Football The Rivalry

The Game By The Numbers

Saturday in Ann Arbor, Ohio State and Michigan will renew the greatest rivalry in all of sports for the 114th time. As usual, there will be more than just a year’s worth of bragging rights on the line.

A Buckeye win would keep Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes alive, and give them an outright Big Ten East championship. It would also allow them to inch just a little bit closer to leveling the all-time record against the Wolverines.

Michigan leads the series 58-49-6 (including the vacated 2010 game), but while the overall tally is pretty balanced, for long stretches the rivalry has not been.

The Wolverines went 13-0-2 in their first 15 meetings against Ohio State, shutting the Buckeyes out in 11 of those matchups. The Bucks didn’t win their first game until the legendary Chic Harley led them to the first of what ended up three straight wins from 1919-1921. Michigan immediately came back to win the next six games. At the end of the 1927 season, the Wolverines led the series 19-3-2.

OSU won seven out of the next 10, Michigan went 10-2-2 in the next 14, then OSU went on a 16-7-1 run in the middle of Woody Hayes’ tenure.

After that, the Wolverines held a narrow 7-5 edge during the end of Hayes’ administration and all of Earle Bruce’s, and went 10-2-1 against John Cooper. Since Jim Tressel arrived at Ohio State, the Buckeyes have dominated The Game, winning 14 times against only two losses.

A few facts about the series:

  • The most recent span over which Michigan holds a winning record against the Buckeyes is since 1908. They have a 50-49-5 record in The Game over that time period.
  • Ohio State’s senior class is looking to finish their careers 4-0 against Michigan. They would be the third consecutive OSU senior class to do that, and the seventh this century (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016).
  • The last Michigan senior class to go 4-0 against Ohio State was 1991. Before that, no group of Wolverine seniors had done it since 1948.
  • Michigan’s largest win in The Game was an 86-0 beatdown in 1902. On the train ride home from that game, Fred Cornell wrote the song that would become the OSU alma mater, Carmen Ohio.
  • The largest Ohio State margin of victory was 38, in a 38-0 win in 1935. They nearly matched that in 1968 (36, in a 50-14 win) 2008 (35, in a 42-7 win).
  • The 38-0 win in 1935 was part of a four-year streak where the Buckeyes shut out Michigan every season. OSU won 34-0, 38-0, 21-0, and 21-0 from 1934-1937.
  • Tippy Dye was the Buckeyes’ quarterback during three of those games. Dye, Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor, and J.T. Barrett are the only quarterbacks to start in three wins over Michigan. Barrett could add a fourth on Saturday.

Here’s a breakdown of the series record by coach, by decade, and by increments of 25 games.

Series Record Since Coach’s Hiring

Jim Harbaugh: Ohio State 2-0

Urban Meyer: Ohio State 5-0

Brady Hoke: Ohio State 5-1

Rich Rodriguez: Ohio State 8-1

Jim Tressel: Ohio State 14-2

Lloyd Carr: Ohio State 15-7

Gary Moeller: Ohio State 16-10-1

John Cooper: Ohio State 16-12-1

Earle Bruce: Ohio State 21-16-1

Bo Schembechler: Ohio State 25-21-2

Woody Hayes: Ohio State 39-27-2

Series Record By Decade

2010s: Ohio State 5-1

2000s: Ohio State 8-2

1990s: Michigan 7-2-1

1980s: Michigan 6-4

1970s: Ohio State 5-4-1

1960s: Ohio State 7-3

1950s: Tied 5-5

1940s: Michigan: 6-2-2

1930s: Tied 5-5

1920s: Michigan 6-4

1910s: Michigan 3-1-1

1900s: Michigan 9-0-1

1890s: Michigan 1-0

Series Record By Quarter-Century

Last 25 games: Ohio State 16-8-1

Last 50 games: Ohio State 27-21-2

Last 75 games: Ohio State 39-33-3

Last 100 games: Ohio State 49-47-4

9 Responses

  1. Ohio State is 20-22-3 in *ichigan Stadium… It would be great to see OSU have a winning record in Big (Out) house

  2. The John Cooper years set us back a generation in terms of the rivalry. With all that talent he always found a way to lose the most important game of the year. Except for the one year he lost to MSU (smh). We had great talent so that wasn’t the problem. What a difference since then.

  3. This is The Game that Woody would prepare for when the season started! There is nothing else that compares to this rivalry! I would give anything to be in the Buckeye locker room to hear the pregame speech on Saturday! Let’s Go Bucks!!!! Beat that team up north!!!!

    1. Oh nvm my bad. I see what you did there. Still nicer (imo) to see the goose egg in the win column next to Harbaugh’s name 🙂

    2. That says Ohio State’s record since he was hired.

  4. Is it Saturday yet? I became a loyal buckeye fan in the beginning of the Cooper years. I know the frustration of losing to a less talented team up north year after year and losing in bowl games. I have appreciated the success and joy that Tressel and Meyer have brought to this rivalry. It’s nice not having to suffer a year long loss to ttun very often. Go Bucks!

  5. Michigan’s series lead was built before indoor plumbing and electricity.

  6. I love to watch Hokebaugh’s antics during a loss. Go Buckeyes! Give me something to smile about!

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