A look back at Ohio State’s six previous top-five matchups with Michigan at Ohio Stadium

The game is called The Game for a reason.

While there have been numerous heart-pounding, suspenseful, and epic matchups over the years, only 11 have placed both rivals in the top five. Six of those 11 were played in the friendly grounds of Ohio Stadium, and those games featured some of the most memorable encounters in The Game history.

As the second-place Buckeyes prepare to host the third-place Wolverines in a top-five match at the Shoe for the seventh time on Saturday, we take a look back at Ohio State’s last six high-stakes home games against Michigan.

1942: #5 Ohio State 21, #4 Michigan 7

Michigan came fresh to Columbus after a 32-20 win over Notre Dame and had a 6-2 record. Corn and Blue’s two losses went to the Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks and the Minnesota Gophers.

The stage was set for the 72,691 fans – the largest crowd at Ohio Stadium in 1942 – to watch Paul Brown’s fifth-place Buckeyes take on the fourth-place Wolverines.

Michigan’s coach, Fritz Crisler, had a near-perfect 4-0-1 against Ohio State and his team confidently entered a game on The Shoe, which was broadcast on national radio. Adding to the North’s swagger was the knowledge that Ohio State would be without halfbacks Tommy James, Bill Durtschi, Bobby Frye and Tom Cleary.

It was a cold and rainy game, but the Buckeyes overcame the game conditions and exposed their rival. Team MVP Chuck Csuri blocked a Michigan punt in the second quarter to set the table for Ohio State’s first touchdown. Paul Sarringhaus and Shaw connected on a touchdown pass and the Bucks led 14-0 late in the third quarter.

The Wolverines cut the lead to 14-7, but the Buckeyes responded when Sarringhaus found Les Horvath for his second touchdown pass of the day. That would be the final points of the game as Ohio State picked up its first win over Michigan in five years.

This was the last time Ohio State did not finish the regular season against Michigan in 78 years.

1968: #2 Ohio State 50, #4 Michigan 14

For Woody Hayes and his talented young team, the Big Ten crown, a place in the Rose Bowl and a possible national championship were at stake. The Wolverines were on an eight-game winning streak after losing the first game of the season in California. Like Ohio State, Michigan was playing for a conference championship and a trip to Pasadena.

On that 55-degree day, Michigan won the draw and chose to accept. The Wolverines unnerved a record crowd of 85,371 as they methodically marched 84 yards in 17 games – including 15 runs – to take a 7-0 lead.

Those fears proved unfounded as the Buckeyes reacted and secured one of the most one-sided victories in The Game history. Hayes even went to two after taking a 1:23 lead 50-14 remaining, but Bill Long’s pass to a 38-point win remained incomplete.

Ohio State’s 11th undisputed Big Ten title ended a brief championship hiatus for Hayes. The Buckeyes won the league title in 1961, but the faculty denied them a Rose Bowl trip. This time, the team knew they had earned their way to Pasadena to play No. 2 USC, where they would win the national championship.

1970: #5 Ohio State 20, #4 Michigan 9

The Super Sophs were two years away from their championship season and had spent the past year reflecting on their stunning 1969 loss to Michigan. A year of frustration from fans and the team was poised to unleash on the Wolverines and sophomore coach Bo Schembecker.

The 5 best matchups in the game

YEAR

MATCH

SCORE

2022 No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan open
2016 No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan 30-27
2006 No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Michigan 42-39

2003

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan

21-35

1997

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 1 Michigan

14-20

1977

No. 4 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan

6-14

1975

#1 in Ohio State at #4 in Michigan

21-14

1974 No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Michigan 12-10

1973

#1 in Ohio State at #4 in Michigan

10-10

1970 No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Michigan 20-9
1968 No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Michigan 50-14
1942 No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Michigan 21-7

home games on bold

The Ann Arbor team rode a 14-game winning streak and a record crowd of 87,331 at what was then Ohio Stadium, who packed The Shoe to watch two undefeated and untied Big Ten teams battle for the conference title for the first time since 1905 played.

Ohio State used the energy surrounding The Game to their advantage. Michigan won the toss and elected to accept. Stan White started the kickoff to Lance Scheffler, who fumbled him straight back to Ohio State. The Buckeyes converted the turnover to three points when Fred Schram hit a 27-yard field goal.

The Wolverines ended the game with a field goal early in the second quarter, but Rex Kern and Bruce Jankowski connected with a 26-yard touchdown pass to put the home team 10-3 at halftime.

