OHIO STATE 50, Michigan 20
Ohio State 50 Michigan 20
Ann Arbor , Nov. 25, 1961
Published in The Ohio State University Monthly, December 1961
Two years ago, shortly after Michigan pasted Ohio State with a 23-14 loss that dropped the Buckeyes to ninth place in the Conference, Coach Woody Hayes told a Football Appreciation Banquet crowd:
“. . . I guarantee (a championship) in two years. If I don’t bring you a championship then, this is no place for Woody Hayes.”
On Nov. 25, the master tactician delivered. The Buckeyes ran roughshod over an upset-bent bunch of Wolverines from Michigan, 50-20, to end the season with an unbeaten record. A Wisconsin upset of Minnesota left the Bucks undisputed champions not only “of the west” as the Michigan victory song goes, but of the Big Ten as well.
Battle lines were quickly drawn when Ohio State took the opening kickoff and on the fourth play had a pass intercepted by Michigan. The Bucks held the Wolverines for downs and after one more punt exchange, Tidmore intercepted a Michigan pass on the Wolverine 35. In five plays, the Bucks scored, with Ferguson racing over from the 19. Van Raaphorst’s conversion was good.
In the second quarter, the Bucks scored after moving the ball from their own 45 in seven plays, one a 30-yard pass from Sparma to Ricketts. The conversion made it Ohio State 14, Michigan 0.
The Wolverines took the kick-off and Raimey raced from the 10 down the east sideline to score. It was a beautiful run, with Raimey breaking in the clear at the 40 and going on untouched. Michigan attempted a two-point conversion but missed.
Ohio State started on its own 20, worked to a first down on the 31 in three plays. Then Warfield took a handoff around right end and raced for the goal. He stutter-stepped so well before the Wolverine safety that the defender tripped, fell backward and permitted Warfield to score untouched. As the half ended, it was Ohio State 21, Michigan 6.
Michigan dominated play most of the third quarter, scoring after grinding out short but consistent yardage. The conversion attempt failed and the score was 21-12 in favor of Ohio State. When the quarter drew to a close, Ohio State was fighting back and had moved the ball to the Michigan two.
As the fourth quarter started, Ferguson slammed over for a score. Van Raaphorst converted and the scoreboard read, Ohio State 28, Michigan 12.
As Michigan fought to get back into the game, Houck intercepted a pass and in three minutes, Ohio State had made it 35-12.
It took another five minutes to hold the Wolverines for downs, take the punt and in five plays rack up another score. Ohio State 42, Michigan 12.
The Wolverines, determined as ever, came back to score in 11 plays, including their “flea-flicker,” in which the runner lateraled back when tackled to a trailing halfback. They were successful in a two-point conversion and the score was Ohio State 42, Michigan 20.
With 34 seconds showing on the clock, Ohio State took the kick-off on its own 20. Sparma passed to Warfield for a 70-yard gain and a first down on the Michigan 10. Two passes were incomplete and then Sparma hit Tidmore on the five and Tidmore wriggled his way over for the score. A Sparma to Tidmore pass made a two-point conversion and settled the final score with five seconds left on the clock: Ohio State 50, Michigan 20.
The jubilant players hoisted Hayes to their shoulders and carried him triumphantly to the dressing room. Woody later hailed the game as the best offensive effort of the season, thought the defensive game was a little short of being the Bucks’ best. He was enthusiastic in his praise of Bob Ferguson (“the greatest fullback since I’ve been at Ohio State”) as well as Quarterback Joe Sparma, Halfbacks Bob Klein and Paul Warfield.
When questioned about the Rose Bowl, Hayes refused to issue a public statement at the time.
He praised the play of Michigan’s Dave Raimey, said credit had to be given the Wolverines for fighting a good game despite injuries earlier in the season that had crippled them somewhat.
The domination by Ohio State was evidenced no better than in the statistics: net yards gained, 512 to Michigan’s 271.