2001: Ohio State 26, No. 11 Michigan 20 – The headline on the cover of the Nov. 30, 2001, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin said it all.
“And On The 310th Day…”
That, of course, references the speech given by new Ohio State football head coach Jim Tressel Jan. 18 at halftime of the Ohio State-Michigan men’s basketball game.
“I can assure you,” Tressel said, “you will be proud of our young people in the classroom, in the community and, most especially, in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field.”
Tressel later added that he didn’t promise victory per se, but either way, the comment rang true as the Buckeyes built a 23-0 halftime lead and held on for victory. The win was OSU’s first in Ann Arbor since the “EARLE” headband game of 1987 and ruined Michigan’s hopes of claiming a share of the Big Ten championship.
“I haven’t beat Michigan and now I’ve beaten Michigan,” said safety Mike Doss, who had two of OSU’s four interceptions. “To be here three years and finally get a big win like this, it feels good.”
The defense did its job in limiting Michigan, especially during the first half when Ohio State held the Wolverines to 52 yards. The offense was led by tailback Jonathan Wells, who rushed for 129 yards on 25 carries. He had 122 in the first half but had to leave the game in the third quarter because of leg cramps.
Doss sparked Ohio State in the early going, ending Michigan’s first offensive possession by intercepting a pass and returning it to the U-M 4-yard line. Soon after, Wells gave the Buckeyes an early 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:46 left in the first quarter.
The Buckeyes extended their lead early in the second quarter, reaching the end zone at the 14:07 mark after an eight-play, 85-yard drive – one that ended with another Wells score, this on a 46-yard run during which he squirted through the line of scrimmage and outraced Cato June to the end zone.
“The line did a great job,” Wells said. “When I get to the line untouched, I have to make things happen. I’ve been playing hard all year. But as your confidence gets bigger and bigger, you can make some big plays.”
Another Michigan miscue then led to another OSU score. U-M quarterback John Navarre had a pass picked off by Tim Anderson, who returned the ball to the Michigan 28. Four plays later, the Buckeyes were back in the end zone on thanks to an 11-yard TD run by Wells with 4:34 left before halftime.
A safety closed the first-half scoring. Michigan backup QB Jermaine Gonzales – inserted in place of an ineffective Navarre – was not watching when center Kurt Anderson’s shotgun snap sailed over his head on a second-and-14 play at the U-M 16. Gonzales raced to the ball and batted it out the back of the end zone with 35 seconds left in the second quarter.
Michigan dominated the second half, outgaining the Buckeyes 271-76 after the break. The Wolverines got on the scoreboard after taking the second half kickoff. Marquise Walker caught a 21-yard TD pass from Navarre to make it 23-7 with 12:43 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wolverines missed a field goal late in the third quarter before narrowing its deficit again with just a little more than 10 minutes left in regulation. After blocking an Andy Groom punt, Michigan reached the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown run by B.J. Askew. The Wolverines attempted a two-point conversion, but a pass attempt from Navarre to Walker fell incomplete, keeping the score 23-13 with 10:02 left.
The Buckeyes closed their scoring output with 5:58 remaining thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Mike Nugent that came at the end of a drive that began when Doss intercepted another Navarre pass.
Michigan took the ensuing kickoff and drove to the OSU 14 on the next possession but was stopped on downs. The Wolverines did not quit, however, holding the Buckeyes to a punt and then marching for one final touchdown drive. Navarre found Walker again for an 11-yard TD connection to make it 26-20 with 2:26 left.
U-M attempted an onside kick after the score, but Ohio State’s Chris Vance recovered it. The Buckeyes held the ball for all but the final nine seconds of the fourth quarter. Michigan’s final possession lasted all of two deep passes – the last one intercepted by Dustin Fox to end the game.
Navarre completed 21 of 47 passes for 206 yards. His two TD passes were not enough to overcome his four interceptions. Walker caught 15 passes for 160 yards and two scores.
Craig Krenzel started in place of Steve Bellisari, who was reinstated after his suspension for drunk driving but did not play. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 118 yards with an interception.
