In today’s edition, we celebrate number 8, the Ohio State’s margin of victory over Penn State on September 20th, 1975, 17- 9.
This game in Columbus, was the 1st between Woody Hayes and Joe Paterno. As you’d imagine, this was a defense-dominant game. The Buckeye took an early 7-0 lead, then alternated FG’s with Penn State closing the gap 7-6 at the half. The Nittany Lions’ kicker was Chris Bahr (of The Kicking Bahr’s), so you know there’d be FG’s aplenty.. This also marked OSU’s first victory over PSU in more than a couple tries, four to be exact.
After OSU’s Tom Klaban and PSU’s Bahr traded field goals, the Buckeyes went into the 4th quarter with a 10-9 lead. The 4th quarter game-winning drive was sustained by Archie Griffin’s over the shoulder catch on a 3rd down wheel route. Eventually, Pete Johnson scored the game clinching TD.
Earlier, I told you that this was a defense-dominant game. Ohio State moved to 2-0 on the year, not giving up touchdown to that point, and held PSU w/o a TD for the first time in 27 games.
In this video (from Vico @ OHD, at the time) you’ll also notice what an offensive force Pete Johnson was: Read More
In today’s profile OSU College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at Earle Bruce, Hall of Fame Class of 2002. Bruce had the unenviable task of following Woody Hayes as Ohio State’s head football coach. Someone had to do it, I guess.
Bruce earned his coaching spurs at four high schools in Ohio; Mansfield, Salem, Sandusky and Massillon. In the late 60’s, Hayes hired Bruce back to Ohio State as a position coach for the offensive line, then later, the defensive backs. After five seasons under Woody, Bruce’s career took off beginning as head coach of University of Tamps, then moving on to Iowa State University.
When Woody was fired from Ohio State, Earle Bruce was offered and accepted the head coaching position. Bruce coached the Buckeyes from 1979–1987, and generally had good success leading the Buckeyes. In his first year, Ohio State was undefeated in the regular season, went to the Rose Bowl and lost the game, and probably the National Championship, by 1 point. Ouch.
The Buckeyes did fairly well under Earle Bruce, averaging over 9 wins per season, except for what would be his last season at OSU. It seemed that Bruce’s teams were good, just not quite good enough to contend for a national championship.Thus out he went; he was relieved of his coaching duties the week before The Game, but was permitted to stay on to finish the season. Collateral damage included OSU’s AD, Rick Bay, who resigned in protest over Bruce’s dismissal.
The 1987 team finished 6-4-1, which was highlighted by a dramatic come-back win over Michigan and the ensuing celebration.
Bruce took over the head coaching position at The University of Northern Iowa for one year, then finished his collegiate coaching career at Colorado State University. In his second season at CSU, he led the Rams to a winning record and a victory over Oregon in the Freedom Bowl, their first bowl appearance since 1948 and their first bowl victory ever.
1979 AFCA Coach of the Year
1979 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year
2000 Iowa State University Hall of Fame
2002 Collegiate Hall of Fame
Granted, any coach who had been in the business for a while such as Earle Bruce has been mentored and did mentoring for coaches who were/are successful. Perhaps you’ve heard of a few of these. I pulled the following list from Wiki; it’s a long one..
I’ve always liked Earle Bruce as a coach and as a person. His teams were fun to watch, generally performed well, and were a credit to the Ohio State University community. I’m glad that he still remains an integral part of the community. One final comment on Bruce’s Coaching Tree; 25 years ago, or so, Earle hired a young pup named Urban Meyer as an assistant coach. Urban has since taken over the reins at Ohio State, and has hired Zack Smith as Receivers Coach. As you know, Zack in the grandson of Earle Bruce. The Buckeye nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
This profile was a fun one for me to do. However, if you want to read a really interesting profile on Mr. Bruce, I direct your attention to this well done article. Enjoy.
As I did with Hopalong Cassady, I have struggled to come up with any more that I can say about Woody Hayes. There’s plenty on the internet to look up, but most of you may have not seen the older three part series done about him. Pretty powerful stuff.
My first experience as an Ohio State fan started with Woody at the helm. Over the years I have come to realize that there will never be another man like him. There will be coaches come and go who will defer to his style of coaching and what he learned from the man. I believe that there is a lot of Woody left in the coaching world and to an end, they all believe it was the man himself, not the coach, that made impacts on so many lives.
A good friend of mine got me on as an usher at Ohio State and I began that job back in 1998. John got his job as an usher at the home football games directly from Woody Hayes. Woody was in the hospital for a minor procedure and at the time John’s wife was in there for a tune up. She had MS and was in a bad place with it. Woody enjoyed his time with the couple so much, he made sure they never wanted for anything.
Including becoming an usher in the greatest stadium and getting that job from the greatest coach that ever lived.
In today’s profile OSU College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at Aurealius Thomas, Hall of Fame Class of 1989.
Aurealius was a local (Columbus, OH) lad, who played for Mack Pemberton at Columbus West High School. Aurealius “Reedy” Thomas was an outstanding football player at West and fortunately decided that he was determined to play football at. While at West, Thomas earned All-Ohio honors..
