Jack looks back | Buckeye aim for 50th straight win against in-state opponents

Jack Park For The Columbus Dispatch
Woody Hayes was coach at Miami in 1949 and '50 before moving on to Ohio State. [File photo]

Ohio State will face Miami University on Saturday, with a 3:30 pm start at Ohio Stadium. This weekend’s clash will be Ohio State’s 257th against an opponent from within Ohio. The Buckeyes are 191-50-15 over the first 256.

Oberlin was the last in-state foe to defeat Ohio State, winning 7-6 at old Ohio Field along High Street on Oct. 8, 1921. Since that setback, the Buckeyes are 49-0 against in-state opponents.

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OSU won 21 straight from 1922 through 1934, than went 62 years from 1935 through 1996 without facing an in-state foe. Beginning with a 44-13 triumph over Bowling Green on Sept. 13, 1997, the Buckeyes have been victorious 28 straight times against schools from within the Buckeye State. The most recent win was 42-0 over Cincinnati two weeks ago in Columbus.

Ohio State has faced 28 different opponents from within Ohio.

Ohio Wesleyan is the most frequent with 29 games from 1890 through 1932 (OSU 26-2-1). The second most frequent is 26 meetings with Oberlin (OSU 13-10-3). Western Reserve is the only Ohio school to have a winning record over OSU at 6-5-1. The Buckeyes’ highest score over an in-state opponent is 128-0 against Oberlin in 1916, while OSU’s largest setback is a 64-0 home loss to Wooster in 1890.

Saturday’s clash with Miami will be the sixth in the series. The Buckeyes are 5-0, winning 56-10 in 2012, 34-14 in 2005, 27-16 in 2000, 3-0 in 1911, and 80-0 in 1904. All games were played in Columbus. Ohio State’s 80 points in 1904, when touchdowns counted five points, is the fourth highest score in school history. It is exceeded only by the 128-0 shellacking of Oberlin in 1916, an 85-7 victory over Drake in 1935, and an 83-21 triumph over Iowa in 1950.

Ohio State had great difficulty before finishing with an 11-point victory in 2000. The 23-point favored Buckeyes suffered from many self-inflicted errors, including nine penalties, numerous dropped passes and a blocked field-goal attempt. Miami quarterback Mike Bath passed for 236 yards and both RedHawks touchdowns. OSU tailbacks Derek Combs and Jonathan Wells finished with 142 and 113 rushing yards, respectively.

Miami is respectfully recognized as the “Cradle of Coaches.”

Several legends began their coaching careers at Miami, either as a coach or player, and many have enjoyed a strong connection with Ohio State.

Paul Brown, who guided Ohio State to its first national title in 1942, was Miami’s quarterback in 1928-29. Stu Holcomb, Ohio State’s 1931 captain, was head coach at Miami in 1942-43. Sid Gillman, OSU’s captain in 1933, succeeded Holcomb in 1944 and compiled an impressive four-year record of 31-6-1.

Bill Mallory was an assistant to Woody Hayes at Ohio State from 1966-68 before being named head coach at Miami in 1969. His five year record of 39-12 included a perfect record of 11-0 in 1973. That season his team won the Tangerine Bowl over the Florida Gators, 20-7.

Woody Hayes gained substantial experience as head coach at Miami in 1949-50, before moving to Ohio State in 1951. His two-year Miami record was 14-5. Hayes’ last Miami team won at Cincinnati, 28-0, the same afternoon Ohio State lost to Michigan 9-3 in the famous “Snow Bowl” of Nov. 25, 1950. The Cincinnati Bearcats were coached by Sid Gillman. Both Hayes and Gillman coveted the Ohio State job, and it was felt that the selection committee leaned toward Hayes because of Miami’s one-sided triumph over Cincinnati.

One of Hayes’ star Miami players, tackle Bo Schembechler, joined Ohio State as a Hayes assistant in 1958. Schembechler returned to Miami as head coach in 1963, before assuming the same position for 23 seasons at Michigan in 1969. In what became known as “the ten year war,” Schembechler had a slight edge over Hayes at 5-4-1 during those monumental Ohio State-Michigan clashes from 1969 through 1978.