the Toledo Blade and other newspapers from around the state of Michigan that covered Michigan Football at the time. The building of this list of spring game scores will only continue until it's 100% complete. I am already planning several trips to Bentley Library to research spring game info in addition to information on several other sports in my quest to build a SuperGuide for all Varsity sports at Michigan. 

The only other instance that I know of a school documenting their spring game history is Nebraska, who has scores going back to 1950.

The earliest Michigan spring game that I have found record of took place on May 2nd, 1930(!).

Confirmed spring game dates and scores throughout history

Date Winning Team Losing Team Score Source
5/2/1930 Currently Unknown Source
5/5/1934 Currently Unknown Source
5/4/1935 Currently Unknown Source
5/1/1937 Currently Unknown Source
5/9/1942 White Blue 7-0 Source
5/20/1950 Blue White 50-0 Source
5/14/1952 Blue White 36-0 Source
5/14/1955 Blue White 31-7 Source
5/12/1956 Blue White 34-7 Source
1957 Blue White 31-25 Source
5/17/1958 Blue White 21-6 Source
5/9/1959 White Blue 22-21 Source
5/7/1960 Blue White 7-0 Source
5/12/1962 White Blue 28-19 Source
5/13/1963 Blue White 25-0 Source
5/9/1964 White Blue 32-29 Source
4/17/1965 Blue White 34-0 Source
4/16/1966 Currently Unknown Source
4/15/1967 Blue White 20-7 Source
4/12/1969 Blue White 35-0 Source
4/18/1970 Blue White 28-13 Source
4/17/1971 Currently Unknown Source
4/22/1972 White Blue 14-12 Source
4/21/1973 White Blue 17-7 Source
4/20/1974 Blue White 41-7 Source
4/19/1975 Blue White 17-3 Source
4/17/1976 White Blue 13-0 Source
4/16/1977 Blue White 35-24 Source
4/15/1978 Blue White 15-14 Source
4/14/1979 Blue White 21-0 Source
4/19/1980 Blue White 35-7 Source
4/18/1981 White Blue 19-18 Source
4/17/1982 Currently Unknown Source
4/16/1983 Blue White 16-8 Source
4/14/1984 White Blue 18-15 Source
4/20/1985 Blue White 27-20 Source
4/19/1986 White Blue 18-13 Source
4/18/1987 White Blue 20-17 Source
4/16/1988 White Blue 20-17 Source
4/15/1989 Blue White 24-17 Source
4/21/1990 White Blue 31-6 Source
1991 Cancelled due to field conditions Source
4/11/1992 White Blue 14-12 Source
4/10/1993 White Blue 21-20 Source
4/9/1994 White Blue 10-6 Source
4/8/1995 White Blue 45-44 Source
1996 Cancelled due to field conditions Source
4/12/1997 White Blue 22-20 Source
4/18/1998 White Blue 20-17 Source
4/17/1999 No Score Kept Source
4/15/2000 White Blue 23-22 Source
4/14/2001 White Blue 21-7 Source
4/13/2002 No Score Kept Source
2003 Cancelled due to field conditions Source
4/10/2004 No Score Kept Source
4/16/2005 No Score Kept Source
4/10/2006 No Score Kept Source
4/14/2007 White Blue 42-41 Source
4/12/2008 No Score Kept (Held at Saline HS) Source
4/11/2009 No Score Kept *
4/17/2010 Blue Maize 49-37 *
4/16/2011 Blue Maize 14-7 *
4/14/2012 Blue Maize 17-0 *
4/13/2013 No Score Kept  *
4/5/2014 No Score Kept *
4/4/2015 Blue Maize 7-0 *
4/1/2016 Maize Blue 14-13 *

Italics- Yes, score was displayed on the scoreboards. It was artificial and in no way an actual game.

*These weren't that long ago so do I really need to source this? I was there. 



March 27th, 2015 at 5:40 PM ^

Wasn't that 2012 sping game the one that was on BTN and they just did a scrimmage 1st O vs 2nd D and 2nd O vs 1st D and the BTN just kept adding points to the blue team since our offensive players wear blue practice jerseys?


March 27th, 2015 at 6:11 PM ^

I'm sorry, but can we please leave Brady Hoke and all these silly shots we're taking at him in the past? He had his reasons for not wanting an actual game. I'm sorry but the whole stretch/punt game is quickly getting old. It's amazing to me how people can resent Hoke so badly yet always find a way to bring him up and take shots at him. Let it go.


March 27th, 2015 at 8:13 PM ^

I just looked at our lacrosse schedule. It amazed me that we had a home game on sunday and not saturday after the football game. I also haven't gotten any emails or anything about the spring game. It's almost like they don't want people there which seems to go against Harbaugh's "bigger is better" attitude, prom signs, and 1st base coaching.


March 27th, 2015 at 10:15 PM ^


March 28th, 2015 at 5:45 AM ^

Hoke's punt exhibition will not be missed. I am actually considering making the trip from NY to AA just to catch a glimpse of the Harbaugh era.


March 28th, 2015 at 9:02 PM ^

These are the moments I remember most from past spring games....

