Four Score And Six – Was the Total When Michigan Got Through – OSU Under a Landslide for the First Time
Michigan 86 Ohio State 0
Ann Arbor, Oct. 27, 1902
Published in The Lantern on October 29, 1902
It was a very humble and chastened crowd which returned from Ann Arbor Saturday night. A record score was a smiling matter when made against Buffalo, or the M.A.C., but when O.S.U. was on the other side of the column, the matter was decidedly not one to call for a smile. Ohio had expected to be beaten, but 86 to 0 was so far beyond the thought of the most pessimistic, that the 1800 loyal rooters were fairly shocked into dumbness.
Never before did Ohio State have such a score run up against her, and she probably never will again. Few people who saw the game are willing to admit that there will ever again be such a team as the Wolverines. Anything nearer perfect in the way of a foot bal team could hardly be imagined. The Buckeyes were clearly and undeniably outclassed.
Yet this one word, outclassed, will not explain why the Wolverines were able to make runs of from ten to seventy yards, almost at will, until they had piled up fifteen touchdowns on a team which was, and still is, one of the strongest candidates for the championship of Ohio. The Ohioans seemed paralyzed by the very reputation of their opponents; the line men, almost without exception, allowed their opponents to get the charge on them. The ends, who were very light, instead of going to meet the plays, and by their speed getting sufficient momentum to break the formations, waited for the heavy interference to reach and strike them, and were then bowled over like ten pins, while the runner, with practically a free field before him, went on till he was met and downed by the gallant little Foss. The great majority of Michigan’s gains were made around the ends. The Ohio ends, however, were young and inexperienced, as this was their first big game. They were exceptionally light, being almost forty pounds over-weighed by those of Michigan. Too much credit cannot be given them for the plucky game they played. They put forth everything that was in them, but were simply beaten down by the human avalanche which struck them. The spectators could not help thinking, though, what would have happened to that famed Michigan interference if Rastus Lloyd and “Cy” Scott had been on the ends, as they were two years ago when this same team was held to a goose-egg score. There is no doubt that with a strong pair of ends, the score would scarcely have been the half of 86.
The line, as a whole, was distinctly outplayed. Coover, Marker and Fay played the game of their lives, but the men against them were fully their equals. Lincoln stood up well against the big men, but persisted in rough playing, and had to leave the game. The halfs were given very little chance to show their offensive powers. McLaren was handicapped by his game knee and had to leave early. Most of the work of the game was borne by Walker and Hil, who were replaced after they were worn out by Stan and George Brown. Stan marked up the longest run made by the Scarlet and Gray to his credit, but was tackled so fiercely that his knee was badly sprained. Townsend, at full, played a hard, steady game, but it was easy to see an improvement when Mule Elder took his place. The erstwhile Wittenberger played by far the best game of the yar, and did some of the best work of the whole game.
The one figure of the game, however, was the solitary little fellow who stood far down the field, ever ready to tackle the gigantic Wolverines who were continually breaking away from the teams, and bearing down upon him. His tackling was nearly always deadly; his catching of punts sure and his running back, although good, would have been many times better had not the ends let their opponents through so easily, and enabled them usually to nail the midget in his tracks. For some reason, during the first part of the game, no one went back to help Foss handle Sweeley’s punts, and the little fellow nearly always had from three to six men on him before the ball was in his hands. He handled them quickly and surely, and ran the team with excellent judgment, with the possible exception of failing to kick when it was third down and two yards to go.
The reason for not kicking, however, was possibly the fact that not a man on his team could boot the ball over thirty yards, while Sweely would always return it fifty or sixty. This gentleman fully kept up his reputation with regard to punts, and seldom failed to send the sphere at least fifty yards.
One of the worst faults of the Ohio team was their tackling. When Yost’s disciples tackled a man he went down right there, but the pupils of Hale clasped their men around the neck, the waist or the shoulders, and seldom succeeded in bringing him down within five or ten yards. Two or three of the fifteen touchdowns could have been prevented had the team been able to tackle sharply and quickly. This is something which must be remedied if our defense is ever to amount to anything. It was a pitiful sight to see Heston or Herrnstein carrying from two to six Ohio State men on his back and crawling for a few more feet after being brought to the ground.