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Keith Byars

Matt Gutridge's picture
July 20, 2014 at 10:23am

We are now 41 days away from Ohio State's 2014 season opener at Navy. Today's featured players should make 11W member Keith Byars Is The Man happy.

Regis Monahan, Tom Matte and Keith Byars are highlighted below. Two of today's featured players were born in Pittsburgh. I was at Ohio Stadium with my family on Friday and took these pictures of South Stands. Craig Krenzel decided to tag along.

Today's Trivia Question:
What B1G school is Keith Byars' son, Keith Byars II, a running back for? 




Byars finished his Ohio State career with 3,200 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns.

Byars finished his Ohio State career with 3,200 yards rushing and 50 touchdowns.

Keith Byars, RB (1982-85)
1963 (Dayton)
High School: Roth and Trotwood Madison

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 36-12 with Byars on the team.
1984 Big Ten Title.
1982 Defeated BYU 47-17 to win the Holiday Bowl.
1984 Defeated Pitt 28-23 to win the Fiesta Bowl.
1985 Defeated BYU 10-7 to win the Citrus Bowl.

1985 Captain.
1984 Heisman Runner-up.
1984 All-American.
1984 Big Ten Most Valuable Player.
1984 Team MVP.
2000 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame.


Keith Byars' Ohio State career per The Ohio State Team Guide:

Byars was named an All-American as a junior.

Caption placeholder.

Keith Byars earned first team All-America honors, was Big Ten MVP and runner-up for the Heisman Trophy (to Boston College’s Doug Flutie) in 1984, when he rushed for a then-school record 1,764 yards and 22 touchdowns. That season, he led the nation in rushing, scoring
(144 points) and all-purpose running (2,441). Included in those totals were 274 yards and five TDs against Illinois in one of the most brilliant individual performances in OSU annals.

The Fighting Illini led 24-0, but Byars’ fourth TD was a spectacular 67-yard run in which he completely reversed his field and lost a shoe at the Illinois 35, but still outran the Illini secondary. His fifth touchdown of the day was the game winner. Byars, who missed most of his senior year with a broken foot, is still fourth on the all-time rushing list with 3,200 yards.


The Dayton, Ohio, native played 13 seasons in the NFL. He was elected to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.

Byars' injury and senior season per Wikipedia:

Byars was a preseason favorite for the 1985 Heisman, but fractured the bone in his right foot near the little toe in preseason practice. He missed the first five games of the 1985 season, and returned too early. He reinjured the broken bone in his second game back and missed the remainder of the regular season. He attempted to return for the Citrus Bowl game on December 28, but reinjured his foot again in the second Ohio State offensive series of the game. Many observers note that throughout the remainder of his football career Byars was never as dominant a player as he had been in 1984.

Despite losing almost his entire senior year, Byars finished his college career at Ohio State with 4,369 total yards, 3,200 rushing yards, and 50 touchdowns. His 50 touchdowns remain the second most in school history.

Keith Byars' NFL career per Wikipedia:

Byars played 13 seasons in the NFL.

Caption placeholder.

As a professional, he played fullback and tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles(1986–1992), Miami Dolphins (1993–1996), New England Patriots (1996–1997), and the New York Jets (1998). Byars was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1993.


In his 13 seasons, Byars rushed for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned five kickoffs for 94 yards, and completed 6 of 13 passes for 119 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception. He also scored 54 touchdowns (23 rushing and 31 receiving). His six passing touchdowns are the third highest total by a running back in NFL history.

With the 1984 Fiesta Bowl tied at 14-14 in the 4th quarter Keith Byars ripped the heart out of the Pitt Panthers:

Sources: The Ohio State Team Guide and Wikipedia


Regis Monahan

John Regis Monahan, Kicker and Guard (1932-34)
Born: 1908 (Pittsburgh)
Died: 1979 (Royal Oak, That State)

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 18-3-3 with Monahan on the team.
1934 Defeated That Team 34-0.