Because of his size (190 pounds) Thomas almost didn’t get to play at OSU since Woody liked his linemen a bit bigger. However Thomas’ high school coach “Mack” Pemberton intervened and personally took him to meet Coach Woody Hayes. He did get an invitation to summer football camp and impressed the OSU staff enough they welcomed Reedy to the team.
Since I’m visiting family in Oregon this week (more Wednesday), it only makes sense that our 61 is the total score of the 1974 OSU battle, where THE Ohio State University overwhelmed the Oregon State University 51-10.
The Buckeyes were led, of course, by the eventual Heisman Trophy winner- Archie Griffin. Over 86 thousand packed into The Horseshoe for the matchup, which was the Buckeyes’ home opener- they had began the season in Minneapolis the week before.
The game against the eventual 3-8 Beavers saw Ohio State ranked second in the nation; following the victory, they jumped to number one. They would stay there until the upset in East Lansing, yet would still represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl against USC.
As for the match itself- Neither quarterback Alvin White nor running threat Elvin Momon could find much success against the Buckeyes; the Scarlet and Gray had 15 members of this squad selected in the 1975 NFL draft.
Interestingly enough, the Beavers and Buckeyes would meet again in exactly 10 years. I’m guessing you can surmise the outcome, but I’ll leave that for a future update.
Pre Ohio State
Janowicz was born and raised in Elyria, OH and graduated from Elyria High School.
Janowicz played at Ohio State from 1948-1951. As a tailback in the single wing formation, the offense truly ran through Vic Janowicz. So much so, that in 1950 as a junior, Janowicz was awarded the Heisman Trophy, the second Buckeye to be recognized.. Woody Hayes, who coached Janowicz’s senior year, said of him:
“He was not only a great runner, but also passed, was a placekicker and punter, played safety on defense and was an outstanding blocker. Janowicz epitomized the ‘triple-threat football player.”
High praise indeed, coming from Woody. However, things changed a bit in Janowicz’s senior year under his new coach. Woody and installed the T formation, which didn’t use Janowicz’s triple-threat capabilities, thus he an average season as a part-time starter.
After college, Janowicz passed up offers to play professional football in order to pursue a baseball career. He reached the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates and played two seasons as a back-up catcher and third baseman..
Janowicz entered pro football in 1954 with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. As their starting halfback, he finished second in the league in scoring with 88 points in 1955. In 1956 he suffered a brain injury in an auto accident. Though he recovered from the injury, his football career was over.
You’d think that with his skills and accomplishments, Janowicz would have been highly decorated. And he was.
Off the field, Janowicz faced much adversity after his college success. Just before the car accident, his daughter was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which she succumbed to eight years. Janowicz eventually made a full recovery and became a broadcaster of Buckeye football games. Following the death of his daughter, he went to work in the Abstract Manufacturing Company.
Janowicz worked with youth groups and volunteered often in the community despite his own personal tragedies. He died in Columbus OH of cancer in 1996 at age 66.
This was a treat for me to do Vic Janowicz’s profile. He just struck me as a truly multitalented athlete who never met a skill position (offense, defense, special teams) that he couldn’t play, and play well. Additionally, he also seemed to be the unassuming personality who took life’s ups, and later downs, as they came. The legacy of Vic Janowicz, I feel, is truly a gold standard for OSU athletes. And probably the general population, as well.
Thank you, Vic.
In today’s edition of Ohio State College Football Hall of Famers, we’ll take a look at John Wilce, inducted into the HOF as a coach for Ohio State.
Wilce was born in Rochester, NY (you knew that upstate NY would get a mention, didn’t you?) and was a multi-sport letterman at the University of Wisconsin. After his graduation from Wisconsin, Wilce coached high school football in La Crosse, WI, followed by appointment as an assistant football coach and assistant professor of phys. Ed. at U. of Wisconsin.
In 1913, Ohio State began play in the Western Conference and hired Wilce as its head football coach. Wilce’s teams won the conference championship in 1916 with a 7–0 record, in 1917 (8–0–1) and in 1920 (7–1) when Ohio State played its first Rose Bowl, losing it to California 28–0. Wilce coached the Buckeyes for sixteen seasons, the second longest tenure in school history after Woody Hayes, compiling a career record of 78–33–9.
Two things come into play at this point. Ohio State had been playing football for 23 years prior to John Wilce’s hiring. In this span, OSU had seen 11 head coaches. At an average tenure of 2 years, the coaching staff was turning over faster than the roster; not a very stable situation. Wilce’s impact was the stabilization of the Ohio State football program.
The other item is Wilce’s coaching career coincided with having Chic Harley as a student-athlete. This was likely a ‘perfect storm’ combining these two talents at Ohio State.
Updated post: In case you’d forgotten, today is the birthday of Wayne Woodrow Hayes. He would have been 100 years old.
Born in Clifton Ohio, Woody followed a stint in the US Navy by coaching at Denison (his alma mater) and Miami University before transforming Ohio State football as we currently know it.
Woody led the Buckeyes to 5 national titles and 13 Big Ten titles; his teams’ matchups against former assistant Bo Schembechler’s Wolverines during the Ten Year War also defined The Game for generations of midwestern sports fans. In fact, Woody’s decision to go for two because three was out of the question may have even been the impetus for current UM coach Brady Hoke’s inability to remember the full name of his school’s rival. Read More