Long after his Ohio State team had demolished proud Michigan 17-0 last Saturday afternoon, Coach Woody Hayes was bouncing on air. Even a hot shower failed to dampen his spirit. "That's the best football game any team has ever played for me," he bubbled to a room of back-slapping friends. "Did you ever see anything like it? Ever?"
No one could say he had. In completely dominating Michigan, Hayes's team played an awesome game of power football that was downright atavistic. Pudge Heffelfinger, Yale's great guard of the last century, would have felt right at home in the Ohio State line last Saturday.
State made the new-fangled split-T look like the flying wedge. Blocking with devastating enthusiasm, Hayes's team drove for 333 yards on the ground despite defenses that often placed seven, eight and nine men on the line of scrimmage. State bothered to pass just three times, completed one for a total gain of four yards.
The victory gave Ohio State the Big Ten championship for the second year in a row. But runner-up Michigan State will go to the Rose Bowl since Ohio State went last year and a conference rule prevents one team from going twice in a row. Over in East Lansing the Michigan State players managed to concentrate on the business at hand long enough to trounce Marquette 33-0, then exploded with delight when the Ohio State victory was announced over the loudspeaker system.
November 28, 1955
THERMOS BOTTLES AND SNOWBALLS
More than 97,000 people put on their stadium boots, packed Thermoses and headed for Ann Arbor to watch Michigan's losing battle for the Rose Bowl. A couple of inches of wet snow was on the ground, and coeds and their dates on their way to the game shied snowballs at each other and at Ohio State students wearing scarlet and gray caps who bellowed: "We don't give a damn for the whole State of Michigan—we're from O-HI-O!"
Throughout the long gray November afternoon the temperature hovered around freezing—cold enough to show your breath, but not cold enough to bother the players. In the stands an interloping Michigan State student shuffled from one foot to another in delight, finally said to his companion: "Gad, we'll have to have a panty raid and everything."
Earlier this season Ohio State lost to both Stanford and Duke, and down in Columbus they started to wonder about Hayes. But against Michigan, Hayes and his team were above suspicion. While Woody yelped encouragement from the sidelines, Ohio State methodically banged away at the crumbling Michigan line for 20 first downs while allowing only five.
The biggest bang for the Bucks was Howard (Hopalong) Cassady, an authentic All-America halfback, who gained 146 yards by himself, 37 more than the entire Michigan team gained all afternoon. Cassady weighs only 174 pounds and is better suited to broken-field jousting, but against Michigan he gained most of his ground in four-, five-and six-yard chunks straight through the line. After the game Michigan Coach Bennie Oosterbaan grinned wryly and said, "He's worth all the adjectives."
The other Ohio State backs hopped along like Cassady, and, like him played almost the entire game. Up front State's big, mobile line was magnificent. Short on reserves, Hayes played most of his linemen most of the game, but they still overpowered Michigan's two lines that shuttled on and off the field. Key man in the State line was Guard Jim Parker, who weighs 250, stands six feet three and looks and plays like a pro. On power plays over his position, Parker charged like an affronted rhino.
On the sidelines Michigan Coach Oosterbaan shuffled through the strawcovered mud in front of his bench like a man looking for a needle in a haystack. As an All-America end at Michigan back in the '20s, Oosterbaan three times starred in victories over Ohio State, but last Saturday there wasn't much he could do.
Early in the second quarter Ohio State started to roll. Led by the thrusts of Cassady, State moved 70 yards to the Michigan seven. When the attack stalled, Hayes grabbed Reserve End Fred Kriss and sent him in. Kriss flexed his leg twice and kicked a field goal that glanced off the upright and went through to put his team ahead 3-0.
Late in the third quarter Ohio State got up steam again, rolled 52 yards and scored the game's first touchdown 51 seconds after the start of the fourth period. Cassady was airborne as he crossed the goal line on a dive play from the two. The kick was wide.
NO MICHIGAN MAGIC THIS DAY
Behind 9-0, Michigan started to pass. Against Iowa, Quarterback Jim Maddock threw two touchdown passes in the last quarter to lead Michigan to victory, but he couldn't fool the alert Buckeyes. Ohio State intercepted one of his passes and turned another into a safety when he desperately threw from behind his goal line to Halfback Terry Barr who was tackled in the end zone.
The safety raised the score to 11-0 and finished Michigan completely. Kicking off from the 20 after the safety, Michigan End Ron Kramer tried an on-side kick, but the ball rolled only a yard and Ohio State took over again on Michigan's 21. Up until this point the two teams had played rugged but right football.
But the last two minutes were marred by a series of penalties against both teams. Out of this confusion Ohio State got another touchdown, scored by Fullback Don Vicic, that made the final score 17-0. And Michigan got past the 50 for the first time all afternoon.
The game ended in wide confusion. A hardy band of Ohio State students swept out of the stands and somehow managed to uproot one set of metal goal posts. Triumphantly they carried the goal posts off the field intact since no one had the foresight to bring along an acetylene torch. Up in the stands the interlopers from Michigan State pounded each other on the back. "Smell 'em?" cried one, standing on tiptoe and sniffing the cold November wind. "Smell 'em? Smell those roses?"