THE BUCKEYES SPROUT
OHIO STATE undergraduate George Cole forms the school's first football team (pictured) by soliciting student donations and persuading his friend Princeton football alum Alexander Lilley to coach the team without pay. The Buckeyes triumph in their debut, winning 20-14 at Ohio Wesleyan in front of 700 people. Quarterback Joseph Large has OSU's first touchdown, then worth four points. The team's first home game, played in November, does not go as well as the Buckeyes lose 64-0 to Wooster College at Columbus's Recreation Park. Lilley guides OSU for two seasons and finishes with a 3-5 record.
A great rivalry gets started, a landmark stadium is erected and a football legend leads OSU to its first national championship
THE GAME BEGINS
ONE OF the greatest rivalries in American sports begins at Ann Arbor's Regents Field, where a more-seasoned Michigan team beats Ohio State 34-0. After compiling a dismal 0-13-2 record against the Wolverines in the early years, the Buckeyes beat them for the first time, in 1919. The overall record now stands at 41-57-6 in favor of Michigan.
FIGHTING THE IRISH
A STRONG OSU team, which features Tippy Dye (below, 50), battles an undefeated Notre Dame squad at Ohio Stadium in the first meeting of two of college football's top programs. OSU coach Francis Schmidt, whose playbook features many laterals, builds a 13-0 lead after three quarters. But the Fighting Irish rally with 18 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, capped by quarterback Bill Shakespeare's winning pass with 30 seconds remaining. Schmidt, the first Ohio State coach granted a multiyear contract, would finish with a 39-16-1 record in seven seasons in Columbus.
RIDING A HARLEY
SOPHOMORE halfback Charles (Chic) Harley (left) kicks a 34-yard field goal and rushes for two touchdowns, including a 63-yard end around that coach John Wilce later dubs "the perfect play," helping the Buckeyes clinch the Western Conference title in a 23-3 win over Northwestern. The three-time All-America would score 201 points in his 23-game career, including 23 touchdowns, eight field goals and 39 extra points. Harley's star power brings OSU national recognition and spurs talk of building a large stadium.
DEBUT OF THE 'SHOE
OHIO STADIUM (under construction, below) opens to a crowd of 25,000 against Ohio-Wesleyan, raising concern because the $1.5 million project is built to hold more than 66,000. Nicknamed the Horseshoe for its shape, Ohio Stadium is eventually remodeled for larger crowds and becomes a historical landmark in 1974.
EVEN "a full-scale blizzard, five inches of snow on the ground, and snow whistling through the air," as described in OSU's alumni magazine that year, cannot stop the Ohio State—Michigan game from being played before 50,503 fans in Columbus. Both offenses struggle to move the ball as passing proves futile. The Wolverines triumph 9-3 on two blocked punts, one for a safety and the other for a TD. Vic Janowicz, who would win the '50 Heisman, amazingly boots a 27-yard field goal despite swirling winds and zero visibility.
REACHING THE TOP
DESPITE LOSING several players to military service, Ohio State opens with a 59-0 rout of Fort Knox and never looks back, as coach Paul Brown guides the Buckeyes to a 9-1 finish and their first national title. OSU's lone loss is to Wisconsin, before which most of the team gets dysentery from drinking unsanitary water on the train to Madison. The squad features two All-America rushers in halfback Paul Sarringhaus (shown here) and fullback Gene Fekete.
A LEGEND ARRIVES
OHIO NATIVE Woody Hayes is hired as coach after a 33-11 record in five seasons at Denison and Miami ( Ohio). In his debut Hayes squeaks out a 7-0 win over Southern Methodist, and the following year, he gets his first win against Michigan, 27-7. Hayes leads OSU for 28 seasons and becomes its winningest coach with a 205-61-10 record, including three national championships and a 16-11-1 mark against the Wolverines. In the 1978 Gator Bowl, Hayes's reputation is tarnished when he punches Clemson's Charlie Bauman after Bauman returns an interception along the Buckeyes sideline during the closing seconds of a 17-15 OSU loss. Hayes is promptly fired, but his legacy as Ohio State's most beloved coach endures.
The Glory Years
OSU enters the college football elite as Woody Hayes and the Bucks win three national championships and 13 Big Ten titles