The fourth installment of this year’s series on the football rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State takes us to 1933. The world was different then. America was in the midst of the Great Depression, and if you had a job, it was a good job. Things were different in college football, as well. The Michigan-Ohio State game was in the middle of the season, in October. But the competition was fierce, and that’s one thing this rivalry has always been known for.
Another thing that was consistent with the modern era is that both teams were in the thick of the battle for the conference title. So when the teams got ready for The Game on that morning in October 1933, they each knew they would get the best shot their opponent had.
But only one team had Willis Ward, and he played for Michigan.
Both teams entered The Game with perfect records, and Ohio State hadn’t even surrendered one point all season. Michigan had won both its games, setting up a classic matchup for the ages. As always, both teams featured ferocious defenses, and the Michigan defense carried the day. With Michigan up by just six points in the third quarter, Ward returned an interception 50 yards to the Ohio State 25-yard line. The Wolverines failed to capitalize on the interception, and Ohio had the ball in the fourth quarter when the Michigan defense rose up again, sparked by a Chuck Bernard interception. Several plays later, Herman Everhardus scored from the Ohio State 2-yard line, giving Michigan the final points, and the Wolverines won, 13-0. Michigan went on to finish with a record of 7 wins, 0 losses and 1 tie, winning the National Championship and the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State lost only that game to Michigan, finishing with a record of 7 wins and 1 loss, ending the season second to Michigan in the Big Ten.
Several decades after the 1933 season, Michigan center Gerald Ford became the president of the United State of America, following the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
Notably, a couple of other things were different for Michigan back in the 1933 season. Michigan had yet to don the famous winged helmet, and the team hadn’t yet run under the banner while entering the stadium. I’d imagine most Michigan alums would be happy with the National Championship and the Big Ten Championship, though.
I wasn’t able to find any video of the 1933 game, but I found this youtube video with nine facts about the 1933 Michigan team, so I present the video below with many thanks to youtube poster Drusilla. As always, I own nothing and I do not profit from this article or video in any way. The content presented here is strictly for the enjoyment of readers.