*1998 - Fresh off the national title season so there were a ton of fans, cheerleaders, half the marching band.  My first look at Tom Brady who threw a couple impressive bombs.  This was in the days where fans got to go on the field afterwards, meet the players and ask for was the perfect opportunity for fans to get their national championship memorabilia signed.

*2000 - Another beautiful day weather wise.  Creative move by Lloyd to have the offense start down 17-0.  Hensen, Terrell, A-Train, Walker and the best offensive line in the nation.  But they fell short of a comeback.  Hayden Epstein kicked a 60 yard field goal to end the day and got mobbed by the team.

*2002 - My main memory of this game was listening to the fans around me moan and groan every time Navarre came on field to run the offense.  I felt bad for him.

*2004 - Parking lot at Crisler was full.  I got a ticket for parking in a staff spot, gambling that it wouldn't matter on a weekend.  I know.  Stupid.  Two players (I can't remember their names) sang the national anthem before the game and they actually had beautiful voices.  But the mic system kept going in and out and they kept starting over until it went out for good and the team started annoyingly singing on the sidelines just to get the song over with.  Braylon had just graduated and was waiting for the NFL draft.  He walked around the stadium in a hot pink dress shirt. 

*2005, 06, 07 - When my interest in the spring games started to dwindle.  Half the team always seemed to be too injured to participate.  They weren't in game format.  Just different groups practicing different things around the field.  Weather was always dark, cloudy, cold.  I did think that Mister Simpson was going to be the next Wolverine legend.

*2009 - Decided to go back because of the new things under RichRod, a tour of the new locker rooms and the new alumni flag football game.  Weather was FREEZING.  The line to get into the locker rooms was over an hour wait so I didn't bother.  The flag football game was a hoot.  Players that were currently in the NFL were ordered not to play but that didn't stop Larry Foote, who made some amazing catches and did some showboating.  The flag football game was the highlight of that day. 

And I haven't been back since.  But now that we have some Harbaugh, I plan on being there. 


March 31st, 2016 at 8:42 PM ^

My first spring game was 1989--a few years after I graduated, but just as I was settling in as a townie.  MGoBride and I had just bought our first house--in Ann Arbor.  And a buddy and I went to the game with a few sandwiches and a full cooler--probably of Stroh's.  That was the time Leroy Hoard opened things up with a 78-yard run from scrimmage. I remember it being a pretty nice spring day.  Kind that makes you feel good to be alive. 

I'll be watching tomorrow, and will envy those of you there. 


March 30th, 2016 at 11:46 AM ^

Obviously something changed in 1965.  I'm guessing, without any absolute knowledge, that is the year that Michigan went from the quarter system to semesters.  I know that the 1964 commencement was on Friday, May 22, 1964 (LBJ Great Society speech--easy to google).…

That document has a list of commencement dates.  It went from May 22 in 1964 to Saturday, May 1 in 1965.  And the spring game moved with it.  Obviously nothing changed to cause the move back 1 week earlier that we have seen the last 3 years, but the move from May to April was done for reasons.

It appears that the traditional date for the spring game is 2 weeks before commencement, but that tradition changed about 1992, when I think it was 3 weks before commencement.  From there it seemed to vary between 2-3 weeks, and has been 4 weeks for the last 3 years.  It has not (at least since WW2) been later than 2 weeks before commencement, though. 


Evil Empire

March 30th, 2015 at 12:26 PM ^

I see now that my memory is a bit exaggerated.  Still, it seemed that Lloyd disliked the event and did his best to discourage attendance or enthusiasm, in contrast to our rival schools' heavy promotion of the event. 

I've attended six or seven times, can't remember specifically, once during the Rodriguez era and all the rest when Lloyd was the coach.    They were generally boring affairs with few compelling features.  The best part was going on the field afterwards, getting to see the players up close (Courtney Morgan was <6'1")  and throwing footballs around.  When they stopped letting fans on the field due to "safety reasons," it was less fun.


March 30th, 2015 at 2:09 PM ^

Like alot of things, time has given me perspective. 

From what I remember now, he may not have been Brady, but he was efficient enough to get the job done. 

Sometimes I think we have to figure out a way to be less whiny as a fan base. 


March 30th, 2016 at 2:37 AM ^

There is no  way coincidence brought these three together, each representing M football in some capacity. Ufer kept a summer place not to far from me so it  was not out of the  ordinary to see him in Grand Haven and he wore that perpetual smile.

He didn't even try  to hide his homerism. Bo gave him credit for being the  most exciting radio personality in Michigan history, but he said his obsession with Michigan football made him an easy mark for practical jokes. In Tradition, and I wish I had a copy with me, Bo tells of the time he told Bob that a certain player - one so talented he dictated the  outcome of more than a few games - had suffered an injury and the chances of him playing in the upcoming game looked bleak at best. Ufer, in Bo's words, "Almost suffered a coronary.": Bo underestimated how this might effect Ufer who became almost white and caused Bo, whose intentions were to tell him almost immediately he was just jerking his chain, to delay the truth. So he never told him until the Friday before the  game. Now I  don't know if Ufer cussed often, but I believe the four words, Son of a bitch, may have been used.