Shadows from 1969 fell on the stadium when Don Moorhead found Paul Staroba in the third quarter for a 13-yard score. However, Ohio State blocked the extra point and still led 10-9.

Fears were allayed as the Buckeyes scored the next 10 points and held Michigan’s rushing game at 37 yards for the day. With the 20-9 win, Ohio State was 9-0 and the outright Big Ten champion.

Woody Hayes laid the groundwork for the 1970 win over Michigan shortly after the 1969 loss. He laid out a carpet just outside the dressing room with the score against the Wolverines plastered on it. It reminded players everyday of the excitement and motivation working as Ohio State beat Michigan for the eighth time in 11 years.

1974: #4 Ohio State 12, #3 Michigan 10

In an annual tradition, the state of Ohio and Michigan went head-to-head for the Big Ten title. The Buckeyes were looking to atone for the 10-10 draw suffered by the 1973 team, arguably one of the program’s best rosters. The 1974 game brought the “foot” to football.

A little over three minutes into the game, the Wolverines scored the only touchdown of the game on their fourth offensive game. Dennis Franklin’s play-action pass fooled the Buckeyes’ defense when he found Gil Chapman for a 42-yard touchdown. Later in the first quarter, the Wolverines extended their lead to 10-0 after Mike Lantry hit a 37-yard field goal.

The rest of the day saw Ohio State’s Tom Klaban scoring four field goals – three of them from 43 yards – and scoring all of Scarlet and Gray’s points in the 12-10 win.

Contributing to the Buckeyes’ victory was Lantry’s missed 59-yard and 33-yard field goals in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes’ ticket to the 1975 Rose Bowl was holed, a game Ohio State lost 18-17 when USC scored and converted a two-point conversion with 2:03 in the game.

2006: #1 Ohio State 42, #2 Michigan 39

For the first time in series history, the heated rivals entered The Game as the country’s first- and second-place teams. The week leading up to the game was electrifying as the anticipation of another national title shot seeped through to Columbus.

As if the event couldn’t get any bigger, former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler passed away the night before kick-off. Lloyd Carr’s team used the sudden passing as added motivation to knock out the top-ranked Buckeyes.

An inspired Michigan team marched 80 yards in seven games and scored when Mike Hart lunged in from a yard away. The quick result didn’t shake the home side as Troy Smith completed 9 of 11 passes and threw in a 1-yard touchdown pass to Roy Hall on the subsequent drive to tie the game at seven apiece.

The Buckeyes scored the next 14 points to extend the lead to 21-7 after Ted Ginn Jr.’s 39-yard touchdown reception. Like heavyweight boxers, the blue-blooded programs traded and countered punches the rest of the game.

When the final whistle blew, Ohio State was up 42-39, undefeated and poised to play a national championship against future coach Urban Meyer, whose Florida Gators would defeat the Buckeyes in the final game of the season.

2016: #2 Ohio State 30, #3 Michigan 27

A decade after The Game of the Century, both rivals finished in the top three again in 2016 when they met at Ohio Stadium. Adding to the excitement and drama were the new expectations and hopes of Michigan fans with their sophomore year coach, Jim Harbaugh, on their sidelines.

The khaki wearer and his underdog Wolverines had Scarlet and Gray worshipers fearing their team would be defeated by the North team at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2000.

Near the end of the third quarter, Ohio State was 10 points behind when Jerome Baker changed the course of play. The second linebacker intercepted Wilton Speight’s pass at the Michigan 35 and returned it 22 yards to the Wolverines’ 13. Mike Weber struck from a yard after two Michigan penalties – including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Jim Harbaugh – and a JT Barrett ten-foot dash.

Urban Meyer’s team used a 5:36 drive to end the regulation with a 23-yard field goal from Tyler Durbin. For the first time in The Game history, the outcome was decided in overtime.

The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, and Ohio State’s defense held Michigan to a 37-yard field goal in the second overtime. The stage was set for three remarkable plays in a row.

Barrett was 3rd and 9th at the Wolverines 24 and threw a screen pass to Curtis Samuel. The New York H-Back looked dead after a loss, but he fought his way to an eight-yard gain after a 5k run.

With the game on the line, Meyer decided to try the 4th and 1st and called his quarterback’s number. Barrett ran to the left and cleared the line to win. After an extensive video briefing, Samuel won the game with the Brooklyn Dagger from 15 yards, earning Ohio State a place in the College Football Playoffs.

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