1934 Captain.
1934 All-American.
1935 Picture on the front of Wheaties box.






Regis Monahan's Ohio State and NFL career per Wikipedia:

A native of Pittsburgh's Greenfield neighborhood, Monahan traveled to Ohio State where he played for the Buckeyes. He was a guard and tackle who doubled as a kicker.

Monahan on the 1935 Wheaties box.

Monahan on the 1935 Wheaties box.

In 1934 he became captain of the buckeyes and an All-American. He was featured on the front of the 1935 Wheaties box.

Monahan played four seasons with the Detroit Lions from 1935 until 1938. He was part of the 1935 Lions team that won the NFL championship. Monahan played two additional games with the Chicago Cardinals during the 1939 NFL season.

Sources: The Ohio State Team Guide and Wikipedia




Tom Matte

Tom Matte, RB and QB (1958-60)
Born: 1939 (Pittsburgh)
High School: Shaw (East Cleveland)

Ohio State:
The Buckeyes were 16-8-1 with Matte on the team.
Went 2-1 against That Team.

1960 Team MVP.
1960 All-Big Ten.
2003 Inducted into the Varsity O Hall of Fame


Tom Matte's Ohio State career per ohiostatebuckeyes.com:

When playing quarterback Matte was known more for his running than passing.

Tom Matte's 10.5 yards per carry is still a Super Bowl record.

Started with the Buckeyes as a running back, but halfway through the season switched to the quarterback position ... finished the 1959 season with 439 passing yards and 190 rushing yards ... recorded 737 passing yards and 682 yards rushing for the 1960 season ...

First Team All-Big Ten quarterback, team MVP, Football News All-American and East-West Shrine Game MVP in 1960 ... was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Colts and played both running back and quarterback during his tenure with the Colts.


Tom Matte's NFL career per Wikipedia:

Tom Matte's 10.5 yards per carry is still a Super Bowl record.

Tom Matte's 10.5 yards per carry is still a Super Bowl record.

Matte's 12-year pro career was spent with the Baltimore Colts where he posted career stats of 4,646 rushing yards, 249 receptions for 2,869 yards, 1,367 yards returning kickoffs, and 57 touchdowns (45 rushing, 12 receiving).

Late in the 1965 season, Matte also memorably filled in as an emergency quarterback when Colts QBs Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo went down with season-ending injuries in consecutive home losses to the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, respectively. For the Colts' regular-season finale (a 20-17 win) against the Los Angeles Rams and the following weekend's one-game playoff at Green Bay (a 13-10 overtime loss), Colts head coach Don Shula put a list of plays on a wristband that Matte wore. The wristband is now on display at thePro Football Hall of Fame.

Later in his career, Matte was immortalized on the cover of Sports Illustrated, scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon in the NFL Championship Game against the Cleveland Browns, January 5, 1969.

Matte on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1969.

Matte on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1969.

Matte played in Super Bowl III in 1969 when the Colts were famously upset by Joe Namath and the New York Jets. Matte played well, rushing for 116 yards and catching two passes for thirty yards, while setting record for highest per-carry rushing average in a Super Bowl game: 10.5 (116 yards in only 11 carries) which still stands today. He also broke a long run of 53 yards (a record at the time). 


Matte was injured in the first game of the 1970 season against San Diego and therefore did not play when the Colts returned to Super Bowl V at the end of that season and beat the Dallas Cowboys. Still he was part of the team and so he was awarded a Superbowl ring.

Matte was selected to the 1968 and 1969 Pro Bowl teams.



Matte's broadcasting career and recent activities per Wikipedia:

Matte does broadcasting.

Matte briefly was a color analyst on CBS coverage of football games. From 1996-2005, Matte teamed with Baltimore sportscaster Scott Garceau in broadcasting Baltimore Ravens games on local radio. He also pursues local business interests and is in demand as a celebrity endorser.