Defensively, the Buckeyes were led Doss’ four interceptions. Defensive end Will Smith notched a pair of sacks, and Kenny Peterson caused a fumble.
Ohio State ended the regular season 7-4 and 5-3 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes would go on to accept a bid in the Outback Bowl, where they would fall 31-28 to South Carolina.
1990: No. 15 Michigan 16, No. 19 Ohio State 13 – Dreams of Pasadena were dashed when the visiting Wolverines – thanks to a field goal as time expired – spoiled Ohio State’s Big Ten title hopes.
A late failed fourth-and-1 run by Ohio State quarterback Greg Frey at the OSU 29-yard line allowed Michigan to have enough time to get J.D. Carlson in position to kick a game-winning 37-yard field goal. Ohio State head coach John Cooper chose not to play for a tie because the Buckeyes needed a win and an Iowa loss to Minnesota to earn a Rose Bowl berth. At the time of Cooper’s crucial decision, the Gophers held a 7-0 lead, and if Iowa lost and OSU tied, Illinois would get the bid with a win over lowly Northwestern.
“If I go for a tie and Minnesota beats Iowa, then I couldn’t face our football team,” Cooper said in the Nov. 30, 1990, edition of BSB. “I’ve been telling this football squad ever since the Indiana game that I really felt we had a chance to go ahead and win and go to the Rose Bowl.
“So why not go for broke?”
The gamble didn’t pay off, thought it was arguably worth it because Minnesota did earn a 31-24 win in Minneapolis.
The Buckeyes led for much of the afternoon, holding a 10-6 advantage at the break thanks to a 33-yard field goal by Tim Williams and a 12-yard touchdown pass from Frey to Jeff Graham with 33 seconds left before halftime.
Ohio State extended its lead to 13-6 early in the third quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Williams. Michigan tied the game on the ensuing possession. After Derrick Anderson returned the kickoff 48 yards to the OSU 38, Michigan went on a scoring march that was capped by a 12-yard TD connection between U-M quarterback Elvis Grbac to Desmond Howard.
Other than those scores, much of the game was a defensive affair. Ohio State allowed a 128-yard rushing performance from Michigan freshman tailback Ricky Powers but held the rest of the run game in check. Grbac 8 of 16 passes for 104 yards to go with his TD pass.
“I thought we played awfully good on defense,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. “I’m extremely proud of those guys. They fought their guts out, and we just came up a little bit short.”
OSU’s Robert Smith was held to 43 yards, the lowest output of his freshman season, on eight carries. Frey completed 13 of 26 passes for 157 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Ohio State (7-3-1) would accept an invitation to play Air Force in the Liberty Bowl.
1973: No. 1 Ohio State 10, No. 4 Michigan 10 – In one of the most memorable games in the long history of the OSU-Michigan rivalry, the two longtime rivals fought to a tie at Michigan Stadium.
Both teams brought perfect 7-0 Big Ten records into the game and had Rose Bowl aspirations. It was presumed the winner would go to Pasadena, but the league was forced into a difficult situation with the teams finished knotted. Ohio State scored its points in the second quarter on a 21-yard Blair Conway field goal and a 5-yard touchdown run by Pepper Johnson.
Michigan answered in the fourth quarter. U-M got on the scoreboard with a 30-yard field goal by Mike Lantry, and then tied the game when quarterback Dennis Franklin rushed for a 10-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-inches play.
Momentum was with Michigan, but on the Wolverines’ next possession Franklin broke his collarbone. Backup Larry Cipa was unable to move Michigan’s offense, and Lantry missed a 57-yard field goal attempt.
Ohio State gave U-M another chance to score the winning points when OSU quarterback Greg Hare – who replaced Cornelius Greene because he was a better passer – had a pass picked off. The turnover at the OSU 33 set up a Lantry 44-yard field goal attempt in the final minute.
It missed, and the rivals tied.
