Purdue vs. Michigan Football: Rivalry Through the Ages

This weekend marks the 61st encounter between the Purdue Boilermakers and Michigan Wolverines, two original members of the Big Ten Conference. Dating back to 1890, this storied rivalry has seen its fair share of memorable moments.

Rivalry Records:

The first clash in 1890 ended in a resounding 34-6 victory for the Wolverines, setting the tone for a series where Michigan holds a commanding 46-14 advantage. Recent history has seen limited matchups, with only two meetings since 2012, one of which occurred in last year’s Big Ten championship.

Michigan’s dominance was most apparent between 1980 and 1995 when they claimed victory in 13 of 14 games. The Wolverines established a rivalry-record with nine consecutive wins during that period. Purdue’s last triumph took place in 2009 with a narrow 38-36 victory, but Michigan has claimed victory in the last five encounters. Michigan’s coach, Jim Harbaugh, boasts a 2-0 record in the rivalry, winning in 2017 and 2022, while Purdue’s coach, Ryan Walter, will make his debut this weekend.

Notable Encounters:

The Wolverines recorded their largest margin of victory in 1974, with a resounding 51-0 win. Entering the matchup as the No.3-ranked team with a perfect 9-0 record, Michigan’s season ended on a sour note as they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Nevertheless, they finished with a 10-1 record, ranked third in the nation. Purdue rebounded by defeating the Indiana Hoosiers, finishing the season 4-6-1.

Purdue’s most significant victory in the series came in 1962 when they outclassed the Wolverines with a 37-0 win.

2023 Preview:

In the upcoming 2023 clash, the Purdue Boilermakers, holding a 2-5 record, face the No.2-ranked Michigan Wolverines, boasting an 8-0 record. Purdue has struggled offensively, averaging 23.0 points per game, ranking 102nd out of 133 teams nationally. Defensively, they have allowed 29.9 points per game, placing them 101st. In contrast, the Wolverines have excelled, scoring 40.6 points per game, ranking sixth, and allowing a mere 5.9 points per game, ranking first.


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