2017 is the 75th anniversary of Ohio State's first national championship season. To honor the achievement, this series will post articles from the Columbus Citizen Journal on the day they ran in 1942.
Ohio State started the 1942 season against Ft. Knox, which was a team of military personnel that the Buckeyes knew little about. The week before, Wisconsin escaped with a 7-0 win over Camp Grant. That tight outcome served notice to Paul Brown and his talented Buckeye team that the service teams were going to be tough to play.
Stressing a defense against the mystical offense of Ft. Knox, Coach Paul Brown sent his 42 Buckeye gridders through their first once a day workout yesterday. This week will be devoted exclusively to working for Saturday's game against Ft. Knox.
Great hope is being placed on the shoulders of Chunky Paul Sarringhaus who will handle, besides (a) great part of the running chores, the passing and punting duties also.
Following the 1941 season, some fans were not high on Sarringhaus because they perceived his defensive abilities as lacking. It appears the armchair quarterback dates back before the onset of WWII.
Never in the recent history of Buckeye football is so little known about an opponent. However, it is definitely known that the Ft. Knox line averages 212 pounds plus. The backfield for the soldiers is 198 pounds plus.
"That means that the Ft. Knox players will outweigh us on an average of 20 pounds to the man," Brown said. "We know very little about them, outside of that except our knowledge about their coach Joe Bach."
To put this in perspective, Ohio State's current starting offensive line averages 311 pounds per player. That is almost 100 pounds more than the "massive" line Ft. Knox had in 1942.
Roland Powell's article continued to give background on Bach, who left Duquesne for the Ft. Knox gig, and what the Buckeyes should expect:
"With Bach coaching, they will probably use a T-formation, with a Notre Dame shift. They will use flankers and sleepers. They also will kick from the short punt formation," Brown said. "That much we can guess about them, knowing their coach.
Entering this tilt, Ohio State and its fans were on edge due to Ft. Knox's two advantages, their size and the unknown.
Another piece in the Sport's page that day was this little snippet about the Buckeyes' freshmen who were not eligible due to NCAA rules in 1942.
About 40 freshman football players began to report to Buckeye freshman coach, Ernie Godfrey, yesterday. The morning and afternoon was spent with he and his assistant Tippy Dye, consulting with many players.
"This I believe, is one of the greatest crop of freshmen football players we have ever had at Ohio State," Godfrey said. "We have some really great high school stars among the 40 that are reporting."
Among the players cited by Godfrey were Lloyd Groza from Martins Ferry, the great place-kicker: Tommy Phillips of Berea, who comes to Ohio State with a great reputation: Ed Shepler of Toledo LIbby, and Ed Burrus of the same school.
I'm not sure what the other guys did in their careers, but I think that Lloyd (Lou) Groza guy turned out to be a decent kicker.
Aged Alcohol Advertisement
At the bottom of the Sports page was an ad for Old Oscar Pepper (OOP for short). The advertisement was a drawing of a man in a bathtub telling his butler, "Make mine with OOP!" Below the picture was this pitch:
Old Oscar Pepper --- known to its friends as "OOP" --- is a full-bodied, rich and mellow whiskey, whit a grand, old-fashioned Kentucky flavor that has been tickling folks' palates for more than 100 years. Mighty reasonably priced, too ---- better try it!
The price for such a fine spirit? $1.13 a pint and $2.20 a quart. Which came first, Old Oscar Pepper or Dr. Pepper?
The Pepper family started distilling whiskey in 1780 and began using the Old Oscar Pepper tag between 1838 and 1867. Old Pepper was the favorite drink of choice for Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison. Other partakers were Senator Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
Dr. Pepper (king of beverages) was invented in Waco, Texas circa 1885.