Countdown: 79 Days Until Ohio State Football

Remy's picture
June 12, 2014 at 1:03a
The '70s

Welcome to the 70s. Time to wear your bell bottoms, mood rings, afros, high socks and jorts as you take your pet rock for a walk. The countdown won't slow down and we are another day closer to Ohio State's season opener at Navy.

Today's article will list the 27 players who wore the No. 79 for Ohio State. Featured players are Francis Machinsky, Chris Ward, Joe Staysniak and Ryan Pickett.

Go here if you have missed any articles in the countdown.

Players who Wore No. 79 at Ohio State
Player  Worn All-American All-B1G Captain  Academic AA Ac. All-B1G Letter
Jack Wilson 1946-49     1949     1946-1949
William Vavroch 1952           1952
Francis Machinsky 1953-55   1954 1955     1953-55
P. William Michael* 1956           1956
Thomas Keakbaum 1957            
Larry Whitaker 1958-59            
Robert Risch 1960            
Charles Mamula 1962-63           1962-63
Joseph Hill 1964            
William Ubranik 1967-69       1969 1969 1967-69
Shad Williams 1970-72           1970-72
Craig Nemitz 1973            
Chris Ward 1974-77 1976, 1977 1975, 1976, 1977 1977   1975 1974-77
Kevin Akins 1978            
William Thomas 1979            
Michael Palahnuk 1981-82           1981-82
Larry Chesbrough 1983            
Mike Bloemer 1984-85            
Joseph Garber 1984-86           1986
Joseph Staysniak 1986-89   1989 1989 1989 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 1986-89
Sean Carden 1991            
Larry Waldon 1993-97           1996-97
Ryan Pickett 1998-2000           1998-2000
Mike Stafford* 1999            
Ryan Cook 2001-02            
Jon Skinner 2004-08           2005-07
Marcus Hall 2009-Present           2009-12

*Wore another number at Ohio State
Did not earn a varsity letter while wearing No. 79
I do not have the list of 2013 varsity letter winners
Sources- Buckeyextra and The Ohio State Team Guide

The Moose

Fran Machinsky, OT (1953-56)
Born: New Salem, PA
High School: Uniontown (Buffington, PA)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 29-8 with Machinsky on the team.
Won a National Championship in 1954.
Won two Big Ten titles (1954 and 1955).
Defeated USC 20-7 in the 1955 Rose Bowl.

1955 Captain.
1954 All-Big Ten.

President of the Varsity Alumni Orginization.
Member of Ohio State's President Club.

Machinsky's Ohio State days per

In today's world of football with offensive lineman weighing over 300 pounds, it is hard to imagine an offensive tackle weighing 210 pounds, but that is exactly what Frank "Moose" Machinsky weighed when he manned a tackle spot for the Ohio State Buckeyes...

Machinsky was highly recruited by the likes of Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia, but decided to go to Ohio State...

He went to Columbus and played freshman football in 1952 and was on the varsity in 1953, 1954 and 1955. He was an All-Big Ten selection at tackle in 1954 on the Buckeyes undefeated National Championship team and team co-captain in 1955. He played for the legendary Woody Hayes.

“Our best team was in 1954. We were undefeated and beat Southern California in the Rose Bowl,” Machinsky recalled. “We won the Big Ten again the next year, my senior year, Machinsky explained. “Coach Hayes was just incredible - on the field he was a tyrant, but if you were giving your all and you were doing your best - it may not have been the greatest, but if he knew you were busting your tail he never said a word to you. If you were dogging it - then look out. He was first class and the thing I liked about him was, that was just in the beginning of the black players coming in. He was very open and if you were good it didn’t make any difference what color you were or what your nationality was - you played and he treated everybody the same. He was a hell of a guy.”

Machinsky played in the East-West Shrine game and the Hula Bowl after he graduated from OSU. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round."I was small and they called me up and said we're coming to see you and we want you," Machinsky said. "The Canadian team from Toronto was recruiting me


because they went for a little smaller lineman up there because you had to play both ways.I asked the Redskins what they were going to pay and they said $6,000 and I said I got a contract here for $2,000 bonus and $9,500 salary with Toronto."He played one year with the CFL Toronto Argonauts and then had to go into the Air Force for two years."That was enough I was ready to go to work,"he said...

Machinsky went to work for a construction company and was burned badly on the left side by a gasoline explosion on the job.When he recovered he went into the janitor's service supply business in Columbus and was in the insurance business and started a company that did real well and after that he owned a beer distributorship and then had a half interest in a trash company and then sold out...

He retired in 1997 and lives six months in Columbus and six months in Florida.He remained active with Ohio State and is a past president of the Varsity Alumni Organization and a member of the Ohio State Presidents Club."I play a little golf and spend quality time," Machinsky said."I like to cook - so I cook a lot."

Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide and

Chris Ward

Chris Ward, OT (1974-77)
Born: 1956 (Cleveland)
High School: Patterson (Dayton)


Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 39-8-1 with Ward on the team.
Won 4 Big Ten titles (1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977.
Defeated Colorado 27-10 in the 1977 Orange Bowl.

