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Willie Heston, Former Michigan Football Star, Is Dead

Sept. 10, 1963 - Willie Heston, a University of Michigan football hero, died last night in Traverse City, Mich., on his 85th birthday. Heston (pictured seated second from right in 1903) played halfback on Coach Fielding (Hurry Up) Yost’s “point a minute” teams that terrorized their opponents from 1901 through 1904. He also was the first player outside the Ivy League to make All-America. Halfback Heston and Yost’s high-scoring Michigan teams dominated college football of the West soon after the turn of the century. Heston was recalled by the old-timers as a fast, hard runner who smashed through opposition when he couldn’t outspeed his rivals. Heston played football before the day of the forward pass, so brawn and stamina were the essentials. He is credited with scoring 93 touchdowns for Michigan for a total of 465 points when a touchdown was still 5 points. In 1903, Heston played in the 6-6 tie with Minnesota that inspired the “Little Brown Jug” rivalry. So delighted were Minnesota’s partisans over holding mighty Michigan to a tie that they stole the water jug from the Wolverines’ bench. The jug has become the traditional prize of the winner of the Minnesota-Michigan game each year.


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