The following day, Big Ten athletic directors met in Chicago to pick its Rose Bowl representative. The vote was not released by the league, but Ohio State was selected. According to the Detroit Free Press, OSU got votes from Illinois, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Purdue and Northwestern. U-M was supported by Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota.
The Buckeyes would go on to defeat USC in the Rose Bowl, 42-21, and finish the season 10-0-1.
1962: Ohio State 28, Michigan 0 – The Buckeyes closed out the season on an extremely high note by plastering the visiting Wolverines.
Ohio State (6-3) got big performances by seniors fullbacks Dave Francis, Dave Katterenrich and Bob Butts. The trio, in their final game at Ohio Stadium, combined to score all four of OSU’s touchdowns. Kicker Chuck Mamula added four successful extra points. The Buckeyes led in first downs, 19-9, and outgained U-M, 337-142.
1956: Michigan 19, No. 12 Ohio State 0 – Needing a win to earn a share of the Big Ten title with Iowa, the Buckeyes fell short at Ohio Stadium.
Six turnovers helped send Ohio State (6-3) to a season-ending defeat. Michigan ended the first quarter with a commanding 13-0 lead and cruised from there. Iowa won the Big Ten and went to its first Rose Bowl, winning 35-19 against Oregon State.
1951: Michigan 7, Ohio State 0 – A second-quarter touchdown was all Michigan needed as the Buckeyes closed the ’51 season with a 4-3-2 record. Halfback Don Peterson scored the only points on a 5-yard touchdown run that capped a 49-yard drive. The Buckeyes committed eight turnovers and rarely threatened offensively.
1945: No. 8 Michigan 7, No. 7 Ohio State 3 – The favored Buckeyes had their slim Big Ten titles hopes dashed with a loss to Michigan. Ohio State (7-2) needed a win and a Purdue loss at Indiana, but neither happened. Max Schnittker gave OSU a 3-0 lead with a 27-yard field goal early in the second half, but Michigan emerged with the victory thanks to a Hank Fonde TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
1934: Ohio State 40, Iowa 7 – The Buckeyes ended their season by thumping visiting Iowa. Six different players scored touchdowns for Ohio State, who finished the season 7-1 and placed second in the Big Ten.
1928: Illinois 8, Ohio State 0 – In the final game with John W. Wilce as head coach, the Buckeyes fell in Champaign. Ohio State had a chance to win a share of the conference title but was unable to get past the Illini. The Buckeyes ended the season 5-2-1.
1923: Illinois 9, Ohio State 0 – Red Grange scored the game’s only touchdown as the visiting Illini spoiled homecoming and ended Ohio State’s season with a loss. The game was scoreless through three quarters. Grange scored his touchdown on a 31-yard run. The unbeaten Illini were named national champions.
1917: Ohio State 0, Auburn 0 – In a game played in Montgomery, Ala., near Camp Sheridan, where a lot of Ohioans were training as part of the 37th division of the Ohio National Guard, the Buckeyes fought the Tigers to scoreless tie. A week after a nerve-wracking win against Illinois, Ohio State failed to muster much of an offensive attack. The tie moved OSU to 7-0-1 and the Buckeyes would end the season five days later with a Thanksgiving Day victory against Camp Sherman at Ohio Field.
1906: Ohio State 12, Wooster 0 – The Buckeyes set up a showdown with Ohio Medical for the state championship with a blanking of visiting Wooster. It was Wooster’s first loss of the season and the first time it had given up points all season. The Buckeyes earned the state title days later with a Thanksgiving Day victory against the Medics and ended the season 8-1.
1900: Ohio State 0, Michigan 0 – At Regents Field in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes and Wolverines battled to a scoreless tie in a snowstorm. The second half of the game was played in sloppy conditions, causing both teams to struggle offensively. Ohio State would end the season four days later with a Thanksgiving Day win against Kenyton, ending its season with an 8-1-1 mark.
1894: Ohio State 46, 17th Regiment 4 – The Buckeyes improved to 5-5 with a home win. On Thanksgiving, Ohio State ended its season by moving above .500 with a 20-4 win against visiting Kenyon.