1926 Michigan Wolverines football
Co-national champion (Sagarin)
Big Ten co-champion
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Record7–1 (5–0 Big Ten)
Head coach
MVPBenny Friedman
CaptainBenny Friedman
Home stadiumFerry Field
← 1925
1927 →
1926 Big Ten Conference football standings
Conf Overall
Team W   L   T W   L   T
Michigan + 5 0 0 7 1 0
Northwestern + 5 0 0 7 1 0
Ohio State 3 1 0 7 1 0
Purdue 2 1 1 5 2 1
Wisconsin 3 2 1 5 2 1
Illinois 2 2 0 6 2 0
Minnesota 2 2 0 5 3 0
Indiana 0 4 0 3 5 0
Iowa 0 5 0 3 5 0
Chicago 0 5 0 2 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1926 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1926 Big Ten Conference football season. In the team's 25th and final season under head coach Fielding H. Yost, Michigan compiled a record of 7–1, outscored its opponents 191 to 38, and tied with Northwestern for the Big Ten Conference championship.[1] Michigan's only loss was to an undefeated Navy team that was recognized as the national champion by several selectors. At the end of the season, Michigan ranked third in the country under the Dickinson System, trailing only Stanford and Navy.[2] One selector, Jeff Sagarin, has retroactively named Michigan as a 1926 co-national champion.[3]

Quarterback Benny Friedman and end Bennie Oosterbaan were both selected as consensus All-Americans.[4] Friedman was also Michigan's 1926 team captain and most valuable player.[1]


October 2Oklahoma A&M*W 42–318,000
October 9Michigan State*
W 55–333,000
October 16Minnesota
W 20–048,000
October 23Illinoisdagger
  • Ferry Field
  • Ann Arbor, MI (series)
W 13–048,000
October 30at Navy*L 0–1080,000
November 6Wisconsin
  • Ferry Field
  • Ann Arbor, MI
W 37–048,000
November 13at Ohio StateW 17–1690,411
November 20at MinnesotaW 7–655,000
  • *Non-conference game
  • daggerHomecoming

Season summary

Week 1: Oklahoma A&M

On October 2, 1926, Michigan defeated Oklahoma A&M at Ferry Field by a 42–3 score. Bo Molenda scored two touchdown in the first quarter which also featured a blocked kick that resulted in a safety. Led by Benny Friedman, Michigan passed for 160 yards.[5]

Week 2: Michigan State

On October 9, 1926, Michigan defeated Michigan State College by a 55–3 score.[6][7]

Week 3: Minnesota

Michigan defeated Minnesota by a 20-0 score. Michigan touchdowns were scored by Bo Molenda, George Rich and Louis Gilbert. Friedman kicked two points after touchdown. Gilbert's touchdown came on a 58-yard run. All 20 points were scored in the first half.[8][9]

Week 4: Illinois

Michigan defeated Illinois by a 13–0 score. After a scoreless first quarter, Illinois drove to Michigan's 21-yard line. On fourth down, Illinois opted for a forward pass rather than a field goal attempt. Truskowski intercepted the pass on the 17-yard line. Michigan's first score was set up by a punt that was downed inside the one-yard line. Illinois was then forced to punt from behind the goal line, and Gilbert returne the ball to Illinois' 30-yard line. After a 14-yard gain on a pass to Gilbert, Michigan was stopped, but Friedman kicked a field goal to give Michigan a 3-0 lead at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter, Michigan scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Michigan's lone touchdown was scored by Bo Molenda. Molenda's touchdown was set up when Lovett intercepted a pass at the Illinois 37-yard line, and Friedman completed a long pass to Oosterbaan. Benny Friedman added the point after touchdown and also kicked his second field goal.[10][11]

Week 5: at Navy

Michigan lost to Navy by a 10-0 score at Baltimore, Maryland. Navy's Howard Caldwell ran for a touchdown against the Wolverines. Caldwell's touchdown was the first scored against Michigan since the 1924 season. After the game, the Navy midshipmen stormed the field, tore down the goalposts and broke them into splinters to be kept as souvenirs. The game was played before approximately 50,000 spectators.[12] The 1926 Navy Midshipmen football team went on to complete an undefeated season and was recognized as the national champion by several selectors.[13]

Week 6: Wisconsin

Michigan defeated Wisconsin by a 37-0 score. Michigan completed 9 of 15 passes for 147 yards. Wisconsin completed only 4 of 20 passes for 36 yards. Friedman threw for a touchdown to Oosterbaan and also caught a touchdown pass from Gilbert. Wally Weber scored two touchdowns, and Friedman, Oosterbaan and Hoffman registered one touchdown each. Friedman kicked for a field goal and four points after touchdown.[14] The margin of victory was the largest in the history of the Michigan-Wisconsin rivalry.[15]

