Check out these 50 fun Big Ten football facts

With football season just around the corner, BTN.com decided to offer up a heavy dose of Big Ten football facts. See Sean Merriman’s 50 fun and interesting list of factoids in this post. Have another tidbit? Feel free to leave it in the comment box at the bottom of the post.

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1. The first-ever Heisman Trophy winner (1935) was awarded to a player from a Big Ten school (Jay Berwanger, University of Chicago).

2. Michigan is 19-2 at home under head coach Brady Hoke, but 7-11 when playing at other locations.

3. Wisconsin has outscored Indiana by a total of 255-44 in their last four meetings. The two schools don’t play each other this season.

4. Illinois is the only Big Ten school that has gone undefeated and beaten every team in the conference in the same season (1983).

5. Minnesota’s Bronko Nagurski was the first player in NCAA history to be voted an All-American at two different positions in the same season (tackle and fullback).

6. Michigan first debuted its famous winged helmets back in 1938 in a 14-0 win over in-state rival Michigan State.

7. Former Chicago Tribune writer Wallace Abbey is responsible for giving Northwestern the nickname “Wildcats,” back in 1924.

8. Purdue is nicknamed both the “Cradle of Quarterbacks” and the “Den of Defensive Ends.”

9. Former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady is the brother-in-law of former MLB player Kevin Youkilis.

10. Former Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle El played three varsity sports during his time as a Hoosier (football, basketball, baseball).

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Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

11. Michigan had two Heisman Trophy winners in the 90’s (Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard), and both were selected No. 4 overall in the NFL Draft (Howard in 1992 and Woodson in 1998).

12. Penn State’s first colors were not blue and white, they were black and pink.

13. Former Ohio State linebacker James Laurinatis is the son of former pro wrestler Joe Laurinaitis, who is better known in the WWE as “Road Warrior Animal.”

14. On Nov. 18, 2006, No. 1-ranked Ohio State defeated number-2 ranked Michigan, 42-39, which will go down as one of the most memorable games in this storied rivalry. A half-hour after the 2006 game in Columbus, the Ohio Lottery Pick 4 evening drawing was 4-2-3-9, which matched the final score of the game.

15. The last time Iowa beat both Ohio State and Michigan in same year was in 1962.

16. The Minnesota Golden Gophers played their first football game on September 29th, 1882. The final score of the game was 4-0, with the Gophers defeating Hamline University.

17. Former Michigan running back Mike Hart scored a 1280 on his SATs and graduated in the top five of his class with a 94 percent average.

18. Former Michigan State running back Javon Ringer owns a black belt in Karate.

19. Nebraska has more conference championships (43) than any other Big Ten school.

20. Nebraska handed Nick Saban his worst loss as a head coach when the Huskers defeated Saban’s Michigan State Spartans, 50-10, back on Sept. 9, 1995.

[ MORE: Tom Dienhart ranks the top 50 Big Ten games 0f 2014 ]

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

21. Former Maryland quarterback Frank Reich, at one time, was the engineer of the biggest comebacks in NCAA and NFL history. The 31-point comeback vs. Miami in 1984 has since been bested.

22. Former Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier was not sacked once in the 1995 college football season.

23. A pair of Purdue quarterbacks ranks first and second on the Big Ten’s career passing yards list (1. Drew Brees: 11,792 yards & 2. Curtis Painter: 11,163 yards)

24. Former Wisconsin running back and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne holds the Big Ten record for the most career rushing yards with 7,125.

25. Former Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards holds the Big Ten record for the most career receiving touchdowns with 39 TD receptions.

26. Iowa has had at least one player selected in every NFL Draft since 1978, which includes 19 first round selections.

27. Former Penn State kicker Kevin Kelly holds the Big Ten record for career field goals with 74.

28. Isaiah “Juice” Williams attended the same school as former Illinois star Dick Butkus, Chicago Vocational High School.

29. Michigan State finished the season ranked No. 2 in the AP poll four times in a 15-year span (1951-1966).

30. Greg Schiano was the youngest head coach in Div. I-A football when Rutgers hired him back in 2000.

[ MORE: Big Ten's top candidates for postseason football awards ]

 Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

31. Michigan led the nation in average attendance for the 15th straight season in 2013, averaging 111,592 fans.

32. Entering the 2014 season, the Wolverines hold all 25 spots on the NCAA single-game regular-season crowds list, which has been compiled since 1949.

33. University of Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium served as a training ground during the Civil War.

34. Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alverez served as an assistant coach for Hayden Fry at Iowa and played football at Nebraska.

35. College Football Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz coached at three separate Big Ten schools: Iowa (assistant), Ohio State (assistant) and Minnesota (head coach).

36. The famous Michigan Stadium was actually built on top of an underground spring.

37. The Wisconsin Badgers once had a real-life badger as their mascot. However, the animal proved too mean, and it was replaced in the 1940’s.

38. Michigan cornerback Charles Woodson was the first Heisman Trophy winner (1997) to be a primary defensive player.

39. The first bowl game, later known as The Rose Bowl, was played on January 1, 1902 between the Michigan Wolverines and Stanford Cardinal. Michigan won 49-0.

