Friday, September 18, 2015

Michigan State versus service academies

Tomorrow, Michigan State plays Air Force for the first time ever.

A few days ago, I got a little bored--as sometimes happens--and decided to research Michigan State football's history of playing military service academies. As it turns out, MSU has only played two games against any of the three major American academies (United States Military Academy, aka "Army"; United States Naval Academy, aka "Navy"; and United States Air Force Academy,  aka "Air Force"). Both of Michigan State's games were against Army, and they were both losses. The first was a 20-7 loss to the Cadets at West Point's Michie Stadium in 1931, and the second was a turnover-plagued 10-6 loss in the 1984 Cherry Bowl.

So then I decided to take the inquiry a little further. How many other games has Michigan State played against any military-related institution? The answer, as near as I can tell, is five. Here they are:

The first took place in 1908, when Michigan State (then known as Michigan Agricultural College) defeated the Saginaw Naval Brigade by a score of 30-6.

The following season (1909), M.A.C. took on Culver Military Academy, a military prep school in Culver, Indiana. The Aggies shutout the high school age Culver boys 29-0.

In 1917, as the nation fought World War I, the M.A.C. Aggies were soundly defeated 20-0 at home by a team from Camp MacArthur of Waco, Texas.

During World War II, Michigan State played two games against teams from the Great Lakes Navy training facility from Great Lakes, Illinois. The first game was in 1942 and the second in 1945, The Spartans won the first contest 14-0, but dropped the second 27-7.

So, Michigan State's overall record against any military-related institution is 3 wins and 4 losses. Here's hoping the Spartans can even it up with a win over the Air Force Falcons.

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