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Buckeyes and Sabermetrics
A Brief History
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"Points" is displayed as points/game-points allowed/game (margin/game). Ranking lists the AP first; other polls are given in parentheses, except for the other major poll (at times UPI, at times USA Today), which is listed after the /. Final AP Rankings were first taken after bowl games in 1968. The stat listed after the QB's completions, attempts, and yards is completion percentage times yards per attempt. National championships are only considered those from major polls. Sources used in compiling this page included the OSU Media Guide, Jack Park's Encyclopedia, Snypp/Hunter's The Buckeyes, the Neft/Cohen/Deutsch Ohio State Football Scrapbook, and Bill Levy's Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust. This page is a work in progress and I plan to continue to expand and refine it.

1890
Record: 1-3
Points: 7.5-27.5 (-20.0)
Captains: Jesse Jones, Paul Lincoln
OSU football began May 3 in Delaware, north of Columbus, when the Buckeyes defeated Ohio Wesleyan 20-14 under coach Alexander Lilley. In the fall, three more games were played, with Jack Ryder serving as coach. On November 1, the first home game was played at Recreation Park on the south side of Columbus, a 64-0 loss to Wooster. Two more losses to in-state opponents rounded out the season.

1891
Record: 2-2
Points: 5.0-20.0 (-15.0)
Captain: Richard Ellis
With Lilley back at coach, the season began in November with the Buckeyes blown out twice in four days by Western Reserve and Kenyon, but two weeks later on November 24, Ohio recorded its first ever home win 8-4 over Denison. A win at Akron two weeks later salvaged an even record.

1892
Record: 5-3
Points: 32.5-18.0 (+14.5)
Captain: Richard Ellis
The 1892 season was marked by change as Jack Ryder was back to coach, and home games were on campus for the first time at the Athletic Park on Neal Avenue. After splitting two road games, the new field was christened October 29 with an 80-0 win over Marietta. The season closed with a new record of crowd of 1,200 on hand for a Thanksgiving Day downing of Kenyon.

1893
Record: 4-5
Points: 22.4-19.8 (+2.7)
Captain: AP Gillen
After starting 1-1, the Bucks reeled off a 3-game losing streak (Oberlin, Kenyon, Western Reserve) and a 3-game winning steak (Akron, Cincinnati, Marietta). The Bucks then failed to hold a 4-0 halftime lead on Thanksgiving against Kenyon, falling 10-8. The Oberlin game marked the first appearance of an OSU band at a football game.

1894
Record: 6-5
Points: 14.5-10.4 (+4.2)
Captain: WG Nagel
M.C. Lilley began the season as coach, but quit in mid-season, replaced by Ryder. The Bucks opened the season with losses in two games played at the Ohio State Fair, then alternated wins and losses for six games. Ohio then won at Cincinnati, beat Western Reserve at home, and won the Thanksgiving Day game against Kenyon.

1895
Record: 4-4-2
Points: 6.2-10.2 (-4.0)
Captain: Renick Dunlap
A season of many firsts, 1895 included the first OSU tie (4-4 at Denison on October 26), first home tie (8-8 v. Ohio Wesleyan on November 2), first out-of-state game (an 8-6 win at Kentucky on November 15), and only games played on consecutive days (November 16 @ Central Kentucky). A jubilant crowd rushed the field after the Buckeyes beat Kenyon on Thanksgiving to close out the campaign.

1896
Record: 5-5-1
Points: 12.7-7.8 (+4.9)
Captains: Edward French, William Reed
Sid Farrer began the season as coach until Charles Hickey was hired away from Williams College. The season featured alternating wins and losses (excluding the tie) ending with a loss in the Thanksgiving game against Kenyon. The October 17 game, scheduled to be played at Otterbein, was moved to Canton to augment William McKinley's presidential campaign.

1897
Record: 1-7-1
Points: 2.0-18.7 (-16.7)
Michigan: @L, 34-0
Captain: Harry Hawkins
Charles Hickey was dismissed as coach after 1896, replaced by Princeton grad David Edwards. After a 6-0 win over Ohio Medical, cut short when the opponents refused to take the field in protest of Ohio State's touchdown, the Buckeyes could only muster points in a 12-12 tie with Otterbein, being shut out in the other seven games, including the first game against Michigan on October 16. Several home games were played at the field of a Columbus minor league baseball outfit. Edwards contract was unsurprisingly not renewed.

1898
Record: 3-5
Points: 10.0-15.1 (-15.1)
Captain: John Segrist
Jack Ryder's third and final term as coach began 2-1 before a four-game losing streak, but a win over Ohio Wesleyan on Thanksgiving provided a positive note to end the year. University Field, on the corner of High Street and Woodruff Avenue, was christened with a 17-0 victory over Heidelberg in the season opener, and would have a long run as the home of the Buckeyes.

1899
Ohio Champions
Record: 9-0-1
Points: 18.4-.5 (+17.9)
Captain: D.B. Sayers
John Eckstrom was hired away from Kenyon, and promptly fielded the first great Ohio State team. The Buckeyes tore through the other Ohio schools for their first OAC championship. Only Case was able to dent the scoreboard, scoring 5 in an October 14 tie in Cleveland. A crowd of 6,000 watched a 5-0 win over Kenyon to close out the magnificent campaign.

1900
Record: 9-1-1
Points: 21.3-2.6 (+18.7)
Michigan: @T, 0-0
Captain: JH Tilton
The Buckeyes began 1900 as they had ended 1899, recording six straight shutouts to start the year for a remarkable streak of thirteen straight shutout wins. A 24-10 win over Case broke the string of shutouts but made the winning streak fourteen and the unbeaten streak eighteen. Both streaks were snapped with an 11-6 loss to Ohio Medical, but the next week OSU battled Michigan to a scoreless tie in Ann Arbor, the first in school history. The Bucks trounced Kenyon 23-5 on Thanksgiving to cap another great season. West Virginia became the first out-of-state opponent to play in Columbus.

1901
Record: 5-3-1
Points: 10.4-6.2 (+4.2)
Michigan: L, 21-0
Captain: JM Kittle
The season started well enough; after an opening tie, the Bucks posted three straight shutout wins. But tragedy struck in a 6-5 October 26 win over Western Reserve at University Field, when center John Sigrist suffered severe neck injuries, dying on Monday. The following week's game with Ohio Wesylean was canceled as the future of the program was debated. Charles Sigrist, tackle and brother of John, urged that the season continue and eventually his teammates and school officials acquiesced. Michigan was the first opponent after the layoff and trounced Ohio 21-0 in their first trip to Columbus. Losses to Oberlin and Indiana followed, but the Bucks triumphed 11-6 over Kenyon on Thanksgiving. John Eckstrom resigned as coach to take the same position at Ohio Medical.


1902
Record: 6-2-2, 2-1
Points: 17.2-13.6 (+3.6)
Michigan: @L, 86-0
Captain: WF Coover
A group of Ohio schools formally banded together in the Ohio Athletic Conference; the charter football members were OSU, Case, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan, and Western Reserve. Perry Hale, a former Yale gridder, was named head coach and promptly led Ohio to four home shutout wins against in-state opponents by combined 86-0 score. Then on October 25, the team trekked to Ann Arbor where they were handed an 86-0 defeat, worst in school history. On the train ride back to Columbus after the game, student Fred Cornell wrote “Carmen Ohio”. The Bucks rebounded with a big win over Kenyon, then lost to Case, tied Illinois, beat Ohio Wesleyan, and tied Indiana 6-6 on Thanksgiving.

1903
Record: 8-3, 3-1
Points: 24.1-7.9 (+16.2)
Michigan: @L, 36-0
Captain: James Marker
The Buckeyes rolled to a 5-0 start against in-state opponents (combined 159-5 score), but were again felled by Case. A win at home over West Virginia preceded another shutout loss at Michigan. Wins over Oberlin and Ohio Wesleyan were followed by a heartbreaking 17-16 Thanksgiving loss to Indiana in which two missed extra points were the difference. Following the season, Perry Hale resigned.

1904
Record: 6-5, 2-1
Points: 19.9-11.2 (+8.7)
Michigan: L, 31-6
Captain: John Thrower
E.R. Sweetland of Chicago was hired as football and track coach. Once again, the team got off to a torrid start, ripping off a 4-0 record and scoring 184 points without allowing a single tally. Despite losing to Michigan at home, Bill Marquardt made history when he returned a fumble fifty yards for a touchdown, the first points and lead for OSU against that school up north. After beating Case, the season fell apart with losses to Indiana, Illinois, and Oberlin. A win over Kenyon and a Thanksgiving loss to the Carlisle Indians rounded out the season.

1905
Record: 8-2-2, 2-0-1
Points: 16.6-5.3 (+11.3)
Michigan: @L, 40-0
Captain: Ralph Hoyer
The Bucks tied Otterbein, then ripped off five straight before tying Case, beating Kenyon, and losing at Michigan. The win over Denison came by forfeit as the opponents sought to shorten the lengths of the halves. When Ohio State insisted on using the then-standard thirty-five minutes, Denison refused to take the field. OSU rebounded from the UM loss to win two before closing the season with a loss to Indiana. Sweetland moved on after the season.

1906
OAC Champions
Record: 8-1, 3-0
Points: 17.0-1.6 (+15.4)
Michigan: L, 6-0
Captain: James Lincoln
Albert Herrnstein, who played football at Michigan, was hired away from Purdue as head coach. He would lead OSU to perhaps its best season yet, as the team did not allow a touchdown. The Bucks shutout Otterbein, Wittenberg, and Muskingum, then lost 6-0 to UM on a field goal and a safety, both recorded in the final five minutes of the game. However, Ohio bounced back to beat Oberlin and Kenyon 6-0 each. That set up a huge game at Case that would decide the OAC title, which the Buckeyes won 9-0. After beating Wooster 12-0 in a game featuring the first forward pass in school history, Ohio beat Ohio Medical 11-8 on Thanksgiving to clinch the mythical state championship in addition to the OAC crown. It would be the final meeting between the two schools; Ohio Medical would eventually merge into Ohio State.

1907
Record: 7-2-1, 5-1-1
Points: 16.0-7.1 (+8.9)
Michigan: @L, 22-0
Captain: HJ Schory
Denison, Heidelberg, and Wooster joined the OAC, bringing football emmbership up to nine. Ohio State started strong again, going 3-0 by a combined 72-0 margin before being tied by Wooster and beaten in Ann Arbor. However, wins over Kenyon and Oberlin set up another big showdown with Case, this time at University Field, which the visitors took 11-9. Despite being denied another championship, the Buckeyes rounded out a fine season with shutout wins over Heidelberg and Ohio Wesleyan.

1908
Record: 6-4, 4-3
Points: 11.8-9.2 (+2.6)
Michigan: L, 10-6
Captain: WD Barrington
For the first time in a decade, the Buckeyes were not strong out of the gate, alternating two wins and two losses prior to a meeting with Michigan. Millard Gibson’s touchdown run on a fake punt gave Ohio a 6-4 halftime lead, but Michigan went on to win 10-6. The Bucks beat Ohio Wesleyan and lost to Case before traveling to Nashville to play Vanderbilt, hailed as “champions of the south”. The Bucks downed them 17-6 and returned home to beat Oberlin and Kenyon to salvage a winning season. Ceremonies at the November 21 game with Oberlin, a 14-12 OSU win, marked the official name change of University Field to Ohio Field. Gibson became the first Buckeye to be named an honorable mention All-American.

1909
Record: 7-3, 5-2
Points: 21.9-7.6 (+14.3)
Michigan: @L, 33-6
Captain: Thomas Jones
Wittenberg brought the OAC up to ten football members. The old pattern returned as the Bucks were 3-0 by a total 127-0 before losing at Michigan. Two dominant wins followed before a loss at Case. But the Buckeyes once again beat highly-regarded Vanderbilt, this time 5-0 at Ohio Field, before a loss at Oberlin and a win against Kenyon finished the season. Herrnstein left OSU at the end of the season as the university’s all-time winningest coach.

1910
Record: 6-1-3, 5-1-2
Points: 18.2-2.7 (+15.5)
Michigan: T, 3-3
Captain: Leslie Wells
The OAC expanded again with Heidelberg leaving, but Cincinnati, Miami, and Ohio University joining. Ohio native and Yale All-American Howard Jones left the head coaching position at his alma mater (he also previously coached at Syracuse) to replace Herrnstein. OSU started 4-0 before earning a 3-3 tie against Michigan in front of a crowd of 6,500 at Ohio Field. Another tie against Denison was followed by a loss to case, a win over Ohio Wesleyan, a tie with Oberlin, and a win over Kenyon. Jones resigned at the end of the campaign, later becoming a legendary coach at Iowa and USC.

1911
Record: 5-3-2, 4-1-2
Points: 4.7-4.0 (+.7)
Michigan: @L, 19-0
Captain: Frank Markley
Jones recommended a fellow former Yalie with no coaching experience, Harry Vaughn, to be head coach. The season was the lowest scoring (for both teams) in school history on a per game basis; only in the Thanksgiving season finale at Cincinnati did both teams score (OSU won 11-6). There were two scoreless ties, and only in a 24-0 win over Kenyon did the teams combine to score twenty points. At the conclusion of the season, Vaughn stepped down to continue seeking his law degree at Yale.

1912
OAC Champions
Record: 6-3, 5-0
Points: 27.3-13.6 (+13.8)
Michigan: L, 14-0
Captain: Don Barricklow
On April 6, the Western Conference (now known as the Big Ten) admitted Ohio State for membership in 1913. Wisconsin graduate and head coach John Richards became the new head coach. The Buckeyes blasted Otterbein in a rare road opener 55-0 and beat Denison 34-0 before dropping a 14-0 decision to Michigan before a record crowd of 8,500 at Ohio Field. Three straight wins including a 31-6 thrashing of Case in Cleveland followed before Penn State beat OSU 37-0 in Columbus in the first meeting of the two schools. Richards pulled the team from the field in protest of PSU’s rough play. On November 23, Ohio played its final game as an OAC competitor, clinching the championship and a perfect conference record with a 36-6 win at Ohio Wesleyan. The Bucks closed the season with a 35-20 loss at home to Michigan State on Thanksgiving in the first meeting between the two schools. Richards resigned after the season.

1913
Record: 4-2-1, 1-2
Points: 22.0-3.9 (+18.1)
Captain: Irving Geissman
OSU embarked on its first Big Ten season, joining Chicago, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Michigan had quit the loop after 1906 and conference rules prohibited teams from scheduling the Wolverines, interrupting the rivalry. Lynn St. John, a Buckeye football alum, was the first Athletic Director. Another ex-Badger, John Wilce, was hired as coach after Colorado College coach Carl Rothgeb declined the position. The Bucks opened with wins over Ohio Wesleyan and Western Reserve before a scoreless tie with Oberlin. Indiana beat Ohio 7-6 on November 1 in the first conference game, with the losing score coming on a touchdown recovery of a bad punt snap. The first conference road game was a week later, a 12-0 loss at Wisconsin. After beating Case, the season ended with a 58-0 trouncing on November 22 of Northwestern for OSU’s first Big Ten win. Coach Wilce introduced a tradition that continues to this day with the first Senior Tackle prior to the Northwestern game.

1914
Record: 5-2, 2-2
Points: 15.4-7.9 (+7.6)
All-Americans: E Boyd Cherry
All-B10: E Boyd Cherry
Captain: Honus Graf
The Buckeyes opened the season with non-conference wins against traditional foes Ohio Wesleyan and Case, but were blown out 37-0 at Illinois and hard fought 7-6 losers in Wisconsin’s first trip to Columbus. But the team won their final three games, including the first Big Ten road win (13-3 at Indiana on November 7), and shutouts over Oberlin and Northwestern. Boyd Cherry was OSU’s first All-Big Ten and All-America selection.

1915
Record: 5-1-1, 2-1-1
Points: 15.0-5.6 (+9.4)
Captain: Ivan Boughton
Once again the season opened with wins over Ohio Wesleyan and Case before securing a huge 3-3 tie against defending national champ Illinois before 6,634 at Ohio Field, with the Illini needed a late field goal to escape. But again Wisconsin blitzed OSU, 21-0 in Madison. To complete the symmetry with 1914, OSU edged Indiana, then trounced Oberlin and Northwestern (in the first trip to Evanston) to close out another strong season. “Fight the Team” was dedicated to Coach Wilce and first performed at the October 16 game with Illinois.

1916
Big Ten Champions
Record: 7-0, 4-0
Points: 36.9-4.1 (+32.7)
All-Americans: HB Chic Harley, T Bob Karch
All-B10: HB Chic Harley
Ohio State’s first perfect season and first Big Ten championship was keyed by sophomore halfback Chic Harley, a Columbus native who would earn acclaim over his three seasons as the nation’s top player. The season opened with a 12-0 win over Ohio Wesleyan, followed by a record smashing 128-0 throttling of Oberlin in which the Bucks compiled 1,140 yards of offense. The next week in Champaign, Harley ran for a touchdown with just over a minute to go and added the point after for a 7-6 win. A Saturday later in Columbus, a record crowd of 12,500 saw Wisconsin miss an extra point as time wound down for a 14-13 victory. After pounding Indiana and Case, the Buckeyes and Northwestern were tied at three in the fourth quarter in the de facto Big Ten title game. But Harley ran for two touchdowns and Ohio had a 23-3 win and a perfect season.

1917
Big Ten Champions
Record: 8-0-1, 4-0
Points: 32.3-.7 (+31.7)
All-Americans: HB Chic Harley, E Shifty Bolen, T Harold Courtney, C Kelly Van Dyne
All-B10: HB Chic Harley, E Shifty Bolen, T Harold Courtney, C Kelly Van Dyne
Captains: Harold Courtney, Howard Courtney
The Buckeyes returned many from the 1916 squad (including Harley and QB Howard Yerges) but also added halfback Pete Stinchcomb as Harley’s running mate. The first four games were played at home and won by a combined 209-0. Harley scored all points in a 26-3 win at Indiana. The next week at Wisconsin, the Buckeyes trailed 3-0 for their only deficit of the year, but went on to win 16-3. The showdown with Illinois at Ohio Field would determine the championship, and the Buckeyes earned a 13-0 shutout on Harley’s two field goals and touchdown pass. The team then played two benefit games for WWI soldiers, a scoreless tie at Auburn and a 28-0 Thanksgiving demolition of Chillicothe’s Camp Sherman in Columbus.

1918
Record: 3-3, 0-3
Points: 22.3-6.8 (+15.5)
Michigan: L, 14-0
All-Americans: E Clarence MacDonald
All-B10: E Clarence MacDonald
Captain: Clarence MacDonald
The 1918 season was a strange one, as many players were off at war, including Harley and Stinchcomb. Only four players returned from the 1917 team, and none had been starters. The Bucks pounded Ohio Wesleyan and Denison to open the season, but were shut out by Michigan, marking their first appearance on the schedule since 1912; it was also the first Big Ten matchup with the enemy. After a 56-0 blowout of Case, the Buckeyes lost to Illinois and Wisconsin to end the season. Tragically, two OSU footballers, Fred Norton and All-American Harold Courtney were killed in the war.

1919
Record: 6-1, 3-1
Points: 25.1-1.7 (+23.4)
Michigan: @W, 13-3
All-Americans: HB Chic Harley, QB Pete Stinchcomb
All-B10: HB Chic Harley, QB Pete Stinchcomb
Captain: Chic Harley
Interest in OSU football reached an all-time high as Harley returned for his senior season. The Buckeyes hammered their first three opponents by a composite 133-0, setting up a battle of unbeatens in Ann Arbor on October 25. For the first time, Ohio State emerged victorious 13-3 as Harley ran for a touchdown, punted eleven times, and pulled down four interceptions. The next week, OSU took their first ever meeting with Purdue, followed by a late Harley field goal to pull out a 3-0 win in Madison. On November 22, 20,000 packed Ohio Field for Harley’s final game. But a late Illinois field goal gave the visitors a 9-7 win and the Big Ten title. The huge crowd helped spur the development of a new stadium. “Buckeye Battle Cry” made its debut this season.

1920
Big Ten Champions
Record: 8-0-1, 4-0
Points: 25.1-1.7 (+23.4)
Michigan: W, 14-7
Bowl: Rose (California, L 28-0)
All-Americans: HB Pete Stinchcomb, T Iolas Huffman
All-B10: HB Pete Stinchcomb
Captain: Iolas Huffman
Even without Harley, the Buckeyes were a force to be reckoned with. After convincing shutout wins over Ohio Wesleyan, Oberlin, and Purdue, Ohio beat Wisconsin 13-7 on a Hoge Workman to Stinchcomb touchdown with just fifty seconds left. Unfavorable comments by ex-OSU coach John Richards (now UW coach) led to a decade-long hiatus of OSU/UW matchups. At Chicago, in the first meeting between the schools, a fourth quarter touchdown gave the Bucks a 7-6 win. On November 6 at Ohio Field, the Bucks earned their first home win against UM with Iolas Huffman’s fourth quarter blocked punt/touchdown recovery. In the de facto title game at Illinois, with just four seconds remaining in a scoreless tie, Workman hit end Cyril Myers for a thirty-seven yard touchdown to give Ohio a third title in five years. Invited to their first Rose Bowl, the Bucks were felled 28-0 by national champion California.

1921
Record: 5-2, 4-1
Points: 15.7-2.0 (+13.7)
Michigan: @W, 14-0
All-Americans: G Iolas Huffman, E Cyril Myers
All-B10: E Cyril Myers, G Dean Trott
Captain: Cyril Myers
Groundbreaking for Ohio Stadium, the House That Harley Built, took place on August 3. The Bucks trounced Ohio Wesleyan to start the campaign, but were stunned 7-6 by Oberlin. Meeting Minnesota for the first time on October 15 in Columbus, Ohio scored an easy 27-0 win. The Bucks then took a third straight from Michigan, won at undefeated Chicago, and scored the final Ohio Field win on November 12 28-0 over Purdue. On November 19, a crowd of more then 20,000 was stunned as Illinois, 0-4 in conference, spoiled the closing of Ohio Field 7-0 and denied OSU another title.

1922
Record: 3-4, 1-4
Points: 6.1-8.1 (-2.0)
Michigan: L, 19-0
Captain: Lloyd Pixley
Ohio Stadium was opened October 7, as a crowd of 25,000 saw OSU beat Ohio Wesleyan 5-0, also marking the first radio broadcast of an OSU game. Against Oberlin, halfback Wilmer Isabel scored the first stadium touchdown in a 14-0 victory. On October 21 the stadium was dedicated, with a crowd of 72,500 on hand to watch OSU and Michigan. Unfortunately, UM won 19-0, sending the Buckeyes into a downward spiral, with losses to Minnesota, Chicago, and Iowa (in the first meeting between the two), before securing a 6-3 win at Illinois to end the season.

1923
Record: 3-4-1, 1-4
Points: 15.5-12.4 (+3.1)
Michigan: @L, 23-0
All-Americans: QB Hoge Workman
All-B10: QB Hoge Workman
Captain: Boni Petcoff
After opening with a win over Ohio Wesleyan, the Buckeyes scored thirteen fourth quarter points to tie Cornell, 23 a side. But losses to Michigan and Iowa followed. OSU rebounded to shutout Denison and Purdue, but lost to Chicago and Illinois to close out the lackluster campaign. Wilce turned down an offer to return to UW as head coach after the season.

