Northwestern's ranked, and that hasn't always been great for Michigan
ANN ARBOR -- In 70 meetings with Northwestern, the Michigan football team has been completely dominant.
The Wolverines are 53-15-2 all-time against the Wildcats, and are 28-4 in this series since 1966.
More often than not during that stretch, Northwestern wasn't very good. But, when the Wildcats have had firepower, it hasn't always been memorable for Michigan.
Northwestern is currently ranked No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, marking just the sixth time since 1970 that the Wolverines will face a Top 25 Wildcat squad.
Here's a look back at the previous five:
No. 4 Michigan 21, No. 20 Northwestern 6
Sept. 11, 1971
In 1970, Northwestern won six of its last seven games and entered the following season as the 20th-ranked team in America.
Michigan, meanwhile, was entering year three of the Bo Schembechler era and was armed with what was most likely his best team in that stretch.
On this day, it was all Wolverines.
Billy Taylor scampered for 105 yards and a touchdown, and Bo Rather ran for another as the Michigan defense forced five Northwestern turnovers. The Wolverines went on to earn a perfect 11-0 regular season in 1971 before getting their hearts broken 13-12 in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.
No. 25 Northwestern 19, No. 6 Michigan 13
Oct. 7, 1995
Michigan entered the game with 19 straight wins over Northwestern, but Gary Barnett's boys could not have cared less.
Northwestern's defense, paced by current coach Pat Fitzgerald, harassed Brian Griese all afternoon -- forcing him to go 14-for-34 for 96 yards and two interceptions.
Steve Schnur then hit a streaking D'Wayne Bates on a 43-yard pass to set up a short Sam Valenzisi field goal -- his fourth of the day -- to put the Wildcats up 19-13 with less than 10 minutes to play.
And when William Bennett picked off Griese on a 4th and 15 play with less than two minutes to go, the Wildcats officially had their first win over Michigan since 1965. Northwestern, of course, finished the year unbeaten in Big Ten play and advanced to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1949.
No. 22 Northwestern 17, No. 6 Michigan 16
Oct. 5, 1996
High-powered Michigan ran up a 16-0 lead entering the fourth quarter in Evanston, but didn't score again.
Northwestern got a touchdown run and a two-point conversion pass early in the fourth quarter, then scored on two field goals (the second was blocked, but still went through) from Brian Gowins to cut the lead to 16-14.
Michigan had the Wildcats facing a 4th and 9 with no timeouts and just 1:06 to play, but Schnur hit Brian Musso over the middle for a huge conversion. Less than a minute later, Gowins buried a 39-yarder to give Northwestern had its first two-game winning streak over Michigan since 1959.
No. 21 Northwestern 54, No. 12 Michigan 51
Nov. 4, 2000
The teams accounted for 105 points and 1,189 yards.
But all Michigan fans remember is Anthony Thomas' fumble.
Thomas ran for 199 yards and scored three touchdowns, and likely would have had a fourth, too, if he hadn't dropped the ball after a first down run with just 49 seconds to play.
The Wildcats scooped it, and cashed in when Zak Kustok hit Sam Simmons for an 11-yard score with just 20 seconds to play.
Michigan tried to tie it on a 57-yard field goal by Hayden Epstein -- but it never got off, ending one of the wilder games of coach Lloyd Carr's tenure.
No. 25 Michigan 33, No. 21 Northwestern 17
Oct. 29, 2005
An upset win for Michigan?
Northwestern had a high-powered offense led by quarterback Brett Basanez, and it also had eyes on a Big Ten title after starting 3-1 in conference play.
But the Wolverine defense, a core unit that would eventually anchor Michigan's memorable 2006 squad, kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard in the second half and out of the win column.
Northwestern entered the game averaging 213.9 rushing yards per game -- but got just 89 on this day.
Michigan put up 427 yards of its own in a dominating performance.