EDITORIAL: Heisman High’s and Low’s

Archie Griffin Heisman

Devonta Smith(Alabama) was awarded the 2020 Heisman Trophy. Congratulations to him and his success this season. The fact that Ohio State will face the Tide in the National Championship game reminded me of an Editorial from Joe-S-U detailing the Buckeyes history against Heisman winners.  Since his article, the Buckeyes have also faced Heisman trophy owners Baker Mayfield (2017), Derrick Henry (2015) and Marcus Mariota (2014), going 3-1 against those winners. It remains to be seen how they will do against the reigning trophy holder, I thought our readers may want to look back out at the Buckeye50.com editorial from 2005.  So here it is again for your enjoyment.


Heisman Highs and Lows

March 1, 2005


With Vince Young and Texas set to visit the ‘Shoe on September 10th, and since Buckeye fans will get to enjoy Ted Ginn, Jr’s exploits for an entire season, the Buckeye nation will be in tune with this year’s Heisman race for the first time in years.  Ohio State has had nine head-to-head matchups with Heisman winners in its history, and things haven’t always gone our way.

The first Heisman Trophy was awarded in 1935 to Jay Berwanger, an outstanding halfback from the University of Chicago.  The Maroons were a charter member of the Big Ten, and had actually won five outright league titles before Ohio State began conference play in 1913.  By the 1930’s, however, Chicago had failed to contend for a long time.  By 1939, the school would drop football altogether.  But Berwanger gave Chicago a last hurrah with his Heisman win, although the best the Maroons could do in 1935 was 4-4.

Against Ohio State one week after the Bucks’ fabled game with Notre Dame, Chicago had the Bucks down 13-0, thanks to a legendary 85-yard TD run by Berwanger that some feel won him the trophy.  But OSU was able to rally for a 20-13 win.

Ohio State’s next meeting with an impending Heisman winner wasn’t pretty at all.  Michigan legend Tom Harmon ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more in his final game as the Wolves dumped the Buckeyes 40-0 in Columbus.  The players, fans and media had been at their wits’ end with coach Francis Schmidt, and while Harmon accepted his Heisman, Schmidt was sent packing.

Wisconsin’s Alan Ameche had never scored against OSU heading into his final game against the Bucks in 1954.  He was shutout again his senior year as State came from behind to beat the Badgers 31-14.  Ameche went on to win the Heisman, but Hop Cassady’s famous 88-yard interception return turned the game around and paved the way for his own Heisman win the next season.

Ohio State’s last victory over a Heisman winner was also their first meeting with the victor after he had already won.  O.J. Simpson was a landslide winner of the 1968 Heisman, and just like Jay Berwanger in 1935, Simpson had broken off a legendary 80-yard TD run to put the Bucks in a 10-0 hole in the Rose Bowl.  But the “Super Soph”-led Buckeyes roared back to win 27-16 to capture the ’68 national title.

That’s about as good as it gets for OSU fans.  There’s really no need to rehash Jim Plunkett and Charles White single-handedly costing the Bucks national championships in Pasadena.  Ron Dayne’s four second-half TD’s in Columbus in 1999 probably won him the trophy.  And don’t you wish you had a dime for every replay of Desmond Howard or Charles Woodson’s punt returns that ESPN Classic has shown?

So overall the Bucks are 3-6 in games vs. impending or current Heisman winners.  ABC didn’t do Vince Young’s candidacy any favors by making Texas/OSU a night game.  The Bucks DO NOT lose night games in the ‘Shoe, folks.  And at least if Chad Henne or Michael Hart ever win a Heisman the Bucks have already ended Michigan’s winning streak with Heisman winners on the roster.  Harmon, Howard and Woodson’s career record against Ohio State?  10-0.  Yikes…

Hey, that’s alright.  Personally I think it would be poetic to see our number 7 bring home Heisman Trophy number 7 for Ohio State.  And another lucky number for OSU is five.  As in Archie winning in ’75, Eddie winning in ’95, and a healthy Keith Byars that would’ve won it in ’85.


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