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1956 Michigan Wolverines football team

1956 Michigan Wolverines football
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Ranking
CoachesNo. 7
APNo. 7
1956 record7–2 (5–2 Big Ten)
Head coachBennie Oosterbaan (9th season)
MVPDick Hill
CaptainTom Maentz
Home stadiumMichigan Stadium
Seasons
← 1955
1957 →
1956 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
No. 3 Iowa $ 5 1 0     9 1 0
No. 7 Michigan 5 2 0     7 2 0
No. 12 Minnesota 4 1 2     6 1 2
No. 9 Michigan State 4 2 0     7 2 0
No. 15 Ohio State 4 2 0     6 3 0
Northwestern 3 3 1     4 4 1
Purdue 1 4 2     3 4 2
Illinois 1 4 2     2 5 2
Wisconsin 0 4 3     1 5 3
Indiana 1 5 0     3 6 0
  • $ – Conference champion
Rankings from AP Poll

The 1956 Michigan Wolverines football team was an American football team that represented the University of Michigan in the 1956 Big Ten Conference football season. In their ninth year under head coach was Bennie Oosterbaan, the Wolverines compiled a 7-2 record (5-2 Big Ten), outscored opponents 233 to 123, and finished the season in second place in the Big Ten Conference and ranked #7 in the final 1956 AP poll. The team played five of its nine games against ranked opponents, losing to #2 Michigan State by a 9-0 score and #15 Minnesota by a 20-7 score, but defeating #15 Army by a 48-14 score, #7 Iowa by a 17-14 score, and #12 Ohio State by a 19-0 score.

End Ron Kramer was selected as a consensus All-American and a first team All-Big Ten player. Guard Dick Hill was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player and was named by the Associated Press (AP) as a first-team All-Big Ten player. Halfback Terry Barr averaged 6.1 yards per carry rushing and 19.7 yards per punt return and was selected as a first-team All-Big Ten player by the United Press (UP).

Schedule

DateOpponentRankSiteResultAttendance
September 29UCLA*No. 13/NAW 42–1370,159
October 6No. 2/2 Michigan StateNo. 5/4
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI (rivalry)
L 0–9101,001
October 13No. 15/11 Army*No. 12/10
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
W 48–1493,402
October 20NorthwesternNo. 8/7
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
W 34–2081,718
October 27No. NR/14 MinnesotadaggerNo. 5/5
L 7–2085,566
November 3at No. 7/8 IowaNo. 17/13W 17–1455,896
November 10IllinoisNo. 10/9
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI (series)
W 17–775,735
November 17IndianaNo. 10/9
  • Michigan Stadium
  • Ann Arbor, MI
W 49–2658,515
November 24at No. 12/13 Ohio StateNo. 9/10W 19–078,830

Season summary

Game 1: UCLA

Week 1: UCLA at Michigan
1 234Total
UCLA 0 076 13
Michigan 14 1477 42
  • Date: September 29
  • Location: Michigan Stadium
  • Game attendance: 67,739
  • Referee: Tony Skover

On September 29, 1956, Michigan opened its season with a 42–13 victory over UCLA.[1] The Bruins were ranked #4 in the final AP Poll in 1955, but lost a number of players due to sanctions imposed by the Pacific Coast Conference. Michigan rushed for 234 yards against UCLA, including 67 yards by junior halfback Jim Pace. In the air, Michigan completed four of nine passes for 103 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass from Bob Ptacek to Jim Van Pelt and a 70-yard touchdown pass from Terry Barr to Ron Kramer. Barr also set up a touchdown with a 51-yard punt return to the UCLA 15-yard line in the first quarter. Halfback John Herrnstein scored two touchdowns for Michigan on runs of six and four yards. Ed Shannon and Jim Dickey also scored touchdowns for Michigan. Kramer and Maddock each kicked three extra points for Michigan.[1]

