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The 1942 Season Through The Words Of The Past, 9/27/1942

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Matt Gutridge's picture
September 27, 2017 at 6:33am
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9/27/42
Dick Palmer
Fullback Dick Palmer of Ohio State interepts a pass from halfback Marsili of Fort Knox in the third quarter as the Buckeyes defeated the Soldiers, 59-to-0, in the opening game of the Ohio State football season at Ohio Stadium.

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.

The front page of the Sunday paper featured this recap of the game by Columbus Citizen Journal editor Lew Byrer.

Lew Byrer Article

Ohio State had little trouble with Ft. Knox to start the 1942 season. Although the Armoraiders outweighed the home team, the Buckeyes were able to leave rain-drenched Ohio Stadium with a surprising shutout victory. 

Using 38 of the 40 available men on his squad, Coach Paul Brown directed his Buckeyes to a brilliant 59-0 victory over a heavy but inept Ft. Knox Amroraider football team before 22,555 fans in the opener of the 1942 football season. 

Slipping and slithering over a field which was a morass because of the heavy rain within 15 minutes after play started the Bucks still showed power, precision, fine timing and rugged tackling in as fine an opening performance as Ohio Stadium has ever seen.

The only question among Buckeye fans as they picked their way through and around the puddles and dodged raindrops leaving the game was "how good were the soldiers?"

Coach Brown would like to know. He was expecting a tough game and prepared for it.

The Bucks were out-weighed 20 pounds per man. Many of their opposing players had professional experience after completion of their college careers.

But there was no question as to the final outcome a few minutes after play started. By the time the first quarter was over it was only a question of how high a score the Bucks would accumulate.

OHIO STATE/FT. KNOX GAME STATS
STAT CATEGORY OHIO STATE FT. KNOX
1st DOWN BY RUSH 15 1
1st DOWN BY PASS 4 0
1st DOWN BY PENALTY 0 0
TOTAL 1st DOWNS 19 1
NUMBER OF RUSHES 69 24
RUSHING YARDS 440 -14
PASS ATTEMPTS 2 7
PASSES COMPLETED 1 1
PASSES INTERCEPTED 1 3
YARDS INT RETURNED  11 2
NUMBER OF PUNTS 2 9
AVG PUNT 44.0 36.0
NUMBER OF KICKOFFS 8 2
AVG KICKOFF 36.0 34.0
KICKOFF RETURNS 2 6
KO YARDS RETURNED 60 81
NUMBER OF FUMBLES 5 3
FUMBLES LOST 5 3
PENALTIES 5 4
PENALTY YARDS 25 30

Hard to believe that an Ohio State game could only garner 22,555 fans. That might happen again one day, but I don't think I'll be around to see it. Then again, with the price of the ticket always climbing you never know.

Buckeye Power (cont.)

The Bucks seemed to get better as they went along. The first stringers took the zip out of the soldiers at the start. Then the second and third stringers piled up 20 points apiece in the third and fourth quarters to make it a shellacking.

With the field a morass and handling a slippery ball the Bucks used few of the forward passing or open plays which Coach Brown had rigged up for the game.

The Buck blocking was superb. The tackling was deadly. The rushing when the Bucks were on defense was so fine that the visitors made only one first down.

To keep a team from scoring is impressive. To hold a team to only one first down is an annihilation. You would think that Ft. Knox would have put on a better showing with the field being "morass", but it was not to be.  

So, what were the areas of concern for the Buckeyes in this game?

1942 Game 1 Rushing Box Score
OHIO STATE
PLAYER ATT YARDS AVG TD
SARRINGHOUS 9 42 3.7 0
HORVATH 6 69 13.4 1
FEKETE 16 94 5.9 2
FRYE 5 71 14.2 0
JAMES 7 34 4.7 0
PALMER 8 43 4.7 2
DURTSCHI 2 11 5.5 1
SLUSSER 8 49 6.1 1
LIPAJ 5 14 2.8 1
STAKER 1 5 5.0 0
FT. KNOX
PLAYER ATT YARDS AVG TD
POSTEN 2 -4 -2.0 0
MOODY 7 28 4.0 0
MARSILL 6 -30 -5.0 0
PEARCE 4 -4 -1.3 0
BRICKMEYER 2 3 1.5 0
MIER 3 -4 -1.3 0
HILL 1 2 2.0 0

Kicking is Only Shortcoming

The few passes the Bucks tried were as good as could be expected with a slippery ball on a wet field.

The only apparent shortcoming was in kicking. The Buck punting wasn't anything to write home about. Only five of the nine tries for points after touchdown were converted.

That might prove important in a close game.

But, on the whole, it was a great day for the Buckeyes---except for the weather.

Here's an idea of how the Bucks took command and kept it:

After three minutes and 24 seconds of play they scored their first touchdown. Fekete smashing over after a long run by Horvath.

A 27-yard return of a kick by Sarringhaus, a 16-yard ramble by Horvath led in the second Buckeye touchdown, scored by Horvath after 11 minutes and 27 seconds of play.

Fekete missed the first try for point but made the second, making it 12-0 Ohio State at the end of the first quarter. 

I wonder what the forum would look like if the 2017 version of Ohio State football missed four extra points...in one game? To put it in perspective, Nuernberger has made 124 straight PATs. Again, the 1942 team had to use a player on the field for the extra point. Imagine Mike Weber or J.K. Dobbins trying to boot the ball through the uprights. I'm not sure they'd make five out of nine. 

Fekete Rips Knox Line

Fekete tore the Ft. Knox line to shreds in the second quarter. to lead to a 23-yard race for the third Buckeyes touchdown. By that time the rain had the field in a slippery morass and both team were slipping and slithering on almost every play.

Fumbles became frequent as the ball got more and more slippery despite frequent towelings by the officials.

Fekete's try for points aft the third touchdown was also wide and the score at the half was Ohio State 19, Ft. Knox 0.

The scoring detail in the second half is just as impressive. Frye, James and Palmer slashed the Soldier line to pieces to lead to the first touchdown in the third quarter after six minutes of play.

Fekete finished the game with 94 yards on 16 carries, 2 rushing touchdowns and 3 extra points. 

Frye Scores Another

A 55-yard run by Frye scored the second less than two minutes later, Palmer scores the third with less than two minutes to play.

Then it was Durtschi, Slusser and Lipaj in the final quarter---the final score coming with only 13 seconds left to play.

There were stars aplenty. Horvath, Sarringhaus, Fekete, Frye, Palmer and James all turned in some great ball carrying efforts.

But it was essentially a team victory, made possible by bang up blocking and tackling and fine fundamental play by a superbly conditioned football team.

Ft. Knox, unquestionably, was out of Western Conference caliber.

But no Western Conference team will outclass the Buckeyes much on the form they showed in their opener.

Yes, in 1942 today's Big Ten was known as the Western Conference. In a game in which the Buckeyes were up 50+ points, they scored another touchdown with only 13 seconds on the clock. Back then it only garnered a single line blurb deep in the article. Today, a score like that would have caused talking heads to question Paul Brown's sportsmanship.

Today's Old School Alcohol Advertisement:

Washington Beer
Washington XX Pale Beer promotes itself as "Tops in taste" and "Aged right for taste delight". The slogans are left of a bottle surrounded by two stars. 

You would think this beer was made in Washington, but that was not the case. Columbus was home to this brewery and a vintage can sold for $325 in 2012

Previous Articles
OPPONENT PREVIEW PREVIEW PREVIEW PREVIEW GAME pics GAME
FT. KNOX 9/22/42 9/23/42 9/24/42 9/25/42 9/26/42 9/27/42
INDIANA 10/1/42          

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