occasionally posted passages
from several texts giving anecdotal histories of the Wildcats.
What follows are
the collected passages originally posted weekly. The accounts are
given in the order that the events that they describe took place.
Again, these passages are not original to this site: the sources
are given before each quote.
Automatic Otto's Wild Season
at Dyche Stadium, Otto prepares to run in for NU's only score vs.
Graham receives the conference's MVP award from-- of all people-- Amos
Alonzo Stagg, the legendary University of Chicago coach. [Estate of Otto Graham]
1945: Sweet Sioux Trophy Begins
describing the 1943 season and the climax of Otto Graham's college
is from The Tale of the Wildcats, a Centennial History of
of '43 both started and finished in style, winding up the Conference
with five victories and one defeat, the loss being at the hands of
which, like Purdue, swept through the schedule undefeated.
30 members of the '42 club were lost through graduation and to
armed forces, Northwestern's second wartime football club was a veteran
one. In addition to 14 lettermen, there
an impressive array of transfer students from other schools who were
in the Navy's V-12 unit. Among them were several Minnesota
Herman Frickey, Herb Hein, and Jerry Carle.
introduced themselves formally in a night game at Dyche Stadium and
a 14-6 victory over Indiana, which presented a freshman named Bob
to scare the Wildcats until Graham's passes prevailed. Michigan
favored to win and did, but only because of another transfer from
Bill Daley. The final score was 21 to 7, to which Daley
touchdown runs of 37 and 64 yards.
featured a 13 to 0 triumph over Great Lakes [Naval Base], and Otto the
Omnipotent also engineered a 13 to 0 beating of Ohio State, scoring one
touchdown and passing to Lynne McNutt for another. In the
game the former Gophers in the NU lineup received a real jolt when
old schoolmates scored in eight plays following the kickoff, but then
pitched a 50-yard scoring pass to Hein, Carle kicked the point, and the
Wildcats were on their way to a 42 to 6 decision. . . .
field day at Madison in the course of a 41 to 0 brush with
Otto contributed three touchdowns and three extra points in the first
munutes, returned a punt 45 yards for a touchdown in the third period,
and tossed a fifth score to Wallis. He was almost as devastating
while the Wildcats were beating Illinois, 53 to 6, scoring twice and
four of six passes to boost his Conference record total to 158
in 334 throws for 2,163 yards. And for an appropriate conclusion
to his career he ran onto the field at game's end, clad in civilian
grabbed the ball over which the teams were fighting, and ran off with
He also ran off with the Chicago Tribune silver football award
the most valuable player in the Conference.
NU Smells Roses
NU's last remaining trophy game was the annual Sweet Sioux game against
For a while NU and Illinois had played for an old fire bell;
that trophy was forgotten by the mid forties, and an effort was made by
newspapers of the two schools to renew a trophy rivalry.
Takes Sweet Sioux
tradition was born at the 1945 Northwestern - Illinois football game.
the Wooden Indian, Sweet Sioux, custody of which went for the first
to Northwestern by virtue of a 13-7 gridiron conquest of the Fighting
in Dyche Stadium on November 24. Sweet Sioux, like his colleague
the Old Oaken Bucket and Little Brown Jug, will be presented annually,
the winner of the NU - U of I cross-state grid match.
The following passage is from Northwestern's yearbook, The Syllabus,
it describes the 1945 inauguration of Sweet Sioux. Its author is
The country-wide campaign to transform NU and the U of I into
pigskin rivals was conceived by Tom Koch, sports editor of the Daily
Jim Aldrich, news editor of the Daily; Alice Methudy, editorial
of the Daily; and other staff members threw in their lot, and the hunt
a hemlock Hopi was on. Bob Doherty, sports editor of the Daily
handled the campaign on the Illinois campus.
After examining all the entries, members of the student Wooden Indian
selected the brave uncovered by Bill Brown, Northwestern journalism
The Northwestern chapter of Acacia Fraternity donated the redskin.
