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Michigan, Northwestern Create Historic College Football Trophy

Northwestern football player leading his team onto the field while holding an American flag.

EVANSTON IL - NOVEMBER 08: Tom Hruby #35 of the Northwestern Wildcats leads the team on the field against the Michigan Wolverines on November 8, 2014 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

While not the most high profile rivalry in college football, Michigan and Northwestern have met on the football field a whopping 75 times since their first meeting way back in 1892. But now they're going to make their rivalry official with a special trophy commemorating a pioneer in college football.

On Thursday, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel announced that the George Jewett Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the Michigan-Northwestern game. Jewett was chosen for being a pioneer of college football. He played for both Michigan and Northwestern between 1890 and 1893.

Not only did Jewett play for both schools, he was the first African-American to letter in football for either program. He also boasts the distinction of being the first African-American to letter for any Big Ten program.

"This is a historic moment in major college football history," Manuel said in a statement, via 247Sports. "We are proud to partner with our peer institution, Northwestern, to recognize and honor an African American pioneer in George Jewett. George achieved at a high level as an athlete and doctor. His hard work and effort led to success not only for himself, but for those who would follow a similar path after him. His excellence at two Big Ten institutions as a student, athlete and citizen is something we want our current student-athletes to aspire to during their collegiate experience. The George Jewett Trophy will become a proud celebration of the importance to diversity on our teams, campuses, and in our society."

With this distinction, George Jewett becomes the first African-American to have a college football trophy named after him.

Michigan and Northwestern are slated to face off on October 23 of this year. It will be their 76th meeting, but the first with the George Jewett Trophy on the line.

Historically, the Wolverines have dominated the Wildcats. They boast a 58-15-2 record against Northwestern and are riding a six-game winning streak against them.

But four of the last five meetings have been decided by one score. Perhaps 2021 will be the year Pat Fitzgerald and his team end the streak and get in the W column against Jim Harbaugh.