Game 2: Michigan State

Week 2: Michigan State at Michigan
1 234Total
Michigan State 0 036 9
Michigan 0 000 0

On October 6, 1956, Michigan (ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll) lost to Michigan State (ranked No. 2), 9–0, before a crowd of 101,001 at Michigan Stadium. After a scoreless first half in which Michigan dominated statistically, turnovers led to two Michigan State scores. In the third quarter, John Herrnstein was intercepted at Michigan's 38-yard line, setting up a 20-yard field goal by John Matsko. In the fourth quarter, Herrnstein fumbled, and Michigan State recovered the ball at Michigan's 21-yard line, leading to a Spartan touchdown shortly thereafter.[2]

Game 3: Army

Week 3: Army at Michigan
1 234Total
Army 0 0014 14
Michigan 7 20210 48

On October 13, 1956, Michigan (ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll) defeated Army (ranked No. 15), 48–14, before a crowd of 93,101 at Michigan Stadium. Army fumbled eight times with Michigan recovering six times. Michigan led, 27-0, at halftime, and none of Michigan's starters played in the second half. Michigan totaled 246 rushing yards and 124 passing yards. Seven different Wolverines scored touchdowns: Jim Pace, Terry Barr, Bob Ptacek, Gary Prahst, John Herrnstein, Jim Van Pelt, and Jim Maddock.[3]

Game 4: Northwestern

Week 4: Northwestern at Michigan
1 234Total
Northwestern 7 607 20
Michigan 13 1407 34

On October 20, 1956, Michigan (ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll) defeated Northwestern, 34–20, before a crowd of 81,227 at Michigan Stadium. John Herrnstein scored three touchdowns. Jim Maddock scored on a 15-yard pass from Bob Ptacek, and Ron Kramer also scored on a 15-yard pass from Terry Barr. Michigan totaled 283 rushing yards and 156 passing yards.[4]

Players

Varsity letter winners

The following players won varsity letters for their participation on the 1956 Michigan football team.[5] Players who started at least half of Michigan's games are shown in bold.[6]

Awards and honors

Statistical leaders

Rushing

Player Attempts Net yards Yards per attempt Touchdowns
Jim Pace 103 498 4.8 2
John Herrnstein 123 475 3.9 7
Terry Barr 60 366 6.1 6

Passing

Player Attempts Completions Interceptions Comp % Yards Yds/Comp TD Long
Bob Ptacek 23 15 2 65.2 245 16.3 3 25
Jim Van Pelt 33 15 1 45.5 221 14.7 1 37
Jim Maddock 42 19 3 45.2 213 11.2 0 18

Receiving

Player Receptions Yards Yds/Recp TD Long
Ron Kramer 18 353 19.6 2 70
Jim Pace 7 155 22.1 0 37
Jim Maddock 5 79 15.8 1 23

Kickoff returns

Player Returns Yards Yds/Return TD Long
Jim Pace 11 274 24.9 0 39
Jim Van Pelt 4 84 21.0 0 36

Punt returns

Player Returns Yards Yds/Return TD Long
Terry Barr 6 118 19.7 0 51
Ed Shannon 7 38 5.4 0 9

Coaching staff

References

  1. ^ a b Cooper Rollow (September 30, 1956). "Michigan Beats UCLA, 42–13: Wolverines Overpower Uclans". Chicago Tribune. p. 2-2.
  2. ^ Tommy Devine (October 7, 1956). "'Somebody' Smiles on MSU". Detroit Free Press. pp. D1, D3 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ Tommy Devine (October 14, 1956). "M Runs Army Right Out of Stadium, 48-14". Detroit Free Press. pp. F1, F3 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ Hal Middlesworth (October 21, 1956). "U-M Fights Off Wildcats, 34-20: Herrnstein Runs For 3 Touchdowns". Detroit Free Press. pp. D1, D3 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ "1956 Football Roster". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "1956 Football Team". Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

External links