Matte is working on a project that focuses on aiding retired players. He is part of a team that created a new to market NFL collectible in which a portion of the proceeds go to the Player Care Foundation.

Sources: The Ohio State Team Guide, ohiostatebuckeyes.com and Wikipedia


Today's Trivia Answer:
What B1G school is Keith Byars' son, Keith Byars II, a running back for?  
Purdue. He signed in 2013. Go here to read the article from hammerandrails.com

To find the list of the 31 players who wore No. 41 for Ohio State and the five players selected in the NFL Draft go here.

The Game

131 days until The Game.

Show All Comments

Matt Gutridge's picture

Let me know If there are any errors.

Keith Byars should have won the Heisman in 1984. I was looking for video of his shoeless touchdown against Illinois, but could not find it.

The 1985 season was derailed when Byars broke his foot. Byars was supposed to win the Heisman and the Buckeyes would have returned to the Rose Bowl.

This is a tv piece about Byars coaching his son:

bucndc's picture

I was at the game against Illinois. I thought it was the most dominating performance I had ever seen for an Ohio State running back. I agree Remy, Keith should have won the 84 Heisman. Great to see him coaching his son in Boca.

+5 HS
O-H-I-Owe-U's picture

I was there, too, with my dad in the closed end of the shoe. Byars finished that shoeless touchdown run right in front of us. I knew at that moment I was a Buckeye for life.

+4 HS
Keith Byars is the man's picture

I was in the closed end also for that game

Nothing is Impossible!!!

+4 HS
TedGinnIsFasterThanYou's picture
+4 HS
OnceaBuckeye's picture

I was a the Illinois game also.  One of my favorite Buckeye memories was the shoeless TD.  I loved his post game interview when asked about it, he said he had to score because he was afraid he was going to get his foot stepped on.

And when we win the game we'll buy a keg of brew!

+2 HS
TedGinnIsFasterThanYou's picture

Anybody notice the pattern of career-high games by our RBs against Illinois:

1984, Keith Byars, 274 yds & 5 TDs

1995, Eddie George, 314 yds & 3 TDs (+1 rec. TD)

2013, Carlos Hyde, 246 yds & 4 TDs

+10 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

It's all about the turtle.....

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

+6 HS
Knarcisi's picture

Eddie's was against the Illinois D with both Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice. 

+5 HS
MotownBuck's picture

Keith Byars. Legend. Built like a truck, feet like a dancer and could flat out fly. At Trotwood they called him "baby steps". Most deceptive stride I'd ever seen. 6'1" 240 and ran a 4.5.

Trotwood-Madison. Once a Ram, Always a Ram.

+3 HS
buckeyebfd's picture

That run back was awesome,  could you imagine last season seeing Carlos Hyde back there on kick return? That's a wrecking ball you don't want with a full head of steam coming at you.

And I concur,  Flutie won the damn Heisman because of 1 play.  It should've been Byar's the whole way.

+3 HS
Brutus's picture

My favorite Buckeye of all time. I was at the the Dolphins-Colts game when Marino, who happens to be my favorite player of all time, threw the then record-breaking touchdown pass to Byars.  That was an awesome sports moment for me. I got to meet Byars several years later in Miami for a retirement ceremony for Marino.  Pretty cool.

+2 HS
Keith Byars is the man's picture

Of all the great players that I've watched play football for the Buckeyes Keith Byars is still my favorite. I was young when Archie was running wild all over the big ten. I was in jr high and high school during Byars time at OSU. Wow could he run and so fast for his size. Could really throw the football as seen in the NFL. It would be fun to rank the RB's at OSU.

Nothing is Impossible!!!

+3 HS
OnceaBuckeye's picture

The most deserving RB that never received the Heisman... I am a little biased though.

And when we win the game we'll buy a keg of brew!

+2 HS
allinosu's picture

He was not the same after that foot injury but still great. What might have been. Type in 1984 Illinois at #8 Ohio State 3 of 4 at the 15 min mark is Byers losing his shoe running for a TD. 

+2 HS