40. Michigan has the most all-time wins in college football history (910).

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Wisconsin's Russell Wilson

Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

41. Michigan Stadium, Beaver Stadium and Ohio State make up three of the four largest stadiums in college football, based on seating capacity.

42. Former Illinois defensive back Al Brosky holds the NCAA record with 29 career interceptions.

43. The first-ever college football game took place on Nov. 6, 1869 between Rutgers University and Princeton.

44. Former Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson holds the NCAA record for the highest passing efficiency rating for a season (191.78).

45. Ohio State shares the record with Notre Dame for the most Heisman Trophies at seven apiece.

46. Former Illinois running back Howard Griffith holds the NCAA record for the most rushing touchdowns in a single game (eight).

47. A typical Nebraska home game attracts an average of 85,000 people, making the stadium more popular than Nebraska’s third-largest city.

48. Former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball currently holds the NCAA Division I-FBS record for most career rushing touchdowns with 77.

49. Former Northwestern linebacker Tim McGarigle holds the NCAA record for the most tackles in a career (545).

50. Minnesota became the first repeat NCAA football champion since AP polling began in 1936.

Originally from Farmington Hills, MI, I have worked at the Big Ten Network since 2012 and took over my role as web editor and blogger in August, 2013. Follow me on twitter for constant Big Ten updates @srmerriman. Thanks and enjoy!!

15 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (15 Comments)
Jim Hill on 7/21/2014 @ 10:30am EDT Said:

#47 doesn’t make sense. Dirt is more popular than the third largest city in Nebraska. And…more interesting than Barry Alverez coaching at Iowa is that he played at Nebraska and sought to build Wisconsin in the image of Nebraska. Hence the uniforms, helmet, etc.

Jason Heilskov on 7/21/2014 @ 11:06am EDT Said:

Wow, thanks for that one negative comment about the Iowa Hawkeyes! Also, thanks for 14 comments about the Michigan Wolverines, I really can sleep better tonight knowing that Tom Brady is the brother -in law of Kevin Youkliss. What a bad and biased list!

Bob Bates on 7/21/2014 @ 11:58am EDT Said:

So who is B1G career tackles leader, Greg Jones (entry #26) or Tim McGarigle (entry #49)?

B Miller on 7/21/2014 @ 12:37pm EDT Said:

#19 is misleading. Nebraska doesn’t have 43 Big Ten titles. It doesn’t even have 43 Big Eight titles. It has 43 titles from all the different conferences it’s been a part of. Michigan has the most Big Ten football titles with 42.

John on 7/21/2014 @ 12:43pm EDT Said:

Jason, I agree with you 100%!! For every one comment about Iowa in this trashy column, there are 20 for Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State. I always thought writers were supposed to be neutral. I guess I was wrong. Sean Merriman is the worst writer I have ever seen.

Chaz on 7/21/2014 @ 1:08pm EDT Said:

Jim Hill, I think the author meant to say “populous” rather than “popular” Sean Merriman must be a Big Ten journalism grad. Also, Wisconsin has had their color scheme long before Alvarez showed up in Madison. The only comparison are the colors. They never put a tiny block “W” on helmets like the Huskers. In fact, I think the Nebraska uniforms are way past due for an update. The fan base clings to many old traditions, though and would never put up with a new look. Barry actually built the program in his image supported by then president Donna Shalala. He did a hell of a job!

Martin on 7/21/2014 @ 1:12pm EDT Said:

The problem is I see is that some of these so-called Big Ten facts do not belong to Big Ten. Many of the facts pertaining to Nebraska occurred when Nebraska was in Big Twelve. It would be more appropriate to list only facts that were generated during Big Ten play.

Faygo on 7/21/2014 @ 1:49pm EDT Said:

Jason, you’re right> All meechgan, all the time, no matter their record on the field.

Trip Kenobi-Manfro (@pfac51) on 7/21/2014 @ 2:18pm EDT Said:

Number 19, should have an asterisk next to it and is misleading. Other than that, the list looks solid.

Jan on 7/21/2014 @ 3:57pm EDT Said:

#11 Both players also won superbowls with the packers

Sean on 7/21/2014 @ 10:24pm EDT Said:

#47 doesnt Beaver stadium seat more people than the third largest city in Pennsylvania?

Erik on 7/21/2014 @ 10:54pm EDT Said:

Nebraska average home attendance is now greater than 91,000. Not at all surprised the BTN would manage to underwhelm this stat.

Fred on 7/22/2014 @ 1:56pm EDT Said:

I didn’t knw Giselle was Kevin Youkilis’ brother.

Zach on 7/22/2014 @ 4:00pm EDT Said:

#4 is wrong, unless i am misunderstanding something. Illinois lost their first game of the season to Missouri in 1983.

Jim on 7/22/2014 @ 7:02pm EDT Said:

Zach is correct. Illinois lost to Mizzou in 1983. They are still the only team go undefeated in conference play against every member of the conference. Will likely be the only one ever to do so. Also, Illinois is the only team to win at Ann Arbor and Columbus in the same year–1999.