What Time Does The Msu Football Game Start Today 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 am told that much of history would never have been recorded in the Dark Ages if it had not been for the painstaking efforts of Catholic monks who recorded what others would not.

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

Here are the Spartans coaches who are among the best:

Chester Brewer 1903 to 1910 – Defensive genius

Brewer, a 4-sport star at Wisconsin, knew a thing or two about playing defense. In 8 years he was 54-10-6, he threw out a tiebreaker and his 54-10 winning record was an amazing 84%. That’s impressive enough, even more impressive was the fact that among his 54 wins were 43 shutouts, which accounted for 79% of his shutout wins.

In 1904, he had 6 straight shutout wins at 8-1. Among his 6 draws were 4 draws (0-0). Two other facts about Brewer really shine, 1) He NEVER lost a home game in 8 years, and 2) He only lost 10 games in 8 years. In 1904, he had a 104-0 loss to Hillsdale, but his best moments were a 0-0 tie against Fielding Yost’s 1908 Michigan team and a 17-0 shutout of Notre Dame in 1910.

John McLean 1911 to 1915 – The Pacesetter with a string of firsts

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

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

Jim Crowley 1929-1932 – one of the immortal Four Horsemen of Notre Dame

After several years of mediocrity, Crowley returned Michigan State to national prominence by going 22-8-3 (73% win-loss percentage) with 4 winning seasons and one win shy of a perfect season with a 7-1 record in his last year. Crowley’s teams had a pair of 0-0 ties against Michigan in 1930 and 1931, ending Michigan State’s 14-game losing streak to Michigan.

Crowley was one of Knut Rockn’s Four Horsemen during Notre Dame’s glory years celebrated by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice. Crowley became head coach at Fordham in 1933 and created the “Seven Blocks of Granite” that included legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi.

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

Charlie Bachman 1933 to 1946 – Introduced Notre Dame’s winning system

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

Bachman was a teammate of Knute Rockne and a Notre Dame student like Crowley. He led the Spartans to an 8-1 record in his second season, including a 16-0 win over Michigan, the school’s first straight win in 19 years; it would be the first of 4 straight wins against Michigan that Bachmann’s teams would achieve. After posting another 8-1 season in 1937, Michigan State earned its first postseason bowl bid, the 1938 Orange Bowl.

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

Copyright © 2007 Ed Bagley

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