Interest in Ohio State football continued to flourish despite the lack of success the past four seasons. Ohio State goes 6-0 entering the Michigan game, which still today is mentioned as one of the most exciting games ever played in Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes fell 17-16 to the Wolverines in front of a crowd that was originally announced as 90,437. Fans broke down gates to the stadium, allowing thousands inside without tickets. Ohio State finished the season 7-1. Fullback Marty Karow earned All-America honors and later returned to OSU to coach the baseball team for 25 years.
Ohio State slips to 4-4, including a 3-2 record in Ohio Stadium. Tackle Leo Raskowski becomes the fifth two-time All-American in school history.
L.W. St. John announces all stadium debt has been paid, a remarkable achievement considering the facility had been standing for only eight short years. Coach Wilce announces his resignation, to take effect in June, 1929, citing the desire to enter the private practice of medicine. After capturing three Western Conference Championships and producing 14 All-Americans, Wilce left football and did postgraduate research at Harvard and Columbia before becoming the Director of the Ohio State University Student Health Services in 1934.
Sam Willaman, an assistant on Wilce’s staff and a 1913 Ohio State graduate, was named the 13th head coach in the history of Ohio State football. He led the team to a 4-3-1 finish in his first season.
Wes Fesler becomes only the second three-time All-American in Ohio State history, captaining the Buckeyes and leading them to a 5-2-1 record. He is also the first recorded winner of the team’s Most Valuable Player Award. Fesler, one of the school’s top all-time all-around athletes, earned nine total varsity letters – three each in football, basketball, and baseball.
Picking up where Fesler left off, halfback Lew Hinchman wins the second of what would eventually become three All-America awards.
Ohio State loses only once but ties three times, finishing the season 4-1-3. With a wealth of returning talent, thoughts immediately shift to a promising 1933 season.
Fueled by an incredible defense, Ohio State finishes 7-1, dropping only a 14-0 decision to Michigan. The Buckeyes allow only 26 points the entire season, while scoring 161. Strong team defense becomes a staple of the Willaman era, which ended at the conclusion of the season. Under his guidance, Ohio State recorded 20 shutouts in five seasons and held the opposition to one touchdown on 12 other occasions. Willaman, known as a shy, introverted person, left OSU for Western Reserve where he served as Director of Athletics and head football coach.
Francis Schmidt is named the head football coach at Ohio State, ushering in not only a new era but also a new style of football. With an offensive scheme dubbed “razzle-dazzle” by the press and featuring double and triple reverses, laterals, and passes, Schmidt’s inaugural team scored 267 points – the second most in OSU history at that point. Schmidt’s off-the-field antics were just as colorful as his on-field plays, making him an instant hit with the community. After accepting the coaching position, he was asked how he expected to cope with the OSU nemesis from Ann Arbor. Dressed in his inevitable bow tie, his matter-of-fact answer developed into a clich©: “They put their pants on one leg at a time same as everybody else.” Schmidt’s comment leads to the formation of the “Golden Pants Club,” which awarded miniature gold football pants to all players who had a hand in a victory over the Wolverines. The tradition of an annual Captain’s Breakfast, where all former grid captains are invited to a breakfast and welcome the current team captains, also began.
Ohio State collected its second-consecutive 7-1 season under Schmidt, claiming the school’s first Big Ten title in the 14 years. The Buckeyes capped their year with a 38-0 season-ending win over Michigan. That season finale launched the now famous season-ending rivalry. Since then, Ohio State has ended its regular season schedule with a battle against the Wolverines every year but one (63-of-64 seasons). Also in 1935, Ohio State and Notre Dame play what was hailed as the “greatest college game ever played,” for many years after. The Buckeyes held a 13-0 lead entering the fourth quarter, but Notre Dame scored three times in the final stanza – twice in the last two minutes – for an 18-13 win.
The Ohio State Marching Band performs “Script Ohio” for the first time at the Indiana game. OSU dropped its Big Ten opener to Northwestern, 14-13, but steamrolled through its remaining conference schedule with four shutouts in four games.
Schmidt’s Buckeyes land their third Big Ten second place finish in four years, dropping only a 10-0 decision to Indiana in six league games. OSU continues its mastery of Michigan, however, handing the Wolverines a 21-0 defeat and marking the third-consecutive season the Buckeyes had held UM scoreless. Schmidt’s reputation as an offensive guru lessens as his squad allows only 23 points all season.
Ohio State endures its worst season under Schmidt, going 4-3-2 and tying for sixth place in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes also fall to Michigan for the first time since 1933.