1924
Record: 2-3-3, 1-3-2
Points: 5.0-5.6 (-.6)
Michigan: L, 16-6
All-Americans: E Harold Cunningham
Captain: Francis Young
Purdue became the first out-of-state team to lead off the OSU schedule and also became the first Big Ten opponent to fall at the Horseshoe, 7-0 on October 4. But three of the next four were ties (a win over Ohio Wesleyan the exception), and three straight losses finished the year. The final game at Illinois marked the first battle for Illibuck, at that time a live turtle. OSU and opponents combined for just eighty-five points throughout the season.

1925
Record: 4-3-1, 1-3-1
Points: 6.9-5.6 (+1.3)
Michigan: @L, 10-0
All-Americans: G Edwin Hess
All-B10: G Edwin Hess
Captain: Harold Cunningham
The Bucks opened with a win over Ohio Wesley and, for the second year in a row, a 3-3 tie with Chicago. Then highly-regarded Columbia was downed 13-3 at the Shoe with an excellent passing attack. Iowa shutout OSU, but the Bucks bounced back to shutout Wooster and Indiana, before falling to Michigan in the only road sojourn of the season. A crowd of 84,295 (at the time the largest ever for an American sporting event) packed in Ohio Stadium to watch Illinois great Red Grange play his final collegiate game, a 14-9 Illini victory.

1926
Record: 7-1, 3-1
Points: 24.5-5.4 (+19.1)
Michigan: L, 17-16
All-Americans: G Edwin Hess, FB Marty Karow, T Leo Raskowski
All-B10: G Edwin Hess, FB Marty Karow, T Leo Raskowski
Captain: Marty Karow
The Buckeyes returned much of their 1926 squad, and thumped Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan by a combined 87-0 before hammering Columbia 32-7 in New York. Wins over Iowa, Chicago, and Wilmington (before an all-time Ohio Stadium low 5,482) set up a gigantic game against Michigan November 13, for which a crowd of 90,411 amassed in the Horseshoe. The Bucks led 10-0, but Michigan tied it at the half and took the lead in the fourth. An Ohio touchdown with two minutes left cut it to 17-16, but the conversion was missed and UM won. A close win at Illinois closed out the near-miss season. Captain Karow would go on to a brief major league baseball career and would guide the Base Bucks to the national title forty years later.

1927
Record: 4-4, 2-3
Points: 16.4-11.5 (+4.9)
Michigan: @L, 21-0
All-Americans: T Leo Raskowski
All-B10: T Leo Raskowski
Captain: Theodore Meyer
The Buckeyes were unable to repeat their strong showing of 1926. They traveled to Ann Arbor October 22 for the dedication of Michigan Stadium at 2-1, but were blitzed 21-0. The final four games were alternating wins and losses. On June 3, 1928, Wilce resigned effective at the end of the 1928 season.

1928
Record: 5-2-1, 3-2
Points: 16.9-4.4 (+12.5)
Michigan: W, 19-7
All-Americans: E Wes Fesler
All-B10: E Wes Fesler
Captain: Leo Raskowski
Wilce’s final season began with shutouts of Wittenberg and Northwestern prior to the first OSU win over Michigan at Ohio Stadium, 19-7 on October 26. After beating Indiana, the Buckeyes and fellow undefeated Princeton slugged it out to a 6-6 tie. But unbeaten Iowa knocked off the Buckeyes a week later. OSU beat Muskingum 39-0 in Wilce’s home finale, but were unable to grab the Big Ten Title when Illinois beat them in Champaign, 8-0. Wilce would continue to teak in the OSU College of Medicine until his retirement in 1958. The OSU student health center is named in his honor.

1929
Record: 4-3-1, 2-2-1
Points: 11.9-8.6 (+3.3)
Michigan: @W, 7-0
All-Americans: E Wes Fesler
All-B10: E Wes Fesler
Captain: Alan Holman
After a flirtation with Knute Rockne (among other candidates), assistant coach Sam Willaman was promoted to the top job. Willaman lettered at Ohio State 1910-13 as a fullback before being head coach at Iowa State from 1922-1925. He made his debut October 5 at the Shoe with a 19-0 win over Wittenberg, before a tight victory over Iowa and a 7-0 road whitewashing of Michigan on a Wes Fesler touchdown reception. From there, it was downhill with a 1-3-1 finish, including a 54-0 blowout of Kenyon in the final meeting between the schools.

1930
Record: 5-2-1, 2-2-1
Points: 17.4-6.0 (+11.4)
Michigan: L, 13-0
Major Awards: E Wes Fesler (B10 MVP)
All-Americans: E Wes Fesler, HB Lew Hinchman
All-B10: E Wes Fesler, HB Lew Hinchman
MVP: E Wes Fesler
Captain: Wes Fesler
Wes Fesler split time between end and fullback and was perhaps the top player in America. After shutout wins over Mt. Union and Indiana, a road trip to Northwestern produced the season’s first loss, and Michigan quickly supplied the second. But the Bucks held Wisconsin to a scoreless tie and recorded victories over Navy, Pitt, and Illinois to finish the campaign strong.

1931
Record: 6-3, 4-2
Points: 21.6-7.6 (+14.0)
Michigan: @W, 20-7
All-Americans: QB Carl Cramer, HB Lew Hinchman
All-B10: QB Carl Cramer, HB Lew Hinchman
MVP: T Robert Haubrich
Captain: Stuart Holcomb
The Bucks blew out Cincinnati in the opener, but were unable to rally from a 26-0 halftime deficit to Vanderbilt, falling 26-21. The Bucks then beat Michigan in Ann Arbor and were shut out by Northwestern. But they responded with four straight shutouts against Indiana, Navy, Wisconsin, and Illinois. The final game of the year, at Minnesota, was a special depression charity game that he Bucks lost 19-7.

1932
Record: 4-1-3, 2-1-2
Points: 11.3-5.1 (+6.1)
Michigan: L, 14-0
All-Americans: G Joe Gailus, E Sid Gillman, HB Lew Hinchman, T Ted Rosequist
All-B10: G Joe Gailus, E Sid Gillman, HB Lew Hinchman, T Ted Rosequist
MVP: HB Lew Hinchman
Captain: Lew Hinchman
OSU won the opener against Ohio Wesleyan (the final meeting between the two), but only a loss to Michigan was sandwiched between ties in the next four games. However, the scoreless tie at Pitt was marked by a final minute goal line stand from first and goal at the one. The Bucks closed the season with three straight wins over Northwester, Penn, and Illinois.

1933
Record: 7-1, 4-1
Points: 20.1-3.3 (+16.9)
Michigan: @L, 13-0
All-Americans: G Joe Gailus
All-B10: Joe Gailus
MVP: C Mickey Vuchinich
Captains: Joe Gailus, Sid Gillman
An often-dominant Buckeye squad hammered Virginia and Vanderbilt to open the season by a combined 95-0 tally. But Michigan held OSU to just three first downs in a 13-0 loss up north. From there, Ohio reeled off four straight wins including three shutouts before earning a 7-6 victory at the Horseshoe over Illinois in which Illinois missed a fourth quarter field goal and extra point to preserve the OSU advantage. The Bucks allowed only 26 points for the season, but Willaman resigned under pressure to become the head coach at Western Reserve.

1934
Record: 7-1, 5-1
Points: 33.4-4.3 (+29.1)
Michigan: W, 34-0
All-Americans: G Regis Monahan, E Merle Wendt
All-B10: G Regis Monahan, E Merle Wendt
MVP: C Gomer Jones
Captain: Regis Monahan
Francis Schmidt of Texas Christian was hired to replace Willaman. Schmidt played at Nebraska and later coached at Arkansas and Tulsa. He was an innovator who ran a “razzle-dazzle” offense from multiple formations, including the new I. Schmidt said that “[Michigan] puts their pants on one leg at a time, just like we do”, and instituted the Gold Pants club for Ohio triumphs over that team up north. He also encouraged the occasional abbreviation of “Buckeyes” to “Bucks”. The Bucks destroyed Indiana 33-0 at home on October 6 in Schmidt’s debut, but couldn’t complete a fourteen point fourth quarter comeback when an extra point was missed, allowing Illinois a 14-13 win. The Buckeyes then edged national title aspirant Colgate 10-7 before pounding Northwestern, Western Reserve, and Chicago by a composite 137-6. Michigan was the vanquished 34-0 at the Shoe, and the delirious crowd was the first in school history to tear down the goalposts. A 40-7 trouncing of Iowa closed out a very successful debut season. Sadly, Sam Willaman died the following off-season of a stomach illness after coaching just one year at Western Reserve.

1935
Big Ten Champions
Record: 7-1, 5-0
Points: 29.6-7.1 (+22.5)
Michigan: @W, 38-0
All-Americans: C Gomer Jones, E Merle Wendt
All-B10: C Gomer Jones, E Merle Wendt
MVP: C Gomer Jones
Captain: Gomer Jones
The Buckeyes opened with a win over Kentucky before annihilating Drake 85-7 and posting convincing wins over Northwestern and Indiana to set the stage for “The Game of the Century” against Notre Dame in Columbus November 2. The Buckeyes went ahead 13-0, but the Irsih rallied with two fourth quarter touchdowns. Missed extra points kept OSU ahead, and a recovered onside kick with less then two minutes to play seemed to seal a victory. But a fumble gave Notre Dame life, and a late touchdown pass dealt OSU a devastating 18-13 defeat. After getting into a 13-0 hole, the Buckeyes rallied to a 20-13 win at Chicago. Illinois was beaten 6-0, then Michigan was once again pounded, 38-0. This game marked the first season-ending game between the two, and has been the final Big Ten game of the year ever since.

1936
Record: 5-3, 4-1
Points: 20.0-3.4 (+16.6)
Michigan: W, 21-0
All-Americans: T Charlie Hamrick, G Inwood Smith, E Merle Wendt
All-B10: T Charlie Hamrick, G Inwood Smith, E Merle Wendt
MVP: C Ralph Wolfe
Captain: Merle Wendt
The AP poll began this year, but the Bucks would only crack it for one week. After destroying NYU 60-0 in the opener, Pitt’s fourth quarter touchdown gave them a 7-6 win before a crowd of 71,711 in Columbus. Halftime was memorable at least, with the debut of Script Ohio. A loss to Northwestern and win over Indiana preceded a rematch with Notre Dame in South Bend. But the Irish prevailed 7-2. OSU rebounded to close the season with shutout wins against Chicago, Illinois, and Michigan.

1937
Record: 6-2, 5-1
Points: 15.6-2.9 (+12.8)
Michigan: @W, 21-0
Ranking: #13
All-Americans: T Carl Kaplanoff, QB Jim McDonald, C Ralph Wolfe, G Gus Zarnas
All-B10: T Carl Kaplanoff, QB Jim McDonald, C Ralph Wolfe, G Gus Zarnas, E Esco Sarkkinen
MVP: C Ralph Wolfe
Captains: Ralph Wolfe, Jim McDonald
Halfback Bill Booth was tragically killed in a car accident over the summer. The Bucks opened with shutout wins over TCU and Purdue before a hard-fought 13-12 loss at USC. Two more shutouts followed against Northwestern and Chicago, but Indiana pulled off a stunning 10-0 upset in Columbus that would eventually cost the Buckeyes the Big Ten title. Shutouts followed against Illinois and Michigan (the fourth consecutive shutout of UM). OSU allowed only 23 points for the season, all coming in the two losses.

1938
Record: 4-3-1, 3-2-1
Points: 14.9-8.1 (+6.8)
Michigan: L, 18-0
MVP: FB Jim Langhurst
Captain: Michael Kabealo, Carl Kaplanoff
A win over Indiana in the opener preceded USC’s 14-7 win in a return trop to Ohio Stadium and a scoreless tie at Northwestwern. Big wins over Chicago and NYU were followed by Purdue’s first victory over Ohio State. The Buckeyes beat Illinois, but had their four game win streak over UM snapped to close out the campaign.

1939
Big Ten Champions
Record: 6-2, 5-1
Points: 23.5-8.0 (+15.5)
Michigan: @L, 21-14
Ranking: #15
All-Americans: G Vic Marino, E Esco Sarkkinen, QB Don Scott
All-B10: G Vic Marino, E Esco Sarkkinen, QB Don Scott
MVP: C Stephen Andrako
Captain: Stephen Andrako
The Buckeyes opened with winning whitewashes against Missouri and Northwestern before Don Scott threw three touchdown passes to lead the Bucks to wild 23-20 win at Minnesota. The win propelled OSU to #4 in the poll, but #7 Cornell scored 23 unanswered points to win in Columbus 23-14. Shutout wins over Indiana, Chicago (in their final season of football), and Illinois gave the Bucks the Big Ten crown, but they allowed 21 unanswered points in Ann Arbor to fall 21-14 and close an excellent season on a sour note.

1940
Record: 4-4, 3-3
Points: 12.4-14.1 (-1.8)
Michigan: L, 40-0
All-Americans: QB Don Scott
All-B10: QB Don Scott
MVP: C Claude White
Captain: Jim Langhurst
Chicago dropped football, reducing the conference to nine teams. The Buckeyes were the preseason #6 choice, and blasted Pitt 30-7 to open the campaign. Purdue was nipped 17-14 on a field goal with just nineteen seconds to play, which turned out to be kicked by an illegal substitute, although nothing came of it. But Northwestern upset the Bucks 6-3, and both #7 Minnesota (the eventual national champs) and #1 Cornell defeated OSU. The team rebounded to beat Indiana and Illinois, but Michigan destroyed Ohio 40-0 in the finale. On December 16, Schmidt was forced to resign. He would go on to coach at Idaho the next two seasons before the school suspended football for WWII and his death on September 19, 1944. Don Scott, the two-time All-American quarterback, would be killed flying for the Army Air Corps in Europe. Ohio State University airport is named in his honor.

1941
Record: 6-1-1, 3-1-1
Points: 20.9-13.8 (+7.1)
Michigan: @T, 20-20
Ranking: #13
Major Awards: FB Jack Graf (B10 MVP)
MVP: FB Jack Graf
Captain: Jack Stephenson
Paul Brown, 80-8-2 with six Ohio and four national titles in nine years at Massillon High School was named head coach. The Miami alum was a popular choice, particularly with Ohio’s high school coaches. The season opened on September 27 with a 12-7 win against Missouri, followed by a 33-0 thrashing of USC in Los Angeles. After a win over Purdue, the #11 Buckeyes fell at home 14-7 to #13 Northwestern. After a hard-fought road win at Pitt, the Bucks won a wild 46-34 decision over Wisconsin and beat Illinois 12-7. OSU, now ranked fourteenth, went to Ann Arbor and fought #5 Michigan to a 20-20 stalemate.

1942
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-1, 5-1
Points: 33.7-11.4 (+22.3)
Michigan: W, 21-7
Ranking: #1
All-Americans: E Bob Shaw, T Charles Csuri, G Lin Houston, HB Paul Sarringhaus, FB Gene Fekete
All-B10: E Bob Shaw, G Lin Houston, HB Paul Sarringhaus
MVP: T Charles Csuri
Captain: George Lynn
Due to graduation and World War II, OSU returned just eleven letterwinners. Ohio crushed Fort Knox 59-0 to open the campaign, then came from behind to beat a strong Indiana team 32-21. After a sixteen point win against USC, the first AP poll of the season gave Ohio State its first ever #1 ranking. Strong wins over Purdue and Northwestern preserved the #1 perch heading into a showdown at #6 Wisconsin. Unfortunately, much of the OSU team was incapacitated by poor drinking water on the train; the game, fittingly played on Halloween, was a 17-7 defeat that dropped Ohio to sixth in the poll. Despite a 59-19 rout of Pitt, OSU tumbled again to #10. Illinois moved their November 14 game against the Bucks to Cleveland to pad attendance; a crowd of 68,656 saw OSU take back first place in the conference with a 44-20 win. The Buckeyes were now #5 heading into the November 21 home game against UM. Three touchdown tosses, each involving Paul Sarringhaus (he threw two and caught one from Les Horvath, who also caught one of Sarringhaus’) lifted Ohio to a 21-7 win in the rain. The season was not over yet for the third-ranked Big Ten champions, as November 28 brought a home game against 7-1 Iowa Pre-Flight. The veteran squad featured many ex-collegiate stars including three Buckeyes, but were no match for Ohio State. The Buckeyes 41-12 trashing, coupled with #5 Georgia’s 34-0 win over #2 Georgia Tech and Holy Cross’ shocking 55-12 upset of #1 Boston College, allowed Ohio State to claim the national championship “officially” for the first time.

1943
Record: 3-6, 1-4
Points: 16.6-20.8 (-4.2)
Michigan: @L, 45-7
All-Americans: T Bill Willis
All-B10: T Bill Willis
MVP: C Gordon Appleby
Captains: Charles Csuri, John Dugger
The war decimated the OSU program. Each university chose to ally itself with either the Army or Navy ROTC program; the Army did not allow its cadets to play football, while the Navy did, leaving OSU and other army schools at a significant disadvantage. The Bucks returned just five players, all lineman, leaving freshman all over the field. Iowa Pre-Flight opened the season by revenging their 1942 defeat 28-13, Ohio’s first season opening loss since 1894. Ohio downed Missouri 27-6, then lost four straight to Great Lakes Naval, Purdue (in Cleveland), Northwestern, and Indiana (20-14 on a 28 yard touchdown pass with half a minute remaining). The Buckeyes throttled Pitt 46-6, then kicked a 32 yard field goal on an untimed down to beat Illinois 29-26. Unfortunately, UM was a navy school, and OSU was no match for the #4 Wolverines in a 45-7 defeat. Paul Brown was drafted into the Navy after the season, taking the head coaching position at Great Lakes, although he was still officially OSU head coach in absentia.

1944
National [Civilian] Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-0, 6-0
Points: 31.9-8.8 (+23.1)
Michigan: W, 18-14
Ranking: #2
Leading Rusher: Les Horvath (163-924, 5.7)
Leading Passer: Les Horvath (14-32, 332, 4.5)
Major Awards: Les Horvath (Heisman, B10 MVP), Carroll Widdoes (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: QB Les Horvath, E Jack Dugger, T Bill Willis, G Bill Hackett
All-B10: QB Les Horvath, E Jack Dugger, T Bill Willis, G Bill Hackett
MVP: QB Les Horvath
Captain: Gordon Appleby
Paul Brown recommended assistant Carroll Widdoes take the reigns, and he was approved as the interim coach. He had been born in the Philippines to missionaries before returning to the U.S., going to high school in Pennsylvania and playing football at Otterbein. His first OSU team had just eight upperclassmen, but they included Les Horvath, who was granted an extra year of eligibility (he had last played at OSU in 1942) thanks to a new wartime Big Ten rule allowing an fourth year for graduate students. OSU crushed Missouri 54-0 and Iowa 34-0 at home to open the season, debuting in the AP poll at #8. Going back to Madison for the first time since 1942, two fourth quarter touchdowns lifted Ohio to a 20-7 triumph and the #4 ranking. The October 21 matchup with Great Lakes marked the return of Paul Brown; a crowd of 73,477 saw OSU outscore their old mentor’s crew 20-0 in the fourth quarter for a 26-6 win. The Bucks then beat Minnesota to move to #3 and Indiana to move to #2. Another blowout of Pitt (54-19) didn’t impress the voters, who dropped Ohio to #4. Again Illinois moved their home game to Cleveland, with the Buckeyes winning 26-12 before 80,000+. That set up the de facto Big Ten championship game on November 25 in Columbus between #3 OSU and #6 UM. Les Horvath’s touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter lifted Ohio to an 18-14 win. The Buckeyes were invited to play USC in the Rose Bowl, but Big Ten rules did not allow OSU to go, and a vote to allow an exemption failed. The Buckeyes finished #2 in the country, behind only an artificially loaded Army squad. The national civilian champs produced Ohio State’s first Heisman trophy winner, Les Horvath.

1945
Record: 7-2, 5-2
Points: 21.6-7.9 (+13.7)
Michigan: @L, 7-3
Leading Rusher: Ollie Cline (181-936, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Dick Fisher (9-28, 245, 2.8)
Major Awards: Ollie Cline (B10 MVP)
All-Americans: FB Ollie Cline, G Warren Amling, T Russell Thomas
All-B10: FB Ollie Cline, G Warren Amling, T Russell Thomas
MVP: FB Ollie Cline
Captain: Bill Hackett
On February 8, Paul Brown accepted an offer to coach Cleveland’s new AAFC team at the conclusion of his naval service. Just six days later, Widdoes became the OSU head coach on a permanent basis. Captain and All-American Bill Hackett could not play due to his injury in a car accident. For the second straight season, Ohio crushed Missouri and Iowa (by a combined 89-6) to open the season ranked #4. The Bucks shut out Wisconsin 12-0, but were throttled 35-13 by Purdue. But the Buckeyes bounced back the next week at #5 Minnesota with a 20-7 win. The next two went down to the wire, rallying from 14-0 to beat Northwestern on a field goal with one and a half minutes to play, 16-14. Two fourth quarter touchdowns and a school record 229 yards rushing from Ollie Cline allowed OSU to beat Pitt 14-0. Twenty fourth quarter points sealed a 27-2 win over Illinois, and the #7 Bucks went to #8 UM seeking a share of the Big Ten crown. Michigan won 7-3 to deny OSU. After the season, Coach Widdoes asked to be returned to an assistant position; he did not want to deal with the time and pressure demands of the job.

1946
Record: 4-3-2, 2-3-1
Points: 18.4-18.9 (-.4)
Michigan: L, 58-6
Leading Rusher: Joe Whisler (129-544, 4.2)
Leading Passer: George Spencer (25-51, 389, 3.7)
Leading Receiver: Cecil Souders (9-157)/Bob Brugge (8-193)
All-Americans: E Cecil Souders, T Warren Amling
All-B10: E Cecil Souders, T Warren Amling
MVP: E Cecil Souders
Captain: Warren Amling
OSU assistant Paul Bixler was named the new head coach. The Louisville, OH native was a Mount Union alum who had been head basketball/assistant football coach at Akron and Colgate before coming to OSU with Paul Brown in 1941. Bixler’s first team was weakened when Brown’s Cleveland team signed several would-be OSU service returnees, including Lin Houston, Gene Fekete, Lou Groza, and Dante Lavelli. The season started on September 28 at home with a disappointing 13 all tie against Missouri. Bixler earned his first win the next week, 21-0 at USC. But the Buckeyes lost at Wisconsin and tied Purdue to fall to 1-2-1. Then OSU ripped off three straight against Minnesota, #6 Northwestern, and Pitt, climbing as high as #12 in the poll. The Buckeyes could reach the Rose Bowl, now a Big Ten approved reward for the champion, with wins at Illinois and against UM, but a 16-7 loss in Champaign and a 58-6 disaster in Columbus quashed those hopes. Bixler resigned in the spring to go back to Colgate as head coach, compiling a 14-27-2 record in five years before being reunited with Brown in the Browns organization.

