Tony Curcillo, Woody Hayes' First Starting Quarterback at Ohio State, Dies at 89

By Dan Hope on December 10, 2020 at 5:58 pm
Tony Curcillo
Photo from Curcillo family

Tony Curcillo, Woody Hayes' first starting quarterback at Ohio State, died Tuesday at the age of 89 due to complications from COVID-19, according to his family.

Curcillo played for the Buckeyes from 1950-52 and was the starting quarterback in 1951, Hayes' first season as Ohio State's head coach.

He had one of the best games ever for an Ohio State quarterback against Iowa in 1951, completing 10 of 14 passes for 292 yards and four touchdowns while also running for two touchdowns, setting a record for the most total touchdowns by an Ohio State quarterback in a game that stood until 2013, when Kenny Guiton had six touchdowns against California. (J.T. Barrett broke the record with a pair of seven-touchdown games against Bowling Green in 2016 and Nebraska in 2017, while Dwayne Haskins and Justin Fields have also since tied the record.)

After sharing a backfield for his first two seasons with 1950 Heisman Trophy winner Vic Janowicz, who he also played alongside at Elyria High School, Curcillo moved to fullback for the 1952 season and earned first-team All-Big Ten honors.

Curcillo was selected in the sixth round of the 1953 NFL draft by the Chicago Cardinals and went on to play for the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who he helped win the 1957 Grey Cup.

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