Coming off its third national championship season, three star seniors returned to Ohio State's backfield. Heavily favored to repeat, the Buckeyes faced a difficult schedule.
Over half of Ohio State's 1958 opponents were ranked, including four of its last five challengers. The schedule was fierce, but Woody Hayes had Don Clark, Frank Kremblas, Dick LeBeau and Bob White to power his rushing attack.
|The 1958 Buckeyes|
|B1G Record||4–1–2, 3rd|
|Coach||Woody Hayes (8th year, 54–16–4)|
|CaptainS||Frank Kremblas and Dick Schafrath|
Games of Note
September 27th • SMU • Ohio Stadium
SMU came to Columbus for the third time in its school's history. The Mustangs defeated the Buckeyes 32-27 in the season opener eight years prior and looked to take a 2–1 series lead.
Quarterback Don Meredith led Bill Meek's team and the sophomore gunslinger led SMU's pass-heavy offense to two touchdowns in the first half. However, No. 1 Ohio State owned a 15-14 lead at halftime behind a successful two-point conversion after its first touchdown of the season. In 1958, college football adopted the option to go for two and Kremblas connected with LeBeau through the air for Ohio State's first-ever conversion.
Meredith had a fine game, but his 213 passing yards weren't enough as the Buckeyes eked out a 23-20 victory. Clark posted a game-high 98 rushing yards and a touchdown in Ohio State's 10th straight win.
|SEP. 27||NO. 20 SMU||OHIO STADIUM||W, 23–20|
|OCT. 4||WASHINGTON||OHIO STADIUM||W, 12–7|
|OCT. 11||ILLINOIS||MEMORIAL STADIUM||W, 19–13|
|OCT. 18||INDIANA||OHIO STADIUM||W, 49–8|
|OCT. 25||NO. 13 WISCONSIN||OHIO STADIUM||T, 7–7|
|NOV. 1||NO. 11 NORTHWESTERN||DYCHE STADIUM||L, 0–21|
|NOV. 8||NO. 8 PURDUE||OHIO STADIUM||T, 14–14|
|NOV. 15||NO. 2 IOWA||IOWA STADIUM||W, 38–28|
|NOV. 23||MICHIGAN||OHIO STADIUM||W, 20–14|
October 4th • Washington • Ohio Stadium
Washington's visit in Week 2 completed the home-and-home series with the now-No. 3 Buckeyes. The Huskies lost 35-7 in 1957 when Ohio State exploded for 28 unanswered points in the second half. Heading into the game at The Shoe, Washington was a 20-point underdog.
But the Huskies' offense struck first and Washington took a 7-6 lead into halftime due to a missed extra point by the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes needed another offensive explosion in the second half against Jim Owens' team.
Ohio State's special teams set up the game-winning touchdown when Oscar Hauer blocked Bob Schloredt's punt and Jim Marshall recovered at the Washington 27-yard line. Seven plays later Clark barrelled into the end zone from seven yards out to put the Buckeyes out front 12-7.
Unlike the previous meeting, the big special teams play did not spark Ohio State's offense but it held on for a five-point victory.
October 18th • Indiana • Ohio Stadium
The Buckeyes stopped in Champaign a week before they hosted Indiana. Clark rushed for 105 yards and the game-winning score against Illinois. Ohio State defeated the Fighting Illini 19-13 and now led the all-time series 29–16–3.
New coach Phil Dickens led Indiana (1–3) into The Horseshoe in Week 4. The coach's disregard for the rules led to his season debut being a year later than anticipated.
Indiana hired Dickens in 1957 but suspended him almost immediately because he committed 17 recruiting violations in his first three months on the job. Dickens felt the Hoosiers were at a disadvantage and offered players $50 per month, or expense-paid travel between the prospect's hometown and Bloomington.
Bob Hicks filled in for Dickens and the Hoosiers went 1–8 in 1957, with the win coming against Villanova. Indiana didn't do much better with Dickens on the sideline the following season, however.
White tied an Ohio State record with four touchdowns in a 49-8 beatdown of the Hoosiers. Indiana's lone touchdown came with four seconds remaining and against the Buckeyes' fourth-string players.
Surprisingly, Dickens and the Hoosiers did not lose another game in 1958 to finish 5–3–1. It was the best record Hicks amassed during his seven-year career in Bloomington. In 1974, Indiana inducted him to its Football Hall of Fame despite his 20–41–2 overall record and history of recruiting violations. Can you imagine Ohio State doing something like that?
October 25th • #13 Wisconsin • Ohio Stadium
In a rainy homecoming affair, the No. 2 Buckeyes hoped to extend their winning streak to 14. Hayes also wanted to notch his seventh consecutive victory against Wisconsin.
Scoreless until the third quarter, Wisconsin's Dale Hackbert returned a punt 64 yards to put the Badgers up 7-0.