1947
Record: 2-6-1, 1-4-1
Points: 6.7-16.7 (-10.0)
Michigan: @L, 21-0
Leading Rusher: Ollie Cline (80-322, 4.0)
Leading Passer: Dick Slager (19-69, 269, 1.1)
Leading Receiver: Fred Morrison (7-113)
MVP: G Dave Templeton
Captain: Robbert Jabbusch
Former star OSU end Wes Fesler was hired as the new head coach, a Youngstown native who had been head hoops coach at Harvard, football coach at Connecticut Wesleyan, an OSS employee, head hoops coach at Princeton, and head gridiron coach at Pitt (where he was 3-6-1 in one season). Fesler, a full blown single wing advocate, wouldn’t have much better results in 1947 with his alma mater. The Buckeyes beat Missouri 13-7 in the September 27 opener, but couldn’t pull of a late rally in a 24-20 loss at Purdue. USC routed the Bucks 32-0, but thirteen fourth quarter points salvaged a tie at Iowa. Ohio was shut out by Pitt and Indiana in successive weeks, but pulled out a 7-6 win over Northwestern in one of the wildest games ever at the Horseshoe. The Bucks were stopped at the Wildcat 1 with 1:47 to play, but go the ball back at the 36 with a half-minute left. An interception was called back on a penalty, but a final play was stopped at the 2...and called back for offsides. Pandel Savic’s TD pass tied the game, but the kick was blocked...and an offsides call gave Ohio another try, which was good. No such fortune would come against Illinois or #1 UM, each of whom easily downed the Bucks, who averaged less then seven points per game for the season.

1948
Record: 6-3, 3-3
Points: 20.4-10.4 (+10.0)
Michigan: L, 13-3
Leading Rusher: Joe Whisler (132-579, 4.4)
Leading Passer: Pandel Savic (36-69, 486, 3.7)
Leading Receiver: Alex Verdova (12-117)/Thomas Watson (7-147)
MVP: HB Joe Whisler
Captain: David Templeton
The Buckeyes opened at home with a 21-7 win against Missouri and 20-0 over USC, earning a #11 ranking. Iowa knocked OSU out of the poll with a 14-7 win in Columbus, but the Bucks dominated Indiana 17-0 and won a see-saw 34-32 decision from Wisconsin. A trip to Evanston to face the #9 Wildcats ended with a 21-7 loss, but the Buckeyes bounced back to crush Pitt and Illinois by a combined 75-7 to earn a #18 ranking before returning for the home finale with #1 Michigan. OSU played UM tough before falling 13-3.

1949
Big Ten Champions
Record: 7-1-2, 4-1-1
Points: 20.7-13.6 (+7.1)
Michigan: @ T, 7-7
Bowl: Rose (W, 17-14 v. California)
Ranking: #6
Leading Rusher: Gerry Krall (128-606, 4.7)
Leading Passer: Pandel Savic (34-85, 581, 2.7)
Leading Receiver: Ray Hamilton (15-347)
All-B10: HB Gerry Krall, C Jack Lininger
MVP: C Jack Lininger
Captain: Jack Wilson
Carroll Widdoes left the Ohio staff to become head coach at Ohio University. The season opener against Missouri was the first game televised from Ohio Stadium, with Missouri missing a late field goal to preserve a 35-34 Buckeye win. A 46-7 win over Indiana propelled OSU to #11 in the poll, but a tie at #8 USC and a loss to #5 Minnesota dropped the Bucks to 2-1-1. Wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern got Ohio back on track. Pittsburgh proved a tough foe, but OSU did all their scoring in the fourth quarter to win 14-10. Down 10-0 at halftime in the home finale, the eleventh-ranked Bucks rallied for a 30-17 win over Illinois and a title shot in Ann Arbor. The #7 Buckeyes got a mid-fourth quarter touchdown to tie the #5 Wolverines at seven and earn the Rose Bowl bid. In Pasadena, OSU won their first bowl game, benefiting from a muffed punt snap, nailing a field goal to take a late 17-14 lead. Cal’s final effort was snuffed out when Dick Widdoes, son of Carroll, nabbed an interception.

1950
Record: 6-3, 5-2
Points: 31.8-12.3 (+19.4)
Michigan: L, 9-3
Ranking: #14 (AP)/#10 (UPI)
Leading Rusher: Walt Klevay (66-520, 7.9)
Leading Passer: Vic Janowicz (32-77, 561, 3.0)
Leading Receiver: Thomas Watson (23-461)
Major Awards: HB Vic Janowicz (Heisman, B10 MVP)
All-Americans: HB Vic Janowicz, T Bob Momsen, C Bob McCullough
All-B10: HB Vic Janowicz, G John Blitz, T Bill Trautwein
MVP: HB Vic Janowicz
Captain: Bill Trautwein
Fesler increased his use of the T-formation, making junior Vic Janowicz a single wing halfback/T quarterback. Despite losing 21 letterwinners and returning 18, the Bucks opened the schedule ranked #11. OSU jumped to a 24-7 lead over #10 SMU, but the Mustangs passed their way to a 32-27 comeback. A 41-7 win over Pitt was fueled by four Janowicz touchdown throws, and after a 26-14 triumph in the Big Ten opener at Indiana, the Buckeyes were back in the top ten at #9. After clobbering Minnesota 48-0, the sixth-ranked Ohioans hammered Iowa 83-21 on October 28 in Columbus. Janowicz ran for two touchdowns, threw for four, kicked ten extra points, and punted twice in one of the most amazing individual performances in school history. #4 OSU shutout Northwestern on the road 32-0 to climb to #2. After a not as close as the score 19-14 win over #15 Wisconsin, OSU was ranked #1 heading into #8 Illinois. But the Illini won 14-7, crushing national title aspirations. The Big Ten title (though not the Rose Bowl) was on the line when UM came to Columbus on November 25. A massive blizzard, complete with forty mile per hour winds and ten degree temperatures struck Ohio. Michigan won the “Snow Bowl” 9-3 in front of 50,503 without gaining a first down. After a Janowicz field goal, UM blocked two OSU punts for a safety and a touchdown. The teams combined for 45 punts. Vic Janowicz won the Heisman (the third underclassmen to do so), but OSU lost a coach as Wes Fesler resigned in December. He quickly took Minnesota’s head position, going 10-13-4 in three seasons.

1951
Record: 4-3-2, 2-2-2
Points: 12.1-11.6 (+.6)
Michigan: @L, 7-0
Leading Rusher: Vic Janowicz (106-376, 3.5)
Leading Passer: Tony Curcillo (58-133, 912, 3.0)
Leading Receiver: Bob Joslin (18-281)
All-B10: HB Vic Janowicz
MVP: HB Vic Janowicz
Captain: Bob Heid
Woody Hayes, a 38-year old native Ohioan and Denison alum, was hired as head coach on February 18. He had previously coached at his alma mater and Miami. There had been a “draft [Paul] Brown” movement, and the coaching search was drawn out and highly publicized before Hayes was unanimously approved by the board. With OSU’s reputation as “The Graveyard of Coaches” now well-established, many felt that Hayes was in over his head. While he would spend the next twenty eight years proving them wrong, 1951 was an inauspicious start. Hayes scrapped the single wing, using Vic Janowicz as a T halfback, which many saw as an underutilization of his talent. Hayes’ debut on September 29 before 80,735 saw OSU beat SMU 7-0 on, of all things, a third quarter touchdown pass. That performance dropped Ohio from third in the rankings to seventh. #1 Michigan State, not yet a Big Ten member, came to Columbus the next week and won 24-20 on a late lateral/cross-field pass. The Bucks tied Wisconsin 6-6 on October 11 in the season’s first road game, then dropped out of the poll with a shocking 32-10 home loss to Indiana. OSU bounced back with a 47-21 rout of Iowa, then squeaked out a 3-0 win over Northwestern. Pitt was vanquished 16-14, again by the margin of a Janowicz field goal. #3 Illinois came into Columbus 7-0, but the Buckeyes battled them to a scoreless tie before falling 7-0 on November 24 at Michigan.

1952
Record: 6-3, 5-2
Points: 21.9-13.2 (+8.7)
Michigan: W, 29-7
Ranking: #17/#15
Leading Rusher: John Hlay (133-535, 4.0)
Leading Passer: John Borton (115-196, 1555, 4.7)
Leading Receiver: Bob Grimes (39-534)
All-Americans: G Mike Takacs
All-B10: HB Fred Bruney, FB Tony Curcillo, G James Reichenback, T George Jacoby
MVP: HB Fred Bruney
Captain: Bernie Skvarka
Coach Hayes switched to a split-T attack, moving Tony Curcillo to fullback and choosing sophomore John Borton as the quarterback. OSU opened ranked twentieth. In the opener against Indiana, freshman halfback “Hopalong” Cassady ran for three touchdowns, helping spark a twenty point fourth quarter in a 33-13 win. Purdue jumped to a quick lead the next week, holding on for a 21-14 win. #1 Wisconsin came in next, and Ohio pulled a 23-14 upset. Washington State was smothered by the Buckeyes’ passing attack 35-7; John Borton threw for 312 yards and five touchdowns, the later still a school record. Ohio State now had their highest ranking of the year at #14 heading into the first road test at Iowa. The Hawkeyes pulled a big upset with an 8-0 shutout. Another road game, Northwestern, saw the Buckeyes mount a furious seventeen point fourth quarter for a 24-21 victory. Back home against Pitt, OSU passed for 282 yards, but managed just 51 on the ground in a 21-14 defeat. The final road game of the season at Illinois was a different story, as Ohio ran for 252 yards and picked off six Illini passes. On November 22, #12 UM came to Columbus, and Hayes earned his first victory over that school up north with a 27-7 rout, OSU’s first win in the game since 1944.

1953
Record: 6-3, 4-3
Points: 20.2-18.2 (+2.0)
Michigan: @L, 20-0
Ranking: #20 (UPI)
Leading Rusher: Bobby Watkins (153-875, 5.7)
Leading Passer: John Borton (45-86, 522, 3.2)
Leading Receiver: Thomas Hague (19-275)
All-B10: T George Jacoby
MVP: T George Jacoby
Captains: George Jacoby, Bob Joslin
The Buckeyes opened the campaign ranked #7 in the AP. Two platoon football was eliminated by the NCAA, and OSU moved to a run-dominated attack after being (relatively) pass-happy in 1952. OSU opened by pounding Indiana 36-12, the Bobby Watkins sparked a 33-19 win at California with four touchdown runs. The fast start moved Ohio to the #3 ranking, but Illinois blew that out of the water by trouncing the Bucks 41-20. A 12-6 win at Penn dropped Ohio out of the poll from #17. Things looked bleak at Wisconsin, but a sixty yard Dave Leggett to Cassady touchdown pass with two and a half minutes to play gave Ohio a 20-19 win. The Bucks came home to beat Northwestern 27-13, but #5 Michigan State, the defending national champs, beat Ohio 28-13 on November 7 in the first Big Ten game between the schools. A 21-6 win over Purdue closed out the home schedule, but UM overwhelmed the Bucks 20-0 in Ann Arbor.

1954
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-0, 7-0
Points: 24.9-7.5 (+17.4)
Michigan: W, 21-7
Bowl: Rose (W, 20-7 v. USC)
Ranking: #1/#2
Leading Rusher: Hopalong Cassady (102-609, 6.0)
Leading Passer: Dave Leggett (46-95, 578, 2.9)
Leading Receiver: Hopalong Cassady (12-137)
All-Americans: HB Hopalong Cassady, E Dean Dugger, G Jim Reichenbach
All-B10: HB Hopalong Cassady, E Dean Dugger, T Frank Machinsky, T Dick Hilinski
MVP: HB Hopalong Cassady
Captains: John Borton, Dick Brubaker
The Bucks opened the season unranked and picked fifth in the Big Ten. Dave Leggett beat out John Borton for the quarterback job based on his option ability. An impressive 28-0 opener against Indiana lifted OSU to #14; when the Bucks beat #18 Cal 21-13 in the second week, they slipped into the top ten. Ohio revenged their tough loss against Illinois in ’53 with a 40-7 rout in Champaign, climbing to #4. A goal line stand allowed the Bucks to defend the home turf 20-14 over #13 Iowa. #2 Wisconsin was next into Columbus, and led 7-3 in the third quarter until Cassady came up with an 88 yard pick six. From there, it was all Ohio in a 31-14 romp. A #1 ranking was short-lived when OSU struggled to escape Evanston with a 14-7 victory. But the second ranked Bucks had no trouble with Pitt (26-0) and Purdue (28-6 in West Lafayette), working their way back to #1 as #12 Michigan came to Columbus. With the game tied at seven in the fourth, OSU held UM on a first and goal from the four. Ohio then drove 99 yards for the go-ahead score, and added another for a 21-7 triumph. OSU blasted USC 20-7 in a muddy Rose Bowl. The Buckeyes were the AP champs, while UPI champ UCLA was shutout of the Rose Bowl due to the Pac 10’s no repeat rule.

1955
Big Ten Champions
Record: 7-2, 6-0
Points: 22.3-10.8 (+11.6)
Michigan: @W, 17-0
Ranking: #5/#6
Leading Rusher: Hopalong Cassady (161-958, 6.0)
Leading Passer: Frank Ellwood (9-23, 60, 1.0)
Leading Receiver: Paul Michael (4-50)
Major Awards: HB Hopalong Cassady (Heisman, Maxwell, B10 MVP)
All-Americans: HB Hopalong Cassady, G Jim Parker
All-B10: HB Hopalong Cassady, G Jim Parker, C Ken Vargo
MVP: HB Hopalong Cassady
Captains: Frank Machinsky, Ken Vargo
The Buckeyes knew they could not return to Pasadena due to the Big Ten’s no repeat rule, but still started sixth in the AP poll. Cassady ran for three touchdowns in the 28-20 opener against Nebraska, braking Chic Harley’s OSU career record. Stanford ended Ohio’s eleven game win streak with a 6-0 shutout in Palo Alto. Cassady scored two more times in the Bucks’ 27-12 win in Evanston. #11 Duke, led by Sonny Jurgenson, handed the #14 Buckeyes a 20-14 loss. On the road in Madison, Ohio fell behind 13-0 but rallied for a 26-16 victory. Cassady ran for two touchdowns in the first half to tie Red Grange’s Big Ten record, then sat in the second half in a 49-0 rout of Northwestern. Two more against IU gave him the record, as the Bucks prevailed 20-13, attempting just two passes. Hopalong’s hoem finale fulfilled expectations, as he ran for all three scores in a 20-10 win over Iowa. #9 OSU visited #6 UM on November 19 looking to win the Big Ten and deny Michigan the Rose Bowl; a 17-0 triumph did just that and gave the Bucks their first win in Ann Arbor since 1937. Hopalong Cassady won the Heisman, OSU’s third winner in just twelve years.

1956
Record: 6-3, 4-2
Points: 17.8-9.0 (+8.8)
Michigan: L, 19-0
Ranking: #15
Leading Rusher: Don Clark (139-797, 5.7)
Leading Passer: Don Clark (3-7, 88, 5.4)/Frank Ellwood (7-20, 86, 1.5)
Leading Receiver: Leo Brown (8-151)
Major Awards: G Jim Parker (Outland)
All-Americans: G Jim Parker
All-B10: G Jim Parker
MVP: G Jim Parker
Captains: Frank Ellwood, Paul Michael
A one year probation from the NCAA left OSU ineligible for the Rose Bowl, but the #8 Buckeyes didn’t seem too bothered as they throttled Nebraska 34-7 in the opener to climb to #4. Stanford and Illinois were easily dispatched, but Penn State escaped the Horseshoe with a 7-6 win thanks to a missed extra point. The Buckeyes returned to Big Ten play with a 21-0 win over Wisconsin, a 6-2 squeaker at Northwestern, and a 35-14 win over Indiana in which Ohio rolled up a school record 465 yards rushing. Ohio State now owned a record seventeen game Big Ten winning streak. A trip to Iowa City ended that, as #6 OSU fell 6-0 to #7 Iowa. The Bucks could still earn a share of the Big Ten crown by beating Michigan, but the sixth-ranked Wolverines came into Columbus and handed the #9 Buckeyes another shutout, 19-0. Jim Parker earned the Outland Trophy for his superlative two-way line play.

1957
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-1, 7-0
Points: 26.7-9.2 (+17.5)
Michigan: @W, 31-14
Bowl: Rose (W, 10-7 v. Oregon)
Ranking: #2/#1
Leading Rusher: Don Clark (132-737, 5.6)
Leading Passer: Frank Kremblas (20-47, 337, 3.1)
Leading Receiver: Leo Brown (7-83)/Dick LeBeau (7-91)/Jim Houston (4-126)
Major Awards: Woody Hayes (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: G Aurealius Thomas
All-B10: HB Don Clark, E Leo Brown, G Aurealius Thomas
MVP: G Bill Jobko
Captains: Leo Brown, Galen Cisco
OSU was unranked and picked fifth in the Big Ten following the poor conclusion to 1956. Those expectations seemed justified when TCU handed Coach Hayes his first opening game loss at OSU, 18-14. The Buckeyes scored four second half touchdowns at Washington for an impressive 35-7 win, and had little problem routing Illinois (21-7) and Indiana at home (56-0). At Wisconsin, the teams traded pairs of touchdowns in the first quarter. A third quarter field goal gave #12 OSU a 16-13 win. Then the #8 Bucks destroyed Northwestern 47-6; ranked sixth, they next were tested by Purdue, but held on five second half red zone drives for a 20-7 win. Vice President Nixon was in attendance for the de facto Big Ten championship game between #6 Ohio and #5 Iowa on November 16. Down 13-10 midway through the fourth, Bob White carried seven times for 66 yards on an eight play, 68 yard touchdown drive. The Buckeyes, now #3, went to Ann Arbor and spanked UM 31-14. OSU finished #2 in the AP poll behind Auburn, but the schools were flip-flopped in the UPI rankings. In the Rose Bowl, the Buckeyes struggled a bit with Oregon, but Don Sutherin’s fourth quarter field goal gave OSU a 10-7 victory and a good finale to a championship season.

1958
Record: 6-1-2, 4-1-2
Points: 20.2-14.7 (+5.6)
Michigan: W, 20-14
Ranking: #8/#7
Leading Rusher: Bob White (218-859, 3.9)
Leading Passer: Frank Kremblas (16-42, 281, 2.5)
Leading Receiver: Don Clark & Dick LeBeau (8-110)/Jim Houston (4-127)
All-Americans: FB Bob White, E Jim Houston, T Jim Marshall
All-B10: HB Don Clark, FB Bob White, E Jim Houston, T Jim Marshall
MVP: E Jim Houston
Captains: Frank Kremblas, Dick Schafrath
The defending national champions open ranked #1, but a opening game 23-20 struggle with SMU dropped OSU to #3. A rule change allowed the two point conversion, and Coach Hayes wasted no time in utilizing the new rule; the Bucks converted for two after their first touchdown. When the Buckeyes needed a fourth quarter touchdown to beat Washington 12-7, they fell once again to fifth. Ohio got to 3-0 with a 19-13 victory over Illinois, bouncing back to third in the AP poll. Finally OSU put it all together in a 49-8 rout of Indiana, but the high-wire act finally did the Bucks in when the Badgers tied them 7-7. Then Northwestern stunned the #5 Buckeyes 21-0 in Evanston. Out of the top ten, Ohio faced back-to-back challenges with #8 Purdue and at #2 Iowa. Two Jim Marshall touchdowns (a punt block return and interception return) gave the Bucks a 14-0 halftime lead, but the Boilermakers fought back for a tie. In Iowa City, OSU and Iowa traded touchdowns up to 28 all before Ohio closed the game with ten straight points for a big win. Fullback Bob White ran for 209 yards, while halfback Don Clark added 157. UM came into the season finale with a record of just 2-5-1, but gave OSU a battle before succumbing 20-14.

1959
Record: 3-5-1, 2-4-1
Points: 9.2-12.7 (-3.4)
Michigan: @L, 23-14
Leading Rusher: Bob Ferguson (61-371, 6.1)
Leading Passer: Tom Matte (28-51, 439, 4.7)
Leading Receiver: Jim Houston (11-214)/Charles Bryant (11-153)
All-Americans: E Jim Houston
All-B10: E Jim Houston
MVP: E Jim Houston
Captain: Jim Houston
#12 OSU opened at home with Duke; trailing 13-7 late, junior QB Tom Matte (essentially converted from halfback during the game) led a 63 yard touchdown drive for the winning margin. A trip to Los Angeles went poorly when USC shutout Ohio 17-0, and Illinois also got a shutout, 9-0. Surprisingly, the next week was a shutout as well--this time it was the homestanding Buckeyes dominating #8 Purdue 15-0. The scoring woes were back at Wisconsin with a 12-3 defeat. On Halloween, OSU got its first Big Ten win over Michigan State, 30-24. Again the offense was short-lived, as Indian battled OSU to the final scoreless tie in school history on November fifth. Iowa and Michigan each scored nine point wins to close out a disappointing season in which Ohio averaged less then ten points per game.

1960
Record: 7-2, 4-2
Points: 23.2-10.0 (+13.2)
Michigan: W, 7-0
Ranking: #8/#8
Leading Rusher: Bob Ferguson (160-853, 5.3)
Leading Passer: Tom Matte (50-95, 737, 4.1)
Leading Receiver: Charles Bryant (17-336)
All-Americans: FB Bob Ferguson
All-B10: QB Tom Matte, FB Bob Ferguson, T Jim Tyrer
MVP: QB Tom Matte
Captains: Jim Herbstriet, Jim Tyrer
Two platoon-football was restored, a decision certainly supported by Coach Hayes. The twentieth-ranked Buckeyes opened at home with back-to-back shutouts, 24-0 over SMU and 20-0 over USC. Ohio, now ranked fifth, took its first road test against #4 Illinois, and passed with flying colors, 34-7. But a second straight road game at Purdue was too much for #3 OSU, with a 24-21 loss. Ohio bounced back, throttling #11 Wisconsin 34-7. On October 29, the Bucks’ first trip to Michigan State was fruitful, a 21-10 over #10 Michigan State. After a 36-7 blowout of Indiana, OSU was #3 heading into the final road game at #5 Iowa. The Hawkeyes pounded the Buckeyes 35-12, but Bob Ferguson’s fourth quarter touchdown gave OSU a 7-0 win over Michigan and another fine season.

