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A Brief History of The Game (1897 to 1950)

Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Nov 28, 2015.

By LordJeffBuck on Nov 28, 2015 at 10:30 AM
  1. LordJeffBuck

    LordJeffBuck Illuminatus Emeritus Staff Member

    Michigan Sucks!

    That would probably suffice for most Buckeye fans, but for the rest of you here is a more complete history of the rivalry:

    1. Ohio State and Michigan first met on October 16, 1897. Michigan won that contest by the score of 34-0, but that was just par for the course for the 1897 Buckeyes as the team was outscored 168 to 18 on the season, with seven shutouts, en route to a program-worst 1-7-1 record.

    2. The teams next met in 1900, and appropriately tied 0-0.

    3. The teams played each year from 1901 to 1912, with Michigan compiling a record of 11-0-1 and outscoring Ohio State by a combined score of 321 to 21 (27 to 2 on a per game basis) with eight shutouts. The lowlight of Michigan's historic run was an 86-0 shellacking in 1902, the most points ever surrendered and the worst defeat ever suffered by the Buckeyes.

    4. From 1901 to 1912, Ohio State was a fairly good team, with an overall record of 78-32-11 (.690 winning percentage) and a winning record in each season. However, while Ohio State was building a respectable program, Michigan was creating a football powerhouse with an overall record of 88-9-7 (.880 winning percentage).

    5. From 1901 to 1905, the Wolverines, under legendary head coach Fielding "Hurry Up" Yost, posted a record of 55-1-1, outscored their opponents 2,821 to 42, and were awarded retroactive national championships for 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1904. In 1905, Michigan began the season at 12-0-0, with each win coming by shutout. In the 13th and final game of the season, Michigan faced the University of Chicago, coached by the equally legendary Amos Alonzo Stagg, who entered the game at 10-0-0 with nine shutout victories. Chicago had the only score of the game - a safety - and won by the score of 2 to nil, thereby securing a perfect record and the only national championship in school history.

    6. Michigan was a founding member of the Big Ten in 1896, but the Wolverines took a hiatus from the conference from 1907 to 1916. Ohio State joined the Big Ten in 1913. The first Big Ten contest between the two teams occurred in 1918. Michigan won, 14-0, and increased their overall record in the series to 13-0-2. Michigan won another retroactive national championship for the 1918 season.

    7. Charles William "Chic" Harley was the first great Buckeye football player. In 1916 and 1917, Harley led Ohio State to a combined record of 15-0-1, with the Buckeyes outscoring their opponents by a combined 350-35 (22 to 2 on a per game basis). In 1918, Harley left to fight in World War One, and the Buckeyes fell to a record of 3-3-0 with the aforementioned loss to Michigan. Upon Harley's return in 1919, Ohio State was once again a powerful program, and the team won its first six games of the season. Included in that winning streak was the program's first ever win over Michigan, on October 25th, by the score of 13-3. Ohio State would finish the 1919 season with a last-second loss to Illinois that would cost the Buckeyes their first national championship.

    8. The Buckeyes actually won three in a row in the rivalry (1919 to 1921), then went on a six-game losing streak (1922-1927) before closing out the decade of the 1920s with a pair of victories (1928, 1929). At this point, Michigan held the edge in the series, 19-5-2. Michigan won another retroactive national championship in 1923. Michigan's Fielding Yost retired after the 1926 season with a record of 165-29-11 (.832 winning percentage), 10 Big Ten titles, and 6 (retroactive) national championships.

    9. The teams split the series in the 1930s (5-5-0). In 1933, Ohio State went 7-1-0, suffering their only loss to Michigan (7-0-1) by the score of 13-0. This version of The Game was the first to have national championship implications for both teams, as Michigan won a retroactive title and Ohio State missed out due to their loss to the Wolverines.

    10. In 1934, Buckeye first-year head coach Francis Schmidt instituted a tradition that still carries on today: the Gold Pants. Every time that Ohio State beats Michigan, each current Buckeye player receives a gold pants charm to commemorate the victory.

    11. Schmidt had a great start at Ohio State, beating Michigan four consecutive times (1934-1937), all by shutout; the 38-0 whitewashing in the 1935 Game remains the Buckeyes' largest margin of victory in the series. Tippy Dye led the team from 1934 to 1936, and he became the first Buckeye quarterback to have three wins in The Game. Schmidt narrowly missed national championships in both 1934 and 1935, but close losses to Illinois (1934 by the score of 14-13) and Notre Dame (1935 by the score of 18-13) kept his teams from perfection.

    12. After Schmidt's great start, he lost his final three contests against Michigan (1938-1940), and he resigned after the 1940 season. Michigan's Tom Harmon won the Heisman Trophy in 1940.

    13. The legendary Paul Brown replaced Francis Schmidt, and in his first version of The Game (1941) the teams played to a 20-20 draw. Brown's team earned a 21-7 victory the following year (1942) en route to the AP national championship, Ohio State's first recognized national title. Brown lasted only one more year in Columbus, a miserable 3-6 season in 1943 that saw the Buckeyes finish the year by losing to Michigan, 45-7.

    14. Carroll Widdoes replaced Paul Brown for the 1944 season and promptly guided the Buckeyes to a 9-0-0 record. Led by Heisman Trophy winner Les Horvath, the Buckeyes beat Michigan in the season finale by the score of 18-14. Ohio State finished #2 in the AP poll behind Army (also 9-0-0), and the 1944 Buckeyes are sometimes known as the Civilian National Champions.

    15. After the Buckeyes' perfect 1944 season, Michigan went on a four-game winning streak in the series. In each of those seasons, Michigan finished in the top six in the AP poll (the only poll until the advent of the coaches poll in 1950): #6 in 1945 (7-3-0 record); #6 in 1946 (6-2-1 record); #2 in 1947 (10-0-0 record); and #1 in 1948 (9-0-0 record). Notre Dame (9-0-0) finished #1 in the 1947 AP poll, which was voted on prior to the bowl games. Notre Dame did not play in a bowl that year, but Michigan beat Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl by the score of 49-0. Allegedly, the AP voters took an unofficial poll after the Rose Bowl and Michigan supposedly came out on top, and based on this unofficial poll Michigan claims a national championship for 1947. However, the AP does not recognize that unofficial post-bowl poll, and the NCAA does not recognize Michigan as a national champion for 1947.

    16. The teams tied in the 1949 Game, 7-7, and also split a Big Ten title that year. Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl following the regular season and defeated California, 17-14, the Buckeyes' first Rose Bowl victory.

    17. In 1950, the teams played for another Big Ten championship, but that wasn't the game's claim to fame. The 1950 Game was the infamous Snow Bowl, which was played in Columbus under blizzard conditions - there was half a foot of snow on the field which was constantly being whipped around by 30 mile per hour winds. Ohio State punted a record 21 times, and Michigan 24 times. The only scores occurred in the kicking game, with Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz somehow kicking a field goal through the swirling winds, and Michigan scoring on two blocked punts (one for a safety, the other for a touchdown). The Wolverines won the game, 9-3, and the Big Ten title.

    18. Through the first half of the 20th Century, Michigan held a commanding advantage in The Game, 29-12-4; in Big Ten titles, 20 to 8; and recognized national championships, 8 to 1. All that was about to change.
     
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Discussion in 'Buckeye Football' started by LordJeffBuck, Nov 28, 2015.

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