1890 Michigan Wolverines football
1890 record4–1
Head coachno coach
CaptainWilliam C. Malley
Home stadiumAnn Arbor Fairgrounds
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The 1890 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1890 college football season. The team compiled a 4–1 record and outscored its opponents by a combined score of 129 to 36. The team captain was William C. Malley. George P. Codd, who later served as the Mayor of Detroit and in the United States Congress, was the team's manager. George Jewett, who played at the fullback and halfback positions from Michigan, became the first African American to play football at Michigan. After Jewett, no other African American played for Michigan until the 1930s. Eight years before Jewett's debut for the Michigan football team, Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first African-American to letter for Michigan, doing so on the baseball team.


Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 11, 1890 Albion Ann Arbor FairgroundsAnn Arbor, MI W 56–10    
October 18, 1890 3:30 p.m. at Detroit Athletic Club Detroit, MI W 38–0[1]    
October 25, 1890 at Albion Albion, MI W 16–0    
November 1, 1890 Purdue Ann Arbor Fairgrounds • Ann Arbor, MI W 34–6    
November 15, 1890 vs. Cornell Recreation Park, Detroit, MI L 20–5    
All times are in Eastern Time.

Season summaryEdit


Michigan opened its season on October 11, 1890, with a 56–10 victory over the team from Albion College. Despite the lopsided score, The Chronicle-Argonaut critical of the team's performance: "Last Saturday's game with Albion showed quite conclusively that our foot ball players are not yet in the best of form. Though the score was 56-10 in our favor, still Albion ought not to have scored at all and our men should have made more points, if we expect to hold our own when we meet a team that can play. The men did not play with their heads, were very weak in blocking and did not follow the ball as they should have done, nor did they respond to signals readily enough."[2]

at Detroit Athletic ClubEdit

On October 18, 1890, Michigan played the team from the Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit. Michigan won the game, 38–0. A steady rain began to fall at 2:00 in the afternoon and continued intermittently throughout the game, which started at 3:30 p.m. The first half was 45 minutes, and Michigan scored three touchdowns on runs by Malley and Jewett. Michigan led 18-0 at halftime. In the second half, darkness and steady rain made it difficult to see the game from the stands. Michigan scored four more touchdowns in the second half. Traynor of Michigan was kicked out of the game for "shin kicking." One published account of the game noted: "Jewett's lay was a revelation to the Detroiters and his work was fully up to standard. . . . A detailed account of the game is unnecessary since it was simply a series of rushes, touchdowns and trials at goals by the U. of M., the latter generally unsuccessful by reason of the rain, which prevented any brilliant playing."[3] Michigan's starting lineup against D. A. C. was Roger Sherman (left end), Prettyman (left tackle), Sutherland (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Trainer (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Jewett (left halback), Grosh (right halfback), and Dygert (fullback). Pearson replaced Traynor after he was ejected from the game.[4]

at AlbionEdit

On October 25, 1890, the Wolverines played their second game of the season against Albion. The game was played on Albion's home field. Michigan won 16-0. Grosh scored Michigan's first two touchdowns, and Jewett kicked a goal. Albion scored on a long touchdown run by its halfback Anderson, but the referee did not allow the points. The first half ended with Michigan leading, 10-0. In the second half, Jewett scored a touchdown and kicked the goal after touchdown to extend the lead to 16-0. Albion scored another touchdown on a long run by Albion quarterback Burnham, but it was also disallowed. Sherman and Chadbourne of Michigan were both ruled out of the game for slugging in the second half. Michigan's starting lineup against Albion was Roger Sherman (left end), Pearson (left tackle), Trainer (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Sutherland (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Jewett (halback), Grosh (halfback), and Dygert (fullback). Players appearing in the game as substitutes for Michigan were Sam Sherman and McMorran. Bert Carr who later played for Michigan was the starting left guard for Albion.[5]


For its fourth game of the 1890 season, Michigan faced the Purdue Boilermakers in Ann Arbor on November 1, 1890. Michigan won, 34-6. The game marked the first football game between two teams that would later become members of the Big Ten Conference. The game received a total of six lines of coverage in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper noted: "The game was hotly contested. James E. Duffy, the famous halfback of the team of '88 and '89, played in the game, relieving Jewett, who was injured."[6]

vs. CornellEdit

After winning its first four games, Michigan concluded its season with a 20-5 loss to Cornell. The game was played at Recreation Park in Detroit. Cornell led 10-0 at halftime and extended its lead to 20-0 in the second half. Late in the game, Michigan scored five points on a field goal by James E. Duffy "from the sixty-yard mark." Michigan's starting lineup against Cornell was Roger Sherman (left end), Prettyman (left tackle), Trainer (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Sutherland (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Duffy (halback), Grosh (halfback), and Jewett (fullback).[7][8]


Varsity letter winnersEdit


  • Howard Abbott, quarterback, Minneapolis, MN
  • Edward Paul DePont, Ann Arbor, MI
  • George Dygert, Ann Arbor, MI
  • Steven L. Glidden, Glanville, IL
  • Metcalfe Bradley Hatch
  • John Raymond, McGurren, Chicago, IL
  • David William McMorran, Port Huron, Michigan
  • William W. Pearson, left tackle, Springfield, IL
  • Alfred Day Rathbone, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Sam Sherman, Chicago, Illinois
  • James Van Inwagen, end, Chicago, IL
  • George Monroe Wisner, Detroit, MI

Coaching staffEdit


  1. The score was reported as 38-0 in The Chronicle-Argonaut of October 25, 1890, and in the Detroit Free Press of October 19, 1890. The score of 18-0 reflected on the Bentley Historical Library web site appears to be in error.
  2. "Athletics". The Chronicle-Argonaut: p. 25. October 18, 1890.
  3. "U. of M. 38 -- D.A.C. 0". The Chronicle-Argonaut: p. 30. October 25, 1890.
  4. "Football: The Way They Play at Ann Arbor". Detroit Free Press: p. 19. October 19, 1890.
  5. "Foot Ball: U. of M. vs. Albion". Detroit Free Press: p. 19. October 26, 1890.
  6. "Foot Ball: The U. of M. Defeats Purdue College". Detroit Free Press: p. 19. November 2, 1890.
  7. "RUGGED RUGBY RUSHERS: Will be Seen in all Their Glory at Recreation Park To-day". Detroit Free Press. November 15, 1890.
  8. "Sparring for Points: A Slugging, Boisterous Game Between the Cornell and U. of M. Teams; Cornells the Most Scientific Scrappers, and Win 20 to 5". Detroit Free Press: p. 19. November 16, 1890.
  9. Lawrence Chamberlaine Grosh was born August 19, 1870, in Goshen, Indiana. He later became a medical doctor in Toledo starting in 1898. He was the chief of staff at Toledo Hospital from 1931 to 1943. He reportedly pioneered medical research at the hospital. He died July 6, 1944 at Rossford, Ohio.
  10. William Warren Harless began his education at Notre Dame and then transferred to Michigan. He later lived in Chicago. He was prominent in the development of the sport of golf and served as Secretary of the Western Golf Association. He died July 10, 1923, in Chicago, aged 56.
  11. Thomas Lincoln McKean received his A.B. degree at Baldwin University in 1889 before enrolling at Michigan. He became a high school principal and teacher in Sandusky, Cleveland, and Berea, Ohio. He died at Berea, January 10, 1942, aged 75.
  12. Sutherland practiced medicine in Clarkston, Michigan. He died Jan. 14, 1941, in the Goodrich General Hospital of pneumonia.
  13. As of 1903, Trainer was the general purchasing agent for the International Nickel Company.

External linksEdit

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