Ohio State turned on its historic tormentor, Michigan, Saturday and trounced the Wolverines 21-7. The victory gave the Buckeyes a Rose Bowl bid and gave the city of Columbus a night of wild singing, cheering and celebrating
November 29, 1954

Woody Hayes, the beefy former tackle who coaches Ohio State's football team, stamped into his office in the caverns of Ohio Stadium at 4:15 last Saturday and climbed up on a chair. "Boys," he shouted at two platoons of newspapermen, "this is how I feel." He leaped off the chair into the air and uttered a tenor shriek: "Whoopee!"

Wayne Woodrow Hayes is a massive man. When he hit the concrete floor of his office, Columbus felt a tremor. It was the city's second earthquake of the afternoon.

What prompted Hayes to leap and shriek was the first earthquake. Columbus rocked and trembled and reveled as Ohio State came from behind and defeated the University of Michigan 21-7 in a grinding, rugged game. With that single triumphant stroke the Buckeyes achieved an unbeaten season, the Big Ten championship and an invitation to the Rose Bowl.

In Columbus the moment of victory was magic. When the outcome first became apparent during the final minutes of the game, the big crowd at Ohio Stadium broke into an exultant, rolling chant:

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
Whole state of Michigan
Whole state of Michigan
We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan
We're from O-HI-O

Late Saturday night as the chanted song and blaring automobile horns filled the downtown area with sound, it was clear that Columbus was stretching its magic moment into an enchanted evening.

Saturday in Columbus began with rain, wind, cold and a Michigan team that for one quarter seemed invincible. But the elements bothered no one and the 82,438 fans who filled the stadium were troubled mostly by remembrance of things past. Ohio State had beaten Michigan only once in its last nine tries. Michigan had laughed at Ohio State's spirit. In Columbus the blue and gold clad team of Wolverines was a personification of evil.

The first time Michigan got its hands on the ball it scored. Danny Cline, a halfback also known as No. 44 (SI, Nov. 22), carried four times on an 11-play, 68-yard drive. The fourth time, he went seven yards for a touchdown. Things looked bright for the forces of evil. Not until late in the second quarter could the good men of Ohio counterattack.

Jack Gibbs intercepted a pass and ran 47 yards to the Michigan 10. Coach Hayes, who had been resting his best quarterback, deliberately inserted Dave Leggett into the game and took a five-yard penalty for an illegal substitution. Before anyone had a chance to second guess, Leggett passed to End Fred Kriss in the end zone.

Tad Weed converted, the game was tied but the crowd's roar was almost restrained. It had been Michigan custom to wreck Ohio State with second-half power. The strutting bands at half-time did not relieve Columbus' anxiety.

When the game resumed Michigan pushed, Ohio held, Ohio pushed, Michigan held and the third quarter waned. Then Michigan pushed and fumbled. Ohio State took over on its own 21, failed to gain and Fullback Hubert Bobo delivered a classic 80-yard punt: 40 yards straight up, 40 yards straight down. Michigan recovered the ball on the Buckeyes' 14-yard line.

Quickly the Wolverines moved to the 4. With three more carries, Cline and Fullback Dave Hill rammed the ball to within a foot of the goal line. On fourth down Hill flung himself into the center of the line. The Ohio State line held fast.

That was the hinge about which the football game and the autumn season in Columbus revolved. Michigan was beatable. It took the Buckeyes just the next 12 plays to march almost 100 yards to a touchdown. They got it when Leggett threw nine yards to End Dave Brubaker. Hopalong Cassady had set it up with a 52-yard run. Again Weed converted and this time the crowd's roar carried with it the lust and assurance of a cheer sent up by the Praetorian Guard.

Michigan could push no more. Ohio State scored again with 44 seconds remaining, but this final touchdown was not needed. Before the Buckeyes' final drive ended, the fans were chanting their song. Before the drive ended, programs and newspapers were torn and thrown, filling the air with king-sized ticker tape. Before the drive was over Ohio State students lofted a banner. It read: "BEAT U.S.C. JAN. 1."

At the final whistle, Ohio State's heroes stopped playing football and began to jump up and down. Then they hoisted Woody Hayes to their shoulders and carried him into the clubhouse. They dunked him in a shower and they cheered him. Finally they let him meet the press.

For Hayes the dunking was a pleasure. He told the press that. He told them more, delivering short speeches like a man accustomed to making the dais of both a Rotary luncheon and a Kiwanis luncheon on the same day. Once a question interrupted: "What happened to change the game around from the first half to the second?"

"You can't run over a team like mine for a full 60 minutes," Hayes said.

He made more short speeches until a minor Ohio State official appeared with an insect gun full of sweet-smelling liquid. He sprayed Hayes. "It's scent of roses, Woody," cried the official. "Scent of roses for yuh, Woody boy."

"I'll say this," Hayes announced. "We plan to spend the holidays on the coast."

Back in Columbus the evening began slowly. "It's taking a while," explained the city editor of a local newspaper, "because the folks are spent."

By 10 o'clock, downtown Columbus had turned vibrant. The sidewalks were jammed with shouting people. The streets were jammed with cars and horns blared their cacophony to the skies. By midnight those few downtown residents who wanted to sleep had abandoned the idea. And always above the blare came the refrain:

Whole state of Michigan
Whole state of Michigan

Sunday morning in Columbus dawned gray and cold. An exodus began early but at the airport there were no signs of letdown among the departing alumni though night in Columbus had run into day.

"What I liked," said a man at the airport, "was the way we won it for all those blue chips. But what I really liked was that we beat Michigan."

A lady with him chanted in a tired voice: We're from O-hi-o.