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Thanksgiving: A One Time Ohio State Tradition

Matt Gutridge's picture
November 24, 2022 at 9:30am

Happy Thanksgiving

1890 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 10–18
1892 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 26–10
1893 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 8–10
1894 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 20–4
1895 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 12–10
1896 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 18–34
1897 Ohio State vs. Ohio Wesleyan 0–6
1898 Ohio State vs. Ohio Wesleyan 24–0
1899 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 5–0
1900 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 23–5
1901 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 11–6
1902 Ohio State vs. Indiana 6–6
1903 Ohio State vs. Indiana 16–17
1904 Ohio State vs. Carlisle Indians 0–23
1905 Ohio State vs. Indiana 0–11
1906 Ohio State vs. Ohio Medical 11–8
1907 Ohio State vs. Ohio Wesleyan 16–0
1908 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 19–9
1909 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 22–0
1910 Ohio State vs. Kenyon 53–0
1911 Ohio State at Cincinnati 11–6
1912 Ohio State vs. Michigan State 20–35
1917 Ohio State vs. Camp Sherman 28–0

Note: I did some more digging and found several more Thanksgiving Day games played by Ohio State. Also added some information on when The Game has been played before and after Thanksgiving.

Long before the NFL claimed Thanksgiving as its day to play football, Ohio State competed on Turkey Day during its inaugural season of 1890. In fact, the Buckeyes played a total of 23 times on Thanksgiving with 21 consecutive between 1890 and 1912. All of the games were home games.

The Buckeyes' first Turkey Day game was during the inaugural season of 1890 against Kenyon, who won 18-10. The two schools played on Thanksgiving 11 more times over the next 18 seasons with the Buckeyes winning the Thanksgiving series 9–3.

Ohio State's last Thanksgiving game was a 28-0 win over Camp Sherman in 1917. The Buckeyes are 14–8–1 on this holiday and have outscored their opponents 349-218.

Of the 23 Thanksgiving Day games, only one was played away from Columbus. in 1911, the Buckeyes traveled to Cincinnati and beat the Bearcats 11-6. 

The Game: Before, or After Thanksgiving? 

Since 2010, The Game has been played at noon the Saturday following Thanksgiving. For many people, they would believe this is the way it's always been. Yes, playing after Thanksgiving at noon is the new normal, but it's not the traditional day, or time, The Game has been played.

Through the years, Ohio State has played That Team 36 times (including this year) after Turkey Day. The Buckeyes are 8–6–1 in this scenario when playing Ohio Stadium and 16–16–3 overall. 

The first time the rivalry was played after Thanksgiving was in 1918. Fielding Yost's side defeated John Wilce and the Buckeyes, 14-0. The 2:00 kickoff took place on Ohio Field in front of 5,000 fans. It would take another 21 years for The Game to take place after Thanksgiving.

KENYON 9–3 (.750) 217–106 /// 18–9
OHIO WESLEYAN 2–1 (.667) 40–6 /// 13–2
CAMP SHERMAN 1–0 (1.000) 28–0 /// 28–0
CINCINNATI 1–0 (1.000) 11–6 /// 11–6
OHIO MEDICAL 1–0 (1.000) 11–8 /// 11–8
INDIANA 0–2–1 (.167) 22–34 /// 7–11
CARLISLE INDIANS 0–1 (.000) 0–23 /// 0–23
MICHIGAN STATE 0–1 (.000) 20–35 /// 20-35
TOTAL 14–8–1 (.630) 349–218 /// 15–10

Between 1939 and 2009 only 23 of the 71 matchups were played after the national holiday. Prior to the 12 straight currently being played on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the longest streak was the four played between 1990 and 1993.

If you are a traditionalist, the game should be played the Saturday before Thanksgiving with a kickoff between 2:00 and 2:30. Close to 29 percent of the games for this storied rivalry have been played five days before Thanksgiving and starting in this time frame.

With that, the Buckeyes are 11–20–3 when kicking off between 2:00 and 2:30 before Thanksgiving and 36–43–3 overall prior to the holiday.

Ohio State is 8–2 since the new tradition of playing at noon the Saturday after has been established in 2010. Prior to 2010, the teams faced off six times at noon after Thanksgiving.  

No matter the time, or day, The Game is played, I'm wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the company of your family, friends and loved ones...in whatever manner you are able to connect today.

Giving big thanks for Ohio State's 20-year run of domination in The Game. May the streak get back on track Saturday.Time To Dine



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