Hipster note: If anyone still reads pat reusse, he apparently wrote a column yesterday, the basic idea of which I posted on 3 years ago. I’m not linking to the article because screw pat. Anyway here is my blog post from 2015.
Newcomers to the Big Ten (or Big Nine at that time), Ohio State joined the league in 1912. However the distance between the two schools kept them from meeting until 1921. Minnesota has played Ohio State only 51 times, fewer than almost all other Big Ten teams. Perhaps it’s good for the Gophers that the two teams are so far apart, as Ohio State has won 44 of the 51 games. Man that’s depressing, let’s find a single happy moment and talk about that.
The year was 1949, the Gophers had one of it’s best teams (Sid Hartman calls the 1949 team Minnesota’s best ever). The local eleven had two All-Americans, Leo Nomellini and Clayton Tonnemaker and they rolled into Ohio Stadium at 3-0. The Buckeyes had just flown back from the west coast, having tied USC 13-13, giving Ohio St a 2-0-1 record. Minnesota was ranked #5 in the nation while Ohio State was #11. Looking at both teams on paper you might think it would be a good match-up. Or you might have felt some unease going into the 1949 game knowing that Bernie Bierman was in his 15th season as coach at Minnesota, and Ohio State had already been the downfall of one of Minnesota’s great coaches.
In 1921 in the first game between the two teams, Ohio State out maneuvered the famous Minnesota Shift in such a way that ultimately cost Doc Williams, the Gophers winningest coach ever, his job.
Sike I’m just hyping up the drama, Minnesota crushed Ohio State.
The 1949 game was never in doubt. Minnesota was up 14-0 at halftime and eventually shutting out the Buckeyes 27-0. In a game that saw 13 Gopher players and 7 Buckeye players get drafted in the 1950 NFL draft, it was the stout defense of Minnesota that won the day. Clayton Tonnemaker and company held Ohio State to only 48 yards on the day, while Minnesota halfbacks Dick Gregory and the “Anoka Flash” Billy Bye ran for 253 yards.
Sadly Minnesota was feeling itself too much following the big win and promptly lost its next two games to Michigan and Purdue. Despite losing to Minnesota, Ohio State may have gotten the last laugh as they won overall, taking a share of the Big Ten crown and going on to play in their first Rose Bowl. So I guess the lesson to be learned here is that Ohio State can still get whatever it wants, if it just lets the Gophers win this coming Saturday.