1961
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 8-0-1, 6-0
Points: 24.6-9.2 (+15.3)
Michigan: @W, 50-20
Ranking: #2/#2/#1(FWA)
Leading Rusher: Bob Ferguson (202-938, 4.6) Leading Passer: Joe Sparma (16-38, 341, 3.8)/Bill Mrukowski (23-35, 231, 4.2)
Leading Receiver: Charles Bryant (15-290)
Major Awards: FB Bob Ferguson (Maxwell)
All-Americans: FB Bob Ferguson
All-B10: FB Bob Ferguson, G Mike Ingram
MVP: FB Bob Ferguson
Captains: Mike Ingram, Tom Perdue
Expectations were high for the Bucks as they returned many players from the fine 1960 squad. Coach Hayes went with a three QB rotation to replace Tom Matte--juniors Bill Murkowski and John Mummey and sophomore Joe Sparma. #3 Ohio had a disappointing opener as TCU pulled off a 7-7 tie. Dropping to #8, the Bucks needed two fourth quarter touchdowns from new halfbacks Matt Snell and Paul Warfield to down UCLA 13-3. OSU would hold the #7 ranking by rolling Illinois 44-0. A trip to Evanston was a little dicey, but the Buckeyes pulled it out 10-0. At UW, the sixth-ranked Ohioans ran wild, but the Badgers passed well enough to hang touch in a 30-21 contest. Another big game with Iowa in Columbus followed when the #9 Hawkeyes came into play the #5 Bucks. OSU had a little trouble in a 29-13 victory, climbing to #3. At this point, Coach Hayes shifted Mrukowski to defense, leaving Mummey and Sparma at QB. At Indiana, Ohio was able to come away with a 16-7 victory. Three hundred yard rushers gave the Bucks a 22-12 win in a rare late-season non-conference tilt with Oregon. #2 OSU had a chance to lock up the Big Ten in Ann Arbor. A 21-12 game after three quarters was broken wide open when the Bucks poored it on for a 50-20 win, with the final points coming on a two point conversion. Bob Ferguson ran for four touchdowns in the final game of his career. OSU was set for a rematch with UCLA at the Rose Bowl, but the pointy-headed, effete, liberal snobs of the OSU faculty council voted to turn down the invitation. Hayes would blame mid-60s recruiting and gridiron setbacks on this asinine decision. Despite the bowl snub, the Football Writers’ Association selected Ohio State as national champions and Bob Ferguson placed second in the Heisman voting but won the Maxwell Award.

1962
Record: 6-3, 4-2
Points: 22.8-10.9 (+11.9)
Michigan: W, 28-0
Ranking: #13/#13
Leading Rusher: David Francis (119-624, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Joe Sparma (30-71, 288, 1.7)
Leading Receiver: Paul Warfield (8-139)/Ormonde Ricketts (9-79)
All-B10: HB Paul Warfield, C Bill Armstrong
MVP: C Bill Armstrong
Captains: Gary Moeller, Bob Vogel
Opening as the #1 team in America, OSU annihilated North Carolina 41-7. But in the second week, UCLA kicked a late field goal to upset Ohio 9-7. The tenth-ranked Buckeyes next went to Illinois, where they scored a 51-15 rout. #8 Northwestern came into the Shoe to battle #6 Ohio. After jumping out to a 14-0 first quarter lead, Ohio was unable to seal the deal and fell 18-14. #5 Wisconsin visited next, and the Buckeyes got a fourth quarter touchdown for a 14-7 upset. A 28-14 defeat in Iowa City was followed by a surprisingly close game versus Indiana, won by a field goal with eleven seconds to go. Another oddly-scheduled meeting with Oregon resulted in a 26-7 victory, and four fullback touchdowns made it three in a row over Michigan, 28-0.

1963
Record: 5-3-1, 4-1-1
Points: 12.2-11.3 (+.9)
Michigan: @W, 14-10
Leading Rusher: Matt Snell (134-491, 3.7)
Leading Passer: Don Unverferth (48-117, 586, 2.1)
Leading Receiver: Paul Warfield (22-366)
All-B10: HB Paul Warfield
MVP: FB Matt Snell
Captains: Ormonde Ricketts, Matt Snell
A strong opening (back-to-back shutouts by a combined 37-0 over Texas A&M and Indiana) lifted the Bucks into the poll at #8. Dick VanRaaphorst’s 49 yard field goal with less then two minutes to play salvaged a 20-20 home tie with Illinois. That week’s actions actually lifted Ohio to #4, but they were swamped over 32-3 at USC. The Buckeyes were able to knock off #2 Wisconsin in Madison on Matt Snell’s fourth quarter touchdown, 13-10. Iowa was downed 7-3 in the Horseshoe, but Penn State scored ten in the second half to beat OSU 10-7. A rare second straight home loss was inflicted when Northwestern blasted the Bucks 17-8. November 23’s scheduled game with Michigan was postponed due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A week later, OSU took a fourth straight from UM before just 36,424 in Ann Arbor, 14-10.

1964
Record: 7-2, 5-1
Points: 16.2-8.4 (+7.8)
Michigan: L, 10-0
Ranking: #9/#9
Leading Rusher: Will Sander (147-626, 4.3)
Leading Passer: Don Unverferth (73-160, 871, 2.5)
Leading Receiver: Bo Rein (22-320)
All-Americans: T Jim Davidson, LB Ike Kelley, DB Arnie Chonko
All-B10: E Bill Spahr, G Dan Poretta, T Jim Davidson, LB Tom Bugel, LB Ike Kelley, DB Arnie Chonko
MVP: T Ed Orazen
Captains: Jim Davidson, Bill Sphar
The Buckeyes opened ranked #5, beating SMU 27-8. Indiana gave the Bucks a scare, but Arnie Chonko’s third pick of the day ended the treat and preserved Ohio’s 17-9 victory. The #4 Bucks next went to #2 Illinois, pounding the Illini 26-0. Now ranked second, OSU took revenge versus USC 17-0 to obtain the catbird’s seat in the polls. Wisconsin was no threat in a 28-3 rout, but when Ohio needed to snuff out a late Iowa two point attempt to preserve a 21-19 road win, the Bucks fell to #2. Penn State would once again play non-conference spoiler, shocking the Buckeyes 27-0. #7 OSU bounced back to beat Northwestern 10-0, but #6 UM came to Columbus and won by an identical score to take the Big Ten title away from Ohio.

1965
Record: 7-2, 6-1
Points: 17.3-13.1 (+4.2)
Michigan: @W, 9-7
Ranking: #11(UPI)
Leading Rusher: Tom Barrington (139-554, 4.0)
Leading Passer: Don Unverferth (99-191, 1061, 2.9)
Leading Reciever: Bo Rein (29-328)
All-Americans: G Doug Van Horn, LB Ike Kelley
All-B10: HB John Fill, C Ray Pryor, G Doug Van Horn, LB Ike Kelley
MVP: G Doug Van Horn
Captains: Ike Kelley, Greg Lashutka
The season got off to a bad start, as visiting North Carolina won 14-3 in the opener. Bob Funk’s last-minute, 17 yard field goal lifted OSU to a 23-21 win at Washington. The first home win was achieved a week later with a 28-13 conquest of Illinois, notable for the marching band's debut of a new adaptation of a rock song by an Ohio group, the McCoys--"Hang on Sloopy". A trip to #4 Michigan State proved too much, as the Spartans held the Bucks to the first negative rushing game in program history in a 32-7 trouncing. OSU bounced back with a 20-10 win in Madison before returning home to face Minnesota, amazingly, for the first time in the Hayes era. Funk’s field goal with 1:17 to go was the decider in Ohio’s 11-10 victory. Will Sander’s fourth quarter touchdown gave the Buckeyes a 17-10 win against Indiana, and Iowa was no match (38-0) for OSU in the home finale. In Ann Arbor, Funk nailed his third game-winning field goal of the year with 1:15 to play in Ohio’s 9-7 victory.

1966
Record: 4-5, 3-4
Points: 12.0-13.7 (-1.7)
Michigan: L, 17-3
Leading Rusher: Bo Rein (139-456, 3.3)
Leading Passer: Bill Long (106-192, 1180, 3.4)
Leading Receiver: Billy Anders (55-671)
All-Americans: C Ray Pryor
All-B10: C Ray Pryor, T Dick Himes
MVP: C Ray Pryor
Captains: Mike Current, John Fill, Ray Pryor
The Buckeyes finally beat TCU 14-7 in a season opener. Unlike 1957 and 1961 in which an opening loss and tie against the Horned Frogs respectively were followed by national titles, this may have been the high-water mark of the season. Washington blasted the Bucks 38-22 at home, a trip to Illinois resulted in a 10-9 loss, and Ohio fought hard, but couldn’t hold on at home in an 11-8 loss to #1 Michigan State. Two fourth quarter touchdowns were sufficient for a 24-13 victory over Wisconsin, but the first trip to Minneapolis in sixteen years ended in a 17-7 defeat. The Buckeyes earned Coach Hayes his one hundredth win at Ohio State by beating Indiana 7-0 on November 5. Mark Stier’s late endzone interception sealed a 14-10 win in Iowa City, but the Buckeyes had to settle for a losing record when UM triumphed 17-3 in Columbus.

1967
Record: 6-3, 5-2
Points: 16.1-13.3 (+2.8)
Michigan: @W, 24-14
Leading Rusher: Jim Otis (103-530, 5.1)
Leading Passer: Bill Long (44-102, 563, 2.4)
Leading Receiver: Billy Anders (28-403)
All-B10: E Billy Anders, T Dick Himes
MVP: LB Dirk Worden
Captain: Billy Anders, Samuel Elliott
Arizona shocked OSU with a 14-7 win in the opener, but the Bucks ruined the dedication of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium with a 30-0 romp. #2 Purdue took a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a 41-6 rampage at Ohio Stadium. The Bucks squeaked out a 6-2 win at Northwestern to sport a 2-0 home mark, but Illinois’ last minute touchdown for a 17-13 win dropped Ohio’s home record to 0-3. A trip to MSU resulted in a 21-7 win, and the Bucks finally got one at home, 17-15 over Wisconsin. Iowa was downed 21-10 in the home finale, and the Buckeyes completed a perfect 4-0 road mark by beating the Wolverines 24-14 in Ann Arobor.

1968
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-0, 7-0
Points: 32.3-15.0 (+17.3)
Michigan: W, 50-14
Bowl: Rose (W, 27-16 v. USC)
Ranking: #1/#1
Leading Rusher: Jim Otis (219-985, 4.5)
Leading Passer: Rex Kern (75-131, 972, 4.2)
Leading Receiver: Bruce Jankowski (31-328)
Major Awards: Woody Hayes (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: T Dave Foley, T Rufus Mayes
All-B10: T Dave Foley, T Rufus Mayes, DB Jack Tatum, DB Ted Provost
MVP: LB Mark Stier
Captains: Dave Foley, Dirk Worden
OSU’s late-blooming 1967 squad, returning stars like tackles Dave Foley and Rufus Mayes and fullback Jim Otis, was augmented by an unbelievable group of sophomores including QB Rex Kern, RBs Larry Zelina, Leo Hayden, and John Brockington, DL Jim Stillwagon, and DBs Ted Provost and Jack Tatum. Opening #11 in the polls, Ohio saw SMU attempt an NCAA record 76 passes, all for naught in their 35-14 defeat. Now #6, the Buckeyes turned it over six times but still rolled Oregon 21-6. #4 OSU would face its first major test when #1 Purdue came into the Horseshoe. Still smarting from 1967’s 41-6 defeat at the hands of the Boilermakers, the Buckeyes got an interception from Ted Provost and a touchdown scamper from backup QB Bill Long to pull the 13-0 upset. Now #2, OSU got three fourth quarter touchdowns to put away Northwestern 45-21. The first road test of the year at Illinois started well, but Ohio’s 24-0 lead was wiped out in the second half. With Kern again injured, his other backup, fellow soph Ron Maciejowski led a seventy yard drive to give the Bucks a 31-24 win. A scoreless fourth quarter enabled OSU to hold off Michigan State 25-20. Ohio rolled over Wisconsin in Madison 43-8, then suffered another road scare when a 26-6 game after three quarters wound up a 33-27 thriller against Iowa. #4 Michigan was undefeated when they came into Columbus and trailed just 21-14 at the half. Thirty minutes later, OSU had destroyed the Wolverines 50-14 on four Jim Otis touchdowns. The Buckeyes were now ranked #1, while 9-0-1 USC was #2. With the AP’s new policy of taking a final poll after the bowls, the national title would be decided in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans jumped out to a 10-0 on OJ Simpson’s eighty yard touchdown run, but the Bucks scored 27 unanswered points to win the national championship, 27-16.

1969
Big Ten Champions
Record: 8-1, 6-1
Points: 42.6-10.3 (+32.2)
Michigan: @L, 24-12
Ranking: #4/#5
Leading Rusher: Jim Otis (219-1027, 4.7)
Leading Passer: Rex Kern (68-135, 1002, 3.7)
Leading Receiver: Bruce Jankowski (23-404)/Jan White (23-308)
All-Americans: QB Rex Kern, FB Jim Otis, DL Jim Stillwagon, DB Ted Provost, DB Jack Tatum
All-B10: FB Jim Otis, E Dave Whitfield, E Mark Debevec, C Brian Donovan, T Paul Schmidlin, T Chuck Hutchinson, DL Jim Stillwagon, LB Doug Adams, DB Ted Provost, DB Jack Tatum, S Mike Sensibaugh
MVP: FB Jim Otis
Captains: Alan Jack, Dave Whitfield
Returning almost all of a national championship team, OSU held the #1 ranking until the final game of the season. The Bucks hammered TCU 62-0 in the opener, then went to Washington and handed the Huskies a 41-14 defeat. #19 Michigan State was no match for OSU in a 54-21 rout. Minnesota outgained OSU in Minneapolis, but fumbled five times and bowed 34-7. Illinois was the next victim in a 41-0 whitewashing, and home field advantage did Northwestern no good as they lost 35-6. OSU’s 62-7 win versus Wisconsin was engineered by Maciejowski and third stringer Kevin Rusnak as Kern was out with a shoulder injury. #10 Purdue was no match, as they fell 41-14. The Bucks could secure the national title at #12 UM, but first year coach Bo Schembechler had other ideas. The former Miami charge of Hayes and OSU assistant could take UM to the Rose Bowl with a win. OSU threw six interceptions, and the 24-12 halftime score held up, ruining the national title bid. Senior fullback Jim Otis became the first Buckeye to clear the 1,000 yards rushing barrier.

1970
National Champions
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-1, 7-1
Points: 29.0-12.0 (+17.0)
Michigan: W, 20-9
Bowl: Rose (L, 27-17 v. Stanford)
Ranking: #5/#2/#1(NFF)
Leading Rusher: John Brockington (261-1142, 4.4)
Leading Passer: Rex Kern (45-98, 470, 2.2)
Leading Receiver: Jan White (17-171)/Bruce Jankowski (12-235)
Leading Tackler: Stan White (106)
Major Awards: DL Jim Stillwagon (Lombardi, Outland)
All-Americans: FB John Brockington, E Jan White, DL Jim Stillwagon, DB Jack Tatum, S Mike Sensibaugh, DB Tim Anderson
All-B10: FB John Brockington, E Mark Debevec, C Tom DeLeone, T Dave Cheney, DL Jim Stillwagon, LB Phil Strickland, DB Jack Tatum, S Mike Sensibaugh
MVP: DL Jim Stillwagon
Captains: Doug Adams, Rex Kern, Jim Stillwagon, Jan White
Despite the disappointing conclusion to 1969, OSU opened #1 in the polls, as the Super Sophomores were now seniors. OSU crushed Texas A&M 56-13 and Duke 34-10 to open the season. Things weren’t much different when the Bucks opened Big Ten play with a 29-0 win in East Lansing and a 28-8 win versus Minnesota. At Illinois, OSU trailed 23-16, but turned it into a 48-29 win. The pollsters were underwhelmed and dropped the Bucks to #2. #20 Northwestern took a 10-3 halftime lead in Columbus, but the Ohioans won the second half and the game, 24-10. Now ranked third, the Buckeyes went to Madison and beat the Badgers 24-7. A snowy trip to Purdue nearly turned disastrous before Fed Schram’s late field goal won it for Ohio, 10-7. That set up the game that Coach Hayes and the Buckeyes had been pointing to for a year: #4 UM (9-0) at #5 OSU (8-0) on November 21. A new record crowd of 87,331 packed Ohio Stadium for the showdown. OSU led 10-3 at the half, and allowed UM just a touchdown in the second half to win 20-9. The National Football Foundation selected Ohio State as the national champions, but the Bucks were unable to capture the AP title when the #12, Jim Plunkett-led Stanford Cardinal prevailed 27-17 in the Rose Bowl. Senior DL Jim Stillwagon became the inaugural recipient of the Lombardi Award for top interior lineman or linebacker, and became OSU’s second Outland Trophy (top lineman) winner. Fellow senior Jack Tatum was named national defensive player by at least one outfit, and Rex Kern finished fifth in the Heisman voting after being third in 1969.

1971
Record: 6-4, 5-3
Points: 22.4-12.0 (+11.4)
Michigan: @L, 10-7
Leading Rusher: Rick Galbos (141-540, 3.8)
Leading Passer: Don Lamka (54-107, 718, 3.4)
Leading Receiver: Dick Wakefield (31-432)
Leading Tackler: Vic Koegel (126)
All-Americans: C Tom DeLenone
All-B10: C Tom DeLeone, T Rick Simon, DT George Hassenohrl, LB Stan White, LB Randy Gradishar
MVP: C Tom DeLeone
Captains: Tom DeLeone, Harry Howard
Replacing the core of the two national championship teams would not be easy, but the Bucks were ranked #11 to start the campaign. Ohio Stadium got a new look, as a gift from former Buckeye lineman (1950-51) Lou Fischer in honor of his late teammate, Joe Campanella (1950), enabled the installation of AstroTurf. The turf got its first use as OSU hammered Iowa 52-21 to jump all the way up to #6 nationally. #10 Colorado took a hard fought 20-14 victory from the Bucks. After crushing Cal 35-3, Ohio returned to Big Ten play with wins at Illinois (24-10) and Indiana (27-7). Hayes unveiled a wishbone attack to roll over Wisconsin 31-6 with the benefit of seven Badger turnovers. Now #10, the Buckeyes escaped Minneapolis with a 14-12 win by stopping a late two-point conversion attempt. The final two home games knocked OSU out of the Big Ten race (19-10 loss to Michigan State, 14-10 to Northwestern). The season concluded with a trip to #3 UM. Despite being dominated in the stats, the Buckeyes hung in the game and were driving in Wolverine territory down 10-7 late, but a pass meant for Dick Wakefield was picked by Michigan. Coach Hayes, convinced that Wakefield was interfered with, went berserk, running onto the field and breaking a down marker over his knee, then hurling it onto the field.

1972
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-2, 7-1
Points: 25.5-15.5 (+9.9)
Michigan: W, 14-11
Bowl: Rose (L, 42-17 v. USC)
Ranking: #9/#3
Leading Rusher: Archie Griffin (159-867, 5.5)
Leading Passer: Greg Hare (55-111, 815, 3.6)
Leading Receiver: Rick Galbos (11-235)
Leading Tackler: Rick Middleton (112)
All-Americans: T John Hicks, LB Randy Gradishar
All-B10: G Chuck Bonica, T John Hicks, DT George Hasenohrl, LB Randy Gradishar
MVP: DT George Hasenohrl
Captains: Rick Galbos, George Hasenohrl
Two major rule changes went into effect this season: freshman were again made eligible, and the Big Ten erased the no-repeat rule. The third-ranked Buckeyes opened with a 21-0 shutout of Iowa. Now #5, OSU trailed early against North Carolina on September 30 before freshman halfback Archie Griffin entered the game. He ran for a new school record 239 yards, sparking Ohio to a 29-14 victory. A big second half lifted #3 OSU to a 35-18 win at Cal. The #4 Buckeyes hammered Indiana 44-7 at home, then held on for a 28-20 win at Wisconsin. Minnesota was another tough home triumph, 27-19. #5 OSU was finally beaten 19-12 at Michigan State. Now #9, the Buckeyes used the T-formation to grind out a 27-14 win over Northwestern. #3 Michigan came into the Horseshoe on November 25 with the Rose Bowl on the line. The Buckeyes used two goal line stands and fullback Champ Henson’s school single season record twentieth touchdown to down the Wolverines 14-11 and advanced to Pasadena ranked third to face #1 USC. A 7-7 halftime game was blown open by the Trojans for a 42-17 win and a national title.

1973
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-0-1, 7-0-1
Points: 37.5-5.8 (+31.7)
Michigan: @T, 10-10
Bowl: Rose (W, 42-21 v. USC)
Ranking: #2/#3
Leading Rusher: Archie Griffin (247-1577, 6.4)
Leading Passer: Cornelius Green (20-46, 343, 3.2)
Leading Receiver: Fred Pagac (9-159)
Leading Tackler: Randy Gradishar (134)
Major Awards: T John Hicks (Lombardi, Outland), HB Archie Griffin (B10 MVP)
All-Americans: HB Archie Griffin, T John Hicks, DE Van DeCree, LB Randy Gradishar
All-B10: HB Archie Griffin, G Jim Kregel, T John Hicks, T Kurt Schumacher, DT Pete Cusick, DE Van DeCree, LB Rick Middleton, LB Randy Gradishar, CB Neal Colzie
MVP: HB Archie Griffin
Captains: Greg Hare, Rick Middleton
Coach Hayes decided to replace senior passing QB Greg Hare with sophomore runner Cornelius Green. OSU opened #3 and did little to prove otherwise. The Bucks blasted Minnesota 56-7 and TCU 37-3 to get off to a fast start, although Henson was injured and lost for the year; LB Bruce Elia replaced him as fullback. Now #1 in the nation, OSU blitzed Washington State 27-3, then won the first road game of the year 24-0 at Wisconsin. Indian was no problem in a 37-7 rout, and back home against Northwestern, OSU cruised to a 60-0 victory. After a slow first half, the Bucks overwhelmed Illinois 30-0. The final two home games were no problem, as Michigan State bowed 35-0 and Iowa 55-13. In the Iowa game, Archie Griffin broke his own school record, rushing for 246 yards. Both Ohio and #4 UM were unbeaten when the Bucks traveled to Ann Arbor. After taking a 10-0 lead, OSU was unable to hold on and settled for a 10-10 tie. Under current rules, this outcome would have sent Michigan to the Rose Bowl, but the protocol did not yet exist. Instead, a vote of the Big Ten ADs made the decision, and they found 6-4 for OSU despite the bitter protests of Schembechler. The Bucks made the most of it, destroying #7 USC 42-21 to avenge the 1973 game. Had the UPI taken its final poll after the bowl games, it is possible that Ohio State would have been voted national champs as #1 Alabama lost to AP champ Notre Dame, while #2 Oklahoma was not eligible for a bowl. John Hicks won the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, and also finished second in the Heisman balloting, as good as any offensive lineman has ever done. OSU boasted an incredible three of the top six Heisman vote-getters, as Griffin was fifth and Randy Gradishar sixth.

