Beginnings — [ edit ] After early attempts at forming a team in led by future Nebraska governor Chester Hardy Aldrich and , football was ultimately established at the university in Lilley with introducing the sport to the campus. More recent research has challenged that claim, stating that George Cole persuaded Lilley to coach the football team during its first full season that fall. Just east of historic German Village, the park occupied the north side of Schiller now Whittier between Ebner and Jaeger in what is now Schumacher Place.
The weather was perfect, and the crowd cheered loudly. Nonetheless, OSU lost to Wooster, 64—0. Wooster, physically fit for the game, showed OSU that training is critical to winning. Thus, the tradition of training continues. Over the next eight years, under a number of coaches, the team played to a cumulative record of 31 wins, 39 losses, and 2 ties.
The first game against the University of Michigan , in Ann Arbor , was a 34—0 loss in , a year that saw the low point in Buckeye football history with a 1—7—1 record. Although the school's athletic board let the team decide its future, Eckstorm resigned.
John to be athletic director. Chic Harley attended East High in Columbus and was one of the greatest players to attend an Ohio high school. He passed, ran, received, punted, kicked and played defense. Harley came to Ohio State in and Columbus fans instantly fell in love with the Chic. Harley and the Buckeyes won the very first Big Ten championship in school history in when the Buckeyes finished 7—0. He would repeat in finishing 8—0—1, giving the Buckeyes a second outright title.
In , he left to be a pilot in the air force for World War I. With Harley's return in , the Buckeyes would only lose one game—to Illinois. Chic Harley left OSU with a career record of 22—1—1. The stadium was built entirely on fan donations and several stadium drives around the city where Harley would often appear. Ohio State's very first rival was Kenyon College , a small liberal arts college in Gambier , roughly 50 miles to the northeast.
The Buckeyes first played them in their first season in on Nov 27, Kenyon won the first two meetings; however, Ohio State won 15 in a row and the rivalry diminished.
Kenyon made it their season goal to defeat OSU. After the Bucks joined the Big Ten they stopped playing Kenyon. The all-time record stands at 18—6, OSU. Francis Schmidt — [ edit ] In hiring Francis Schmidt in March to coach its football team, Ohio State moved its program to a "big-time" level of competition.
Schmidt was a well-established coach and an acknowledged offensive innovator. His offensive schemes were a "wide-open" style called "razzle-dazzle" and led him to be the first Buckeye football coach granted a multi-year contract. Schmidt's first four seasons saw victories over archrival Michigan, all by shut-out. The squad went 7—1, its sole loss was to Notre Dame , 18—13, in the first contest between the programs.
However Schmidt's remaining seasons were less successful, except in when the Buckeyes won the Big Ten championship, and his popularity faded for a number of reasons. Paul Brown — [ edit ] Paul Brown shown here as head coach of the Cleveland Browns — who led the Buckeyes to their first national championship in Brown's Tigers had just won their sixth straight state championship. Brown immediately changed Ohio State's style of offense, planned and organized his program in great detail, and delegated to his assistant coaches using highly structured practices.
In , Ohio State lost 22 veteran players to military service as the United States joined World War II, and with a team of mostly sophomores went on to lose only once in winning its first national championship.
Carroll Widdoes — , Paul Bixler and Wes Fesler — [ edit ] Brown accepted a commission in the United States Navy in and directed his assistant Carroll Widdoes to head the team in his absence. Ohio State finished second in the national rankings behind Army and Les Horvath became the first Buckeye to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.
Brown chose not to return to Ohio State after the war, going into professional football instead. Widdoes, despite having the highest two-year winning percentage of any Buckeye coach, asked to return to an assistant's position. Offensive coordinator Paul Bixler and Widdoes switched positions, and Bixler endured a mediocre 4—3—2 season. Bixler resigned and talk of Ohio State being a "graveyard of coaches" became commonplace, a reputation that lingered for decades.
Ohio State improved greatly in , winning 6 and losing 3, then in enjoyed a successful season due to the play of sophomore Vic Janowicz. Ohio State received the Rose Bowl invitation, where they came from behind to defeat California. In Fesler, rumored to be resigning because of pressures associated with the position and abuse of his family by anonymous critics, returned to coach the Buckeyes, who won six games in a row to move into the top ranking in the AP poll.
However, the season fell apart as the Buckeyes lost to Michigan during a blizzard , a game that came to be known as the " Snow Bowl ". Two weeks later, citing concerns about his health and family, Fesler resigned. He instituted a demanding practice regimen and was both aggressive and vocal in enforcing it, alienating many players accustomed to Fesler's laid-back style.
The Buckeyes won 4, lost 3, and tied 2, leaving many to question the ability of the new coach. In the team improved to 6—3, and recorded their first victory over Michigan in eight years, but after a loss to Michigan, critics called for the replacement of Hayes. In the Buckeyes were picked to finish no higher than 10th in the Big Ten. Hayes, however, had the talents of Howard "Hopalong" Cassady , and a historic goal-line stand against Michigan propelled Ohio State to a perfect season.
Hayes led the powerhouse Buckeyes to a shared national championship his first and the team's second. Ohio State passed only three times against Michigan the sole reception was the only completion in the final three games of the year , leading to characterization of Hayes' style of offensive play as "three yards and a cloud of dust". In a article in Sports Illustrated , Hayes admitted making small personal loans to financially needy players.
Big Ten Commissioner Kenneth "Tug" Wilson found Hayes and the program guilty of violations and placed it on a year's probation in In Ohio State won all of its remaining games after an opening loss to claim the Big Ten championship, win the Rose Bowl over Oregon , and share a national title with Auburn , for which Hayes was named Coach of the Year. In the team went undefeated to be named national champions by the FWAA but a growing conflict between academics and athletics over Ohio State's reputation as a "football school" resulted in a faculty council vote to decline an invitation to the Rose Bowl, resulting in much public protest and debate.
