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The 1942 Season Through The Words Of The Past, 10/15/1942

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Matt Gutridge's picture
October 15, 2017 at 11:55am

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 Wednesday before the game against Purdue, the CJ highlights Gene Fekete's play, sheds light on the "Student Quarterbacks" club, gives the background story on Purdue's new coach, and posts the individual stats of the Big Ten.

Brown Grooms
Puts Team Through

If hard work and thorough preparation win football games, Ohio State can't miss against Purdue at Ohio Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Last night, Coach Paul Brown worked the Buckeyes overtime as individuals and as teams, on offense and on defense, on running, passing and punting, and he even reviewed blocking and defensive assignments along with good workout on the blocking dummies.

Apparently Brown expects the new Boilermaker coach, Elmer Burnham, to throw everything from the Statue-of-Liberty to the 11-man line into the game Saturday and wants to be prepared for any and all of these weapons.

Today's equipment is better than what was used 20 years ago. I wonder what the tackling sleds and other equipment used by the Buckeyes was like in 1942? I'm sure if today's players were shown what was used 75 years ago they would be grateful for what they have today.

Tried All Varieties

He worked his offense against Purdue defenses built around five, six and seven-man lines. He had the backs playing deep and close to the line against every type of play. He worked his blockers under full pressure.

And well the Bucks might work because they'll be facing a team improving each week, a team with spirit and enthusiasm, and well equipped with natural football talent.

Purdue is using a new offense this season that is unlike any other offense Ohio State will face this year. The short-punt formation is used featuring a balanced line with the ends spread about a yard or a yard and a half outside the offensive tackles. The backs do a tremendous amount of ball handling and faking to lend deception as well as power to the attack. And the team is so well balanced that the Bucks can't concentrate upon stopping any one man.

Forrest McCaffry, six-foot tall Purdue end whom the Boilermakers imported from Evansville, Ind., will probably be one of Coach Elmer Burnham's starters against Ohio State here Saturday. McCaffry is lighter than most of Purdue's ends (he weighs 185) but is fast, powerful and hardened by three years work on the squad. He's a senior student.

It appears Burnham's boys will use their offensive inventiveness to their advantage.

Hajzyk is Punter

The only man in the backfield who can't handle the ball unless he receives it from another back is the blocker and quarterback, Robert Hajzyk (pronounced Isaac).

Hajzyk is a punter, however, and can kick on occasion. He calls the signals, blocks and drops back to right half on defense.

The other starting backs are all powerful runners. Kenny Smock is the left halfback, the tailback on offense, the safety man on defense and the hipper-dipper runner of the attack. He is a good performer in taking wide runs to drive through the center.

John Andretich is the right halfback and is a 5-foot 11-inch 195-pound chunk of football player. He is more the bull-type of runner, working best on short drives through opposing lines. His partner in such drives is another back built along similar lines. Fullback Bill Buffington. Buffington is another power runner and backs the line on defense.

The Buckeyes better be aware of Kenny Smock. I'm not sure what a hipper-dipper runner is, but only stud players are called hipper-dippers.

Line Big, Strong

The line is just as big and strong as the backfield. Forrest McCaffry and Bill Shimer are strong, capable ends weighing 185 and 195 pounds respectively. Ewell O'Bryan, at 205 pounds, is at one tackle while Barry French is 15 pounds heavier on the other side. Dick Barwegen, who won the trophy as the outstanding freshman ballplayer at Purdue last spring, and Frank Ruggleri, Big Ten heavyweight wrestling champ, hold the fort at guards. Keystone of the line is Center Alex Leugo, a 190-pound senior who is being pressed to hold his position beyond reach of Sophomore Otto Hurrle.

All in all, Purdue will hold a slight weight advantage over the Buckeyes. The line has a six-pound per-man bulge while the backs have a scanth three-pound advantage. 

Another game and another team with a size advantage over Ohio State. Brown liked a smaller, faster team that was technically sound. Hopefully the Boilermakers won't wear them down.

Punting Still Puzzle

Meanwhile, the injury trouble and the job of finding a capable punter still puzzle Coach Brown. At left end, where Dante Lavelli is out with a twisted knee, John White is now working with the first team and is slated to start. White is just a sophomore and is recovering from a shoulder separation suffered early in fall practice. He is a fine prospect at end but has never been tried under game conditions.

Don Steinberg, the junior who held down the starting berth for the first two games, is still nursing his bruised shoulder and it is uncertain that he will be able to play at all this week.

Sarringhaus to Kick

Starting left halfback Paul Sarringhaus will probably inherit most of the kicking chores but will be assisted by Tommy James, and possibly Tom Cleary. These men, with Les Horvath, have ben working overtime this week on punting but will still be less consistent than the Boilermaker punter, Kenny Smoth or his substitute Bob Chester, leading punter in the Big Ten last year.

Fekete and Sarringhaus will again lead the OSU attack---Fekete with his devastating line bucks and sweeps, Sarringhaus with his stabs at the line, his wide end sweeps, and his accurate passing arm.

Jim Tressel would be in knots if he didn't have a starting punter. Not only was Brown in need of a starter, but he needed someone who was somewhat consistent. Another example of why punter is the most important position in football. 

Purdue Hopes for Break

As Purdue prepares for Ohio State this week, the Boilermakers are hoping for a bit better breaks than were theirs in their last two visits to Ohio Stadium.

In 1940 it took a field goal in the final minute of play to produce a three-point 17-to-14 victory for the Buckeyes. The fact that the goal was kicked by Charlie Maag, who wasn't actually eligible to be in the game at the time, didn't make the thing any less painful for the Boilermakers and their followers.

Last year a blocked punt which bounded out of the end zone for an automatic safety produced the two points which proved the eventual Buckeye margin of victory by a 16-to-14 count.

The Boilermakers have some justification for believing it's about time they got a break in Ohio Stadium.

If a team is in need of a break to win, the team is not good enough to win.

Ohio Team Tops

Ohio State's undefeated and untied team leads the nation's college squads in offensive play, according to figures released today by the American Football Statistical Bureau.

In romping to victories over Ft. Knox, Indiana and Southern California, the Bucks have gained 1,016 yards by rushing and 356 by passing to lead in total offense by a comfortable margin. Their average per game was 457.3 yards against 448.5 yards Georgia averaged in leading the parade a year ago.

Runner-up to Ohio State was Tulsa University, which in three games has gainded 1,252 yards for an average of 417.3. Georgia was in third place 402.3 yards average, Arizona fourth and Missouri fifth with 383.8.

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Previous Articles
FT. KNOX 9/22/42 9/23/42 9/24/42 9/25/42 9/26/42 9/27/42  
INDIANA 10/1/42 10/2/42 10/3/42     10/4/42  
USC 10/5/42 10/6/42 10/7/42 10/8/42 10/9/42 10/10/42 10/11/42
PURDUE 10/12/42 10/13/42 10/14/42        

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