1895 Michigan Wolverines football
1895 record8–1
Head coachWilliam McCauley (2nd season)
CaptainFrederick W. Henninger
Home stadiumRegents Field
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The 1895 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1895 college football season. The team, coached by medical student William McCauley,[1] compiled an 8–1 record, won seven of their games by shutouts, and outscored their opponents by a combined score of 266 to 14.[2] The 1895 Wolverines won their first five games by a combined score of 220 to 0. The sole loss of the season was a 4–0 setback against the Harvard Crimson, then one of the three great football powers. Michigan finished the season with a 12–0 win over Western rival, Amos Alonzo Stagg's Chicago Maroons. Undefeated against Western opponents, the 1895 Wolverines laid claim to the Western football championship.


Date Time Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 5, 1895 Michigan Military Academy Regents FieldAnn Arbor, MI W 34–0    
October 12, 1895 Detroit Athletic Club Regents Field • Ann Arbor, MI W 42–0   600
October 19, 1895 Western Reserve Regents Field • Ann Arbor, MI W 64–0   400
October 26, 1895 Rush Lake Forest Regents Field • Ann Arbor, MI W 40–0   400
November 2, 1895 Oberlin Regents Field • Ann Arbor, MI W 42–0   700
November 9, 1895 at Harvard Soldier's Field • Cambridge, MA L 4–0   6,000
November 16, 1895 Purdue Regents Field • Ann Arbor, MI W 12–10   1,000
November 23, 1895 vs. Minnesota Baseball Park • Detroit, MI W 20–0   3,500
November 28, 1895 at Chicago Marshall FieldChicago, IL W 12–0   10,000
All times are in Eastern Time.

Game notesEdit

Michigan 31, Michigan Military Academy 0Edit

File:Frederick Henninger.jpg

In the opening game played at Regents Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan defeated the Michigan Military Academy from Orchard Lake, Michigan, by a score of 31 to 0. A newspaper account of the game noted that the score would have been more lopsided except that the Wolverines gave up the ball several times "on fouls and off-sides."[3] The account also reported that "Michigan showed up vastly better than last year at this time in every feature of the game."[3]

Michigan 42, Detroit Athletic Club 0Edit

The following week, the Wolverines had an "easy" game against the Detroit Athletic Club, played in 25-minute halves in front of a crowd of 600 spectators at Regents Field.[4] Michigan scored the first touchdown of the game 30 seconds after the game had commenced on a 70-yard end run by the quarterback and Wyoming-native, J. DeForest Richards.[4] Fullback John Bloomingston from Chicago was the high scorer with 14 points on a touchdown and five goals after touchdown. (Under 1895 rules, a touchdown was scored as four points, and a successful kick for a "goal after touchdown" was scored as two points.) Halfback John W. Hollister was the second highest scorer with three touchdowns. Tackle Jesse Yont from Nebraska also added a touchdown, as Michigan won by a score of 42 to 0.[4]

Michigan 64, Western Reserve 0Edit

In the third game of the season, Michigan defeated the team from Cleveland's Western Reserve, also known at the time as Adelbert College, by a score of 64 to 0.[5] The game was played in 40-minute halves at Regents Field on October 19, 1895.[5] The margin of victory was a surprise as Adelbert had won the Western football championship in 1894 and had narrowly lost to Eastern football power Cornell the previous week by a score of 12 to 4. Against Michigan, however, Adelbert had the ball only five or six minutes in the entire games and, as one newspaper wrote, "was never in the hunt."[5] Bloomingston led the scoring with 32 points on three touchdowns and ten kicks for goals from touchdown. Tackle Giovanni "Count" Villa, from Walla Walla, Washington, and end Henry M. Senter, from Houghton, Michigan, each scored two touchdowns. Yont, Richards, and halfback Gustave "Dutch" Ferbert, from Cleveland, each scored one touchdown.[5] A Chicago newspaper described Michigan's performance as follows:

"Michigan's advantage in weight was great and the interference and general team plays showed great improvement. Michigan's gain was on the main short and fast dashes through the line and close in on the end, but there was no lack of pretty end skirting with brilliant interference."[5]

Michigan 40, Rush Lake Forest 0Edit

Michigan's fourth game of the season was a home game against Rush Lake Forest. Michigan won the game by a score of 40 to 0.