1974
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-2, 7-1
Points: 36.4-10.8 (+25.7)
Michigan: W, 12-10
Bowl: Rose (L, 18-17 v. USC)
Ranking: #4/#3
Leading Rusher: Archie Griffin (256-1695, 6.6)
Leading Passer: Cornelius Green (58-97, 939, 5.8)
Leading Receiver: Brian Baschnagel (19-244)
Leading Tackler: Bruce Elia (144)
Major Awards: HB Archie Griffin (Heisman, Walter Camp, B10 MVP)
All-Americans: HB Archie Griffin, C Steve Myers, T Kurt Schumacher, DE Van DeCree, DT Pete Cusick, CB Neal Colzie, P Tom Skladany
All-B10: QB Cornelius Green, HB Archie Griffin, TE Doug France, C Steve Myers, G Dick Mack, T Kurt Schumacher, DE Van DeCree, DT Pete Cusick, CB Steve Luke, CB Neal Colzie
MVP: HB Archie Griffin
Captains: Neal Colzie, Pete Cusick, Archie Griffin, Arnold Jones, Steve Myers
On June 5, Coach Hayes was struck by a heart attack, but he recovered and was on the sidelines to start the season at the helm of the #4 Buckeyes. Archie Griffin ran for 133 yards in the 34-19 opening win in Minneapolis to break Jim Otis’ career rushing record. The home campaign opened with #2 OSU crushing Oregon State 51-10. Now ranked #1, the Buckeyes beat SMU 28-9 and Washington State 42-7 in Seattle. #13 Wisconsin came to Columbus and received a 52-7 beating; Indiana fared similarly, 49-9. A trip to Northwestern was a 55-7 romp, and when Ohio beat Illinois 49-7 at home on November 2, Coach Hayes had his 200th career victory. Disaster struck at Michigan State the next week. With the Buckeyes trailing 16-13 and time running out on MSU’s goal line, the Spartans prevented Champ Henson from getting up after a play. OSU seemed to get off another play, with Brian Baschnagel scoring, but after a nearly half-hour deliberation, it was decided that time had expired and the Bucks had not set before the play. Hayes was rightfully furious about the situation, but the decision stood and OSU dropped to #4. At Iowa, OSU triumphed 35-10, returning home to face #4 UM now sporting the #3 ranking. UM jumped up 10-9, but Tom Klaban’s fourth field goal put Ohio up 12-10. As time expired, UM’s Mike Lantry missed on a 33 yard field goal wide left, and once more the Rose Bowl bid would be decided by a vote, which the Buckeyes won again. In Pasadena, #5 USC’s two-point conversion with two minutes left put them up 18-17 over #3 OSU. All-American punter Tom Skladany’s 62 yard try as time expired was close but short. Archie Griffin became OSU’s second junior Heisman winner, and the first Buckeye to win two B10 MVP awards.

1975
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-1, 8-0
Points: 32.0-8.5 (+23.5)
Michigan: @W, 21-14
Bowl: Rose (L, 23-10 v. UCLA)
Ranking: #4/#4
Leading Rusher: Archie Griffin (262-1450, 5.5)
Leading Passer: Cornelius Green (68-121, 1066, 5.0)
Leading Receiver: Brian Baschnagel (24-362)
Leading Tackler: Ed Thompson (162)
Major Awards: HB Archie Griffin (Heisman, Walter Camp, Maxwell), QB Cornelius Green (B10 MVP), Woody Hayes (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: HB Archie Griffin, G Ted Smith, DB Tim Fox, P Tom Skladany
All-B10: QB Cornelius Green, HB Archie Griffin, FB Pete Johnson, G Ted Smith, T Scott Donnelley, T Chris Ward, DE Bob Brudzinski, DT Nick Buonamici, LB Ed Thompson, DB Tim Fox, P Tom Skladany
MVP: QB Cornelius Green
Captains: Archie Griffin, Brian Baschnagel, Tim Fox, Ken Kuhn
Despite losing much of the defense, the Buckeyes started 1975 ranked #3. OSU went to #11 Michigan State to open the season, with memories of the 1974 debacle still fresh. The Bucks responded by pounding the Spartans 21-0. #7 Penn State came in for a big non-conference tilt, and the Buckeyes finally beat the Nittany Lions, 27-9. Ranked #2, OSU made rushing history against North Carolina again in a 32-7 victory. Junior fullback Pete Johnson scored a school record five touchdowns, while Griffin passed Rex Kern as the all time total offense leader. The Buckeyes beat #13 UCLA 41-20 in Los Angeles to claim the top spot in the polls. Home games against Wisconsin and Iowa were virtual walkovers, 49 and 56 to nothing respectively. A 35-6 win at Purdue was notable for Archie Griffin’s 130 yards rushing to break the NCAA career record. Indiana trailed 17-0 at the half, but Ohio had to hold on for a 24-14 victory. At Illinois the Buckeyes won 40-3, and the home finale was a 38-6 win against Minnesota. A trip to #4 UM loomed. Thanks to a new Big Ten rule, the loser would get a consolation trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami. OSU led 7-0, but UM took a 14-7 lead with just over seven minutes to play. Pete Johnson’s touchdown with three minutes left tied it up and with UM needing a win and not a tie to make it to Pasadena, the Wolverines came out throwing. Ray Griffin pulled down an interception, returning it to the 3. Pete Johnson’s third touchdown put OSU up 21-14, and Craig Cassady’s (son of Hopalong) interception sealed it for Ohio. A rematch with #11 UCLA in the Rose Bowl followed, and unfortunately, the Bruins turned the table on the Bucks, 23-10. Archie Griffin became the first player to win two Heisman Trophies. He also picked up the Maxwell Award and his second Walter Camp Award, joining OJ Simpson as a two-time winner of that honor. Despite Griffin’s heroics, both OSU and the Big Ten selected senior QB Cornelius Green as MVP.

1976
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-2-1, 7-1
Points: 25.4-12.4 (+13.0)
Michigan: L, 22-0
Bowl: Orange (W, 27-10 v. Colorado)
Ranking: #6/#5
Leading Rusher: Jeff Logan (218-1248, 5.7)
Leading Passer: Jim Pacenta (28-54, 404, 3.9)
Leading Receiver: James Harrell (14-288)
Leading Tackler: Tom Cousineau (184)
All-Americans: T Chris Ward, DE Bob Brudzinski, P Tom Skladany
All-B10: G Bill Lukens, T Chris Ward, DE Bob Brudzinski, DT Aaron Brown, DT Nick Buonamici, LB Tom Cousineau, P Tom Skladany
MVP: DE Bob Brudzinski
Captains: Bill Lukens, Tom Skladany, Ed Thompson
Despite returning just three starters on offense, Ohio opened as the nation’s #4 team. The biggest shows to fill, of course, were those of Griffin and Green. Junior Jeff Logan took over at halfback, while sophomore Rod Gerald was the quarterback, with senior Jim Pacenta sprinkled in. OSU pounded MSU 49-21 in the opener to move up to #2 in the polls. On September 18, OSU made its first ever trip to Happy Valley, and came away with a 12-7 win. Unfortunately, Missouri scored a two-point conversion with twelve seconds on the clock to win 22-21 at the Horseshoe and drop the Buckeyes to #8. #4 UCLA was next in and battled the Bucks to a 10-10 tie. Three Pete Johnson touchdowns keyed a 34-14 win at Iowa, giving him 48 career touchdowns and the Big Ten’s career record. A 30-20 win at Wisconsin was followed by a costly 24-3 victory against Purdue in which Gerald was felled for the regular season with a back injury. Indiana posed no problem, even on the road, 47-3. Four Johnson touchdowns gave the Bucks a 42-10 win against Illinois. Versus Minnesota, all the scoring came in the first half of OSU’s 9-3 win to clinch a share of the Big Ten title. #8 Ohio could take it all when #4 Michigan came to town, but UM dominated the Buckeyes 22-0. The consolation prize was the Orange Bowl, and OSU made the most of its first non-Rose Bowl post-season game. After trailing #12 Colorado 10-0 early, Coach Hayes shook up the backfield for #11 Ohio. Gerald made his return at quarterback, and Jeff Logan was shifted to fullback with junior Ron Springs at halfback in OSU’s I-formation. The rest of the contest was all OSU to a 27-10 tune.

1977
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-3, 7-1
Points: 28.6-10.0 (+18.6)
Michigan: @L, 14-6
Bowl: Sugar (L, 35-6 v. Alabama)
Ranking: #11/#12
Leading Rusher: Ron Springs (200-1166, 5.8)
Leading Passer: Rod Gerald (67-114, 1016, 5.2)
Leading Receiver: Ron Springs (16-90)
Leading Tackler: Dave Adkins (172)
All-Americans: T Chris Ward, DL Aaron Brown, LB Tom Cousineau, S Ray Griffin
All-B10: QB Rod Gerald, HB Ron Springs, FB Jeff Logan, TE Jimmy Moore, T Chris Ward, DE Kelton Dansler, DL Aaron Brown, LB Tom Cousineau, CB Mike Guess, S Ray Griffin
MVP: LB Dave Adkins
Captains: Aaron Brown, Ray Griffin, Jeff Logan, Chris Ward
Opening with a ranking of #5, OSU beat Miami-FL 10-0 in the opener. The Big Ten opener was a 38-7 romp over Minnesota, lifting the to Bucks to #4 as #3 Oklahoma came to Columbus on September 24 for the first-ever meeting between the schools. The Sooners raced out to a 20-0 lead, but the Bucks rallied to take a 21-20 third quarter lead, which they extended to 28. But Oklahoma got a late touchdown (missing a two-point attempt that would have tied the game), recovered the onside kick, and made a 41 yard field goal to win a 29-28 classic. #6 OSU recovered to beat SMU 35-7 in Dallas, then destroyed Purdue 46-0 at home. 27-6 and 35-15 wins at Iowa and Northwestern, respectively, lifted the Bucks to their highest ranking of the season at #3. The three games leading into UM were no problem, as the Ohioans beat Wisconsin 42-0, Illinois 35-0, and Indiana 35-7. #4 OSU went to #5 UM with the Big Ten co-title in hand, but had a chance to win it all. The Bucks dominated the statistics, but UM managed to pull out a 14-6 win. Ohio got a trip to New Orleans for its first Sugar Bowl, but #3 Alabama handed the Bucks a 35-6 thrashing in the matchup between two coaching legends, Woody Hayes and Bear Bryant.

1978
Record: 7-4-1, 6-2
Points: 28.3-18.0 (+10.3)
Michigan: L, 14-3
Bowl: Gator (L, 17-15 v. Clemson)
Leading Rusher: Paul Campbell (142-591, 4.2)
Leading Passer: Art Schlichter (87-175, 1250, 3.6)
Leading Receiver: Doug Donley (24-510)
Leading Tackler: Tom Cousineau (244)
Major Awards: LB Tom Cousineau (Butkus Silver Anniversary Award--awarded retroactively in 2003)
All-Americans: LB Tom Cousineau
All-B10: G Ken Fritz, T Joe Robinson, DE Kelton Dansler, LB Tom Cousineau, DB Vince Skillings, S Mike Guess, P Tom Orosz
MVP: LB Tom Cousineau
Captains: Byron Cato, Tom Cousineau, Ron Springs, Tim Volger
Coach Hayes made a decision to commit more to the pass to utilize the talent of freshman QB Art Schlichter, shifting senior incumbent Rod Gerald to wide receiver. Schlichter got off to a rough start, throwing five picks in #6 OSU’s 19-0 opening loss to #5 Penn State. The Bucks bounced back with a 27-10 win at Minnesota, and on September 30, Hayes won his 200th at OSU with a 34-28 victory against Baylor. Things weren’t as rosy a week later against another Texas opponent, when SMU fought the Buckeyes to a 35-all tie. At Purdue, penalties and turnovers doomed Ohio in a 27-16 defeat. Iowa was not a problem in a 31-7 October 21 homecoming victory, notable for Ohioan and Hayes friend Bob Hope dotting the i. Northwestern was also a big victim, 63-20. The Buckeyes went to Wisconsin and crushed the Badgers 49-14. OSU kept it rolling with a 45-7 win against Illinois on November 11 and a difficult 21-18 win at Indiana. The Rose Bowl and the Big Ten title were once again on the line when #6 UM came to Columbus on November 25 to play the #16 Ohioans. Michigan claimed the prizes with a 14-3 win, ending the Bucks’ incredible string of six consecutive Big Ten titles and sending OSU to the December 29 Gator Bowl against #7 Clemson in Jacksonville. Trailing 17-15 and driving late, Schlichter was intercepted by Charlie Bauman, who was forced out of bounds in front of Coach Hayes. Coach Hayes punched him, causing OSU to fire him and end his legendary coaching career the next day. LB Tom Cousineau became the first Buck ever selected #1 overall in the NFL draft.

1979
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-1, 8-0
Points: 32.5-10.5 (+22.0)
Michigan: @W, 18-15
Bowl: Rose (L, 17-16 v. USC)
Ranking: #4/#4
Leading Rusher: Calvin Murray (173-872, 5.0)
Leading Passer: Art Schlichter (105-200, 1816, 4.8)
Leading Receiver: Doug Donely (37-800)
Leading Tackler: Alvin Washington (120)
Major Awards: Earle Bruce (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: QB Art Schlichter, G Ken Fritz
All-B10: QB Art Schlichter, WR Doug Donley, C Tom Waugh, G Ken Fritz, DT Luther Henson, LB Jim Laughlin, DB Todd Bell, CB Mike Guess, S Vince Skillings, K Vlade Janakievski
MVP: LB Jim Laughlin
Captains: Ken Fritz, Mike Guess, Jim Lauglin, Tom Waugh
Hayes was replaced by his former assistant Earle Bruce. Bruce, a Maryland native, was a halfback at OSU before an injury ended his career. After graduating, he became a successful high school coach, including a 20-0 stint at Massillon. From 1966-71 he was an assistant to Hayes, before becoming head coach at the University of Tampa and Iowa State. Bruce’s first team opened unranked with a September 8 home date against Syracuse, blasting the Orangeman 31-8. OSU managed to escape Minnesota as 21-17 winners in the Big Ten opener, climbing into the AP poll at #15. The Bucks followed with consecutive triumphs over Pac-10 foes, downing Washington State 45-29 and using a two-minute drill to win at UCLA 17-13. Now eighth nationally, Ohio had four straight home games. After beating Northwestern 16-7, the Bucks rolled over Indiana 47-6, Wisconsin 59-0, and Michigan State 42-0. Things weren’t much different in a 44-7 rout at Illinois and 34-7 in the home finale versus Iowa. The Bucks, now ranked #2, had just a November 17 date in Ann Arbor against #13 UM between themselves and Pasadena. With OSU down 15-12 in the fourth, Jim Laughlin blocked a punt, Todd Bell recovered it for a touchdown, and Bruce had his first victory over UM, 18-15. The Rose Bowl pitted now #1 Ohio State and #3 USC. After falling behind 10-0, the Bucks took a 16-10 lead, but USC recovered to score a touchdown and deny OSU the national title, 17-16.

1980
Record: 9-3, 7-1
Points: 32.3-15.1 (+17.2)
Michigan: L, 9-3
Bowl: Fiesta (L, 31-19 v. Penn State)
Ranking: #15/#15
Leading Rusher: Calvin Murray (195-1267, 6.5)
Leading Passer: Art Schlichter (122-226, 1930, 4.6)
Leading Receiver: Doug Donley (43-887)
Leading Tackler: Marcus Marek (140)
All-B10: HB Calvin Murray, WR Doug Donley, G Joe Lukens, DT Jerome Foster, LB Marcus Marek, CB Vince Skillings, CB Ray Ellis, DB Todd Bell, K Vlade Janakievski
MVP: HB Calvin Murray
Captains: Doug Donley, Ray Ellis, Keith Ferguson, Calvin Murray
The Buckeyes opened ranked #1, but when Syracuse jumped to a 21-3 lead in the season opener before being beaten 31-21, OSU dropped to #2. The Bucks crushed Minnesota 47-0, then beat Arizona State 38-21. #11 UCLA avenged their 1979 loss, upsetting OSU 17-0 at the Horseshoe. #9 Ohio bounced back with a 63-0 blowout at Northwestern, then used a 224 rushing yard performance from senior halfback Calvin Murray to beat Indiana 27-17. The Buckeyes cruised to 21-0 and 48-16 road wins at Washington and Michigan State, working their way back up to #7 as Illinois came to Columbus. The game was a true shootout, as Schlichter threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns, while Illini QB Dave Wilson threw for 621 yards and six touchdowns, setting an NCAA single game total offense record. Illinois outgained OSU by 261 yards, but the Bucks outscored them 49-42. At Iowa, Ohio rolled to a 41-7 victory, setting up another Rose Bowl decider when #10 UM came to #5 OSU. The Wolverines handed Bruce his first Big Ten loss, 9-3, sending #11 OSU to the Fiesta Bowl against #10 Penn State. The Bucks led by nine at the half, but were shutout in the second half of a 31-19 loss.

1981
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-3, 6-2
Points: 32.3-21.1 (+11.2)
Michigan: @W, 14-9
Bowl: Liberty (W, 31-28 v. Navy)
Ranking: #15/#12
Leading Rusher: Tim Spencer (226-1217, 5.4)
Leading Passer: Art Schlichter (183-350, 2551, 3.8)
Leading Receiver: Gary Williams (50-941)
Leading Tackler: Marcus Marek (148)
Major Awards: QB Art Schlichter (B10 MVP)
All-B10: QB Art Schlichter, HB Tim Spencer, G Joe Lukens, LB Marcus Marek
Captains: Glen Cobb, Art Schlichter
#11 Ohio opened with a 34-13 win over Duke, putting them into the top ten at #8. After beating Michigan State 27-13, Schlichter outdueled Stanford’s John Elway 24-19 in Palo Alto. Florida State came to Columbus to face #7 OSU for the first time on October 3; despite a school record 458 aerial yards from Schlichter, FSU pulled a 36-27 upset. The Bucks fell out of the polls when they were defeated 24-21 in Camp Randall. Illinois once again lit up the scoreboard at the Shoe, but OSU came away with a wild 34-27 victory. After a 29-10 win against Indiana, the Bucks ventured to West Lafayette. Purdue became the latest opponent to torch Ohio’s pass defense, with 516 yards, but Schlichter threw for 336 of his own in the 45-33 Buckeye victory. In Minneapolis the next Saturday, it was 444 yards for the Gophers in a disappointing 35-31 loss. After pounding Northwestern 70-6, OSU went to Ann Arbor to face #7 UM. With the Bucks down 9-7 late, fullback Vaugh Broadnax’s legendary block sprung Schlichter for a six yard touchdown run. The 14-9 win gave Ohio a share of the conference crown and a trip to the Liberty Bowl, where OSU closed the season with a 31-28 win over Navy. Schlichter was voted Big Ten MVP, and for the third straight year finished in the top ten of the Heisman balloting (4th-6th-5th).

1982
Record: 9-3, 7-1
Points: 29.0-17.3 (+11.7)
Michigan: W, 24-14
Bowl: Holiday (W, 47-17 v. BYU)
Ranking: #12/#12
Leading Rusher: Tim Spencer (273-1538, 5.6)
Leading Passer: Mike Tomczak (96-187, 1602, 4.4)
Leading Receiver: Gary Williams (40-690)
Leading Tackler: Marcus Marek (178)
All-Americans: LB Marcus Marek
All-B10: HB Tim Spencer, TE John Frank, G Joe Lukens, DT Jerome Foster, LB Marcus Marek
MVP: HB Tim Spencer
Captains: Joe Lukens, Jerome Foster, Tim Spencer, Gary Williams
The fourteenth ranked Bucks replaced Schlichter under center with sophomore Mike Tomczak. After a 21-7 opening win against Baylor, the Bucks went to Michigan State, scoring three fourth quarter touchdowns to beat the Spartans 31-10. A late Tomczak interception opened the door for John Elway and his Cardinal, who rallied to beat OSU 23-20 behind his 407 yards passing. Florida State walloped the Bucks 34-17, and Wisconsin handed OSU a third straight home loss with a 6-0 stunner. At Champaign, the Illini scored two fourth quarter touchdowns to knot the score at 21, but a field goal and a safety allowed Ohio to escape as 26-21 winners. Indiana threw for 300+ yards in Bloomington, but OSU ran for nearly as many in a 49-25 victory. The Bucks trounced Purdue 38-6 and Minnesota 35-10 at home before visiting Northwestern. The Wildcats were the latest team to post a huge passing day against the Buckeye defense, but the 393 yards were not enough as they fell 40-28. Gary Williams set a new NCAA record by pulling down a reception for the 46th straight game. #13 UM came to Columbus with the Rose Bowl in hand thanks to a bizarre Big Ten schedule in which everyone except OSU and Iowa played nine conference games. Even after the first Horseshoe crowd of 90,000+ saw the Bucks beat the Blue 24-14, UM’s 8-1 Big Ten mark trumped OSU’s 7-1. The Buckeyes settled for the Holiday Bowl, where they thumped BYU 47-17 despite another opponent surpassing 300 yards in the air (Steve Young). Ohio outrushed the Cougars 345-19, more then making up for the passing discrepancy.

1983
Record: 9-3, 6-3
Points: 34.2-17.2 (+17.0)
Michigan: @L, 24-21
Bowl: Fiesta (W, 28-23 v. Pitt)
Ranking: #9/#8
Leading Rusher: Keith Byards (222-1199, 5.4)
Leading Passer: Mike Tomczak (131-237, 1942, 4.5)
Leading Receiver: John Frank (45-641)
Leading Tackler: Rowland Tatum (156)
All-B10: HB Keith Byars, TE John Frank, LB Rowland Tatum, CB Garcia Lane
MVP: TE John Frank
Captains: John Frank, Garcia Lane, Bill Roberts, Rowland Tatum
The Buckeyes’ seven game winning streak to close out 1982 landed them at #7 in the AP pre-season poll. A 31-6 opener against Oregon lifted the Bucks to #6, setting up a huge showdown at #2 Oklahoma, finally reciprocating the Sooners’ 1977 visit to Columbus. Ohio jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held on for a 24-14 win. However, now #3 OSU could not pull off two big road wins in a row when #7 Iowa prevailed 20-14 at Kinnick Stadium. The #8 Bucks crushed Minnesota 69-18, then beat Purdue 33-22. At #19 Illinois, #6 OSU stumbled 17-13 to fall to 4-2 and #17. Two straight successful home contests (21-11 v. Michigan State and 45-27 v. Wisconsin), and two straight blowouts (56-17 at Indiana and 55-7 at Northwestern) put the Bucks back at #10 before they traveled to #8 UM. Five turnovers, including one on a fumblerooski play, doomed the Scarlet and Gray in a 24-21 loss. Tomczak’s 39 yard touchdown strike with half a minute left enabled the Buckeyes to slip past #15 Pitt 28-23 in the Fiesta Bowl.

