The Michigan Wolverines began playing football on May 30, 1879, when they took on Racine College in Chicago, an Episcopal college prep school. 1879 was an interesting year. It was that year that first artificial ice rink was built in North America — Madison Square Garden.
A Madison Square Garden manager commented” “Yes, and the first hockey fight on artificial ice broke out an hour after they opened the place.”
In 1887, Michigan players stopped in at South Bend to show some kids at a Catholic college called Notre Dame this crazy new sport.
One Notre Dame student said, “They showed us football. We showed them how to not to not cry when a nun is rapping you across the hands with a wooden paddle.”
They played a formal Michigan-Notre Dame game on November 23 of that year, which began a long-standing rivalry. Michigan won every game they played against each other until 1909 when Notre Dame finally beat them.
A Michigan player from the era explained, “We figured them out. See, Michiganders always hold up their hand and point when you ask where they are from. So we did that before each play, and when the lineman held up their hands, we ran right around them.”