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The 1942 Season Through The Words Of The Past, 9/23/1942

Matt Gutridge's picture
September 23, 2017 at 8:00am

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, a team of military personnel that the Buckeyes knew little about. The Armoraiders were an enigma to the coaching staff, players and fans. There were some who even wondered if Ft. Knox was going to show for the game.

Bucks Stress Defensive Play

Realizing that they are out-weighed 20 pounds to the man, Ohio State's Buckeyes yesterday afternoon went through long drills on defense with unusual emphasis placed on "goal line" defense.

Ft. Knox is the mystery team of the year. Nobody seems to know who is on the squad, who makes up the first team, how they play football, or even if they are going to appear Saturday.

Imagine it being days before the first game of the season and not having any film, or any information, about the team you were to face. Not only were the Buckeyes playing an unknown opponent, but they were playing against grown-ass men who were bigger than them and getting ready to fight in a real war.

Later in the article, Roland Powell described the players the Buckeyes would possibly battle.

Moody Is Star

Big man on the offense will be John (Big Train) Moody, all-American Negro star from Morris College, who will be at fullback. Sam Putterbaugh will do the signal calling while John Spirida and Jim Fenton hold down the halfback spots.


(Ray) Rupelli is one of the highly touted stars of the team, having played before with Holy Cross and Ken Strong's professionals. 

After reading the descriptions, it appeared Ohio State was in for a fight. Rupelli was a professional, they had a guy named Big Train and Ft. Knox had the weight advantage. 

The early newspaper reports were painting a bleak picture for the Buckeyes against this mystery team. 

To Workout Friday

Ft. Knox will arrive at 2 p.m. Friday and will go to the Ohio Stadium for a workout. They will stay at the Deshler-Wallick Hotel and bring about 43 men.

The Buckeyes will stay at the Columbus Country Club on Friday night. Game time is 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

It is unreal that the locations the teams were staying in was public knowledge. I have no idea where the Deshler-Wallick Hotel is or was, but I do know the Buckeyes were staying in some swank digs on East Broad Street. I have never been to the Columbus Country Club, but growing up on the East side of Columbus, I would drive by the mature trees surrounding the course and know that I didn't belong.

To Workout Friday (cont.)

Les Horvath, the other question mark, is ready to go. His injured shoulder seeming to have healed completely.

Both teams will be in shape. The Scarlet and Gray gridsmen have practiced for over two weeks, morning and afternoon, while the men from Ft. Knox, so it is said, get up at 5 in the morning, drive tanks until 2 p.m. and then practice football until 7 p.m.

I don't know about you, but when I was in college there was no way in hell I'd wake up at 5 in the morning. I would be up at 5 in the morning, but that was because I had never gone to sleep due to all of my studying

Again, Ft. Knox is being painted as an unstoppable force for the Buckeyes to face. Giant men waking up at an ungodly time to drive tanks, followed by football practice. Luckily for Ohio State they had a little guy named Les Horvath whose shoulder wasn't ouchy anymore.

At this point, I'd give the advantage to big guys driving steel machines of death over Country Club sleeping, shoulder babying Ohio State.

Today's Old School Alcohol Advertisement: 


Schlitz was selling itself with a scholarly bear pointing to a globe with a bottle of the brown water in its left hand.

Made its home town famous. When you taste that famous flavor found only in Schlitz, you'll understand why it made a city famous. A reputation like that doesn't come just by chance. People who imagine that all beer is bitter get a pleasant surprise when they drink America's most distinguished beer. SCHLITZ gives you just the kiss of hops --- all of the delicate flavor, none of the bitterness.

The ad also promotes a full quart guest bottle offered by Schlitz. Why settle for a wimpy 12-ounce bottle, when you could buy a thirst quenching, robust 32-ounce behemoth? From the ad, "It contains almost three times as much Schlitz, is easy to carry, fits nicely into the refrigerator." 

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FT. KNOX 9/22/42            

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