1984
Big Ten Champions
Record: 9-3, 7-2
Points: 32.6-16.7 (+15.9)
Michigan: W, 21-6
Bowl: Rose (L, 20-17 v. USC)
Ranking: #13/#12
Leading Rusher: Keith Byars (336-1764, 5.3)
Leading Passer: Mike Tomczak (145-244, 1952, 4.8)
Leading Receiver: Keith Byars (42-479)
Leading Tackler: Pepper Johnson (140)
Major Awards: HB Keith Byars (B10 MVP)
All-Americans: HB Keith Byars, G Jim Lachey
All-B10: HB Keith Byars, C Kirk Lowdermilk, G Jim Lachey, K Mark Krerowicz, LB Pepper Johnson, P Tom Tupa
MVP: HB Keith Byars
Captains: Pepper Johnson, Mark Krerowicz, Kirk Lowdermilk, Mike Tomczak
Spring practice seemed very costly for OSU when senior QB Mike Tomczak suffered a broken leg. Despite his injury, OSU opened ranked sixth. Sophomore signal-caller Jim Karsatos was at the helm for a 22-14 opening win over Oregon State. Dropped to #9, the Bucks regained the confidence of the pollsters with a 44-0 blowout over Washington State in which Tomczak made his return. With a 45-26 trouncing of #14 Iowa, the Buckeyes moved from #5 up to #3. A 35-22 win at Minnesota lifted OSU to #2, but Purdue upset the Bucks 28-23 in West Lafayette. Illinois came into the Horseshoe on October 13 at 3-1 in Big Ten play, while #8 OSU was 2-1. The Illini stormed to a 24-0 lead, but the Buckeyes came back to make it 24-21 at halftime. OSU cashed in on the Illini’s fumble of the second half kickoff to take the lead 28-24. An Illinois field goal cut the lead to on, but Keith Byars rambled 67 yards for a touchdown despite losing his shoe to put the Bucks up 35-27. An Illinois touchdown and two point conversion sent the game into the fourth quarter deadlocked. After trading field goals, OSU got the ball with three minutes left, and ground out an eighty yard drive, capped by Byars’ school-record tying fifth rushing touchdown, to win 45-38. Byars shattered Archie Griffin’s single-game rushing record with 274 yards on 39 carries. At Michigan State, the Buckeyes escaped with a 23-20 win when a 43 yard Spartan field goal try was short as time expired. However, a trip to Madison proved too much when Wisconsin beat the Bucks 16-14. A pair of strong wins, 50-7 against Indiana and 52-3 at Northwestern, set the stage for UM’s visit to Columbus. A victory would give OSU the outright title, and they got it 21-6. #6 OSU went to Pasadena to face #18 USC, but fell behind 20-9 heading into the fourth quarter, and could not come all the way back, succumbing 20-17. Byars broke Archie Griffin’s single season rushing record, was named team and Big Ten MVP, and finished second to Boston College QB Doug Flutie in the Heisman voting--were it not for Flutie’s miracle Hail Mary to beat Miami-FL, Byars would have likely won OSU’s sixth Heisman.

1985
Record: 9-3, 5-3
Points: 27.1-17.7 (+9.4)
Michigan: @W, 27-17
Bowl: Citrus (W, 10-7 v. BYU)
Ranking: #14/#11
Leading Rusher: John Wooldridge (173-820, 4.7)
Leading Passer: Jim Karsatos (177-289, 2311, 4.9)
Leading Receiver: Cris Carter (58-950)
Leading Tackler: Pepper Johnson (141)
All-Americans: LB Pepper Johnson
All-B10: WR Cris Carter, C Bob Maggs, T Rory Graves, LB Pepper Johnson, LB Chris Spielman, P Tom Tupa
MVP: QB Jim Karsatos
Captains: Keith Byars, Pepper Johnson, Mike Lanese
Practice once again was costly for the Bucks as Keith Byars broke a bone in his foot with less than two weeks before the opener. Already having to replace QB Mike Tomczak (with junior Jim Karsatos), Coach Bruce had to install junior John Wooldridge at halfback. Nonetheless, OSU embarked on the campaign ranked ninth. Ohio Stadium’s fist night game on September 14 saw the Scarlet and Gray defeat Pitt 10-7. #7 OSU went to Colorado and crushed the Buffaloes 36-13. A shootout developed when Washington State visited Columbus in game three, with the #5 Buckeyes winning 48-32. Unfortunately, OSU could not hold a 28-14 lead in Champaign, falling to the Illini 31-28. Ohio rebounded to crush Indiana 48-7, and Keith Byars returned to action with 106 yards rushing in a 41-27 win over Purdue. Back in the top ten at #9, the Bucks needed a late four down stand to escape #20 Minnesota with a 23-19 victory. #8 OSU returned home to face #1 Iowa at Ohio Stadium on November 2. In a pouring rain, the Buckeyes intercepted star QB Chuck Long four times en route to a 22-13 win. Now #4, OSU thumped Northwesten 35-17, but the third-ranked Bucks were stunned by Wisconsin 12-7 in the home finale. UM beat OSU 27-17 in Ann Arbor, and the Buckeyes closed the campaign by edging BYU 10-7 in the Citrus Bowl.

1986
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-3, 7-1
Points: 26.7-13.8 (+12.9)
Michigan: L, 26-24
Bowl: Cotton (W, 28-12 v. Texas A&M)
Ranking: #7/#6
Leading Rusher: Vince Workman (210-1030, 4.9)
Leading Passer: Jim Karsatos (145-272, 2122, 4.2)
Leading Receiver: Cris Carter (69-1127)
Leading Tackler: Chris Spielman (205)
All-Americans: WR Cris Carter, LB Chris Spielman
All-B10: WR Cris Carter, TE Ed Taggert, C Bob Maggs, G Jeff Uhlenhake, LB Eric Kumerow, LB Chris Spielman, DB Sonny Gordon
MVP: WR Cris Carter
Captains: Sonny Gordon, Jim Karsatos
After six straight 9-3 season, that mark would not be a possibility as the Bucks would play thirteen games for the first time in school history. Bruce became the first Buckeye coach to receive a multi-year contract (through 1988). #9 OSU opened versus #5 Alabama in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium on August 27, marking the first August game in program history. The Crimson Tide handed OSU a 16-10 defeat, and Washington poured it on, thumping the Bucks 40-7 in Seattle. The Buckeyes needed a last minute Pat O’Morrow field goal to get into the win column 13-10 in the home opener against Colorado. After hammering Utah 64-6 thanks to 715 total yards, Ohio opened Big Ten play with a 14-0 home shutout of Illinois. Indiana put up a good fight, but allowed OSU to escape Memorial Stadium with a 24-22 victory. The Bucks crushed Purdue 39-11 and came home to destroy Minnesota 33-0. #17 OSU next went to Iowa City to face revenge-minded #11 Iowa. The Buckeyes rolled to a 31-10 win, and assumed Iowa’s spot in the poll. A 30-9 win against Northwestern and a 30-17 at Wisconsin secured a Big Ten Crown, but the Rose Bowl bid would be decided when #6 UM visited #7 OSU. The Buckeyes lead at halftime, but Michigan rallied to take a 26-24 lead. When Matt Frantz just missed a field goal with a minute left, the score held up and the Scarlet and Gray had to settle for its first Cotton Bowl bid (in fact, the first for any Big Ten program). The eleventh ranked Bucks used two interception returns for touchdowns to beat the eighth ranked Aggies 28-12.

1987
Record: 6-4-1, 4-4
Points: 20.4-16.5 (+3.9)
Michigan: @W, 23-20
Leading Rusher: Vince Workman (118-470, 4.0)
Leading Passer: Tom Tupa (134-242, 1786, 4.1)
Leading Receiver: Everett Ross (29-585)
Leading Tackler: Chris Spielman (156)
Major Awards: LB Chris Spielman (Lombardi)
All-Americans: LB Chris Spielman, P Tom Tupa
All-B10: LB Eric Kumerow, LB Chris Spielman, CB William White, P Tom Tupa
MVP: LB Chris Spielman
Captains: Eric Kumerow, Chris Spielman, Tom Tupa, William White
In January, Earle Bruce was offered a five-year contract to coach the University of Arizona. AD Rick Bay flew to the NCAA coaches convention in San Diego to convince him to stay at OSU, which he did. On March 12, Woody Hayes died in his Upper Arlington home at age 74. His public memorial service at Ohio Stadium featured Earle Bruce and Bo Schembechler as speakers, while the eulogy at the funeral was delivered by former President Richard Nixon. In July, Bay announced that star senior WR Cris Carter had been declared ineligible for dealings with an agent. If all that was not enough, OSU had to replace QB Jim Karsatos--the job went to 1985 All-Big Ten punter Tom Tupa, a senior who wound up as the Buckeyes’ four-year starting punter. #5 Ohio opened with a 24-3 win over West Virginia, sparked by six interceptions. After dispatching Oregon 24-13, the #7 Bucks headed south to face #5 LSU on September 26. A classic ensued, with fourth quarter heroics on both sides (2 OSU interceptions and an LSU blocked field goal) maintaining a 13-13 stalemate, the only tie in Bruce’s OSU career. The ninth-ranked Ohioans opened Big Ten play with a 10-6 win at Illinois, but were stunned at home 31-10 by Indiana the following Saturday. A 17-0 lead in West Lafayette disappeared, but Matt Frantz’s 50 yard field goal lifted the Bucks to a 20-17 win. After blowing out Minnesota 42-9, OSU scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Michigan State, then stumbled to a 13-7 defeat. Seven turnovers doomed OSU in a 26-24 loss at Wisconsin. With the Buckeyes leading Iowa 27-22 late in the home finale, the Hawkeyes struck for a 28 yard score on a 4th & 29 to stun the Bucks 29-27. On Monday, university president Ed Jennings told Bay that Bruce would be fired after the UM game. Bay was furious, resigning immediately and calling a news conference to break the story. On November 21, OSU traveled to UM, falling behind 13-0. The Scarlet and Gray rallied to get back into it, and with the game tied at 20 in the fourth, Matt Frantz hit a field goal to make it 23-20. The defense ensured that the score would hold up, and Bruce ended his OSU career with a winning record (5-4) against UM. Bruce would proceed to coach Northern Iowa in 1988 before closing his college career at Colorado State (1989-92). He would also be head coach for a few arena league teams, including the Columbus Destroyers. Senior linebacker Chris Spielman became OSU’s third Lombardi Award winner.

1988
Record: 4-6-1, 2-5-1
Points: 20.8-25.7 (-4.9)
Michigan: L, 34-31
Leading Rusher: Carlos Snow (152-775, 5.1)
Leading Passer: Greg Frey (152-293, 2028, 3.6)
Leading Receiver: Jeff Ellis (40-492)
Leading Tackler: John Sullivan (88)
All-Americans: C Jeff Uhlenhake
MVP: C Jeff Uhlenhake
Captains: Mike McCray, Mike Sullivane, Jeff Uhlenhake, Vince Workman
On New Year’s Eve, 1987, Arizona State head coach John Cooper was hired as Bruce’s successor. Cooper, a Tennessee native and Iowa State alum had also previously led the program at Tulsa. Greg Frey, a sophomore, was the new quarterback. The Cooper era dawned on September 10 with a resounding 26-9 win over Syracuse. #18 OSU quickly dropped out of the top 25 when a trip to Pitt resulted in a 42-10 defeat. For the second straight year, agent problems cost OSU a senior offensive star when HB Vince Workman was declared ineligible. The Bucks returned home to face #7 LSU, which took a 33-20 lead with approximately four and a half minutes to play. A touchdown cut it to 33-27, and on the ensuing possession, LSU elected to take a safety. The strategy did no good as Greg Frey tossed a twenty yard touchdown with just under forty seconds left, and the Scarlet and Gray had a dramatic 36-33 victory. Big Ten play started poorly with a 31-12 loss to Illinois, a shocking 41-7 loss at Indiana and a 31-26 loss to Purdue. Cooper earned his first Big Ten triumph on October 22 when the Bucks won 13-6 at Minnesota. After a 20-10 defeat at Michigan State, Ohio pounded Wisconsin 34-12 and settled for a 24-24 tie at Iowa. #12 UM had the Rose Bowl sown up when they came to Columbus on November 19, and jumped to a 20-0 lead. OSU rallied and the lead changed hands several times before the visitors finally prevailed, 34-31.

1989
Record: 8-4, 6-2
Points: 28.3-24.8 (+3.5)
Michigan: @L, 28-18
Bowl: Hall of Fame (L, 31-14 v. Auburn)
Ranking: #24
Leading Rusher: Carlos Snow (190-990, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Greg Frey (144-246, 2132, 5.1)
Leading Receiver: Jeff Graham (32-608)
Leading Tackler: Derek Isaman (88)
All-B10: G Jeff Davidson, T Joe Staysniak
MVP: LB Derek Isaman Captains: David Brow, Jeff Davidson, Zack Dumas, Derek Isaman, Joe Staysniak
OSU opened with a solid 37-13 win against Oklahoma State, but #12 USC pulverized the Bucks 42-3 in Los Angeles. Returning home to face Boston College, Ohio jumped out to a 31-7 halftime lead, but needed a last-minute goal line stand to hang on for a 34-29 win. At #18 Illinois, the Bucks took a 34-14 beating. OSU ended their losing streak against Indiana, 35-31, then ran over Purdue 21-3--in the two games combined, the Scarlet and Gray completed just nine passes, relying on the rushing of HB Carlos Snow and FB Scottie Graham. At Minnesota on October 28, the Buckeyes trailed 31-0 and then 31-7 at the half. But Greg Frey’s 362 yard through the air allowed Ohio to keep chipping away; when he tossed a touchdown to Jeff Graham with less then a minute to play, the Bucks had a 41-37 victory, and at the time, the greatest comeback in the history of college football. OSU had three backs run for 100 yards or more in a 55-27 romp at Northwestern. After beating Iowa 28-0 at home, OSU cracked the AP Poll at #22. The Bucks kept rolling with a 42-22 win against Wisconsin, and went north ranked #20; UM was #3. OSU put up a valiant effort, but wound up on the short end of a 28-18 decision in Bo Schembechler’s final OSU-UM clash. In the Hall of Fame Bowl against #9 Auburn, the Bucks’ 14-3 start was not enough as the Tigers roared back for a 31-14 win.

1990
Record: 7-4-1, 5-2-1
Points: 29.1-18.3 (+10.8)
Michigan: L, 16-13
Bowl: Liberty (L, 23-11 v. Air Force)
Leading Rusher: Robert Smith (177-1126, 6.4)
Leading Passer: Greg Frey (139-276, 2062, 3.8)
Leading Receiver: Bobby Olive (41-652)
Leading Tackler: Steve Tovar (125)
All-B10: WR Jeff Graham, LB Steve Tovar
MVP: WR Jeff Graham
Captains: Dan Beatty, Vinnie Clark, Greg Frey, Jeff Graham, Bo Pelini
The Big Ten accepted an eleventh member, Penn State, with the Nitanny Lions competing in Big Ten football beginning in 1993. For the first time in Cooper’s tenure, OSU found itself in the pre-season top 25 (#18). The Bucks opened by beating Texas Tech 17-10, then ventured east to beat Boston College 31-10. Sporting a highwater ranking of #15, Ohio played host to #18 USC on September 22. OSU trailed 35-26 in a thunderstorm with 2:36 to play, and when they failed to recover an onside kick, the game was called. #13 Illinois benefited from an illegal forward pass to beat #20 OSU 31-20, and the skid continued when the Buckeyes came away from Indiana with a 27-all stalemate. The Scarlet and Gray crushed Purdue 42-2 in West Lafayette and got home blowouts over Minnesota (52-23) and Northwestern (48-7). When Greg Frey rallied the Bucks from a 26-14 fourth quarter deficit at #6 Iowa, hitting Bobby Olive for a short touchdown with just one tick remaining on the clock for a 27-26 win, OSU was back in the poll at #21. Halfback Robert Smith became OSU’s first freshman thousand yard rusher in a 35-10 victory at Wisconsin. The #19 Buckeyes could win a share of the conference title by beating #15 UM, but a 37 yard Wolverine field goal as time expired gave the visitors a 16-13 win. 6-5 Air Force stunned #24 OSU by pulling off a 23-11 Liberty Bowl upset.

1991
Record: 8-4, 5-3
Points: 23.1-15.6 (+7.5)
Michigan: @L, 31-3
Bowl: Hall of Fame (L, 24-17 v. Syracuse)
Leading Rusher: Carlos Snow (169-828, 4.9)
Leading Passer: Kent Graham (79-153, 1018, 3.4)
Leading Receiver: Bernard Edwards (27-381)
Leading Tackler: Steve Tovar (97)
All-Americans: LB Steve Tovar
All-B10: T Alan Kline, DE Jason Simmons, DE Alonzo Spellman, LB Steve Tovar
MVP: HB Carlos Snow
Captains: Scottie Graham, John Kacherski, Carlos Snow
Senior Kent Graham became the quarterback, with junior Kirk Herbstreit logging significant time as well. The Bucks also lost the services of sophomore halfback Robert Smith, who quit the team in a dispute with the coaching staff, returning Carlos Snow to the role of primary halfback. Ohio Stadium’s seating capacity was increased by about 5,000. #22 OSU opened by rolling over Arizona 38-14. The Bucks then needed a late stop to preserve a 23-15 victory over Louisville. After beating Washington State 33-19, a record crowd of 94,201 on October 5 saw OSU down Wisconsin 31-16 in the Big Ten opener, achieving their highest poll position of the Cooper era to this point, #11. At #20 Illinois, a late field goal handed the Bucks their first loss, 10-7. On October 19, the Scarlet and Gray traveled north to Cleveland to face Northwestern in a Wildcat home game move for economic motives. After crushing the Wildcats 34-3, Ohio beat Michigan State 27-7. #11 Iowa was next in to face #13 OSU, and they came away with a 16-9 win in front of a new record crowd of 95,537. The Bucks wouldn’t need a miracle comeback in Minneapolis this time, rolling 35-6. After slipping by the Hoosiers 20-16 in the home finale, #18 OSU went to #4 UM and suffered a 31-3 defeat. #16 Syracuse beat the Buckeyes 24-17 in the Hall of Fame Bowl.

1992
Record: 8-3-1, 5-2-1
Points: 22.6-13.2 (+9.4)
Michigan: T, 13-13
Bowl: Citrus (L, 21-14 v. Georgia)
Ranking: #18/#19/#18(USA Today/CNN)
Leading Rusher: Robert Smith (147-819, 5.6)
Leading Passer: Kirk Herbstreit (155-264, 1904, 4.2)
Leading Receiver: Brain Stablein (53-643)
Leading Tackler: Steve Tovar (128)
All-Americans: LB Steve Tovar
All-B10: DT Greg Smith, DT Dan Wilkinson, LB Steve Tovar, S Roger Harper
MVP: QB Kirk Herbstreit
Captains: Kirk Herbstreit, Steve Tovar
Senior Kirk Herbstreit assumed the quarterback job, and he got help as halfback Robert Smith was back in the fold. #17 OSU barely escaped the opener, as Louisville failed a two-point attempt with less than a minute to go, leaving the final score 20-19. On September 12, Bowling Green became the first in-state opponent since 1934, and went home with a 16-7 loss. Next, #21 Ohio went to #8 Syracuse, getting revenge for the Hall of Fame Bowl with a 35-12 shellacking. Freshman halfback Eddie George led the Bucks with three touchdowns against the Orangemen. In Camp Randall, the 12th-ranked Scarlet and Gray was unable to keep it rolling, dropping a 20-16 decision. Back home against Illinois, two George red zone fumbles were costly as OSU fell 18-16. The Bucks bounced back to beat Northwestern 31-7 and pick up road wins at Michigan State (27-17) and Iowa (38-15). After shutting out Minnesota (17-0 in Columbus) and winning 27-10 at Indiana, #17 OSU was ready to host #6 UM on November 21. A record crowd of 95,330 packed the Horseshoe, despite the fact that the Wolverines had already locked up the Rose Bowl bid. Trailing 13-3 in the fourth quarter, Herbstreit rallied the Bucks to ten points, earning a tie, the last in the OSU-UM series. School president Gordon Gee declared the game “one of our greatest wins”. #15 Ohio had a shot to take the Citrus Bowl from #8 Georgia, but a red zone fumble thwarted a drive, and the Bulldogs drove for a touchdown of their own and a 21-14 win. The bowl loss dropped Cooper’s record in UM and bowl games to 0-8-1.

1993
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-1-1, 6-1-1
Points: 29.3-16.1 (+13.2)
Michigan: @L, 28-0
Bowl: Holiday (W, 28-21 v. BYU)
Ranking: #11/#9/#10
Leading Rusher: Raymont Harris (273-1344, 4.9)
Leading Passer: Bobby Hoying (109-202, 1570, 4.2)
Leading Receiver: Joey Galloway (47-946)
Leading Tackler: Lorenzo Styles (117)
All-Americans: T Korey Stringer, DT Dan Wilkinson
All-B10: WR Joey Galloway, G Jason Winrow, T Korey Stringer, K Tim Williams, DT Dan Wilkisnon, LB Lorenzo Styles, S Chico Nelson
MVP: HB Raymont Harris
Captains: Alan Kline, Chico Nelson, Cedric Saunders, Jason Simmons
Sophomore Bobby Hoying won the vacant quarterback spot over senior Bret Powers, and #18 OSU opened with a 34-7 victory over Rice. #12 Washington was next into Ohio Stadium to face the #16 Buckeyes under the lights. OSU’s 21-12 win propelled them to #11. At Pitt, the Scarlet and Gray rolled 63-28, climbing to #7. After crushing Northwestern 52-3, #6 OSU held on for a 20-12 victory in Champaign. #25 Michigan State came to Columbus to face the fifth-ranked Buckeyes. OSU won a wild 28-21 decision, moving up to #3 in the polls. A 45-24 win at Purdue set the stage for #12 Penn State’s October 30 visit to Columbus, the first ever conference meeting between the two schools. The Bucks triumphed 24-6, heading next to Madison to face surprising #14 Wisconsin. After OSU got a late fourth quarter touchdown to knot the game at 14, UW drove and attempted a 32 yard field goal as time expires. Marlon Kerner’s block preserved the final tie in the history of Ohio State football. Dropped to #5 in the country, the Buckeyes beat Indiana 23-17 to earn Coach Cooper his first Big Ten title. Any hopes for the outright title were snuffed out when unranked UM hammered OSU 28-0 in Ann Arbor; Wisconsin’s subsequent victory over Michigan State gave them the Rose Bowl berth. On December 11, Buckeye Jayson Gwinn was killed in a car accident. #11 Ohio closed out the campaign with a 28-21 Holiday Bowl triumph against BYU. Redshirt sophomore DT Dan Wilkinson was selected by Cincinnati #1 overall in the NFL draft.

1994
Record: 9-4, 6-2
Points: 25.8-16.2 (+9.6)
Michigan: W, 22-6
Bowl: Citrus (L, 24-17 v. Alabama)
Ranking: #14/#10/#9
Leading Rusher: Eddie George (276-1442, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Bobby Hoying (170-301, 2335, 4.4)
Leading Receiver: Joey Galloway (44-669)
Leading Tackler: Lorenzo Styles (132)
All-Americans: T Korey Stringer
All-B10: T Korey Stringer, DE Matt Finkes, DE Mike Vrabel, LB Lorenzo Styles
MVP: T Korey Stringer
Captains: Joey Galloway, Marlon Kerner
#20 OSU opened with a trip to Anaheim, California for a neutral site matchup with Fresno State. After a 34-10 win, the #18 Bucks sat for two weeks awaiting another west coast trip, this time to face Washington. Senior wide receiver Joey Galloway was suspended for two games for dealings with an agent. The #25 Huskies pounced out to a 22-0 halftime lead and defeated Ohio 25-16. Finally at home, the Bucks rolled Pitt 27-3 and Houston 52-0. At Northwestern, the Buckeyes survived 17-15, but Illinois handed OSU a 24-10 home loss. At Michigan State, junior halfback Eddie George ran for 219 yards in a 23-7 victory, becoming the first Buckeye ever with two 200 yard games in the same season (he had run for 206 at Northwestern). Another major mark was achieved when Hoying threw for five touchdowns in a 48-14 rout of Purdue. The first conference trip to Happy Valley on October 29 turned out poorly when the #1 Nittany Lions beat the #21 Buckeyes 63-14. OSU bounced back to beat Wisconsin 24-3, then won 32-17 at Indiana. On November 19, #15 UM visited #22 Ohio, with Cooper finally earning his first victory in the rivalry as the Bucks trounced the Wolverines 22-6. A late touchdown gave #6 Alabama a 24-17 Citrus Bowl win over the thirteenth-ranked Buckeyes.

