Photoshop Phriday: Fred Norcross
Of the many different Michigan football rabbit holes I travel down often, researching Fielding Yost’s point-a-minute teams of the early 20th century is one of my favorite. From 1901 to 1905 Yost’s teams outscored opponents 2821 to 42. They won four straight national titles (’01-’04), averaged 50 points a game and amassed a 55-1-1 record. Fred Norcross of Menominee, MI was the team’s quarterback from 1903 to 1905. Norcross pursued a degree in mechanical engineering at Michigan and had a career in the mining industry; this is no surprise given that the UP has historically been mined for many things including copper and iron. His hometown of Menominee is the southernmost point in Michigan’s UP, so much so that the most direct route from Menominee to Ann Arbor is south around Lake Michigan through Chicago.
‘Norkie’, as he was called, captained the Michigan team in 1905 and afterward coached football for one year at Oregon State. He notably appears in the Michigan record books as one of few players to ever score 5 or more non-passing touchdowns in a game, which is even more remarkable since he was a QB. Norcross scored those touchdowns in a 130-0 Michigan win against West Virginia in 1904, a game in which WVU reportedly only gained three yards. To date this remains the most points Michigan has ever scored in a game. Norcross was a favorite of Coach Yost and the other Michigan players since he always came to practice with fresh baked fougasse for everyone.