Rear-view mirror: Ohio State vs. Michigan in 1969
Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date.
Nov. 22, 1969:
Michigan 24, Ohio State 12
Setup // What was on the line when Ohio State played Michigan in the 1969 season-finale? Well, nothing - and everything. No matter what, the Buckeyes weren't going to the Rose Bowl or any postseason game, those being the rules of the road at the time, and a Big Ten title had already been secured. But a second consecutive national championship - although back then not considered the be-all prize it is now - sat in front of OSU like sweets in a bowl. Looks yummy, huh? Snap!
Stars // Junior quarterback Don Moorhead rushed for 67 yards, passed for 108 and expertly directed Michigan to scores on four consecutive first-half possessions. Barry Pierson had three of the Wolverines' six - count 'em - interceptions and also had a key punt return. Jim Otis ran for 144 yards to become Ohio State's career rushing leader but that was a hollow victory on a most disappointing day. In the end, the day belonged to first-year Michigan coach Bo Schembechler, the one-time assistant to OSU coach Woody Hayes and on this Saturday his master.
Turning point // After falling behind for the first time all season, Ohio State took a 12-7 lead in the second quarter, then watched as Michigan regained the lead with a 67-yard scoring drive. The Buckeyes were then forced to punt, and Pierson returned the ball 60 yards to the OSU 3. Moorhead scored on second down and the Wolverines had the momentum for good.
Impact // The loss was the first of many gut punches the Buckeyes would endure in the 34 years between 1968 and 2002, and especially for Hayes, who fielded a top-five team seven of the next eight seasons without winning a national title. On the other hand, the win by Schembechler's team took the OSU-Michigan rivalry to unparalleled heights.
Quotable // As was his habit, Hayes didn't have much to say after a loss. But he did speak to reporters for about 30 seconds after a long delay, offering a few standard lines before refusing to answer questions. Said one tearful OSU fan: "I still love you, Woody. These guys are a bunch of scavengers." Hayes answered, "We just got beat, that's all," and closed the door to the locker room.