Picking the Greatest Ohio State Football Game of All Time: The G.O.A.T. Game Tournament, Old School Bracket

By D.J. Byrnes and Matt Gutridge on August 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Ohio State G.O.A.T. Game Tournament, Old School Bracket

The G.O.A.T. Game Tournament, Eleven Warriors' quest to crown the greatest game in Ohio State football lore, continues with the old school bracket that includes iconic victories from 1916 to 1950.

Meet the old school bracket semifinals:

  • #1 IOWA PRE-FLIGHT 1942 vs. #5 MINNESOTA 1939: Ohio State secures first national championship vs. the game that sealed the highest ranking in program history to date.
  • #2 1916 NORTHWESTERN vs. #6 1950 IOWA :  First Western Conference Title vs. Vic Janowicz running wild on the Hawkeyes.

Let's vote.

#1: 1942 — Iowa Pre-flight AT No. 3 OHIO STATE

Iowa Pre-Flight Seahawks
November 28, 1942 (source).

In the first round: 1942 Iowa Pre-Flight demolished 1945 Minnesota, 75 to 25 percent.

The United States Navy commissioned pre-flight schools at colleges around the country in 1942 after America entered World War II.

Cadets were given "three months of rigorous physical instruction" before graduating to the Pacific Fleet. Sports were particularly stressed at these schools as the Navy thought they prepared young men for the rigors of military life.

Iowa's roster included Buckeye halfback Dick Fisher, a two-sport star and member of Ohio State Varsity "O" Hall of Fame, as well as former Buckeye Don Langhurst. 

On Nov. 28, 1942, Iowa Navy rolled into Columbus for a date with No. 3 Ohio State. The Buckeyes had trounced Michigan the week before to win the Big Nine title in front of 75,000 fans. 

Curiously, only 27,259 fans came to the Horseshoe that day to watch Ohio State's backfield stable led by Les Horvath, Paul Sarringhaus, and Gene Fekete. 

Paul Brown's men out gained Iowa Navy 277 to 200. Their overall team speed was too much for the Seahawks to handle as the Buckeyes rolled to a 41-6 win.

No. 1 Boston College and No. 2 Georgia Tech lost that same day, giving Ohio State its first national championship in school history.

#5: 1939 — No. 10 Ohio State at No. 5 Minnesota

Ohio State football team 1939
Ohio State 1939 football team (source).

In the first round: 1939 Minnesota upset the first win in program history (1890 vs. Ohio Wesleyan), 53 to 46 percent.

Ohio State had not played Minnesota for eight years. In that time, the Gophers won three national championships and compiled a record of 35–5. A win would add to the program's burgeoning national profile. 

The game was full of turnovers, bad punts, and penalties — usually a recipe for bad football; however, in in this game, it added to the drama.

Minnesota received the second half kickoff, and its drive ended with a fumble. Don Scott took advantage of the turnover and threw his third touchdown of the day to put the Buckeyes up, 23-14.

Early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota scored to make it 23-20. Buckeye Jack Graf ended the comeback bid by intercepting Minnesota's Harold VanEvery at the Ohio State five-yard line as time wound down.

The win pushed the Buckeyes to No. 4 in the AP Poll, the program's highest rating to that point.

#2: 1916 — Northwestern at Ohio State

The Columbus Citizen
The Columbus Citizen, Nov. 27, 1915

In the first round: 1916 Northwestern comfortably defeated 1949 Missouri, 65 to 35 percent.

In 1912, Ohio Athletic Conference champion Ohio State jumped to what became the Big Ten and hadn't enjoyed similar success. The Buckeyes finished sixth, fourth, and third in their first three swings at the conference championship.

That changed in 1916 when future All-American Chic Harley stepped first on campus. The Phi Gamma Delta man and head coach John Wilce led their team to a 7-0 season — its first since 1899 — in which it outscored opponents by a combined score of 258-29.

The Buckeyes captured their first Western Conference title in school history with a 23-3 drubbing of Northwestern at Ohio Field.

#6: 1950 — Iowa at No. 6 OHIO STATE

Vic Janowicz
Vic Janowicz running wild vs. the Hawkeyes.

In the first round: 1950 Iowa usurped 1916 Oberlin, 54 to 46 percent.

Wes Fesler's sixth-ranked Ohio State team put on a clinic against Iowa in Ohio Stadium. Vic Janowicz returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown, scored on an 11-yard touchdown run, threw a 12-yard touchdown pass, recovered two fumbles on defense, blasted two kickoffs out of the end zone and made three extra points against the Hawkeyes — all within the first five minutes of the game.

Janowicz finished with four touchdowns and made a Big Ten record 10 extra points. The Buckeyes scored 55 points in the first half and defeated Iowa 83-21 — the most points scored against a Big Ten foe in school history.

View 14 Comments