The fourth installment of Michigan-Ohio State week takes us all the way back to 1950. Today, even the most casual of fans knows obscure statistics, largely because of the advent of fantasy football. Go on. Admit it. I see you smiling over there. Yes, you, the person checking this story on his smart phone. You’re blushing, because you know your stats cold.
Well, cold is exactly how the stats were served at the 1950 game between Michigan and Ohio State. The night before the game, a freak blizzard dumped more than a foot of fresh snow on Ohio Stadium, and volunteers worked through the night to make the field playable for the game. When the decision was made to play the game, the two teams played hot potato with the ball, combining for a record 45 punts, including 24 alone by Michigan’s Chuck Ortmann. But Ortmann would be the first to tell you that he couldn’t have done it without Carl Kreager.
Who’s Carl Kreager, you ask? Well, long snappers have never gotten their due in football, but for this game, Kreager deserved to make the All-America team. In a blinding snowstorm, Kreager delivered 24 perfect long snaps to Ortmann; an impressive feat under ideal conditions. Late in the second quarter, Michigan blocked an Ohio State punt, and Tony Momsen fell on the ball in the end zone for the game’s only touchdown. Michigan went on to win, 9-3, without registering one first down for the entire game.