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August 10, 2013

Countdown To Kickoff: Day 22

Since the final play of the Wolverines' Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina, Michigan coaches, players and fans alike have eagerly awaited the start of the 2013 season - and another chance to win the program's first Big Ten Championship since 2004.

Now, with the calendar turning over to August, the season is just around the corner.

To count down to the season, The Wolverine is naming the best player to ever wear each jersey number, No. 99 to No. 1.

We'll highlight 3-5 jerseys a day, all the way to the morning of Aug. 31, the day the Wolverines finally kick off the season at The Big House against Central Michigan.

No. 71

Dave Gallagher, defensive tackle (1971-73)

Gallagher was a run-stuffer for some of the most dominant Michigan defenses in the modern era.

In 1972, Gallagher's first year as a starter, the Wolverines posted a 10-1 record. That season, the Wolverines recorded an impressive four shutouts on defense, surrendered just 5.2 points per game and gave up double-digit points just once (a 14-11 loss to Ohio State at the end of the season).

As a member of Michigan's five-man defensive front, Gallagher posted 56 tackles.

The next season, Gallagher, a team captain, record 59 tackles and earned first-team All-American honors. The Wolverines were once again terrorizing on defense, tallying three consecutive shutouts and allowing double-digit points just three times.

After winning the first 10 games of the year, a 10-10 tie to Ohio State infamously shut Michigan out of the Rose Bowl.

Gallagher finished his career with 140 career tackles.

No. 70

Marty Huff, linebacker (1968-70)

Huff was a middling contributor in 1968 - but excelled when Bo Schembechler stepped on campus before the 1969 season.

He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior for the 1969 Big Ten Championship season, racking up more than 100 tackles and six interceptions, including one against Duke - his first-career pick - that he returned 44 yards for a touchdown.

He followed up with another 100-tackle performance in 1970, earning first-team All-American honors and first-team All-Big Ten honors once again.

He finished with 266 career tackles, nine interceptions and one defensive touchdown.

No. 69

Tom Dixon, center (1980-83)

After spot duty as a reserve center in 1980, Dixon cracked the starting lineup at the beginning of the 1981 season and never looked back.

From his sophomore to senior year, he started 36 consecutive games at center, finishing his career in the 1984 Sugar Bowl (a 9-7 loss to Auburn).

During his career, the Wolverines compiled a 26-10 record, finished in the top 15 of the AP poll every season and won the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl in 1982.

During his three seasons as the starting center, Dixon led the offense to 258.1 rushing yards per game. Michigan scored 20 or more points in 26 of his 36 starts.

Dixon was a first-team All-American in 1983 and a two-time first-team All-Big Ten Performer (1982, 1983).

He won Michigan's John Maulbetsch Award in 1981.


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