clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ohio State football history: The Game, 1970

Ohio State welcomed That Team Up North to Ohio Stadium in 1970 looking for redemption from a loss in Ann Arbor in 1969, and they found it.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes went into Ann Arbor in 1969 filled with confidence. Ohio State was the top-ranked team in the nation and riding a 22-game winning streak as they took the field in the Big House that day. That Team Up North, under the leadership of brand new head coach Bo Schembechler, stunned the Buckeyes, winning 24-12 and earning the right to represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl.

The loss didn't sit well with the Buckeyes or head coach Woody Hayes--no loss sat well with Woody--and when Ohio State prepared to face That Team Up North in the following season, they saw it as an opportunity for redemption.

Coming into the 1970 matchup, That Team Up North's offense had been prolific, averaging 31 points per game in nine straight wins. Ohio State also came into the contest undefeated in the 1970 season, and the Buckeyes had been pretty dominant, also averaging over 31 points per game.

A hallmark of That Team Up North in 1970 was their ability to move the ball on the ground. They amassed 2,508 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns over the course of the 1970 season. Against Ohio State, however, they were held to just 37 rushing yards.

The game started poorly for the Wolverines as their returner fumbled the opening kickoff. It was recovered by the Buckeyes, and they capitalized, capping off a six-play drive with a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. An interception by That Team Up North gave them the opportunity to even up the score with a 31-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Late in the second quarter, the Buckeyes executed a successful 47-yard drive capped off by the first touchdown of the day. Quarterback Rex Kern had to pull off a quarterback keeper for a successful fourth-down conversion to keep the drive alive. Kern's 26-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Jankowski extended the Buckeyes' lead to 10-3 prior to the half.

That Team Up North coughed up the ball on their own 24-yard line before time expired on the first half, but the Buckeyes were unable to capitalize and took their seven point lead into the third quarter.

As the second half began, that other team came out swinging. They executed a 50-yard drive with ease and capped it off with quarterback Don Moorhead's touchdown pass to split end Paul Staroba. The PAT attempt was blocked by the Buckeyes' Tim Anderson, preserving Ohio State's one-point lead.

Early in the fourth quarter Ohio State added a field goal and extended their lead to 13-9. Buckeye linebacker Stan White intercepted a Moorhead pass and returned it to the other team's nine yard line, putting the Buckeyes in a great position to clinch the game.

And clinch it they did, as Kern tossed the ball to Leo Hayden and Hayden ran it in to give the Buckeyes a 20-9 lead.

There was plenty of time left on the clock, and surely the record crowd (at the time) of 87,331 in Ohio Stadium held their collective breath as the referees said that a Buckeye player had touched the ball on a Michigan punt, making it a live ball, and ruled that Michigan had recovered near midfield. Michigan's drive fell apart at the Ohio State 24-yard line, however, and the Buckeyes took possession with just under five minutes remaining and were able to run out the clock for the victory.

The victory earned Ohio State the Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl bid. They finished the season 9-1, with the only loss coming in the Rose Bowl against Stanford.