Michigan 42, Oberlin 0Edit

On November 2, 1895, Michigan played Oberlin College at Regents Field. The Wolverines won their fifth consecutive shutout, outscoring Oberlin 42 to 0. A newspaper account of the game reported:

"Michigan was crippled by the absence of Baird, Senter and Hall, but the play showed improvement over last week. Bloomingston and Ferbert were the star ground gainers. There were three touchdowns in the first and four in the second."[6]
Michigan touchdowns were scored by Ferbert, Bloomingston, Villa, Frederick Henninger, the team captain from Colorado, Thad Farnum, an end from Ohio, William Morley, a substitute quarterback from New Mexico, and Emmett Shields, a substitute halfback from Houghton, Michigan. Bloomingston succeeded in kicking all seven goals after touchdown.[6] Michigan's line-up for the game was Greenleaf (right end), Yont and Heninger (right tackle), Heninger and Wombacher (right guard), Carr (center), Hooper (left guard), Villa (left tackle), Farnum (left end), Hollister and Shields (right halfback), Ferbert (left halfback), and Bloomingston (fullback).[6]

Harvard 4, Michigan 0Edit

File:Forrest Hall.jpg

Michigan traveled east to face Harvard, on November 9, 1895. Harvard was one of the elite teams in the early days of college football, winning three national championships in the 1890s, and the match between great squads from the east and west was widely anticipated. Before game, The World of New York wrote:

"The football team of the University of Michigan, reputed to be the strongest eleven in the West, is now quartered at Auburndale awaiting tomorrow's game with Harvard on Soldier's Field. Nineteen men have come East on the team. Their line is very evenly balanced, and Bob Wrenn has written to Cambridge that the Michigan quarter-back is the best in the business. They have a long string of victories to their credit this fall, and Harvard will have to play football to score. There is absolutely no way of judging the relative merits of the teams, so the veil of doubt will add to the interest of the game."[7]
The game was played at Soldier's Field in Cambridge as a "drizzling rain fell throughout the game" on a field that was wet, muddy and slippery.[8][9] Despite the inclement weather, 6,000 spectators attended the game.[10] The Michigan team was heavier than Harvard's, and Michigan's "interference" was reported to be "clearly superior" to Harvard's.[8] Michigan's offense had success in easily making holes in Harvard's line, but lost the ball repeatedly through off-side penalties.[11] With the game played in the rain, both teams played a kicking game, punting the ball back and forth to gain advantage in field position.[11] The punting game favored Harvard, as "an exchange of punts nearly always resulted in a loss of ground to Michigan."[8] The first half ended with no scoring. In the second half, Harvard blocked two Michigan punts and scored the game's only touchdown on a blocked punt. The score came when Harvard kicked to Michigan's 18-yard line, and Bloomingston immediately attempted to punt the ball back to Harvard. Norton Shaw of Harvard blocked the punt, and the ball was driven behind the goal line where a Harvard player fell on the ball for a touchdown.[9] Harvard failed to convert its goal after touchdown resulting in the score of 4 to 0.[9]

A press account of the game praised Michigan's efforts, noting that "they played a strong, fast game but weakened in the second half."[8] The report continued: "The Michigan team deserves great credit for their work and the dash and spirit of their play. Both sides played straight foot ball, resorting very little to trick plays of any kind."[8] Another newspaper praised the performance of the Michigan team as follows:

"[T]he wearers of the Crimson have not had such a battle before in years. The boys from Michigan simply covered themselves in glory by their splendid work. The play throughout was clean football, devoid of all roughness, and they early on earned the good will and applause of the crowd by their fairness and ever-apparent desire to keep from making it a slugging game."[10]

File:Edwin Denby.jpg

The game was played in 25-minute halves, and Michigan's lineup was Senter (left end), Villa (left tackle), Hooper (left guard), Carr (center), Hall (right guard), Heninger (right tackle), Greenleaf (right end), Ferbert (left halfback), Hollister (right halfback), and Bloomingston (fullback).[10] After the season had ended, Edwin Denby, a Michigan player who later became U.S. Secretary of the Navy, wrote an account of the season in the university yearbook, The Palladium. With respect to the Harvard game, Denby noted that the Michigan football team had traveled to "the distant and holy places of the East" and proved to the Eastern press "that we were farmers, miners, cutthroats, thugs and garroters, and to the reasonable people of the country that the men who came out of the West knew one or two games besides mumblepeg and marbles."[12] Denby continued that the loss to Harvard was "a virtual victory" and asserted that those best qualified to judge were of the opinion that, "given equal conditions," Michigan would have won:

