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Ohio State vs. Michigan: The Game series history, scores, notable games

Your guide to The Game, the legendary Ohio State vs. Michigan football rivalry
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They call it simply "The Game" for a reason. There may not be a more intense rivalry in college football, or any sport, than the annual hate-fest between Ohio State and Michigan.

For more than a century, the inhabitants of these two neighboring states — pleasant, kind folk from the Midwest most of the year — turn into a pair of warring tribes at each others' throats late in the fall.

Here's what you need to know about the Ohio State vs. Michigan rivalry, past and present.

Ohio State vs. Michigan: The History

The Toledo War

Where it all began

Where it all began

For a time from 1835 to 1836, Michigan and Ohio were at war, kind of. Militias from both states engaged in a brief conflict over a strip of what is today Ohio, from Toledo to the Indiana state line.

Historians believe the "war" resulted in a single casualty, but that no one died.

President Andrew Jackson had to personally intervene to settle the matter. He worked out a compromise where Ohio took that strip of land and, in exchange, Michigan occupied what is today the Upper Peninsula.

But that animosity between Ohioans and Michiganders lived on through the years, and finally found an outlet when the state’s universities met in a new game called football.

"The Game" begins

The beginning: Michigan dominates

The beginning: Michigan dominates

Michigan started playing football in 1879, more than a decade before Ohio State did, in 1890. That gave the Wolverines a leg-up in the competition. It won the first game over OSU, 34-0, on Oct. 16, 1897.

Michigan scored six touchdowns, all in the first half. G.D. Stuart scored three times, including on a 26-yard rush. Frederic Hannan, James Hogg, and Hazen Pingree, Jr. scored TDs in the game, as well. Hogg went on to lead the Wolverines in scoring in 1897, accounting for 56 points on the year.

Michigan finished that season with a 6-1-1 mark and ranked No. 3 in the then-Western Conference behind champion Wisconsin and runner-up Chicago.

Ohio State went 1-7-1 in 1897, beating Ohio Medical, but not scoring a point in seven of its nine games.

Michigan controls it early

Genius: Michigan pioneer Fielding Yost

Genius: Michigan pioneer Fielding Yost

The Game went decidedly the Wolverines' way at the start — Michigan won 19 of the first 24 games. Ohio State won three, and the rivals tied twice.

Fielding Yost had a lot to do with that early success for UM. The coach joined the program in 1901 and turned it into a college football power.

He won six national championships and from 1901 to 1905 amassed a 55-1-1 record, including four straight titles. Michigan also won the first ever college football bowl game, a 49-0 win over Stanford in the 1902 Rose Bowl.

Notably, Yost lost to Ohio State just three times during his 25 year career at Michigan. Then the Buckeyes made an important change in the early 1930s.

Ohio State makes a move: Schmidt and Brown

Innovator: Paul Brown leads Ohio State

Innovator: Paul Brown leads Ohio State

Michigan owned a dominant 22-6-2 mark in The Game when Ohio State hired Francis Schmidt as head coach.

Upon his arrival, naturally the natives questioned whether Schmidt could turn the Buckeyes' fortunes against their arch rival. Schmidt naturally answered that he could, given that Michigan players "put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do." Or words to that effect.

Ohio State won four straight games by a combined score of 114-0. To this day, OSU players earn a "Gold Pants Charm" if they beat Michigan, a tribute to Schmidt, the Texas transplant who helped put the school on the map.

Paul Brown arrived in Columbus in 1941 and helped turn Ohio State into the college football factory it is today. A native Ohioan who won six state titles at Massillon Washington High, still today a state superpower thanks to his efforts, Brown tied Michigan, 20-20, in his first taste of The Game.

Brown's second season at Ohio State proved a turning point. The No. 5 ranked Buckeyes upset No. 4 Michigan, 21-7, en route to OSU's first national championship. Brown went on to innovate the sport of professional football with the Cleveland Browns and later the Cincinnati Bengals.

Snow Bowl

There's snow, there's a lot of snow, there's a blizzard, and then there's what came down in Columbus on Nov. 25, 1950. It was 10 degrees on the day with 28 mph winds and about two inches of snow falling per hour.

Both teams punted 45 times for over 1,400 yards in an eventual 9-3 win for Michigan. Which hurt especially for Ohio State, who didn't even have to play the game.

The Big Ten had given OSU an option to cancel the matchup, a decision which would have given the Buckeyes the outright conference championship, but Ohio State elected to play.

