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In the second quarter it was Griffin's 22-yard run that set up the go-ahead touchdown for Ohio State and a 9-7 lead at halftime. It was Archie's 20-yard squirm in the third quarter that got the Buckeyes started on the drive that made the score 16-7. And it was his dazzling 55-yard run later in the period that set up the score that made it 23-7. Game over, for all practical purposes.
Along about then it became obvious that Archie Griffin could break Ollie Cline's 1945 single-game rushing record at Ohio State—229 yards—a record that past halfbacks like Vic Janowicz and Hopalong Cassady (who had his own big day as a freshman, scoring three touchdowns) had not been able to approach. All he needed to do was be lucky enough for Woody to let him carry the ball in the fourth quarter. He was.
After an interception, Archie ripped for four, six, six, six more and finally nine yards, breaking two tackles, dancing on the sideline, for his very own touchdown and the rushing record. He left the field to a standing ovation, and the announcement that the record was his.
"I don't know what it is that makes a player that good," Woody said later. "He's not big but he has power. He has speed but not great speed. He's just hard to catch. He has a natural knack of knowing what to do, where to run."
And then Woody talked about the new freshman rule. "Freshmen may revolutionize college football. They give you a bigger squad to work with. They can give your squad a vitality and an enthusiasm it might not have. Everybody is going to have those few who can play, the exceptional kids. Take Archie. All you have to do is hand him the ball."
Woody went on, "I have never known whether I was for or against the freshman rule until now. Archie has convinced me it's O.K."
Archie Griffin himself is a quiet lad, and certainly a little bewildered about the whole thing. Although he had been on the squad since training began, he never expected to become useful so quickly. "It's all new," he said. "This is a big campus, and I don't even know my way around. I was lucky. I got in the game when the line was starting to open up the holes. I just ran. That's all."
That was enough. And Griffin's presence threw a whole new perspective on this 1972 Ohio State team. It's a young team, still finding its way. Physically, it resembles those Rex Kern-Jack Tatum teams, only it appears to be even deeper. There's muscle in the line and abnormal speed everywhere else and Greg Hare, only a junior, looks like a running-throwing quarterback who can lead it.
There's not much in the way of Ohio State in the form of a schedule. The Buckeyes are 2-0 and, until they meet Michigan on Nov. 25, it's just so many Northwesterns and Minnesotas. "We've got more depth and more potential than we've ever had," Woody said a couple of days before North Carolina showed up.
He went all through the depth that he had, and guess what? He never even mentioned Archie Griffin. But why should he? We all know you cannot depend on a freshman.