On this date in Ohio State football: Nov. 9, 1935
Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:
Ohio State 20, Chicago 13
Setup: No college football program has won more Heisman Trophies than the seven awarded to Ohio State players (though a Jalen Hurts victory this season would lift Oklahoma out of a tie with the Buckeyes and Notre Dame). Wittingly or not, OSU also has played a role in seven other Heisman victory speeches for failing to contain the eventual winner in a regular-season matchup. (OSU has met four other Heisman winners in postseason games, going 2-2.) In fact, Ohio State helped launch the first winner of the trophy featuring the stiff-arming ball-carrier cast in bronze. Eighty-four years ago, however, it was a mentally fragile group of Buckeyes who boarded a train for a Big Ten game against the University of Chicago. Under second-year coach Francis Schmidt, Ohio State had seen its national-title hopes (yes, it was a thing back then) obliterated the week before with a home loss to Notre Dame, which scored 18 fourth-quarter points to erase a 13-0 deficit. The gut-punch defeat to the Fighting Irish left OSU trying to win its first conference title since 1920, and the Maroons didn’t figure to be much of an impediment.
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Stars: Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger cemented his standing as the college game’s best player with a performance that featured a spectacular 85-yard scoring run that gave the Maroons a 13-0 lead in the third quarter. He finished with 130 yards rushing and also led a staunch defensive effort and punting effort. Ohio State rolled up 410 yards behind quarterback Stan Pincura (158 yards passing) and backs Jim McDonald (74 yards), Dick Heekin (63) and Joe Williams (46).
Turning point: The stunned Buckeyes were stopped inside Chicago’s 20-yard line three times in falling behind 13-0 but chipped away to tie the score on Heekin’s 1-yard touchdown run and Pincura’s 30-yard TD pass to Merle Wendt early in the fourth quarter. Williams’ 11-yard scoring run (after he had fumbled the snap from center) broke a 13-13 tie with four minutes remaining, and Tippy Dye’s interception of a Berwanger pass sealed OSU’s nerve-wracking win.
Impact: Ohio State took satisfaction upon learning that Notre Dame had been upset by Northwestern the same afternoon, then pitched shutouts against Illinois (6-0) and Michigan (38-0) to claim a piece of the Big Ten title with unbeaten Minnesota. One month after losing to the Buckeyes, Berwanger went on to win the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy, which was renamed the following year for John Heisman, the DAC’s athletic director and a former college player and coach.
Quotable: “Berwanger, great Maroon star, today was the greatest back an Ohio team has been asked to stop since 'Red' Grange was roaming the mid-western prairies.” — Irven C. Shelbeck’s postgame account in The Dispatch