"We had traveled twenty-four hours by rail and rested less than two days before going on the field, we had changed drinking water and diet, we played before some thousands of Harvard sympathizers (though they displayed an impartial appreciation of the good plays of either side, and acted throughout in a thoroughly gentlemanly manner) and finally we played in the rain and on wet and slippery ground, conditions entirely new to us. And so they won, and, even as to that, there were not wanting whispers that without a fortuitous accident — however, post-mortems are always distasteful. Let us accept the fact that we were beaten, and record our intention of turning the tables next year. It is poor policy to belittle a successful antagonist. Better exalt him for the supreme skill he displayed in winning from such a foe, and so honor yourself."[12]

Michigan 12, Purdue 10Edit

After the loss to Harvard, Michigan faced Purdue at home in Ann Arbor. Michigan won a close game by a score of 12 to 10. Michigan scored two touchdowns (one each by Ferbert and Henninger), and Bloomingston converted on both goals after touchdown.[13] Purdue was the only team other than Harvard to score on the 1895 Michigan team. Both teams scored two touchdowns, and the margin of victory came on a missed goal after touchdown by Purdue.[14] In light of Michigan's dominance in its earlier games against Western teams, a larger margin of victory had been expected, leading one newspaper to suggest a two-point win was a cause for "mourning" in Ann Arbor:

"There is mourning in the Michigan camp tonight over the downfall of the football team, for such it seems, when they managed to win from Purdue today, 12 to 10. It had been expected that the game would be fairly close, as the Purdue eleven is strong, and Michigan has shown a great falling off this week in consequence of her trip to Boston and hard game with Harvard. Then, too, three men were missed from the team – Carr at center, Baird at quarter, and Villa at tackle. The defense was thought to be strong enough to shut out Purdue, however, but it was not in evidence, and the offensive work was ragged and dispirited."[13]

The game was played in halves of 30 and 25 minutes, and Michigan's lineup was Greenleaf (right end), Henninger (right tackle), Hall (right guard), Denby (center), Hooper (left guard), Yont (left tackle), Senter (left end), Holmes (quarterback), Hollister (right halfback), Ferbert (left halfback), and Bloomingston (fullback).[13]

In his review of the season in The Palladium, Edwin Denby wrote that the closeness of the Purdue game could be explained by the fact that many of the regulars had been battered in the Harvard game and were replaced by substitutes in the Purdue game."[12] However, Denby gave credit to Purdue as "the best we met in the West."[12] Denby also opined that the last five minutes of the Purdue game "were worth most of the other games of the season put together." He described the line-plunging of Giovanni Villa against Purdue as follows: "It was exhilerating [sic] to note how when Villa took the ball and plunged through the Purdue line as the beautiful lady in the circus jumps through paper hoops, the rest of the Michigan men slouched down the field, crushing and driving everything before them by sheer muscle and determination."[12]

Michigan 20, Minnesota 0Edit

File:James Baird (1894).jpg

Michigan faced the University of Minnesota on November 23, in a game played at the Baseball Park in Detroit. Michigan easily won the game by a score of 20 to 0. The playing field was soft and slippery from snow and rain, and "the wet ball caused a good deal of fumbling, especially on the part of the Minnesota team."[15] One account described the playing surface as "a field of mud several inches deep.[16] Minnesota was "practically on the defense throughout the game,"[15] and "only twice were her runners able to get through Michigan's line for substantial gains."[17] The report of the game published in the Daily Inter Ocean from Chicago described a dominating performance by the Wolverines:

"The men from the far Northwest were clearly outclassed at every point, but played a plucky game. At times their defense was strong and then partly weak, Senter and Ferbert getting through several times for long fifty-yard runs. ... The Michigan men played savagely during the first half ... For Michigan the particulars were Senter, Ferbert, Bloomingston and Henninger, though the entire team played excellently and was very strong in interference."[16]
Halfback Ferbert scored two touchdowns for Michigan, and Hall and Farnum added one each.[16] Michigan's lineup in the game was Farnham (right end), Henninger (right tackle), Hall (right guard), Denby (center), Hooper (left guard), Villa (left tackle), Senter and Greenleaf (left end), Richards and Morley (quarterback), Ferbert (left halfback), Hollister and Holmes (right halfback), and Bloomingston (fullback).[10]