1995
Record: 11-2, 7-1
Points: 36.5-16.9 (+19.6)
Michigan: @L, 31-23
Bowl: Citrus (L, 20-14 v. Tennessee)
Ranking: #6/#6/#8
Leading Rusher: Eddie George (328-1927, 5.9)
Leading Passer: Bobby Hoying (211-341, 3269, 5.9)
Leading Receiver: Terry Glenn (64-1411)
Leading Tackler: Greg Bellisari (98)
Major Awards: Eddie George (Heisman, Walter Camp, Maxwell, Doak Walker, B10 MVP), Terry Glenn (Biletnikoff), Orlando Pace (Lombardi)
All-Americans: HB Eddie George, WR Terry Glenn, T Orlando Pace, DE Mike Vrabel
All-B10: QB Bobby Hoying, HB Eddie George, WR Terry Glenn, TE Rickey Dudley, T Orlando Pace, DE Mike Vrabel, CB Shawn Springs
MVP: HB Eddie George
Captains: Matt Bonhaus, Eddie George, Bobby Hoying
#12 Ohio opened up with #22 Boston College in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium, pounding the Eagles 38-6. Three weeks later, George’s 212 yards keyed the #10 Bucks’ 30-20 home opening win versus #18 Washington. #8 OSU has no problem with Pitt, rolling to a 54-14 win behind Hoying’s five touchdown strikes. On September 30, #15 Notre Dame came to Ohio Stadium to face the #7 Bucks for the first time in nearly sixty years. The Bucks blew open a tight game in the second half for a 45-26 win. George emerged as a national star with 207 yards rushing. Next, #5 OSU traveled to #12 PSU seeking revenge for the 1994 rout. Hoying engineered a late touchdown drive to give the Buckeyes a 28-25 victory. At #21 Wisconsin, #4 Ohio earned a 27-16 triumph. After dispatching Purdue 28-0, the Bucks jumped to a 56-0 halftime lead over #25 Iowa. The Hawkeyes outscored OSU’s reserves 35-0 in the second half, but it was still a convincing rout. At Minnesota, the Bucks won 49-21 to climb to #2 in the country. On November 11, Illinois ventured to Ohio Stadium. In the sleet, George carried 36 times for 314 yards, smashing Keith Byars’ school record (also set against the Illini). The 41-3 final score was nearly duplicated when OSU ended its home slate 42-3 over Indiana. But #12 UM dashed the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl chances when HB Tim Biakabutuka ran for 313 yards in a 31-23 Wolverine win. Peyton Manning and Tennessee handed the Buckeyes a 20-14 Citrus Bowl loss. Nonetheless, the 1995 squad became one of the most decorated OSU teams of all-time. Eddie George broke the OSU single-season rushing record; Bobby Hoying did the same for passing; and Terry Glenn for receiving. Glenn won the Biletnikoff Award for top receiver, while Hoying won the Draddy Award (the “academic Heisman”). Sophomore tackle Orando Pace captured the Lombardi Award, but George was the big winner, capturing OSU’s sixth Heisman, plus the B10 MVP, Doak Walker, Maxwell, and Walter Camp Awards.

1996
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-1, 7-1
Points: 37.9-10.9 (+27.0)
Michigan: L, 13-9
Bowl: Rose (W, 20-17 v. Arizona State)
Ranking: #2/#2(USA Today/CNN)
Leading Rusher: Pepe Pearson (299-1484, 5.0)
Leading Passer: Stanley Jackson (87-165, 1298, 4.1)
Leading Receiver: Dimitrious Stanley (43-829)
Leading Tackler: Damon Moore (89)
Major Awards: T Orlando Pace (Lombardi, Outland, B10 MVP)
All-Americans: T Orlando Pace, DE Mike Vrabel, CB Shawn Springs
All-B10: T Orlando Pace, DE Matt Finkes, DE Mike Vrabel, LB Andy Katzenmoyer, CB Shawn Springs
MVP: T Orlando Pace
Captains: Greg Bellisari, Juan Porter
Despite losing three offensive superstars (QB Hoying, HB George, and WR Glenn), expectations were high as the Buckeyes opened #10 in the country. Junior Stanley Jackson took over under center, but sophomore Joe Germaine got significant time as well. The new-look OSU offense got off to a rousing start, crushing Rice 70-7 and Pitt 72-0. Now ranked #4, the Scarlet and Gray journeyed to South Bend to face #5 Notre Dame. The Bucks parlayed a 22-7 halftime edge into a 29-16 victory. Another top-five matchup loomed as #4 PSU invaded Columbus to face #3 Ohio. The Buckeyes crushed them 38-7 to claim the #2 ranking, which they hung on to by scraping out a 17-14 win over Wisconsin. OSU fell behind 14-0 at Purdue, but rallied for a 42-14 win. At #20 Iowa, the Bucks took a 38-6 lead, then cruised home to a 38-26 victory. OSU crushed Minnesota 45-0, then rolled to a 48-0 win at Illinois. On November 16, the Buckeyes had the opportunity to seal the Rose Bowl bid at Indiana, and did so with a surprisingly tough 27-17 win. #21 UM spoiled OSU’s perfect season with a 13-9 upset at the Horseshoe, benefiting from Shawn Springs’ slip on the wet turf that allowed a long touchdown strike. In the Rose Bowl, #4 OSU took on #2 Arizona State. The back and forth contest saw the Bucks leading 14-10 in the fourth quarter before Sun Devil QB Jake Plummer scrambled for a touchdown. Germaine came back in at quarterback for OSU and calmly led a drive aided by two ASU interference penalties. When he hit freshman wide receiver David Boston for a five yard touchdown with nineteen seconds left, the Bucks had a 20-17 victory. Coach Cooper voiced OSU’s claim on the national title, but the voters did not heed his calls, despite #3 Florida’s bowl victory over #1 Florida State, slotting Ohio #2. Orlando Pace became the first-ever two-time Lombardi Award winner, added the Outland Trophy and Big Ten MVP for good measure, and was selected #1 overall in the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams.

1997
Record: 10-3, 6-2
Points: 30.3-13.1 (+17.2)
Michigan: @L, 20-14
Bowl: Sugar (L, 31-14 v. Florida State)
Ranking: #12/#12
Leading Rusher: Pepe Pearson (192-869, 4.5)
Leading Passer: Joe Germaine (129-210, 1847, 5.4)
Leading Receiver: David Boston (73-970)
Leading Tackler: Antoine Winfield (100)
Major Awards: LB Andy Katzenmoyer (Butkus)
All-Americans: G Rob Murphy, LB Andy Katzenmoyer, CB Antoine Winfield
All-B10: WR David Boston, T Eric Gholstin, LB Andy Katzenmoyer, CB Antoine Winfield, S Damon Moore, P Brent Bartholomew
MVP: CB Antoine Winfield
Captains: Winfield Garnett, Stanley Jackson
#9 OSU opened up with an unprecedented Thursday night game against Wyoming, winning 24-10. The Bucks crushed Bowling Green 44-13, then hung on to a 28-0 third quarter lead for a 28-20 win against Arizona. #7 OSU ventured to Missouri, winning 31-10. #11 Iowa visited Columbus and left with a 23-7 defeat. The Scarlet and Gray next headed to Happy Valley to face #2 Penn State. The Bucks played tough, but were unable to hold a 27-17 second half lead, falling 31-27. #11 OSU bounced back to down Indiana 31-0, moving up to #9. Northwestern was another easy win, 49-6. #20 MSU was not much of a thread either, failing to defend their home field, 37-13. The #7 Bucks rolled 31-3 at Minnesota to climb to #4. After hammering Illinois 41-6, OSU went to Ann Arbor to face #1 Michigan. The Buckeyes fell behind 20-0, then rallied but could not get over the hump, finally succumbing 20-14. In the Sugar Bowl, #4 Florida State handed the Bucks a 31-14 defeat. Andy Katzenmoyer became the first Buckeye and first sophomore to win the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

1998
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-1, 7-1
Points: 35.8-12.0 (+23.8)
Michigan: W, 31-16
Bowl: Sugar (W, 24-14 v. Texas A&M)
Ranking: #2/#2
Leading Rusher: Michael Wiley (198-1235, 6.2)
Leading Passer: Joe Germaine (230-384, 3330, 5.2)
Leading Receiver: David Boston (85-1435)
Leading Tackler: Damon Moore (81)
Major Awards: QB Joe Germaine (B10 MVP), CB Antoine Winfield (Thorpe)
All-Americans: WR David Boston, G Rob Murphy, CB Antoine Winfield, S Damon Moore
All-B10: QB Joe Germaine, HB Michael Wiley, WR David Boston, G Rob Murphy, LB Na’il Diggs, LB Andy Katzenmoyer, CB Antoine Winfield, S Damon Moore
MVP: QB Joe Germaine
Captains: Joe Germaine, Jerry Rudzinski, Antoine Winfield
With Stanley Jackson graduated, Joe Germaine took over the quarterback duties for a full-time basis on the nation’s preseason #1 team. At #11 West Virginia, the Buckeyes won 34-17. Toledo posed no trouble in a 49-0 rout, but #21 Missouri led OSU 14-13 at the half. The Buckeyes owned the second half, coming away with a 35-14 victory. #7 Penn State came to the Horsehoe next, with the Bucks’ defense leading the way in a 28-9 win. A 41-0 romp at Illinois was followed by a 45-15 home win against Minnesota. In these games, Germaine became the first Ohio quarterback to throw for 300 yards in consecutive games. He would proceed to make it four straight, leading the Bucks to road wins, 36-10 against Northwestern and 38-7 against Indiana. OSU led Michigan State 17-3 after the first quarter and 24-9 in the second half, but the Spartans rallied for a shocking 28-24 upset, tumbling the Bucks to #7 in the country. OSU rebounded for a 45-14 win at Iowa before hosting UM. A 31-16 win lifted the Buckeyes to #3 in the country, leaving them tantalizingly short of qualifying for the first national championship game under the new Bowl Championship Series system which paired the #1 and #2 teams in a bowl that rotated each year between the Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose. Instead, OSU went to the Sugar Bowl and beat #8 Texas A&M 24-14 to complete a collection of victories in the four traditional major bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Cotton), plus the Fiesta. David Boston broke the school single season receiving yards record, while Germaine did the same for the passing mark and copped the Big Ten MVP trophy as well. Cornerback Antoine Winfield became the first Buckeye to win the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

1999
Record: 6-6, 3-5
Points: 23.8-23.9 (-.2)
Michigan: @L, 24-17
Leading Rusher: Michael Wiley (183-952, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Steve Bellisari (101-224, 1616, 3.3)
Leading Receiver: Reggie Germany (43-656)
Leading Tackler: Na’il Diggs (94)
All-Americans: LB Na’il Diggs
All-B10: CB Ahmad Plummer
MVP: CB Ahmad Plummer
Captains: Matt Keller, Ahmad Plummer
A three-year renovation project for Ohio Stadium was started. Despite losing many stars, OSU was expected to reload and opened #9 in the country. A pair of sophomores, Austin Moherman and Steve Bellisari, sought to replace Germaine under center. Moherman started the opener, but Bellisari would seize the job quickly, leading to Moherman’s transfer. The Bucks opened against #12 Miami-FL in the Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium, falling 23-12. #14 UCLA opened the home schedule against #13 OSU under the lights, with the Bucks posting a 42-20 victory. After beating Ohio University 40-16, OSU fell behind Cincinnati 17-3 before rallying for a 34-20 win. Opening Big Ten play at home against Wisconsin, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 17-0 lead, only to allow 42 unanswered points to close out the game. At #17 Purdue, #21 OSU earned an exciting 25-22 win when Brent Johnson blocked a Boilermaker field goal with less than a minute to play. At #2 PSU, #17 Ohio struggled offensively in a 23-10 defeat. At #24 Minnesota, Dan Stultz’s pair of fourth quarter field goals lifted the #22 Buckeyes to a 20-17 win. They went on to destroy Iowa 41-11 on October 30, with Archie Griffin’s #45 retired during a halftime ceremony, the first Ohio State player to receive that honor. At #19 MSU, #20 OSU failed to avenge the upset of 1998, falling 23-7. In the home finale, #25 OSU was hammered 46-20 by Illinois. Needing a win at #10 Michigan to gain bowl eligibility, the Buckeyes put up a valiant fight, but fell 24-17 to end the season on a sour note.

2000
Record: 8-4, 5-3
Points: 27.6-18.5 (+9.1)
Michigan: L, 38-26
Bowl: Outback (L, 24-7 v. South Carolina)
Leading Rusher: Derek Combs (175-888, 5.1)
Leading Passer: Steve Bellisari (163-310, 2319, 3.9)
Leading Receiver: Ken-Yon Rambo (53-794)
Leading Tackler: Mike Doss (94)
All-Americans: S Mike Doss
All-B10: K Dan Stultz, LB Joe Cooper, S Mike Doss
MVP: HB Derek Combs
Captains: Rodney Bailey, Steve Bellisari, Joe Cooper, Ken-Yon Rambo
The Bucks looked to bounce back from a tough 1999, starting #16 in the AP poll. Against Fresno State, the Buckeyes used four defensive scores to lead a 43-10 rout. At Arizona, OSU used a 17-0 second half to grind out a 27-17 victory. Miami gave the Scarlet and Gray a tough game, but fell 27-16. Now #12, the Buckeyes annihilated Penn State 45-6 on September 23 as Vic Janowicz's #31 was retired. Moving up to #8, OSU went to Camp Randall and beat #22 Wisconsin 23-7 in a game highlighted by Derek Combs’ 80 yard touchdown scamper despite losing his shoe. Minnesota stunned the #5 Buckeyes 29-17, spoiling homecoming for the Ohio faithful. Dropped to thirteenth in the AP poll, the Buckeyes crushed Iowa 38-10 in Iowa City before heading to West Lafayette for a key game in the Big Ten title race against #16 Purdue. #12 Ohio led 20-10 after three quarters, but the Boilermakers answered with two touchdowns before halfback Jerry Westbrooks’ run put OSU back on top. With just 1:55 left, a blown coverage allowed Purdue quarterback Drew Brees to hit a 64 yard touchdown strike, dealing OSU a heartbreaking 31-27 loss. The Bucks rebounded to beat MSU 27-13, then used Dan Stultz’s last second field goal to escape Illinois 24-21. Hosting #19 UM on November 18 before a new record crowd of 98,568, the Buckeyes had a roller coaster game, leading 9-0 before falling behind 31-12. Ohio fought back to cut the Wolverine lead to 31-26, but UM stuffed an OSU red zone incursion, then added another touchdown for a 38-26 win. Hopalong Cassady's #40 was retired during the game. #18 OSU went to Tampa for the Outback (formerly Hall of Fame) Bowl against South Carolina. The unranked Gamecocks handed the Buckeyes a 24-7 defeat that proved to be the end of the Cooper era. The next day, on January 2, Cooper was fired, leaving OSU as the school’s second-winningest and third-longest tenured coach. Cooper remains a Columbus native and OSU backer.

2001
Record: 7-5, 5-3
Points: 26.0-20.3 (+5.7)
Michigan: @W, 26-20
Bowl: Outback (L, 31-28 v. South Carolina)
Leading Rusher: Jonathon Wells (251-1294, 5.2)
Leading Passer: Steve Bellisari (119-220, 1919, 4.7)
Leading Receiver: Michael Jenkins (49-988)
Leading Tackler: Mike Doss (87)
Major Awards: C LeCharles Bentley (Rimington)
All-Americans: C LeCharles Bentley, S Mike Doss
All-B10: C LeCharles Bentley, T Tyson Walter, S Mike Doss
MVP: HB Jonathon Wells
Captains: Steve Bellisari, Mike Collins, Joe Cooper, Jamar Martin
Jim Tressel, the four-time Division I-AA national title winning coach of Youngstown State, was hired to lead the Buckeyes on January 18. The Cleveland native and Baldwin Wallace alum had served as an assistant to Earle Bruce during the 1983-85 seasons. Tressel’s first OSU squad opened at #22, and on September 8, before a crowd of 102,602 rededicated the renovated Ohio Stadium with a 28-14 win against Akron. The next weekend’s scheduled matchup with San Diego State was postponed due to the 9/11 attack on the United States, leaving the Bucks short on game experience prior to the next game at #12 UCLA. #21 OSU struggled offensively in a 13-6 loss. After a 27-14 win at Indiana, the Bucks hosted #14 Northwestern on October 6 under the lights, thrashing them 38-20 behind senior halfback Jonathon Wells’ 179 yards rushing. The game also saw the retirement of Les Horvath's #22. The Scarlet and Gray was back in the polls at #21, but that stay was short-lived when a 17-0 lead over Wisconsin evaporated in a 20-17 loss. On what had been scheduled for a bye week, the Buckeyes defeated San Diego State 27-12 on October 20. At Penn State, the Nittany Lions rallied for a 29-27 win that made Joe Paterno college football’s all-time winningest coach. Ohio prevailed in a back and forth game at Minnesota, 31-28, then thrashed #24 Purdue 35-9 in Columbus on November 10 as Eddie George's #27 was retired. #12 Illinois came in to face #25 OSU in a home finale wrought with Big Ten title implications. Unfortunately, Steve Bellisari was suspended for the game, leaving redshirt sophomore Scott McMullen as the starting quarterback. He struggles, and classmate Craig Krenzel was a bit more effective as the Buckeyes wound up on the short end of a 34-22 score, despite Wells’ 192 yards on the ground. At Ann Arbor to face #11 Michigan on November 24, Ohio dashed out to 20-0 first half lead on the strength of 129 yards from Wells, who was forced out with an injury. The Buckeyes managed to hang on for a 26-20 win, setting up an Outback Bowl rematch with South Carolina. The #14 Gamecocks led #22 OSU 28-0 with under six minutes to play in the third quarter when Bellisari (who had replaced Krenzel early in the game) caught fire, accounting for three touchdowns in a rally that tied the score. Unfortunately, he was intercepted while trying to win the game on the Bucks’ last drive, allowing South Carolina to kick a 42 yard field goal for a 31-28 as time expired. LeCharles Bentley copped the Rimington Award as the nation’s top center.

2002
National Champions
Big Ten Champions

Record: 14-0, 8-0
Points: 29.3-13.1 (+16.2)
Michigan: W, 14-9
Bowl: Fiesta (W, 31-24 (2OT) v. Miami-FL)
Ranking: #1/#1
Leading Rusher: Maurice Clarett (222-1237, 5.6)
Leading Passer: Craig Krenzel (148-249, 2110, 5.0)
Leading Receiver: Michael Jenkins (61-1076)
Leading Tackler: Matt Wilhelm (121)
Major Awards: Jim Tressel (Coach of the Year)
All-Americans: K Mike Nugent, LB Matt Wilhelm, S Mike Doss, P Andy Groom
All-B10: HB Maurice Clarett, K Mike Nugent, DE Darrion Scott, LB Matt Wilhelm, CB Chris Gamble, S Mike Doss, P Andy Groom
MVP: WR/CB Chris Gamble & QB Craig Krenzel
Captains: Mike Doss, Donnie Nickey
Craig Krenzel won the vacant quarterback job, and Maurice Clarett became the first true freshman ever to appear as the starting halfback in his first OSU game. The NCAA began a two-year experiment with a twelve game schedule, and along with an exempt season opener with Texas Tech, OSU would face its first (and to date, only) thirteen game regular season slate. On August 24, #13 OSU opened with a 45-21 rout of Texas Tech, punctuated by Clarett’s 175 yards rushing. Elevated to #8, Ohio took a week off before hammering Kent 51-17 to set the stage for the September 14 battle between the #6 Bucks and #10 Washington State. Clarett took over the game in the second half, rushing for a school frosh record 230 yards in a 25-7 victory. However, he suffered a knee injury that put him on the sideline for a week, beginning a season-long struggle to play healthy. Playing Cincinnati at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, OSU survived a 23-19 scare with Will Allen’s end zone interception, then returned home to handle Indiana 45-17. The #5 Buckeyes overcame sloppy play for a 27-16 night win at Northwestern, then crushed San Jose State 50-7. Now #4, Ohio traveled to Camp Randall and edged out Wisconsin, 19-14. Returning home to face #18 Penn State, the Bucks trailed 7-6 at halftime before Chris Gamble’s interception return gave them a 13-7 lead that would prove to be the final. Gamble was starting at corner now in addition to his regular flanker position, becoming the first two-way starter in recent memory for OSU (he returned punts to boot). Dropped to #6, OSU handled #23 Minnesota 34-3 at home before traveling to Purdue ranked third. With under two minutes to play, the Buckeyes trailed 6-3 and faced a forth and one at the Boilermaker 37 when Krenzel hit junior split end Michael Jenkins for a touchdown on what became known as the “Holy Buckeye” play. A Gamble interception sealed the win, sending the Buckeyes to face Illinois ranked second on November 16. Another tight game ensued, with the Illini’s last-second field goal knotting the score at sixteen and forcing the first-ever overtime game for Ohio State. The Bucks scored first, then stopped Illinois’ possession for a 23-16 victory. On November 23, #12 UM arrived as a record crowd of 105,539 packed the Horseshoe. OSU scored an early touchdown, but three Wolverine field goals put them ahead at the half. Maurice Hall’s fourth quarter touchdown run gave the Buckeyes a 14-9 lead, and when the defense forced two UM turnovers in OSU territory (including Will Allen’s goal line interception on the game’s final play), the Buckeyes won the Big Ten title and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl to face #1 Miami-FL, the defending national champions, for the crown. Ohio led 14-7 at halftime, and in the third quarter Krenzel was intercepted by Sean Taylor in the end zone. As Taylor scampered down the sideline, Clarett stripped him from behind, giving the ball back to the Bucks. An Ohio State field goal from sophomore star kicker Mike Nugent made it 17-7, but the Hurricanes managed to tie it up with a field goal of their own as time expired. Miami scored a touchdown on the first overtime possession, and things looked bleak when the Buckeyes faced a fourth and fourteen. Krenzel converted with a pass to Jenkins, but another fourth down quickly loomed. This time, Gamble was interfered with, and Krenzel’s one yard touchdown run forced a second overtime. Clarett ran for a touchdown to make it 31-24, but on their possession, the Hurricanes overcame a fourth down situation and quickly had a first and goal at the two. The first three plays failed to reach paydirt, and on fourth down, LB Cie Grant pressured Miami QB Ken Dorsey, who threw incomplete into the end zone, giving Ohio the national title and college football’s first 14-0 season.

