Ohio State Football Forum

Ohio State Football Forum

Ohio State football fan talk.

Dissecting Akron's (ONLY or Three) OSU Victory

+14 HS
ziplock007's picture
June 4, 2020 at 11:30pm

We all know the two MAC and In-State opponent facts we hear every applicable broadcast: OSU hasn't lost to an in-state opponent since Oberlin (7-6) in 1921, and hasn't lost to a school presently in the MAC since 1894 (Akron).

Akron first played football in 1891.  From 1891 to 1893 they lost to OSU each season by a combined score of 13-98.  John Heisman coached them in '93 and '94 and made Akron football history.

After a little internet searching, that Akron Loss is even more mysterious.

  • First off, the University of Akron was called Buchtel College until 1913.
  • Second, their coach John Heisman (1893-1894) would become legendary later in life.
  • Their 1894 Record: 1-0
    • YES! The Ohio State win was their ONLY game of the season.
    • It was on Sept 5th, 1894.  Not the 15th as Wikipedia claims.
  • It happened in Overtime... 
    • Yep, Well before OSU lost to Northwestern in OT in 2004, 110 years prior they lost to Akron (well, Buchtel).  More on that later.
  • Akron won prizes!  (cue the improper benefits jokes in the comment section)


This clipping appears in the Akron Beacon Journal on Sept. 8, 1894.  Three days after the contest.  The game was held at the state fair in Columbus, and the victors had spoils.

In total, 10 or 50 (it states both) footballs worth $50 in 1894 dollars?  According to inflation calculators, that's worth $1500 present day.  This doesn't add up.
Another article states they also won $300 worth of uniforms.  Or $6k present day, which still seems pricey.

More on those prizes

They were earned by scoring the most points in the tournament.
OSU also played (and lost) to Wittenburg 6-0 on Sept 7th (not the 17th as in Wikipedia), and protested "on the ground that the [they] had a number of Princeton men as ringers."

It seems 12 points was the most scored at the fair that week, and that's how they determined the prize winners.

Take a look at the Akron Beacon on Sept 6, 1984.

  • Rosters
    • Akron 11 total players, that's it, they just used 11. (but had substitutes ready)
    • Ohio State played 26.
  • Buchtel struck first, a 6-0 lead after three minutes.
  • OSU tied them at 6 all, after 15 minutes.
    • "The score stood 6 to 6 at the call of time but under the arrangement the game was continued until either side scored"
    • What Is "Call of time?"  Any College football historians on hand?  Jack Park, you there?
    • 15 minutes after "call of time" Heisman's Buchtel team won.
  • If I'm reading this correctly, this is definitely an OT win.  Hence the NEW trivia question: Has a MAC school defeated OSU in regulation?  Nope! Never!
  • Akron received "a complete football outfit, valued at $300"
    • Something isn't adding up, that's ~$6,000 today.  Is that one outfit, or one per player?


This was the only game?  I can't find (newspaper search or Wikipedia or Akron Media Guide) evidence to the contrary.  Heisman had a "perfect season."  They beat OSU in the State Fair.

This seems odd for myriads of reasons.  They clearly prepared for a full season.  From the Akron Beacon Journal 8-27-1894 (direct quotes below).

  • The Buchtel College Football team is ... preparing for its contest with the Ohio State University on Sept 5 under the auspices of the State Board of Agriculture.
  • The boys occupy two tents and have their own cook in the person of a colored man.
  • The order of each day's exercise is as... a run of about five miles each morning before breakfast. (then) baseball, running and different games. ...  football practice does not begin until 2 o'clock.  The boys line up in the field and practice signals, passing the ball, tackling, and general team work.
  • The general health of the boys has been good except that two have been slightly indisposed on account of the drinking water.
  • The boys feel confident of winning the game for which they have been practicing so hard.

They clearly prepped for a season.
--Oddly enough, no mention of Coach Heisman in the article.
--Two relics of the past appear in print: mainly the bad drinking water and the cook's description.
--And they wake up, run, eat, and play baseball? 