In Ohio State defeated the number one-ranked Purdue Boilermakers and continued to an undefeated season including a 50—14 rout of Michigan and a Rose Bowl victory over the USC Trojans that resulted in the national championship.
The Class of became known as the "super sophomores" in , and might have gone on to three consecutive national championships except for what may have been the most bitter loss in Buckeye history. The winning streak reached 22 games as Ohio State traveled to Michigan. The Buckeyes were point favorites but directed by first-year coach Bo Schembechler , Michigan shocked the Buckeyes in a 24—12 upset.
The loss to Michigan initiated what came to be known as "The Ten Year War", in which the rivalry, which pitted some of OSU's and UM's strongest teams ever, rose to the uppermost level of all sports and the competition between Schembechler and Hayes became legendary. The Wolverines entered every game during those years undefeated and won only once, a 10—7 victory in Ann Arbor on November 20, Both teams used the annual game as motivation for entire seasons and after the initial win by Michigan, played dead even at four wins and a tie apiece.
Hayes had the upper hand during the first part of the war, in which Ohio State won the conference championship and went to the Rose Bowl four straight years, while Michigan won the final three. It was also an era in which through television Ohio State football again came to the forefront of national attention. Hayes set the tone in spring practice in , placing a rug at the entrance to the Buckeye dressing room emblazoned with the words: The return match in Columbus found both teams undefeated and untied, a "first" in the history of the rivalry, with Michigan ranked fourth and Ohio State fifth.
The Buckeyes returned to the Rose Bowl to be upset by Stanford 27— The "super sophomores" had garnered a record of 27—2, the best winning percentage of any three-year period in team history, and won or shared the Big Ten title all three years.
Archie Griffin began his college football career in , taking advantage of new NCAA eligibility rules that allowed freshmen to compete at the varsity level.
Former Buckeyes RB Archie Griffin , the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner in college football history —75 The following season Hayes installed an I-formation attack with Griffin at tailback and fellow sophomore Cornelius Greene at quarterback.
The Buckeyes went undefeated with a powerful offense and equally impenetrable defense, achieving an average margin of victory of 31 points a game. The only blemish on their record was a 10—10 tie with Michigan after both teams had entered the game unbeaten. Despite soundly defeating defending national champion USC , however, the tie with Michigan resulted in the Buckeyes finishing second to Notre Dame in the final AP rankings.
The Buckeyes twice more defeated Michigan and went to two Rose Bowls, but lost both. The team seemed bound for another national championship when it was derailed by a loss to unranked Michigan State Ohio State lost only twice in the regular season during Griffin's 4-year career, both to the Spartans , and the next year the 1-ranked Bucks lost 23—10 to 11th-ranked UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In all the Buckeyes were 40—5—1 from —75, winning the Big Ten all four years and never losing to Michigan, but each loss and the tie were crucial in failing to win another championship.
His teams forged records of 9—2—1, 9—3, and 7—4—1, and made bowl appearances in all three years the rules had changed to allow appearances in other than the Rose Bowl. However frustrations in losing three straight years to Michigan, and other factors, resulted in growing criticism of Hayes and his methods, particularly his on-the-field fits of temper.
Even so, his downfall was sudden and shocking when near the end of the nationally televised Gator Bowl , Hayes punched Clemson middle guard Charlie Bauman after Bauman intercepted a pass to kill Ohio State's last chance to win. Bruce inherited a strong team led by sophomore quarterback Art Schlichter but that had also lost eleven starters, and the squad exceeded pre-season expectations, ending the 3-year loss drought against Michigan and going to the Rose Bowl with an opportunity once again to be national champions.
The Buckeyes lost both by a single point, 17—16, but Bruce was named Coach of the Year. His success was hailed by those in the media who saw it as a rebuke of Hayes and the start of a "new era". Though each of these seasons, and the 10—3 season that followed them, culminated in a bowl game, Ohio State did not appear to be any closer to a national championship than during the end of the Hayes era.
Bruce's teams were not without impact players, however. The team was selected as the top-ranked team of the pre-season AP poll and opened the season with four games at home, but were shocked in the fourth game by UCLA, shut out 17—0. The team rebounded to win its next six easily, but then were shut down by a ball-control Michigan team that allowed the Buckeyes only 23 minutes with the ball, then lost again to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.
In , Ohio State opened strong, including a victory at Stanford in which senior Art Schlichter out-dueled John Elway , but then lost back-to-back games to Florida State and Wisconsin their first victory over the Buckeyes in 22 games. The Buckeyes continued to struggle on defense, losing a third time, at Minnesota. Victories over Michigan to gain a share of the Big Ten championship and over Navy in the Liberty Bowl salvaged the season. For the first time since the Buckeyes lost three in a row in Ohio Stadium in , including rematches with Stanford and Florida State, and for the second year in a row to Wisconsin, but then won seven straight, the last over BYU in the Holiday Bowl.
Sophomore running back Keith Byars had a stand-out season in , rushing for 1, yards, and Ohio State defeated the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman , but three losses in conference meant a 4th-place finish. Ohio State also defeated Michigan to win an outright Big Ten championship.
Byars led the nation in rushing and scoring but finished second in Heisman balloting. Byars broke his toe just prior to the start of the season, ending his Heisman hopes and seriously handicapping the Buckeye attack.
He returned against Purdue with Ohio State at 4—1 and scored twice, but then re-injured his foot the next week against Minnesota. Iowa was top-ranked nationally when they came into Ohio Stadium favored to end the longest home winning streak in the country, and were the first 1 team the Buckeyes faced since Purdue in