That decision put Bucks head coach Wes Fesler out of a job. He resigned the position, leading to a coaching move in 1951 that would forever change Ohio State, The Game, and college football history.

The Ten Year War

Frenemies: Woody and Bo

Frenemies: Woody and Bo

Woody Hayes lived up to his end of the bargain as Ohio State football coach early on. He won 12 of his first 18 games against the school up north, including four straight to start the 1960s.

That success peaked in 1968, when Ohio State routed Michigan, 50-14, en route to a national championship. That game inspired one of the great quotes of college football history.

Asked why he attempted a two-point conversion late when the game was long-decided, Hayes said, "Because I couldn't go for three."

But in 1969, a first year coach named Bo Schembechler, an Ohio native and one-time Hayes assistant, declared a decade-long border war.

Going into The Game that year once again favorites to win it all, ranked No. 1, and having won 22 straight games, Ohio State traveled to the Big House looking to reassert its dominance.

Instead, Michigan opened up a 24-12 halftime lead that it held the rest of the game. It was one of the biggest upsets in the second half of the 20th century -- not bad for Woody Hayes' former assistant coach.

The Ten Year War followed, a decade of intensely-fought, passionately-played football between the two rivals. Michigan finished it with a 5-4-1 edge, a series in which the teams ranked in the Top 10 seven times, and in the Top 5 five times.

Game of the Century

For the first time ever, Ohio State and Michigan came into The Game as the No. 1 and No. 2 team.

Ohio State opened the 2006 season as the No. 1 team, while Michigan started off at No. 14 overall. After a win over No. 2 Notre Dame, the Wolverines moved into the top six, and were No. 2 by Oct. 21.

Pre-game hype was intense, as the winner of the 2006 game would advance to the BCS national championship. Michigan came into the game with heavy hearts as former coach Bo Schembechler died the previous day. And it played tough all day, keeping up with OSU's stout offensive attack.

Ohio State suffered three turnovers in the game, but owned the advantage rushing the passing the ball, and recovered Michigan's onside kick after the Wolverines scored with 3:11 left in regulation to come within three.

OSU quarterback Troy Smith went on to win the Heisman Trophy, the seventh in school history. But the Buckeyes couldn't finish the season perfect, losing, 41-14, to Florida in the national championship game.

Michigan dropped to No. 3 in the polls and lost to No. 5 USC in the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State vs. Michigan: The series

ohio state michigan

1890s-1900s

Oct.16, 1897: Michigan, 36-0
Nov. 20, 1900: Tie, 0-0
Nov. 9, 1901: Michigan 21-0
Oct. 25, 1902: Michigan 86-0
Nov. 7, 1903: Michigan 36-0
Oct. 15, 1904: Michigan, 31-6
Nov. 11, 1905: Michigan, 40-0
Oct. 20, 1906: Michigan, 6-0
Oct. 26, 1907: Michigan, 22-0
Oct. 24, 1908: Michigan, 10-6
Oct. 16, 1909: Michigan, 33-6

1910s

Oct. 22, 1910: Tie, 3-3
Oct. 21, 1911: Michigan, 19-0
Oct. 19, 1912: Michigan, 14-0
Oct. 30, 1918: Michigan, 14-0
Oct. 25, 1919: Ohio State, 13-3

1920s

Nov. 6, 1920: Ohio State, 14-7
Oct. 22, 1921: Ohio State, 14-0
Oct. 21, 1922: Michigan, 19-0
Oct. 22, 1923: Michigan, 23-0
Nov. 15, 1924: Michigan, 16-6
Nov. 14, 1925: Michigan, 10-0
Nov. 13, 1926: Michigan, 17-16
Oct. 22, 1927: Michigan, 21-0
Oct.20, 1928: Ohio State, 19-7
Oct. 19, 1929: Ohio State, 7-0

1930s

Oct. 18, 1930: Michigan, 13-0
Oct. 17, 1931: Ohio State, 7-0
Oct. 15, 1932: Michigan, 14-10
Oct. 21, 1933: Michigan, 13-0
Nov. 17, 1934: Ohio State, 34-0
Nov. 23, 1935: Ohio State, 38-0
Nov. 21, 1936: Ohio State, 21-0
Nov. 20, 1937: Ohio State, 21-0
Nov. 19, 1938: Michigan, 18-0
Nov. 25, 1939: Michigan, 21-14

