1923 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team

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1923 Minnesota Golden Gophers football
Conference Big Ten Conference
1923 record 5–1–1 (3–1–1 Big Ten)
Head coach William H. Spaulding (2nd season)
Captain Earl Martineau
Home stadium Northrop Field
← 1922
1924 →
1923 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team W   L   T     W   L   T
Illinois + 5 0 0     8 0 0
Michigan + 4 0 0     8 0 0
Chicago 5 1 0     7 1 0
Minnesota 2 1 1     5 1 1
Iowa 3 3 0     5 3 0
Indiana 2 2 0     3 4 0
Wisconsin 1 3 1     3 3 1
Ohio State 1 4 0     3 4 1
Purdue 1 4 0     2 5 1
Northwestern 0 6 0     2 6 0
  • + – Conference co-champions

The 1923 Minnesota Golden Gophers football team represented the University of Minnesota in the 1923 Big Ten Conference football season. In their second year under head coach William H. Spaulding, the Golden Gophers compiled a 5–1–1 record and outscored their opponents by a combined score of 114 to 60.[1] It was Minnesota's final season playing on Northrop Field.[2]

End Ray Eklund was a consensus first-team All-American,[3] and halfback Earl Martineau also received first-team All-American honors from Walter Camp.[4]

Three Minnesota players were selected as first-team players on the 1923 All-Big Ten Conference football team. Eklund and Martineau both received first-team honors from the Big Ten coaches and from Norman E. Brown. Guard George Abramson received first-team honors from Brown.[5]


Date Opponent Site Result Attendance
October 6 Iowa State* Northrop FieldMinneapolis, MN W 20–17   12,000
October 13 Haskell* Northrop Field • Minneapolis, MN W 13–12   15,000
October 20 North Dakota* Northrop Field • Minneapolis, MN W 27–0   14,000
October 27 at Wisconsin Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI (Rivalry) T 0–0   40,000
November 3 Northwestern Northrop Field • Minneapolis, MN W 34–14   18,000
November 17 Iowadagger Northrop Field • Minneapolis, MN (Rivalry) W 20–7   26,000
November 24 at Michigan Ferry FieldAnn Arbor, MI (Little Brown Jug) L 0–10   42,000–45,000
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming.

Game summaries[edit]


Week 8: Minnesota at Michigan
1 234Total
Minnesota 0 000 0
Michigan 0 730 10

Minnesota concluded its season on November 24, 1923, with a 10–0 loss to Michigan. The game was played at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in front of a crowd of close to 42,000 spectators. The game was the final college football appearance for two All-American halfbacks, Harry Kipke of Michigan, and Earl Martineau of Minnesota. Both teams came into the game unbeaten.[6]

Six of Michigan's 11 starters were injured and unavailable to play in the game. Accordingly, Michigan played five starters and six substitutes against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota also suffered a setback when its starting quarterback, Graham, was injured in the first quarter.[7][8]

Michigan scored the only touchdown of the game in the second quarter on a 51-yard drive that featured a ten-yard run by Harry Kipke and a 12-yard gain on a pass to Steger. With the ball at the Minnesota 31-yard line, fullback Richard Vick passed to quarterback Tod Rockwell. Rockwell caught the pass at the 20-yard line and ran for the touchdown. Rockwell also kicked the extra point to give Michigan a 7–0 lead. In the third quarter, Edliff Slaughter blocked a punt by Martineau, and Dick Babcock recovered the ball at Minnesota's 27-yard line. When Michigan was unable to score, Kipke drop-kicked for a field goal from the 37-yard line. Minnesota's final drive was stopped on an interception by Kipke.[7]

On defense, Michigan shut out a Minnesota offense that had scored 34 points against Northwestern and 20 against Iowa. The Golden Gophers threw eight passes for zero completions and two interceptions. Left tackle Stanley Muirhead, playing his final game for Michigan, was credited with the success of the defense:

In his last game against Minnesota, November 24, Muirhead was everywhere. He made three-fourths of the tackles under punts, and was always on the ball. A check was made during the game of Muirheads's tackles. No less than twenty-two times did this stalwart tackle bring down his man. He was a veritable demon on the field. He could not be stopped. If there is a greater tackle in the country than Stan Muirhead of Michigan he has not yet been seen.[9]

Princeton coach Bill Roper watched the Michigan-Minnesota game as a guest of Fielding Yost. After the game, Roper had high praise for Kipke: "Kipke is the greatest punter I have ever seen ... I have never seen such deadly accuracy ... It was impossible for the Minnesota quarterback to handle Kipke's kicks. Most of them went out of bounds some fifty yards from the line of scrimmage."[10]


  1. ^ "1923 Minnesota Golden Gophers Schedule and Results". SR/College Football. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved November 1, 2017. 
  2. ^ Keiser, Jeff (2007), 2007 Media Guide (PDF), p. 161 [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "2014 NCAA Football Records: Consensus All-America Selections" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 2014. p. 5. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Walter Camp's All-American Team". Alton Evening Telegraph. 1923-12-19. 
  5. ^ Billy Evans (December 4, 1923). "Coaches Select All-Conference Football Team for Evans". The New Castle Herald. p. 9. 
  6. ^ "Big Ten Stars to End Careers In Michigan-Minnesota Battle". The New York Times. November 20, 1923. 
  7. ^ a b "Rockwell Star in Wolverine Victory, 10–0: Michigan Forward Wall Stops Martineau and His Running Mates; Kipke Boots Drop; Puts Game on Ice by Pretty Kick Between the Uprights". The Davenport Democrat and Leader (AP story). November 25, 1923. p. 27. 
  8. ^ "Minnesota Loses To Wolverines, 10 to 0: 42,000 See Yost Men Fight Way to Tie For Big Ten Grid Honors". Decatur Sunday Review (AP story). November 25, 1923. p. 11. 
  9. ^ "Michigan To Lose Seven Regulars by Graduation in June". Iowa City Press-Citizen. December 1, 1923. 
  10. ^ 1924 Michiganensian, "Michigan Football," page 224.