Oct. 6, 1962

Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:

UCLA 9, Ohio State 7

Setup: Fresh off a 1961 season in which Ohio State went unbeaten (with one tie) yet was denied a chance to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl by the university’s faculty council, the Buckeyes entered 1962 as the nation’s No. 1 team. That lofty ranking survived an opening romp over North Carolina but could not withstand a trip to the West Coast, a bugaboo that bit the Buckeyes plenty under coach Woody Hayes. OSU had plenty of talent on offense, but execution was an issue against two-touchdown underdog UCLA, which three times stopped the Buckeyes at the Bruins’ 1-yard line.

 

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Stars: Ohio State got decent rushing performances — Paul Warfield had 74 yards, Bob Klein 57 and John Mummey 54 — but none was able to crack the Bruins’ end zone. Matt Snell had the only touchdown on a 6-yard pass from Joe Sparma. Kermit Alexander had given UCLA a 6-0 lead with a 45-yard scoring run on the Bruins’ second play from scrimmage.

Turning point: OSU clung to a 7-6 lead after Snell’s TD but failed to convert from the UCLA 1 on its next two drives, losing a fumble by Mummey and getting held on downs. The score stayed that way until the Bruins embarked on a 17-play, 70-yard drive capped by Larry Zeno’s 24-yard field goal. UCLA converted plays of fourth-and-9 and third-and-10 on the drive.

Impact: Three days after the loss, Ohio State’s athletic council voted to send the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl if they received an invitation. It never came. OSU suffered a wildly inconsistent 1962 season, handing Wisconsin its only regular-season defeat and smashing Michigan 28-0, but losing by 14 points at Iowa and scraping by a weak Indiana team. The ’62 season was the first of six that saw the Buckeyes fail to win a Big Ten title, the longest drought in Hayes’ tenure.

Quotable: “Give up conservative football? Conservative football has been too good to us.” — an incredulous Hayes, responding to a question by a reporter, probably one of those West Coast agitators

Ray Stein / rstein@dispatch.com