1940s

Nov. 23, 1940: Michigan, 40-0
Nov. 22, 1941: Tie, 20-20
Nov. 21, 1942: Ohio State, 21-7
Nov. 20, 1943: Michigan, 45-7
Nov. 25, 1944: Ohio State, 18-14
Nov. 24, 1945: Michigan, 7-3
Nov. 23, 1946: Michigan, 58-6
Nov. 22, 1947: Michigan, 21-0
Nov. 20, 1948: Michigan, 13-3
Nov. 19, 1949: Tie, 7-7

1950s

Nov. 25, 1950: Michigan, 9-3
Nov. 24, 1951: Michigan, 7-0
Nov. 22, 1952: Ohio State, 27-7
Nov. 21, 1953: Michigan, 20-0
Nov. 20, 1954: Ohio State, 21-7
Nov. 19, 1955: Ohio State, 17-0
Nov. 24, 1956: Michigan, 19-0
Nov. 23, 1957: Ohio State, 31-14
Nov. 22, 1958: Ohio State, 20-14
Nov. 21, 1959: Michigan, 23-14

1960s

Nov. 19, 1960: Ohio State, 7-0
Nov. 25, 1961: Ohio State, 50-20
Nov. 24, 1962: Ohio State, 28-0
Nov. 30, 1963: Ohio State, 14-10
Nov. 21, 1964: Michigan, 10-0
Nov. 20, 1965: Ohio State, 9-7
Nov. 19, 1966: Michigan, 17-3
Nov. 25, 1967: Ohio State, 24-14
Nov. 25, 1968: Ohio State, 50-14
Nov. 22, 1969: Michigan, 14-12

1970s

Nov. 21, 1970: Ohio State, 20-9
Nov. 20, 1971: Michigan, 10-7
Nov. 25, 1972: Ohio State, 14-11
Nov. 24, 1973: Tie, 10-10
Nov. 23, 1974: Ohio State, 12-10
Nov. 22, 1975: Ohio State, 21-14
Nov. 20, 1976: Michigan, 22-0
Nov. 19, 1977: Michigan, 14-6
Nov. 25, 1978: Michigan, 14-3
Nov. 17, 1979: Ohio State, 18-15

1980s

Nov. 22, 1980: Michigan, 9-3
Nov. 21, 1981: Ohio State, 14-9
Nov. 21, 1982: Ohio State, 24-14
Nov. 19, 1983: Michigan, 24-21
Nov. 17, 1984: Ohio State, 21-6
Nov. 23, 1985: Michigan, 27-17
Nov. 22, 1986: Michigan, 26-24
Nov. 21, 1987: Ohio State, 23-20
Nov. 19, 1988: Michigan, 34-31
Nov. 25, 1989: Michigan, 28-18

1990s

Nov. 24, 1990: Michigan, 16-13
Nov. 23, 1991: Michigan, 31-3
Nov. 21, 1992: Tie, 13-13
Nov. 20, 1993: Michigan, 28-0
Nov. 19, 1994: Ohio State, 22-6
Nov. 25, 1995: Michigan, 31-23
Nov. 23, 1996: Michigan, 13-9
Nov. 22, 1997: Michigan, 20-14
Nov. 21, 1998: Ohio State, 31-16
Nov. 21, 1999: Michigan, 24-17

2000s

Nov. 18, 2000: Michigan, 38-26
Nov. 24, 2001: Ohio State, 26-20
Nov. 23, 2002: Ohio State, 14-9
Nov. 22, 2003: Michigan, 35-21
Nov. 20, 2004: Ohio State, 37-21
Nov. 19, 2005: Ohio State, 25-21
Nov. 18, 2006: Ohio State, 42-39
Nov. 17, 2007: Ohio State, 14-3
Nov. 22, 2008: Ohio State, 42-7
Nov. 21, 2009: Ohio State, 21-10

2010s

Nov. 27, 2010: Ohio State, 37-7 (Vacated)
Nov. 26, 2011: Michigan, 40-34
Nov. 22, 2012: Ohio State, 26-21
Nov. 30, 2013: Ohio State, 42-41
Nov. 29, 2014: Ohio State, 42-28
Nov. 28, 2015: Ohio State, 42-13
Nov. 26, 2016: Ohio State, 30-27
Nov. 25, 2017: Ohio State, 31-20
Nov. 24, 2018: Ohio State, 62-39
Nov. 30, 2019: Ohio State, 56-27

2020s

Dec. 12, 2020: No contest (Covid-19)
Nov. 27, 2021: Michigan, 42-27


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