Even as early as FEBRUARY, Buchtel gave "an expedition of modern foot-ball playing, by Mr Heisman, illustrated actual plays on the stage" during a gymnasium exhibition.  (Summit County Beacon, Feb 22, 1894)

And a Month AFTER the OSU win, they were still training.

The football eleven... has been organized and are now working hard to get into training. ... work with a vim and vigor that is commendable and that will eventually place them in a position to strike terror to their opponents... should make an excellent stand against the best of the near-by schools.
 (Akron Beacon Journal Oct 18, 1894)

Who were they training for?  What opponents?  

Why all this for a one game season?  I cannot find the answer.
Of course, seeing how Akron, 2019's only winless squad, opens the following two seasons @ Clemson & OSU... Being victorious in either would deem them worthy to cancel the remaining 11 games and host a 3 month party.

Heisman stayed until July...  Did he leave due to a lack of gamedays?
Akron Daily Democrat July 26, 1894

J. N. Heisman, until recently athletic trainer for Buchtel college, has accepted a similar position at Oberlin College for next season.

This low key announcement was squeezed right below the Weeks family reunion at Blue Pond Park and above which "Cleveland-bound passengers" will "witness races" in the paper.  Insignificant news.

Akron Post Heisman - nothing to brag about.

  • 1895: 2-3 with OSU avenging the loss 14-6.  The coach: NOBODY.  They had no coach.
    • This was the last OSU encounter until 2001.
  • 1896: 0-1.  Another 1 game season (lost to Mount Union).  The coach: Wilson.
  • 1897-1898: No season at all.

Akron's SECOND & THIRD victory over OSU?

According to the Akron Media Guide, Akron hosted the "Ohio State reserves" in 1928, 1931, 1932.

  • '28 WON 13-0
    • Akron Beacon Journal Nov 9, 1928 - Headline:Akron Meets State After 33 Seasons
      • "State's reserves with the first seven being used on the line and the next four in the backfield."
  • '31 Lost 25-0 on November 14th, (OSU defeated Wisconsin 6-0 the same day in Madison)
    • Akron Beacon Journal Nov 13, 1931 - Headline: Akron Meets Rugged Foe in Ohio State Reserves
      • "the Buckeye's best will be at Madison"
      • [the Reserves] "composed of a fine bunch of athletes who ARE up in their studies but who, I agree, are below varsity caliber."
  • '32 WON 7-0 (Sept 24, 1932)
    • Akron Beacon Journal Sept 26. 1932
    • "The Zippers won over a towering Ohio State Reserve eleven Saturday... 7-0, to avenge a 25-0 loss suffered at the hands of the same Ohio State outfit a year ago"

Also, Akron counts these games as wins (not exhibitions), but OSU doesn't count them as losses (for the obvious).  How can you win a game if nobody loses?


There you have it... Akron v OSU: the Fabled History.

  • Akron was Buchtel College until 1913
  • Akron played OSU from 1891-1895, and won in 1894.
  • The 1894 win was their only game of the season.
    • They won footballs and outfits at prices that make zero sense via inflation.
    • It happened in OT, or after "call of time"
    • They still trained after the game, but for whom?
  • Heisman left in July for Oberlin and nobody cared.
  • They didn't replace him until 2 years later for the 1 game 1896 campaign.
    • and shut down for 2 years 1897-1898
  • They played the "Ohio State Reserves" and went 2-1 in 1928, 1931, & 1932.
    • A game they count as wins, but NOBODY counts as losses.
    • OSU had a "split squad" day in 1931.
  • They lost @ OSU in 2001, 2007, & 2011. 
    • Amazingly, according to their guide, the 2007 game set records of futility.
    • Most Punts (14) and fewest First Downs (3).  And, due to the madness of Tresselball, they only trailed 3-2 at the half (Jim Bollman's finest hour).

And, the easy to predict future.

  • Akron plays OSU in the 2021 opener (and @ Clemson in the 2020 opener).
    • And, the second halves will pit them against Clemson's and OSU's "reserves."
    • I'm sure they will make well over $1M ... and lose.

This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

View 18 Comments