1977 Captain.
1977 All-American.
1977 All-Big Ten.
1976 All-American.
1976 All-Big Ten.
1975 All-Big Ten.
1975 Academic All-Big Ten.
2000 Named to Ohio State's All-Century Team.

Left in a dumpster when he was born.
Played for the NY Jets from 1978-83 and the Saints in 1984.

From Doug Davis of the Daily Dayton News:

Bill Myles was an offensive line coach at Nebraska when he was lured to Ohio State by the legendary Woody Hayes before Ward's senior year in 1977. As part of his recruiting pitch, Hayes gave Myles a glimpse of the sculpted Patterson High School product.

"Coach Hayes preened him by me when he was trying to get me to come here," Myles said. "He was a fantastic-looking guy. I didn't have anyone who looked like him at Nebraska."


The 275-pound Ward, who already had earned All-Big Ten honors twice, was clocked in the 40-yard dash in a nimble 4.75 seconds. And Myles never had coached a player with such raw strength and speed.

"He was just physically overpowering," said Myles, who coached tackles and tight ends for the Buckeyes through 1985. "He had very quick feet for his size. The most important step in blocking is the second step, and he would take his second step before the other guy could take his. And he'd knock people off the ball."

The results often were devastating. "I have a practice film of him it's still in my garage where he hit a guy so hard he knocked him right out of his shoe," Myles said.

Ward never called on his OSU contacts while he was destitute. His coaches learned he had bottomed out, but they didn't know how to reach him or how to help.


"He was in our prayers," said Myles, now an associate athletic director at OSU in charge of nine sports. "And I always thought Chris would find a way out. He was a winner." During his long period in the wilderness, Ward managed to work toward his ordination while ministering to transients and anyone else within his reach.

He then received an invitation to speak at a vibrant church, and he cut the congregation to the core with a convicting message. He left the altar that day with a sense that his financial hardships were over.

"God said to me, 'I have sealed your blessing. It's done. From this day on, you are my man and nobody can touch you,' " Ward recalled, his booming voice breaking with emotion. "He said, 'From this day forward, people are going to come to give you money to get off the street.' "

Ward said that a woman approached him the next day with a donation, the first of many charitable gifts.

He soon launched a church and founded Ward International Ministries. In addition to running after-school Bible studies, he teaches career skills and offers job opportunities for at-risk kids.

Ward International Ministry

He has scores of student leaders working for him, and they hold frequent evangelical events in gang-infested communities. Ward said his teams can count about 2,000 Christian conversions this summer.

"He's a definite icon in this city," said Dr. Loystene Irvin, an Inglewood city commissioner.

Irvin recalls how Ward helped diffuse a clash between 200 gang members at an inner-city school.

"He's a dynamic, powerful, energized person that's excited about his mission and vision," Irvin said.

Adoption news hurts

Ward's motivation is fueled in part by a sense that he's on borrowed time. He was born in Cleveland but was abandoned by his parents, left in a dumpster to die.

He was saved by a children's services agency. An elderly couple was awarded custody and moved to Dayton when Ward was an infant.

He didn't learn he was adopted until he was 12. The truth caused him great grief, but it's given him compassion for others who feel discarded.

Ward, who turns 50 in December and has since remarried, was a two-time All-American and played on OSU teams that won four straight Big Ten titles.


The Buckeyes had a 38-5-1 regular-season record during Ward's four years, but they blew a chance to win a national title in 1975. Undefeated and ranked No. 1, they lost to UCLA in the Rose Bowl, 23-10, after having routed the Bruins earlier that year.

The setback still gnaws at Ward.

"That was the greatest accumulation of athletes I ever played with," he said, recalling a backfield that included Archie Griffin, Pete Johnson and Cornelius Greene. "Man, that's the one where we should have won the national championship."

Griffin captured the Heisman Trophy in 1974 and '75 and believes Ward deserves much of the credit.

"He was awesome," Griffin said. "When he came to Ohio State, you knew right away he was going to be a difference-maker. Woody was very, very high on him. He played a lot as a freshman and did a great job. "He was a big fella fast and quick off the ball."


The former teammates lost track of each other over the years but reconnected when the Buckeyes played at UCLA in 2001. Griffin, the president of the OSU alumni association, was inspired by Ward's ability to pull himself from the depths.

"It's a testimony to the type of person he is to be able to endure that," Griffin said. "It's a testimony to his faith."

Ward, who still drives the '76 Cadillac that once served as his living quarters, was named to the Buckeyes' All-Century team chosen by the Touchdown Club of Columbus in 2000.

He proudly wears the ring distributed to members of the squad, but he reminds himself that worldly acclaim is fleeting.

"God showed me how futile it could be to have stuff and not be gratified," he said. "I have my life's purpose now, and it's so fulfilling."

Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide, and Wikipedia

Joe Staysniak

Joe Staysniak, OL (1986-89)

Born: 1966 (Elyria, Ohio)
High School: Midview (Grafton, Ohio)

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 28-17-1 with Staysniak on the team.
Won the Big Ten in 1986.
Defeated Texas A&M 28-12 in the 1987 Cotton Bowl. 