2003
Record: 11-2, 6-2
Points: 24.5-17.6 (+7.2)
Michigan: @L, 35-21
Bowl: Fiesta (W, 35-28 v. Kansas State)
Ranking: #4/#4
Leading Rusher: Lydell Ross (193-826, 4.3)
Leading Passer: Craig Krenzel (153-278, 2040, 4.0)
Leading Receiver: Michael Jenkins (55-834)
Leading Tackler: AJ Hawk (106)
Major Awards: P BJ Sander (Ray Guy)
All-Americans: DE Will Smith, S Will Allen
All-B10: TE Ben Hartsock, G Alex Stepanovich, DT Tim Anderson, DE Will Smith, LB AJ Hawk, CB Chris Gamble, S Will Allen, P BJ Sander
MVP: WR Michael Jenkins
Captains: Tim Anderson, Michael Jenkins, Craig Krenzel, Will Smith
OSU was dealt a blow before the season when Maurice Clarett was declared ineligible and suspended for the season, ending his college career. The Scarlet and Gray opened ranked #2, defeating #17 Washington under the lights at the Shoe, 28-9. Against San Diego State, the Buckeye offense sputtered, but safety Will Allen’s 100 yard interception return was key in a 16-13 victory. #24 North Carolina State was next in, and the Buckeyes had amassed a 24-7 fourth quarter lead before the Wolf Pack rallied behind QB Phillip Rivers to force overtime. The teams traded touchdowns for two overtimes, but Krenzel’s third overtime touchdown toss and Allen’s fourth and goal tackle gave the Bucks a 44-38 triple overtime win. The Buckeyes fell to #5 in the polls and lost Krenzel to an elbow injury for two games, leaving senior Scott McMullen in command of the offense. Again, a 24-7 fourth quarter lead was threatened, but an Allen interception sealed a 24-17 win against Bowling Green. #4 Ohio opened Big Ten play with an easy 20-0 win over Northwestern. After a bye week, #3 OSU traveled to Camp Randall to face #22 Wisconsin in the rain. A late 79 yard touchdown pass allowed the Badgers to break the Buckeyes’ winning streak, 17-10. The eight-ranked Ohioans bounced back with a 19-10 home win over #9 Iowa, despite only three offensive points (a punt return from Jenkins, a blocked punt for a touchdown, and a safety on Iowa’s botched punt snap provided the other sixteen points). OSU throttled Indiana 35-6 in Bloomington before traveling to Penn State. Krenzel missed the second half due to injury, but McMullen’s touchdown pass to Jenkins with less than two minutes to play was enough for a 21-20 win when a sixty yard Nittany Lion field goal attempt on the game’s final play fell short. #14 MSU threw for 373 yards, but the homestanding #7 Buckeyes outrushed them 182-5 en route to a 33-23 win. Ohio State moved up to #4 in the AP poll for the home finale against #10 Purdue. For the third time in the campaign, the Buckeyes didn’t manage an offensive touchdown, but Mike Kudla’s fumble recovery and two Nugent field goals were enough to force an overtime with a 13-13 score. Nugent made an overtime field goal, his Boilermaker counterpart missed, and the 16-13 triumph allowed the Buckeyes to climb to #2 in the BCS rankings (although still fourth in the AP) as they traveled to #5 Michigan. The Wolverines jumped out to a 21-0 lead and held on for a 35-21 win to claim the Big Ten crown for themselves and deny Ohio a return trip to the title game. #7 OSU still earned an at-large BCS bid, returning to the Fiesta Bowl to face the Big 12 champ, #10 Kansas State. The Buckeyes took leads of 21-0 and 35-14, but the Wildcats fought back to make it 35-28. Their Hail Mary attempt fell short and the Buckeyes finished the season 11-2. Senior punter BJ Sander won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s punter, and Krenzel took the Draddy Award for academic excellence.

2004
Record: 8-4, 4-4
Points: 24.2-18.3 (+5.9)
Michigan: W, 37-21
Bowl: Alamo (W, 33-7 v. Oklahoma State)
Ranking: #20/#19
Leading Rusher: Lydell Ross (117-475, 4.1)
Leading Passer: Justin Zwick (99-187, 1209, 3.4)
Leading Receiver: Santonio Holmes (55-769)
Leading Tackler: AJ Hawk (141)
Major Awards: K Mike Nugent (Groza)
All-Americans: K Mike Nugent, LB AJ Hawk
All-B10: K Mike Nugent, LB AJ Hawk
MVP: K Mike Nugent
Captains: Dustin Fox, Simon Fraser, Mike Nugent, Lydell Ross
Redshirt sophomore Justin Zwick won the open quarterback position over classmate Troy Smith. The #9 Buckeyes opened with a 27-6 win over Cincinnati, but Marshall gave OSU a major scare. Two long Zwick-Santonio Holmes touchdown passes had the game knotted at 21 before Nugent hit from 55 as time expired to win it, 24-21. At North Carolina State, the Buckeyes prevailed in a defensive struggle, 22-14. The #7 Scarlet and Gray suffered their first loss to Northwestern in 33 years, and their first overtime loss as well, 33-27 under the lights in Evanston. #15 Wisconsin came to the Horseshoe to face the #18 Buckeyes, and while OSU got individual heroics from freshman wide receiver Ted Ginn (a 65 yard punt return) and Nugent (another 55 yard field goal), it was not enough in a 24-13 loss. Things got worse in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes routed the #23 visitors, 33-7. Zwick suffered a shoulder injury, giving Smith an opportunity to play. He tossed two touchdowns in OSU’s 30-7 victory over Penn State on October 30 as Chic Harley's #47 was retired (Ginn added another punt return). In East Lansing, Ginn emerged as a superstar, running for a touchdown and returning a punt for a score, but the Buckeyes lead evaporated and were down 19-17 when he turned a short slant into a 58 yard touchdown with 1:37 to play. Junior linebacker AJ Hawk’s interception gave OSU the ball back, and a long touchdown run made the margin a deceptive 32-19. At Purdue, the Bucks rallied from a 17-3 halftime deficit, but the Boilermakers answered with a touchdown to win 24-17. #7 UM came to Ohio Stadium to close out the schedule, and it was Smith’s turn to shine as he rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown while passing for 241 and two scores. Ginn added a NCAA record-tying fourth punt return of the year (82 yards), and OSU upset the Wolverines 37-21. Before the Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State, Smith was suspended for both the bowl and the 2005 opener. Zwick and Ginn took snaps at quarterback in his absence (although Ginn did not attempt a pass), and the Buckeyes rolled to a 33-7 victory. Mike Nugent became the first Buckeye to win the Lou Groza award as the nation’s topkicker (Groza attended OSU as a freshman in 1943 before joining the armed services during World War II, and later starred for the Cleveland Browns and his college coach, Paul Brown).

2005
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-2, 7-1
Points: 32.7-15.3 (+17.4)
Michigan: @W, 25-21
Bowl: Fiesta (W, 34-20 v. Notre Dame)
Ranking: #4/#4/#4(Harris)
Leading Rusher: Antonio Pittman (243-1331, 5.5)
Leading Passer: Troy Smith (149-237, 2282, 6.1)
Leading Receiver: Santonio Holmes (53-977)
Leading Tackler: AJ Hawk (121)
Major Awards: LB AJ Hawk (Lombardi)
All-Americans: C Nick Mangold, LB AJ Hawk, S Donte Whitner
All-B10: WR Santonio Holmes, G Rob Sims, K Josh Huston, DE Mike Kudla, LB AJ Hawk, CB Ashton Youboty, S Nate Salley, S Donte Whitner
MVP: LB AJ Hawk
Captains: AJ Hawk, Nick Mangold, Nate Salley, Rob Sims
The Buckeyes opened the campaign ranked sixth with a 34-14 win over Miami, with Justin Zwick under center. Troy Smith was again eligible for the huge September 10 matchup between #2 Texas and #4 OSU. A new record crowd of 105,565 packed the Horseshoe for the night game, the first meeting between the two schools. A sign honoring the accomplishments of Woody Hayes was added to the stadium during halftime. Texas jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Bucks led 16-10 at the half and 22-16 late behind senior Josh Huston’s school record-tying five field goals, but Longhorn QB Vince Young’s touchdown pass enabled the visitors (and eventual national champions) to escape with a 25-22 win. For the next contest against San Diego State, the quarterback rotation was ended and Smith assumed the reins. The Buckeye offense sputtered a bit, but #9 OSU still rolled to a 27-6 victory. #21 Iowa visited Columbus to open Big Ten play, and the #8 Bucks were up to the task, winning 31-6. Ohio was ranked sixth as they traveled to Happy Valley to face #16 Penn State. In the rain and with a frenzied crowd behind them, the Nittany Lions battled to a 17-10 win. At the Horseshow a week later, #16 Michigan State had built a 17-7 lead on #15 OSU as they lined up for a field goal attempt on the last play of the first half. Nate Salley blocked it and Ashton Youboty returned it 72 yards for a score to turn the tide of the game. Two fourth quarter touchdowns completed the comeback, 35-24. The #13 Bucks rolled to a 41-10 win at Indians, moving up to #12 as they traveled to #22 Minnesota. It was a wild game, tied 17 all at the half, before the Bucks dominated the second half for a 45-31 victory The Gophers piled up 476 yards against 449 for Ohio (not including Ted Ginn’s 100 yard kickoff return). Returning home, OSU exploded for 20 third quarter points to pound Illinois 40-2, with the Illini score coming on a blocked extra point. #25 Northwestern visited for the final home game, and after allowing a touchdown on the opening Wildcat drive, the #10 Buckeyes scored the last 48 points of the game. #9 OSU sought a share of the conference crown at #17 UM. The Bucks led 12-7 at the half, but the Wolverines scored the first fourteen points of the second half. A Smith to Holmes pass pulled the Bucks to within two, and on the next possession, Smith marched Ohio down the field, eluding the pass rush and benefiting from an acrobatic grab by sophomore wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez. Antonio Pittman’s three yard touchdown run with 24 seconds left gave OSU a 25-21 win. Smith threw for 300 and ran for 37 in the game. The #4 Buckeyes earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl to face #6 Notre Dame in the fifth meeting of the two programs. The Buckeye offense dominated the Irish, with four huge touchdown plays--a 56 yard pass to Holmes, a 68 yard run by Ginn, and 85 yard pass to Holmes, and a game-clinching 60 yard run by Pittman. OSU rolled up 617 total yards, 408 of them from Smith (342 passing, 66 rushing) in the 34-20 victory. Senior linebacker AJ Hawk captured the Lombardi Award.

2006
Big Ten Champions
Record: 12-1, 8-0
Points: 34.6-12.8 (+21.8)
Michigan: W, 42-39
Bowl: BCS Title (L, 41-14 v. Florida)
Ranking: #2/#2/#1
Leading Rusher: Antonio Pittman (242-1233, 5.1)
Leading Passer: Troy Smith (203-311, 2542, 5.3)
Leading Receiver: Ted Ginn (59-781)
Leading Tackler: James Laurinaitis (115)
Major Awards: QB Troy Smith (Heisman, Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien, B10 MVP), LB James Laurinaitis (Nagurski)
All-Americans: QB Troy Smith, DT Quinn Pitcock, LB James Laurinaitis
All-B10: QB Troy Smith, HB Antonio Pittman, WR Ted Ginn, WR Anthony Gonzalez, C Doug Datish, G TJ Downing, DT Quinn Pitcock, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Malcolm Jenkins, CB Antonio Smith
MVP: QB Troy Smith
Captains: Doug Datish, David Patterson, Quinn Pitcock, Troy Smith
In spring practice, walkon punter Tyson Gentry suffered a serious injury that left him paralyzed. OSU opened as the #1 team in the country despite having to replace nine starters on defense. Northern Illinois was the opponent in the season opener, and the Bucks overwhelmed them 35-12, scoring on their first four possessions. It was then off to Texas for a rematch with the #2 Longhorns, and the Buckeyes grounded out a 24-7 win, aided by sophomore linebacker James Laurinaitis’ two forced turnovers, and 269 yards passing by Smith. A week later against Cincinnati, the Buckeyes started slowly, but 17 fourth quarter points made it a 37-7 rout. #24 PSU came in to the Horseshoe next, and led 3-0 at the break. The Bucks were holding a 14-6 fourth quarter lead with under three minutes left when cornerbacks Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith returned interceptions for touchdowns on consecutive Nittany Lion drives for a 28-6 final tally. A trip to play #13 Iowa under the lights loomed next, but the Scarlet and Gray rolled 38-17. With the NCAA moving to a permanent twelve game regular season, a non-conference game with Bowling Green was next up, with Ohio cruising to a 35-7 victory. At MSU, the Bucks got Ted Ginn’s first punt return of the season, hammering the Spartans 38-7. Smith threw four touchdowns as the Buckeyes dismantled Indiana 44-3. Minnesota proved even less of a challenge as the Ohioans shut them out 44-0. At Illinois, a 17-0 halftime lead dwindled to 17-10 in the fourth quarter, but the Bucks recovered an onside kick to preserve the win. Playing in the state for a second consecutive week, it was a different story as the Buckeyes annihilated Northwestern 54-10. The finale at the Horseshoe on November 18 was one of the most hyped games in the history of Ohio State football, as both the #1 Buckeyes and the #2 Wolverines were 11-0. The death of Wolverine coaching legend Bo Schembechler on the Thursday prior to the game only added more emotion to the contest. The winner would get a spot in the BCS title game--starting this season, the BCS championship was played at one of the four usual sites (Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose), but a week after the traditional bowl game. A new record crowd of 105,708 was on hand for the showdown. UM scored first, but OSU struck back for three straight touchdowns, including a dramatic 52 yard burst by freshman halfback Chris Wells. The teams traded touchdowns to go into the half with Ohio on top 28-14. Michigan cut the lead to four before Pittman scampered for a 56 yard touchdown. UM countered to make it 35-31, but Smith led a crucial drive to put the Bucks up 42-31 with five and a half minutes to play. UM would respond once again with a touchdown and two point conversion, but the Buckeyes recovered the onside kick and had earned a 42-39 triumph. Smith became the first Ohio State quarterback since Tippy Dye (1934-36) to win all three of his appearances against Michigan, and his legend as a Wolverine killer was secured with a third game with 300 yards total offense in the rivalry (316 passing 12, rushing). #2 Florida was the opponent in Tempe for the Title Game. Ginn returned the opening kick for a touchdown, but his injury in the ensuing celebration was a sign of things to come. The Gators dominated the rest of the way to win the title 41-14. Troy Smith became the first modern Big Ten quarterback to win the Heisman trophy, becoming OSU’s seventh winner, and he added the Walter Camp, Davey O’Brien (top quarterback), and Big Ten MVP awards to his collection as well. James Laurinaitis became the first Buckeye to capture the Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defensive player.

2007
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-2, 7-1
Points: 408-166 (+18.6)
Michigan: @W, 14-3
Bowl: BCS Title (L, 38-24 v. LSU)
Ranking: #5/#4/#1
Leading Rusher: Chris Wells (274-1609, 5.9)
Leading Passer: Todd Boeckman (191-299, 2379, 5.1)
Leading Receiver: Brian Robiskie (55-935)
Leading Tackler: James Laurinaitis (121)
Major Awards: LB James Laurinaitis (Butkus)
All-Americans: T Kirk Barton, DE Vernon Gholston, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Malcolm Jenkins
All-B10: QB Todd Boeckman, HB Chris Wells, T Kirk Barton, DE Vernon Gholston, LB James Laurinaitis, CB Malcolm Jenkins
MVP: HB Chris Wells
Captains: Kirk Barton, Dionte Johnson, James Laurinaitis
OSU opened #11 after losing many key offensive players (including Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez, and Antonio Pittman). Youngstown State, Coach Tressel’s former school, met the Bucks for the first time and fell 38-6. #12 OSU sputtered on offense but used superior defense to smother Akron 20-2. Now ranked 10th, Ohio traveled to Washington and used a dominant second half (the Huskies led 7-3 at the break) to roll 33-14. Back home and ranked eighth, Northwestern fell 58-7 in the highest scoring and scoring margin game of the Tressel era. At Minnesota, the Buckeyes cruised 30-7. Now ranked #4, their stiffest test yet was under the lights against #23 Purdue in West Lafayette. A late Boilermaker touchdown was the only blemish in a 23-7 victory. Kent State came to the Horseshoe next, and needed a late field goal to get on the board against #3 OSU, 48-3. That result coupled with other school’s losses moved the Bucks up to #1, and despite allowing the last 17 points of the game, they downed MSU 24-17. At #24 Penn State, the Buckeyes got revenge for 2005 with a 37-17 triumph. Wisconsin led the Bucks 17-10 in the third quarter in Columbus the next week, but Ohio awoke to win 38-17. The home finale against Illinois turned disastrous as the Illini escaped with a 28-21 win. Down to #7, the Buckeyes traveled to Ann Arbor to face #23 UM in Lloyd Carr’s final game in the rivalry. In the rain, Chris Wells ran for an OSU-UM game record 222 yards to key a 14-3 win that clinched a third consecutive Big Ten title. A number of upsets after the Big Ten slate was finished enabled Ohio to ascend back to #1 in the rankings and a return trip to the BCS Title Game in New Orleans against #2 LSU. Although the Bucks jumped out to a 10-0 lead, the Tigers came back and handed the Ohioans a 38-24 setback. James Laurinaitis captured the Butkus Award.

2008
Big Ten Champions
Record: 10-3, 7-1
Points: 359-181 (+13.7)
Michigan: W, 42-7
Bowl: Fiesta (L, 24-21 v. Texas)
Ranking: #9/#11/#10
Leading Rusher: Chris Wells (207-1197, 5.8)
Leading Passer: Terrelle Pryor (100-165, 1311, 4.8)
Leading Receiver: Brian Robiskie (42-535)
Leading Tackler: James Laurinaitis (130)
Major Awards: CB Malcolm Jenkins (Thorpe), LB James Laurinaitis (Lott)
All-Americans: CB Malcolm Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis
All-B10: T Alex Boone, CB Malcolm Jenkins, LB James Laurinaitis
MVP: HB Chris Wells
Captains: Todd Boeckman, Malcolm Jenkins, James Laruinaitis, Brian Robiskie
OSU opened the season ranked #2 and beat Youngstown State 43-0 in the opener, but halfback Chris Wells injured his foot, which would be a recurring problem throughout the season. Next the #3 Bucks survived a 26-14 encounter with Ohio University, dropping them to fifth in the polls as they ventured out west to face #1 USC. The Trojans hammered the Bucks 35-3, dropping them to #13. Heralded freshman Terrelle Pryor replaced senior Todd Boeckman under center, and OSU won consecutive home games (28-10 over Troy on four Pyror touchdown tosses, 34-21 over Minnesota). Next the Bucks went to Madison and rallied to beat #18 Wisconsin 20-17. Now ranked twelfth, the Bucks beat Purdue 16-3, and at #11 destroyed Michigan State 45-7 in East Lansing. This set up a showdown between #10 OSU and unbeaten #3 Penn State in Columbus on the night of October 25. A record crowd of 105,711 left disappointed as the Nittany Lions won a tight game 13-6, dropping the Bucks to #12. But the next week, PSU fell to Iowa while the Buckeyes thumped Northwestern 45-10, opening the door for a fourth-consecutive Big Ten Title. Ohio held at #10 throughout the rest of the season, winning 30-20 at Illinois and 42-7 at the Horseshoe against Michigan and first-year coach Rich Rodriguez. Matching up with #3 Texas in the Fiesta Bowl, the Buckeyes rallied to take a fourth-quarter lead, but could not hold it as the Longhorns won 24-21. Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins took home the Thorpe Award, while linebacker James Laurinaitis captured the Lott Trophy for impact defensive player of the year.

2009
Big Ten Champions
Record: 11-2, 7-1
Points: 377-163 (+16.5)
Michigan: @W, 21-10
Bowl: Rose (W, 26-17 v. Oregon)
Ranking: #5/#5/#7
Leading Rusher: Terrelle Pryor (162-779, 4.8)
Leading Passer: Terrelle Pryor (167-295, 2094, 4.0)
Leading Receiver: DeVier Posey (60-828)
Leading Tackler: Ross Homan (108)
All-Americans: S Kurt Coleman
All-B10: G Justin Boren, S Kurt Coleman
MVP: S Kurt Coleman
Captains: Kurt Coleman, Austin Spitler, Doug Worthington
The Buckeyes opened the season ranked #6 against Navy. The Midshipmen trailed 29-14 in the fourth quarter, but two TDs pulled them to within 29-27 with 2:23 to play. On the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, linebacker Brian Rolle intercepted a pass and returned it the other way for two points and a 31-27 victory. The Bucks dropped to #8 as they hosted #3 USC on September 12 for a night game in front of a record crowd of 106,033 (the first Horseshoe crowd over 106,000). The Buckeyes failed to hold a 15-10 fourth quarter lead when USC put together a 86-yard drive to win 18-15. #11 Ohio next faced Toledo in a neutral site game, the first time the program played at Browns Stadium in Cleveland. OSU rolled up over 500 yards of offense in a 38-0 rout. Oddly, the Buckeyes fell to #13 in the next poll, but opened Big Ten play with a 30-0 shutout of Illinois in a rainy Horsehoe. The season's first road test saw the #9 Bucks handle Indiana 33-14. Wisconsin came to Columbus next, and Ohio State won 31-13 despite being outgained 368-184 with the Badgers running 89 plays to the Bucks' 40, thanks to interception returns by All-American safety Kurt Coleman and his backfield mate Jermale Hines and a kickoff return by Ray Small. At Purdue, #7 OSU turned the ball over five times and fell 28-16, breaking a 16-game Big Ten road win streak. The #18 Buckeyes came out sluggishly against Minnesota, leading 7-0 at the half, but exploded in for three third quarter touchdowns and a 38-7 triumph. A non-conference game with New Mexico State was the expected rout for the #17 in the country (45-0), but senior kicker Aaron Pettrey was injured in the game and missed the remainder of the regular season. The #15 Bucks then traveled to Happy Valley for a key conference showdown with #11 Penn State. A 62 yard connection between Terrelle Pryor and DeVier Posey broke open a tight contest, and OSU's 24-7 win combined with Iowa's first loss of the year made the November 14 game with the Hawkeyes a battle for the Roses. #10 OSU led #15 Iowa 10-3 at the half, then scored two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter (after Iowa had tied the game in the third) to take a seemingly commanding 24-10 lead. But Iowa forced overtime with a kickoff return and a touchdown drive. Going first in overtime, the Hawkeye offense sputtered, with two negative plays driving them out of field goal range and leading to an interception by Anderson Russell. The Buckeyes ran straight ahead three times, then got a 39 yard field goal from junior kicker Devin Barclay for a 27-24 win and a trip to Pasadena. At UM, #9 OSU played a solid game and won 21-10. In the Rose Bowl, the #8 Buckeyes faced #7 Oregon. OSU took a 10-0 lead, but Oregon tied the game before two late field goals put the Bucks up 16-0 at the half. The Ducks scored on their opening second half possession, but OSU countered with a Barclay field goal, then a 17-yard Pryor-to-Posey touchdown pass, and the Rose Bowl went to Ohio, 26-17.