The Michigan Engineer News Center

Betting at the Horseshoe: the engineer comes through

In October 1922, the first matchup between the Michigan and Ohio State football teams was at the stadium now known as the Horseshoe.| Short Read

According to legend, a bet was placed on the October 21, 1922, “Dedication Game” at Ohio Stadium – the first matchup between the Michigan and Ohio State football teams at the stadium now known as the Horseshoe.

The Wolverines pounded the Buckeyes and won that game, 19-0, largely due to the play of tight end, defensive end, kicker – and engineering student – Paul Goebel. Though he was playing with a crude steel hinge of a brace he’d employed since “throwing out his knee” the year before, Goebel still kicked a long field goal, recovered a fumble, blocked a punt and generally wreaked havoc on defense all game long.

EnlargePortrait of Paul G. Goebel
IMAGE:  Paul G. Goebel. Photo courtesy bentley Historical Library.

Maize and blue are not popular colors at OSU – so why, if you look closely, will you find that the upper rotunda at The Horseshoe features maize flowers against a blue background? Some say the Dedication Game loss – and Ohio State’s lost bet – required that the Buckeyes endure this indignity as payment for Goebel’s dominance.

Paul Goebel – the first Michigan All-American receiver to wear the coveted No. 1 jersey, an honor that continues to this day – would later distinguish himself in a variety of fields. He would become an All-Pro in the National Football League, a Big Ten conference football official for 16 years, and a Navy Lieutenant during WWII.

Following the war Goebel settled in Grand Rapids, where he served as mayor during the 1950s and as a University of Michigan regent from 1962 to 1970. During his time as a regent, Michigan Engineering received several gifts to honor Goebel’s service to the University and to establish an endowed chair for the Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering.

Editor’s note: Folks at OSU say this is a “myth” – that color specifications were established well before the stadium was even built. But that’s what they say. I mean, why in the world would they have specified maize and blue?

Portrait of Paul G. Goebel
Portrait of Brad Whitehouse


Brad Whitehouse
Editor for Alumni Communications

Michigan Engineering
Communications & Marketing

(734) 647-7089

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