Week 7: at Ohio State

Michigan defeated Ohio State by a 17–16 score. The crowd of 90,000 at Columbus, Ohio, was reported to be "the greatest crowd that ever paid to see a football game."[16] Ohio State jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Michigan responded with its own touchdown and field goal to tie the score at 10-10. At the end of the third quarter, Marek of Ohio State was unable to field a punt at his own six-yard line. As Marek had touched the ball, Michigan took possession when it fell on the loose ball. At the start of the fourth quarter, Friedman then threw a touchdown pass and converted the PAT. Ohio State drove down the field for a touchdown, but the PAT attempt by Myers Clark failed.[16][17]

Week 8: at Minnesota

On November 20, 1926, Michigan defeated Minnesota by a 7-6 score at Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. The game was the last for Michigan under head coach Yost. Herb Joesting scored on a short run in the second quarter, but Peplaw missed the attempted at extra point. Michigan trailed 6-0 in the fourth quarter when Nydahl of Minnesota fumbled. Oosterbaan picked up the loose ball and ran 58 yards for a touchdown. Friedman drop-kicked the extra point.[18]


Varsity letter winners

The following players won varsity letters for their work on the 1926 football team:[19]

aMa letter winners

The following players won aMa letters for their work on the 1926 football team:[19]

Awards and honors

Coaching staff


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "1926 Football Team". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "System Places Stanford First," Nevada State Journal (Reno), Dec. 17, 1926, p6
  3. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) (2015). "National Poll Rankings" (PDF). NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA. p. 108. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Michigan Batters Oklahoma Aggies: Oosterbaan Is the Star". The New York Times. October 3, 1926.
  6. ^ "Michigan Wins, 55-3". Chicago Tribune. October 10, 1926.
  7. ^ "Michigan Gallops to Victory, 55 to 3: Michigan State Unable to Cope With Fast Running and Passing Game". The New York Times. October 10, 1926.
  8. ^ "Minnesota Bows to Michigan After Stubborn Fight, 20-0". Chicago Tribune. October 17, 1926. p. 2-1.
  9. ^ "Michigan Defeats Minnesota, 20 to 0: Scores First Touchdown Three Minutes After Start of Game -- Molenda Goes Over; Rich Gets Next One; Gilbert Then Crosses Line In Second Period on Long Run -- Passes Play Big Role". The New York Times. October 17, 1926.
  10. ^ Walter Eckersall (October 24, 1926). "Michigan Eleven Romps Over Illinois, 13 to 0". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-1.
  11. ^ "Michigan Victor Over Illinois, 13-0; Eliminates Rival From Big Ten Race With Its Triumph Before 50,000 Persons; Passing Attack Checked But Molenda Gets Touchdown and Friedman Boots Over Two Field Goals". The New York Times. October 24, 1926.
  12. ^ Westbrook Pegler (October 31, 1926). "Navy Guns Upset and Sink Michigan in 10 to 0 Battle". Chicago Tribune.
  13. ^ National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "Football Bowl Subdivision Records: Consensus National Champions" (PDF). 2012 NCAA Division I Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 72. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  14. ^ Harland Rohm (November 7, 1926). "Michigan Runs Wild Over Wisconsin Eleven, 37 to 0". Chicago Tribune.
  15. ^ "Michigan Crushes Wisconsin, 37 to 0; Wolverines Administer Worst Defeat in History of Their Rivalry to Badgers". The New York Times. November 7, 1926.
  16. ^ a b Irving Vaughan (November 14, 1926). "Michigan Ekes Out 17-16 Win; 90,000 Look On". Chicago Tribune.
  17. ^ "90,000 See Michigan Defeat Ohio State: Gruelling Battle Between Conference Teams Reflected in Score of 17 to 16; Ohio Lead Wiped Out; Friedman's Passes to Oosterbaan Net First Touchdown and Then Former's Goal Ties Count". The New York Times. November 14, 1926.
  18. ^ Walter Eckersall (November 21, 1926). "Wolverines Convert Gopher Fumble Into 7 to 6 Victory". Chicago Tribune.
  19. ^ a b 1927 Michiganesian, "Varsity Football Team," page 214.
  20. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 26, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  21. ^ "Big Ten Coaches, Picking All Star Eleven, Praise Joesting, Oosterbaan". The Milwaukee Journal (AP story). November 30, 1926. p. 23.