Football: Northwestern and Michigan to play for George Jewett Trophy, honoring Big Ten’s first Black football player


Source: Northwestern Archives

The 1893 Northwestern football team. George Jewett (second from the right) will name a rivalry trophy between the Wildcats and Michigan beginning in 2021.

Patrick Andres, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern and Michigan will begin playing for a traveling rivalry trophy named for George Jewett in 2021, the two schools’ athletic departments announced Thursday morning. Jewett was the first Black football player in the history of the Big Ten and both schools.

Jewett will be the first Black player to get a rivalry trophy at the Football Bowl Subdivision level named after him. The Ann Arbor native played as a halfback, fullback and kicker for his hometown Wolverines in 1890 and 1892, helping Michigan to a pair of winning records. He then transferred to Northwestern to study medicine, playing two seasons for the Wildcats and eventually beginning his professional career as a doctor in the Chicago area.

NU and the Wolverines are scheduled to play this season in Ann Arbor on October 23. It will be the 76th meeting between the two schools in a series dating back to 1892; Michigan leads the series 58-15-2, and has won the last six meetings. The Cats last beat the Wolverines in 2008, using two third-quarter C.J. Bacher touchdown passes to knock off Michigan 21-14.

The George Jewett Trophy will become NU’s second traveling trophy, joining the Land of Lincoln Trophy contested between the Cats and Illinois. The Wolverines play Minnesota for the Little Brown Jug and Michigan State for the Paul Bunyan Trophy, in addition to their traditional rivalry with Ohio State.

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