Ohio State answered and White capped a 20-play, 66-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Wisconsin had two golden opportunities in the fourth to win. But with the Badgers on Ohio State's 8-yard line, Jim Herbstreit ended the threat when he intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Later, Wisconsin made its way to the Ohio State 12, again in prime position to score and win the game. But Hackbert fumbled and Ohio State's Jim Tyrer recovered. The Buckeyes didn't lose, but their winning streak ended at 13 games.
November 15th • #11 Northwestern • Dyche Stadium
Ohio State next traveled to Evanston to take on No. 11 Northwestern.
The Wildcats (4–1) outplayed fifth-ranked Ohio State, bolstered by the play of Dick Thornton. The quarterback threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another to lead coach Ara Parseghian's offense. When the clock struck zeroe, Northwestern gave its homecoming crowd a 21-0 victory.
This game marked the first time the Buckeyes lost to the Wildcats since 1948.
November 8th • #8 Purdue • Ohio Stadium
Purdue served as the third straight ranked opponent in as many weeks for Ohio State.
Ohio State's offense never scored against the No. 8 Boilermakers. Lineman Jim Marshall accounted for the game's initial two touchdowns, first by returning a blocked punt 22 yards to the end zone and then recording a 25-yard pick-six.
Purdue trailed 14-0 at the start of the fourth quarter but scored twice to tie it. Hayes and the Buckeyes owned a 0–1–2 in their last three games, with No. 2 Iowa and rival Michigan on deck.
November 15th • #2 Iowa • Iowa Stadium
With No. 16 Ohio State (4–1–2) reeling, the 58,463 fans in Iowa Stadium expected nothing less than a Hawkeyes (6–0–1) victory.
Having already secured its third Big Ten Championship in as many years, Forest Evashevski's Hawkeyes looked to enact payback on the only team to beat them in 1957.
The Buckeyes entered the contest as 14-point underdogs and rumors circled regarding Hayes' future with the program. Many thought he planned to leave Ohio State after the season for a job with Ford Foundation.
A back-and-forth affair ensued between the two teams. Iowa countered each touchdown Ohio State scored Iowa with one of its own. In all, fans saw six first-half scores en route to a 21-21 score at intermission.
The teams exchanged touchdowns again in the third and the scoreboard read 28-28 at the start of the final frame. White then powered into the end zone from the one to give the Buckeyes a 35-28 lead. With 2:12 left, Dave Kilgore booted a 19-yard field goal and Ohio State secured a 38-28 upset victory.
Clark and White combined for 366 yards and five touchdowns. Now, Hayes worried the emotional and hard-fought game could doom the Buckeyes in their season finale against the Wolverines.
November 23rd • #19 Michigan • Ohio Stadium
In the midst of a down year, Michigan (2–5–1) entered season finale having already allowed a school record 191 points. Northwestern hung 55 the Wolverines in a 31-point loss.
Coach Bennie Oosterbaan also announced The Game would be his last on the Wolverines' sideline.
With that in mind, the Michigan's players fought hard to send their coach out a winner. The Wolverines led 14-12 at halftime, leaving the 83,248 in Ohio State nervous.
The Buckeyes took the lead with a touchdown in the third quarter, but Michigan did not quit. With 40 seconds remaining, the Wolverines were in scoring position at Ohio State's 4-yard line but faced a 4th-and-1.
Halfback Brad Myers charged for the marker, but Ohio State's Dick Schafrath forced a fumble with a thunderous tackle. Jerry Fields pounced on the loose ball and the Buckeyes won 20-14.
Hayes improved his record to 5–3 against Michigan.
- Frank Kremblas and Dick LeBeau scored Ohio State's first-ever 2-point conversion in a 23-20 win over No. 20 SMU.
- The Buckeyes improved to 2–0 after a 12-7 win over a scrappy Washington team.
- Illinois lost its fifth straight to Ohio State.
- The 49-8 rout of Indiana was Ohio State's seventh consecutive victory against the Hoosiers.
- No. 13 Wisconsin ended the Buckeyes' 13-game winning streak with a 7-7 tie.
- A trip to Evanston ended in a loss for the first time since 1948.
- Lineman Jim Marshall scored two touchdowns in a 14-14 tie against No. 8 Purdue.
- Ohio State gave No. 2 Iowa its only loss of the 1958 season with a 38-28 victory in Iowa City.
- Bennie Oosterbaan lost his final game as Michigan head coach. The Buckeyes improved to 17–34–4 against the Wolverines.
- The '58 team started the season ranked No. 1, but finished 8th in the AP Poll.
- Jim Houston, Jim Marshall and Bob White were named All-Americans.
- Don Clark, Dan James, Dick Schafrath, Dick LeBeau, Jerry Lee Murphy, Frank Kremblas, Ernie Spycholski and Jack Scott were selected in the NFL Draft.
The 1958 team started the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, but a four-game stretch against ranked opponents resulted in a loss and a pair of ties.
Ohio State finished No. 8 in the AP Poll after defeating No. 2 Iowa and Michigan to end its season on a positive note.