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Podcast: I Want to Go Back - John Wilce Goes Out With a Bang Against Michigan

Relive the greatest stories from Ohio State football history in Season 2 of Land-Grant Holy Land’s exclusive podcast series.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State football has an unrivaled tradition and history. Now, it’s time to relive those epic moments once more. Each Monday over the next eight weeks, you can listen to Season 2 of I Want to Go Back — Land-Grant Holy Land’s exclusive podcast series that brings to life the greatest lost stories from Ohio State football history. This season, we’ll go back to OSU’s rise to power in the early days of the Big Ten Conference.

On the season finale of I Want to Go Back...

A cold wind blew in Columbus. Under coach John Wilce, Ohio State sputtered to a 4-4 mark in 1927 and the howls for him to step down became deafening entering 1928.

Wilce was entering his 16th season as coach of the Buckeyes — far longer than any of his predecessors. He decided it was time to go and penned a letter that would go down in Ohio State history and send shock waves around the Big Ten:


I herewith tender my resignation as head football coach of Ohio State University, to take effect June, 1929. It is my intention to enter the active practice of Medicine and to continue to a degree of teaching. With full appreciation of the complete and cordial support of the Board over my coaching period,

I am respectfully,

J. W. Wilce


Before Wilce rode off into the sunset, he’d lead the Buckeyes through a final season against a brutal schedule. OSU would host perennial national championship contender Princeton, face a tricky Iowa side and finish the year against conference power Illinois. But Wilce also focused his eyes on another game. Wilce was the only OSU coach to ever beat Michigan, taking them down three times. But, the Wolverines had a perfect 3-0 record in Columbus since Ohio Stadium opened in 1922. Wilce readied his Buckeyes to put an end to the Michigan winning streak.