Michigan 12, Chicago 0Edit

File:John Bloomingston.jpg

The final game of the season matched Michigan against Amos Alonzo Stagg's Chicago Maroons. The game was played on Thanksgiving Day in front of more than 6,000 spectators at Marshall Field in Chicago.[18] Due to the inclement weather, the field had to be "carefully scraped and sawdust scattered over the thin layer of ice" before the game began.[19] Michigan's first scoring drive came in the first half when the right halfback, John Hollister, took the ball on Chicago's 45-yard line and ran around the right end for a 35-yard gain, a play the press called "a prettily-executed criss cross."[19] Later in the drive, Henninger fumbled the ball which rolled beyond the goal line where it was recovered by Richards for the game's first touchdown.[18][19] The running of Michigan's fullback John Bloomingston, a Chicago native, was reportedly the high point of the game. A Chicago newspaper described one run by Bloomingston as follows:

"Chicago could not gain, and Neel was forced to punt again. Bloomingston received the ball, and, dodging the tacklers, who sought to bring him to the ground, ran back the entire length of the kick. It was a splendid performance, and no small part of the applause the hero received came from Chicago throats."[18]
The final score was 12–0. Michigan's dominance over Stagg's team led one Chicago newspaper to write the following:
"The Michigan team is the finest set of football players Ann Arbor has ever sent out and completely out-classes any team in the West. ... The Michigan play both individually and in team work was magnificent. Even the worried Chicago substitutes and coaches on the side line could not refrain from an occasional word of admiration at the perfect defense of the visitors. The very appearance of the team was enough to bring applause from the most prejudiced Chicago supporter. ... [T]he local team appeared like school-boys before them. It seemed almost wonderful that these giants could be kept from sweeping down the field and scoring as they willed."[18]

Following the game The World of New York wrote that the Michigan players had "clinched their claim to the Western championship."[20]

All-Western selectionsEdit

File:Gustave Ferbert.jpg

Following the 1895 season, a number of Michigan players were honored on All-Western teams. One Chicago newspaper, the Daily Inter Ocean, included six Wolverines on its All-Western team.[21] The Michigan players recognized by the Daily Inter Ocean were Gustave Ferbert (first-team halfback), John Bloomington (first-team fullback), James Hooper (first-team guard), Giovanni Villa (first-team tackle), Henry Senter (first-team end), and James Baird (substitute quarterback).[21] In announcing its All-Western selections, the Daily Inter Ocean made the following comments about the Michigan players selected:

  • "Villa is the best tackle of this season, as he was of last. His immense strength and weight, added to his cleverness and agility, make him a powerful man."
  • "Senter is one of the best ends in the country, East or West. He is the one Western player who approaches Yale form and a man of whom Michigan is deservedly proud. Possessed of unbounded daring, he plays like a demon and runs and tackles in a manner astonishing in a player of so short experience."
  • "Ferbert is a cool, hard-working player, strong and sure on the defensive ... Ferbert is the most valuable man because of his defensive ability."
  • "Every one in the West, with the possible exception of the Wisconsin men, unites in the selection of Bloomington as full back. Those who saw the sensational runs made in the game with Chicago last Thanksgiving day can possibly have no other opinion. Sure at goals, a strong punter, and a wonderful runner, he has but few rivals."[21]

Starting lineupEdit

File:Giovanni Villa.jpg
File:Henry Senter.jpg
File:Bert Carr (1894).jpg

The starting lineup of the 1895 Michigan football team included players from ten states, including New Mexico, Montana, and Washington.[22]

  • Ends
Henry M. Senter, Houghton, Michigan (age 23)
George Greenleaf, Brazil, Indiana (age 21)
Thaddeus Loomis Farnham, Rosford, Ohio (age 21)
  • Tackles
Frank Villa, Walla Walla, Washington (age 22)
Frederick W. Henninger, Barberton, Ohio (age 22)
Jesse Grant Yont, Brock, Nebraska (reserve, also played at guard)
  • Guards
James H. Hooper, Butte, Montana (age 23)
Forrest M. Hall, Jackson Centre, Ohio (age 23)
John McLain Johnson, Hopkinton, Iowa (reserve)
  • Centers
Edwin Denby, Detroit, Michigan (age 24)
Bert Carr, Cedar Spring, Michigan (age 24)
  • Quarterbacks
James Baird, Chicago, Illinois (age 21)
J. De Forest Richards, Douglas, Wyoming (age 21)
William Morley, Socorro Datil, New Mexico (age 20)
  • Fullback
John A. Bloomingston, Chicago, Illinois (age 22)
  • Halfbacks
Gustave Herman Ferbert, Cleveland, Ohio (age 21)
William Franklin Holmes, Somerville, Massachusetts (age 22)
John Willis Hollister, Beloit, Wisconsin (age 23)

