Benny Friedman’s Toe Earns One-point Margin
Michigan 17 Ohio State 16
Columbus, Nov. 13, 1926
Published in The Lantern on November 15, 1926
It might have been, those saddest of words, were beginning to be displaced today in the troubled minds of Ohio State’s point-needed Buckeyes by the grim determination to close the season at Champaign by smacking down Coach Bob Zuppke’s fighting Illini, another thing Buckeye followers have been waiting several years to see, the game as the Ohio State victory over Michigan of which they were robbed of seeing by fate last Saturday, or rather by Michigan’s football team.
It was back in 1924 that the Scarlet and Gray of Ohio State last was flaunted in triumph over a field of battle between a Buckeye team and Illinois.
The custom of defeating Illinois may be revived for Buckeye fans before the calendar has been relieved of the weight of seven more days, but to sit in on a Michigan defeat they will have to wait until a bright and sunny day sometime next autumn, thus making it an even half dozen years of waiting for that particular thing to occur.
Could the toe of a certain youth whose name is called Myers-Clark have struck at the right place on a leather-covered, oval-shaped ball the fans would have been consoled in their next year of waiting by knowing that in the last game their team was just as good as Michigan’s. As it is they must be content with knowing that their team was evenly matched with Michigan’s. They will know, too, that Michigan was not truly superior.
Clark’s failure to drop kick the goal for the extra point after Ohio’s last touchdown in the closing minutes of play was a horrible catastrophe, for it meant Ohio State had lost the game and her chance to the Western Conference championship.
For Michigan it meant a game won, 17 to 16; a victory handed to them on the end of an opponent’s toe after their own team had paved the way.
It was the failure of the Ohio pass defense to function properly that gave Michigan her two touchdowns.
Could a certain other youth, whose name is called Elmer Marek, have realized he was making a mistake before it was too late, it might not have been the ill fate of Clark to have to serve a victory to Michigan on the end of his toe.
When Marek ran after Gilbert’s punt as it rolled to his own seven-yard line, where he touched it and failed to recover, in the third quarter, he gave the game to Michigan as far as most of the fans were concerned.
It was a mistake, an error such as is made in every football game. But under the circumstances it was a 100 per cent costly error, and few of the some seventy thousand Buckeye backers stopped to realize that everyone makes mistakes.
It was a mistake by Gilbert of Michigan that allowed Ohio State the honor of putting the first points on the scoreboard six minutes after the battle started.
When Bell’s punt from his own 38-yard line rolled to the Wolverine 12-yard mark and Gilbert carried the ball on the first play for Michigan, he failed to hold onto the ball and Bell recovered.
Then Grim nudged both Wolverine tackles for four yards and Karow bumped the line for three. With three yards to travel on the fourth down Clark backed up and drop kicked goal for three points.
A forward pass, Robin Bell to Clark, near the end of the same period, gained 42 yards and put the ball on the Michigan one yard line and gave Ohio her second chance to score.
Captain Karow chose to relieve the suspense of the spectators at once and crowded through Ed Hess’s guard for a touchdown. Clark drop kicked for the extra point.
It was the largest score made by the Buckeyes in the first quarter of any game this season. The touchdown was the second scored against Michigan since 1924. The first was by Navy two weeks ago.
Aerial Attack Starts
Michigan tried only one pass in the quarter and this was ruled complete on interference.
The deadly Wolverine passing attack got under way soon after the second quarter opened when Gilbert tossed one to Friedman for 26 yards. Michigan kept the ball until the 20-yard line was reached. There Friedman tried a place kick, but it was wide.
Following an exchange of punts a long Friedman to Oosterbaan pass took the ball to Ohio’s 12-yard line. It was fourth down on Ohio’s six-yard line when Friedman passed to Oosterbaan for a touchdown. Oosterbaan was eight yards behind the goal line when he made the catch. Friedman place-kicked for the extra point.
With the score 10 to 3 in favor of the Buckeyes near the end of the second period, Friedman place-kicked the ball from the 42-yard line for a perfect field goal, tying the score. The half ended as Ohio received the kickoff.
No scoring was done in the third quarter and during the exchange of punts the ball stayed pretty well within Ohio ground. Marek’s costly antic with Gilbert’s punt came just as the quarter ended, giving Michigan the ball on their own seven-yard line to start the final period.
Three tries at the Buckeye line by the Wolverine backs gained only eight yards. On the fourth play Friedman passed across the goal line to Hoffman for Michigan’s second touchdown and Friedman place-kicked the goal for one point.
Eby Goes In
Eby was in Marek’s place when Michigan kicked off. Eby’s first try was good for five yards off right tackle. He then punted 60 yards over the goal line.
Gilbert punted back to Ohio’s 31-yard line, from where the Buckeyes started a 69-yard march for a touchdown. Two passes from Bell to Karow and one from Bell to Clark put the ball on the Michigan 18-yard line.
From here Eby passed to Bell for four, and hit center for four more.
Karow made it first down on the Wolverine seven-yard line.
Eby failed at right tackle and on the next play started toward left tackle and then circled wide for a touchdown. Clark’s drop kick for the tying point went low to the left.
Soon after Ohio received and a Buckeye pass had been intercepted by Michigan the gun ended the game.
Statistics Show Evenness
Each team made nine first downs. Ohio was best in running the ball. The Buckeye ball carriers went 94 yards to Michigan’s 91. Ohio completed five passes out of 10 for a total gain of 93 yards. Michigan completed seven out of 14 for a total of 110. Ohio punts averaged 48 yards compared to a 45-yard average made by Wolverine kickers.
Ohio State played as a good strong team of eleven superior football players, with no individual doing more nor less than he was supposed to do. The line was impassable from end to end. It may have been a disappointment for Dr. Wilce to see his pass defense flop.
The tossing arms of Friedman and Gilbert and the receivers of their passes, especially the all-American Oosterbaan, featured the working of the Wolverine machine. The Michigan line was nearly on even terms with Ohio’s. Coach Yost may have been slightly fussed, the same as Dr. Wilce, in seeing half of the Buckeye passes completed. He may have been pleased that more of them were not thrown.
The fans will have a chance to see Michigan and Ohio State play at Ann Arbor next year, but the Stadium, that place built for Ohio State to play football games in, will have to wait for two years to see a team of Buckeyes BEAT MICHIGAN.