Does Michigan State Play Penn State This Year In Football The Glory Years of the Green and White Michigan State University Football Teams – Part 1

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The Glory Years of the Green and White Michigan State University Football Teams – Part 1

Time has a way of evaporating history. I have been told that much of history during the Dark Ages would never have been recorded had it not been for the painstaking efforts of Catholic monks to record what others did not.

Thankfully, Michigan State University has done a remarkable job of documenting its storied football history since 1896, spanning more than 110 seasons with some stellar performances among many of its coaches and players.

Here are the Spartan coaches who rank best:

Chester Brewer 1903 to 1910 – The Defensive Genius

A 4-sport star from Brewer, Wisconsin, knew a thing or two about how to play defense. In 8 years he went 54-10-6, throwing out ties and his 54-10 winning record was 84%. That’s impressive enough, even more impressive was the fact that 43 of his 54 wins were shutouts, making 79% of his wins a shutout.

In 1904 he went 8-1 with 6 straight shutout wins. His 6 ties included 4 scoreless (0-0) ties. Two other facts about Brewer shine very brightly, 1) he never lost a home game in 8 years and 2) he only lost 10 games in 8 years. He was beaten 104-0 by Hillsdale in 1904, but his biggest moments were 0-0 against Fielding Yost’s 1908 Michigan team and 17-0 over Notre Dame in 1910.

John Maclean 1911 to 1915 – The pacesetter with a string of firsts

McLean, an outstanding athlete from Pennsylvania, succeeded Chester Brewer. He went 29-5 in 5 seasons for an 85% winning percentage and ran the table with a 7-0 mark in 1913 which included Michigan State’s first win over Michigan, a 12-7 win at Michigan.

Among Maclin’s other great moments were a 6-3 upset against Penn State in 1914; another 24-0 win over Michigan in 1915; and a 35-20 victory over Ohio State in 1912, the first victory by a MAC team against a Big Ten team.

Jim Crowley 1929 to 1932 – One of the Immortal Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

After years of mediocrity, Crowley catapulted Michigan State to national prominence by going 22-8-3 (73% win-loss percentage) with 4 winning seasons and one win short of a perfect season with a 7-1 record in his final year. . Crowley’s teams went 0-0 against Michigan in 1930 and 1931, snapping Michigan State’s 14-game losing streak to Michigan.

Crowley was one of the Four Horsemen of Knott Rockne during Notre Dame’s glory years, made famous by noted sportswriter Grantland Rice. Crowley would become the head coach at Fordham in 1933, creating the “seven blocks of granite” that included legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen to Michigan State to Fordham’s Seven Blocks of Granite and the Green Bay Packer’s Vince Lombardi is a great legacy created by a man named “Sleepy Jim” Crowley.

Charlie Bachmann 1933 to 1946 – He brought Notre Dame’s winning system

Bachmann followed Jim Crowley and brought Notre Dame’s system with him and managed to log 10 winning seasons in 13 years with a 70-34-10 record (67% win-loss percentage). There was no football in 1943 due to World War II.

Bachmann was a teammate of Knute Rockne and, like Crowley, a Notre Dame alumnus. He led the Spartans to an 8–1 record in his second season, including a 16–0 victory over Michigan, the school’s first in 19 years; This would be the first time Bachmann’s teams have won 4 in a row against Michigan. After posting another 8–1 season in 1937, Michigan State received its first bid to a postseason bowl game, the 1938 Orange Bowl.

(Editor’s note: This is part 1 of a 2-part series.)

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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