Coaching and training staffEdit

File:Keene Fitzpatrick 1894.jpg

The coaching and training staff of the 1895 Michigan Wolverines consisted of four men. Former Princeton football star William McCauley was the coach. Keene Fitzpatrick, considered "one of the pioneers of intercollegiate sport,"[23] was the trainer (and also the school's track coach). Charles A. Baird, who was named the university's first athletic director three years later, was the team manager. Frederick Henninger was the team captain. A newspaper profile of Henninger in November 1895 said:

"The University of Michigan team, captained by F. W. Henninger, is one of the strongest football elevens in the west. Henninger is a veteran of last year's eleven, is 5 feet 10 inches tall aud weighs 180 pounds. He is an excellent field general, plays right guard and is said to be the strongest man on the team."[24]

In his review of the 1895 season, Edwin Denby described the contributions made by the team's four leaders:

"If to any one man above another credit is due for this result, McCauley should receive it. Not only his splendid coaching, but his quiet, gentlemanly, kindly manner, his forbearance, and his abstention from the use of language too strong for the public prints, all had their good effect upon the team. And certainly he would have found it hard to get such excellent support from any three other men as he got from Fitzpatrick, Henninger and Baird. They have all won the high regard of the entire university and the sincere liking of those who have come in personal contact with them."[12]


  1. "University of Michigan Football Coaches: William L. McCauley". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  2. "1895 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "First Game at Ann Arbor: University Team Defeats the Cadets, 31 to 0". The Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-10-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Detroit Athletic Club Was Easy: Defeated by the Ann Arbors at Football Yesterday". The Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-10-13.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "University of Michigan Wins: Western Reserve Eleven Loses Its Championship". The Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-10-20.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "University of Michigan 42; Oberlin 0". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-11-03.
  7. "Michigan at Harvard: Hard Game Is Promised Between the Crimson and Westerners". The World (New York). 1895-11-09.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 "Michigan Against Harvard". Fort Wayne Journal. 1895-11-10.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Cambridge Vs. Michigan". Galveston Daily News. 1895-11-10.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Harvard 4; University of Michigan 0". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-11-10.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Game in the East:Harvard Defeats Michigan and Princeton Beats Cornell". Oakland Tribune. 1895-11-11.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Edwin Denby (1896 (vol.38)). The Football Season of 1895. The Palladium. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "Tears at Ann Arbor: Her Football Eleven Fails to Shut out the Purdues; Wins By Only Two Points; Michigan Team Weak From Her Trip to the East". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-11-17.
  14. "FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGES: Orange Could Not Score Against Yale; Perdue Gives Michigan a Close Rub—Syracuse Won a Championship—Harvard, and Pennsylvania". Salt Lake Tribune. 1895-11-17.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Michigan Plucks Minnesota". Davenport Daily Republican. 1895-11-24.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Michigan the Victor: University of Minnesota Gets a Football Goose Egg; Twenty Points Are Made; Men From the Northwest Are Clearly Outclassed". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-11-24.
  17. "Minnesota Easily Beaten". Nebraska State Journal. 1895-11-24.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 "Take It To Ann Arbor: Michigan Wins the Game and the Championship of the West; Make Twelve Points; Chicago Is Unable to Force the Ball Across the Line; But One Man Is Injured; Local Team Entirely Outclassed in Play and in Weight". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-11-29.
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 "CHICAGO SHUT OUT: University of Michigan Won bv 12 to 0". Salt Lake Tribune. 1895-11-29.
  20. "Stagg's Players Beaten". The World (New York). 1895-11-29.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 "Got 'Em On The List: Men Who Would Form an Ideal Western Team; Come From Six Colleges; Michigan Heads the Roll With Six of Her Men". Daily Inter Ocean. 1895-12-09.
  22. Roster information is taken from The Palladium of 1896 and the 1895 team roster.
  23. "Aged Athletic Coach, Trainer at Yale Quits: Keene Fitzpatrick, 42 Years in Business, Desires 'Less Strenuous Mode of Life'; Had Stagg as Pupil in 1890". Titusville Herald. 1932-10-22.
  24. "FOUR CLEVER FOOTBALL CAPTAINS: Henninger, Van Doozer, Richards and Camp, All Have Strong Elevens". Warren Ledger (PA). 1895-11-08.

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