1989 Captain.
1989 All-Big Ten.
1989 Academic All-American.
Academic All-Big Ten in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1989.

Played in the NFL from 1991-96.
Works at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis.
Joe Stayniak's Ohio State story can be read in here: Game of My LifeOhio State: Memorable Stories of Buckeye Football

On the Radio

His bio per

No on-air personality on WIBC or The Fan moves products for advertisers likes Big Joe! He’s got that sensibility that Hoosiers just relate to.

Joe Staysniak is the go-to sports contributor of WIBC’s The Afternoon News weekday mornings from 4:00pm-7:00pm. Big Joe is also co-host of the Grady & Big Joe Show along with Michael Grady on 1070 The Fan. The Grady and Big Joe Show dives deep into sports both locally and on a national level– as well as takes your calls.
Big Joe
Joe’s roots are in college and professional football.  A proud Buckeye, Joe played for Ohio State from 1986-1989.  In his 6-year pro career he played in 2 Super Bowls for the Buffalo Bills.  A crucial offensive lineman, he also played for the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts.

Joe became known in the Indianapolis community during his 4 seasons with the Colts.  In 1996 he joined the WIBC sports department and has been building a following since the day he sat down behind the microphone.

Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide and


Ryan Pickett Fence

Ryan Pickett, DT (1998-2000)

Born: 1979 (Zephyrhills, FL)
High School: Zephyrhills

Ohio State
The Buckeyes were 25-11 with Pickett on the team.
1998 won the Big Ten title.
Defeated Texas A&M 24-14 in the 1999 Sugar Bowl.

Pickett's Ohio State career per wikipedia:

Pickett played college football at Ohio State University from 1998 to 2000. He was a three-year starter and played both defensive tackle positions. Pickett played in every game as a true freshman and started the final nine games at right defensive tackle. He totaled 22 stops (17 solo), two sacks, and five tackles for loss. As a sophomore, Ryan started the whole season at right defensive tackle.

He also was named All-Big Tenhonorable mention with career-highs of 48 tackles (34 solo) and three sacks. In Pickett's junior season, he switched sides and played left defensive tackle. He totaled 39 tackles (21 solo), three sacks and two forced fumbles in 1999. After Pickett's junior season he chose to forego his senior season and enter the NFL Draft.

Sources- The Ohio State Team Guide and wikipedia

No. 79 in the NFL Draft
Name Year Round Pick Position Team
Jack Wilson 1950 11 135 T Lions
Fran Manchinsky 1956 4 41 DT Redskins
Bill Michael 1957 2 16 DT Steelers
Chris Ward 1978 1 4 OT  Jets
Joe Staysniak 1990 7 185 OG Chargers
Ryan Pickett 2001 1 29 DT Rams

Marcus Hall will send us on our way and let That Team know exactly how we feel about them:

Marcus Hall

169 days until The Game.


Remy's picture

Let me know If there are any errors.
From the story, Chris Ward seems like a great guy. 

"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later." ~ Mitch Hedberg

+5 HS
Braxton2Devin's picture

How do you have enough time do write these posts every day, man? It's truly awesome that you're doing this and I enjoy reading these Countdowns.

+2 HS
Remy's picture

I work on these when I get a chance. Typically at night when my family is sleeping, sleep is over-rated.

I'm glad you like the articles, comments like yours mean a lot.

Sleepy Time


"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later." ~ Mitch Hedberg

+6 HS
Hovenaut's picture

These are always great to start the day, even moreso after reading about Chris Ward. I wasn't aware about his early, and post-Buckeye life. Amazing to read what he's overcome, and now paying it forward.

I'm no UFM, but I would want Chris Ward speaking to my doubt his story would leave an impression.

We have filled the Braxton Miller position.

+4 HS
Remy's picture

Hovenaut, I agree with this:

I'm no UFM, but I would want Chris Ward speaking to my doubt his story would leave an impression.

"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later." ~ Mitch Hedberg

+1 HS
IH8UOFM's picture

Every time I think of the number 79 now, I think of Marcus Hall doing what I wish I could do in AA. The collective reaction of the bar I was in, along with the crowd reaction caused me to laugh out loud. A guy, much like myself, that truly Hates U of M.

I need football in my life in a bad way. This time of year makes me want to volunteer to take overtime at work. Now we can say, that there is "about" 2 and a half months left. Feelsgoodman.

+1 HS
BroJim's picture

Thanks, as always. Today might be my favorite post so far. Very soild work Remy. Maybe someday you can paid for this. I like to imagine you would use the money to buy a vending machine that sells vending machines.

I season my simple food with hunger

+1 HS
Earle's picture

Nice work today Remy.  Came here for Marcus Hall, but was touched by the Chris Ward story.

Your Noble Savage is a Straw Yeti.

+2 HS
hspbuy1's picture

I'm glad I decided to check on the 79 board today, what a great read on Chris Ward & some nice stories of past & present 79's! Thanks Remy!


+1 HS