Head coach no coach
Home stadium Ann Arbor Fairgrounds
|1890 record 4–1|
Captain William C. Malley
The 1890 Michigan Wolverines football team represented the University of Michigan in the 1890 college football season. The team compiled a 4–1 record and outscored its opponents by a combined score of 129 to 36. The team captain was William C. Malley. George P. Codd, who later served as the Mayor of Detroit and in the United States Congress, was the team's manager. George Jewett, who played at the fullback and halfback positions from Michigan, became the first African American to play football at Michigan. After Jewett, no other African American played for Michigan until the 1930s. Eight years before Jewett's debut for the Michigan football team, Moses Fleetwood Walker became the first African-American to letter for Michigan, doing so on the baseball team.
Michigan opened its season on October 11, 1890, with a 56–10 victory over the team from Albion College. Despite the lopsided score, The Chronicle-Argonaut critical of the team's performance: "Last Saturday's game with Albion showed quite conclusively that our foot ball players are not yet in the best of form. Though the score was 56-10 in our favor, still Albion ought not to have scored at all and our men should have made more points, if we expect to hold our own when we meet a team that can play. The men did not play with their heads, were very weak in blocking and did not follow the ball as they should have done, nor did they respond to signals readily enough."
at Detroit Athletic Club
On October 18, 1890, Michigan played the team from the Detroit Athletic Club in Detroit. Michigan won the game, 38–0. A steady rain began to fall at 2:00 in the afternoon and continued intermittently throughout the game, which started at 3:30 p.m. The first half was 45 minutes, and Michigan scored three touchdowns on runs by Malley and Jewett. Michigan led 18-0 at halftime. In the second half, darkness and steady rain made it difficult to see the game from the stands. Michigan scored four more touchdowns in the second half. Traynor of Michigan was kicked out of the game for "shin kicking." One published account of the game noted: "Jewett's lay was a revelation to the Detroiters and his work was fully up to standard. . . . A detailed account of the game is unnecessary since it was simply a series of rushes, touchdowns and trials at goals by the U. of M., the latter generally unsuccessful by reason of the rain, which prevented any brilliant playing." Michigan's starting lineup against D. A. C. was Roger Sherman (left end), Prettyman (left tackle), Sutherland (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Trainer (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Jewett (left halback), Grosh (right halfback), and Dygert (fullback). Pearson replaced Traynor after he was ejected from the game.
On October 25, 1890, the Wolverines played their second game of the season against Albion. The game was played on Albion's home field. Michigan won 16-0. Grosh scored Michigan's first two touchdowns, and Jewett kicked a goal. Albion scored on a long touchdown run by its halfback Anderson, but the referee did not allow the points. The first half ended with Michigan leading, 10-0. In the second half, Jewett scored a touchdown and kicked the goal after touchdown to extend the lead to 16-0. Albion scored another touchdown on a long run by Albion quarterback Burnham, but it was also disallowed. Sherman and Chadbourne of Michigan were both ruled out of the game for slugging in the second half. Michigan's starting lineup against Albion was Roger Sherman (left end), Pearson (left tackle), Trainer (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Sutherland (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Jewett (halback), Grosh (halfback), and Dygert (fullback). Players appearing in the game as substitutes for Michigan were Sam Sherman and McMorran. Bert Carr who later played for Michigan was the starting left guard for Albion.
For its fourth game of the 1890 season, Michigan faced the Purdue Boilermakers in Ann Arbor on November 1, 1890. Michigan won, 34-6. The game marked the first football game between two teams that would later become members of the Big Ten Conference. The game received a total of six lines of coverage in the Detroit Free Press. The newspaper noted: "The game was hotly contested. James E. Duffy, the famous halfback of the team of '88 and '89, played in the game, relieving Jewett, who was injured."
After winning its first four games, Michigan concluded its season with a 20-5 loss to Cornell. The game was played at Recreation Park in Detroit. Cornell led 10-0 at halftime and extended its lead to 20-0 in the second half. Late in the game, Michigan scored five points on a field goal by James E. Duffy "from the sixty-yard mark." Michigan's starting lineup against Cornell was Roger Sherman (left end), Prettyman (left tackle), Trainer (left guard), Chadbourne (center), Sutherland (right guard), Malley (right tackle), McKean (right end), Holden (quarterback), Duffy (halback), Grosh (halfback), and Jewett (fullback).