The fifth and final installment of this year’s series looking back at the Michigan-Ohio State football rivalry takes us to 1922, during the “Roaring 20s.” Wall Street was flying high, and excess was in style. Prohibition was in place, so it was illegal to consume alcoholic beverages, but many Americans went to “speakeasies,” clubs that served alcohol “on the down low,” so to speak. In sports, Ohio State opened its new football stadium, and Michigan was the opponent for the dedication game.
Michigan’s football team was outstanding in 1922, winning six games and tying one, a scoreless game at Vanderbilt. The following week, Michigan shut out Ohio State 19-0, the first of five consecutive victories for Michigan. The Wolverines scored in each quarter, with future coach Harry Kipke and team captain Paul Goebel.
So after all that, Michigan won the Big Ten Championship, right? Well, that’s where things get a bit murky. Michigan finished 4-0 in the conference, but Iowa was 5-0 in the conference (and 7-0 overall). After the season, Michigan coach Fielding Yost announced that Michigan would not make any claim of sole possession of the conference championship. He also announced that he would return the following season to coach the Wolverines, just several months after rumors circulated that he would step down at the conclusion of the 1922 season.
At the end of the day, Michigan had won the dedication game at Ohio Stadium in front of a crowd that included many Michigan supporters. On a more somber note, Michigan’s All-American left end, Bernard Kirk, was injured in an automobile accident several weeks after the end of the season, and died a week later.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any video clips of this game, so I’ve attached this summary of the 1922 Michigan football season from the Bentley Library, to whom I extend many thanks. Again, I own nothing and I do not profit from this article in any way. It is strictly for the enjoyment of readers.
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.
For the third installment of the series looking back at the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, we go back to 1944. The mood in America was upbeat. In June, the Allies had undertaken Operation Overlord, better known as D-Day, and were on their way to winning World War II. Americans were looking forward to a better economy and a more peaceful world. The end of the war also encouraged people to focus more attention on leisure time activities, and in the Midwest, that meant football. And at the time, college football was still more popular than the National Football League, so The Game was huge. Well, it’s always had a larger-than-life feel to it.
Michigan played valiantly without halfback Gene Derricotte, and the teams traded leads several times. After Bill Culligan’s second touchdown of the game gave the Wolverines a 2-point lead in the fourth quarter, Ohio State was left with a little more than nine minutes to come back. As it turned out, that was plenty of time for the Buckeyes to mount a 52-drive that culminated with Les Horvath diving over the line for a touchdown that made the final score Ohio State 18, Michigan 14. Sadly, Michigan was hampered by the fact that its kickoff went only 12 yards, allowing the Buckeyes to start their critical drive at their own 48-yard line. One final Michigan drive was thwarted by a Dick Flanagan interception, and the Buckeyes held on for the win. Ohio Sate finished the season with a record of nine wins and no losses, and the Buckeyes won the championship of the Big Nine Conference, which preceded the Big Ten. Michigan finished with a record seven wins and two losses. In December, Michigan lost Derricotte when he was drafted into the military, and he joined the Tuskegee Airmen pilot training program. A few years later, he returned to continue his education, and his college football career, at the University of Michigan.
There is some grainy video of this game on youtube, and a box score that’s partially typed and partially handwritten, but both make for difficult viewing, and I didn’t feel that either one was worth including.
The second installment of this year’s series looking back at the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry takes us to 1955. The Brooklyn Dodgers FINALLY won the World Series, Americans were finally able to enjoy some peace after the conclusion of the Korean War a few years earlier, and the nation was experiencing broad, post-war prosperity. Many young people were leaving cities, buying homes in the suburbs and starting families. The American automobile industry continued to thrive and Ford introduced its new personal luxury car, the Ford Thunderbird. On the pop culture front, rock & roll was beginning to make its presence felt among American youth.
On the gridiron, Michigan raced to a 7-1 start before facing Ohio State in The Game in Michigan Stadium on Nov. 19. With that, the Wolverines were routed 17-0. The game itself can be summed up simply. Ohio State ran left halfback Howard “Hopalong” Cassady time and again, and the Wolverines simply couldn’t stop him. Michigan certainly had some outstanding players on the ’55 squad, most notably All-America tight end Ron Kramer. Still, the Wolverines were unable to succeed at much in that game, as Woody Hayes became only the third Ohio State coach in history to win two games in a row against Michigan.
The result left both teams with matching 7-2 records. Ohio State was ranked fifth in the nation by the Associated Press, and Michigan was ranked 12th.
I wasn’t able to find any video of The Game from 1955, so please enjoy the summary of the 1955 football season below, with credit and thanks to the Bentley Historical Library. As always, I own nothing and I do not profit from this in any way.