Unwilling to continue calling the trophy Chief Whosis, the Daily
and Daily Illini conducted contests to name it. Entries poured
and a staff of experts, consisting of Chicago sports editors and campus
authorities had to be called in to select a winner.
The trophy is one of the few remaining cigar store relics. He was
by hand in 1833 and had a colorful career on his own before being
by the two universities. Brown discovered the chief in an
antique shop, staring quietly at his sixth generation of Americans.
And so Northwestern and Illinois become traditional football rivals,
together by Sweet Sioux. The rivalry is a natural one, and will
become one of the nation's hottest in years to come.
Well, dear old Sweet Sioux found that it would set up
in Patten for the ensuing year when it saw the 'Cats sweep over
Hap Murphey was the "man of the hour" for NU rooters as he racked up
yards gained in 30 rushes, half of Northwestern's total. Besides
record-shattering performance, Hap accounted for the winning touchdown
the last quarter.
The Illini, despite their crippled and degenerate state, scored first.
took over on the NU 41 after the officials called a chipping penalty on
'Cats while an Illini punt was in the air. Jack Pierce swept over
own left tackle on the first play and went all the way for a score.
A 79-yard drive gave the 'Cats the tying marker halfway in the second
Murphey and Ed Parsegian were the king-pins, Parsegian scoring
Jim Farrar knotting the count 7-7.
Bob Jones, sub Illinois tackle, was called on to try a 28-yard field
from a difficult angle in the third quarter. However, his kick
by the thickness of a coat of paint as the ball grazed the upright and
back into the playing field.
NU got the clincher on a 55-yard drive into the promised land.
and Ted Kemp did yeoman-like jobs in the attack with Hap doing the
scoring of the year.
original Sweet Sioux only lasted one year. In 1946 the statue was
from its case at NU's Patten Gym, and the two schools replaced the trophy with a
in 1947. The statue was recovered soon after, but the
agreed to keep the tomahawk as the trophy, since it would be easier to
the fraternity which had originally discovered Sweet Sioux, reclaimed
the statue. The statue remained in the fraternity house until a
1985 fire. It is believed that the Sweet Sioux statue was a
victim of that fire.
1900-1950: What NU's Sports Pioneers Remembered
NU, under Bob
Voigts, compiled a 7-2 record in 1948 and earned a trip to the 1949
Bowl. Forty years later, Jesse Wheeler described the game
of an NU Athletic Department retrospective. Wheeler's
you are about
to witness is an event of magnificent proportion, intense historical
and heretofore unprecedented popularity. After a journey of more
than 2,000 miles, you now sit in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
thousand frenzied fans accompany you in singing the last bars of the
Anthem. The kickoff of the 1949 Rose Bowl is finally here.
Will Northwestern pull through?
the Rose Bowl invitation following the 1948 season, Northwestern
wild celebration, the likes of which were considered foreign to its
Classes were canceled, friendly rioting broke out in the streets, and
in Evanston and the Loop in downtown Chicago was brought to a halt due
to parading. Thousands of students and alumni formed a caravan of
Wildcat support, traveling to California, certain that this year
to their team.
the Wildcats of Northwestern and the Golden Bears of California was
even more dramatic by the peculiar relationship of the opposing
Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf of the Golden Bears had been head coach at
for 12 years before moving on to Berkeley in 1947. His successor
at NU, Bob Voigts, had been an All-America tackle on Waldorf's 1938
squad. Was it possible for the upstart pupil to outsmart his own
center for the 'Cats and captain of the 1948 team, recalls, "Bob had a
lot of respect for Pappy. Everyone did. We learned a great
deal from him... he was what a coach should be."
took one look at Northwestern's 1948 schedule and called it
The 'Cats, who had finished eighth in the Western Conference the
season, would be facing such powerhouses as UCLA, Michigan, Notre Dame,
and Minnesota. Undaunted, the 'Cats threw themselves upon
prey and finished the regular season with a 7-2 mark, outscoring their
opponents 171-77 and posting three shutouts. The unbeaten Golden
Bears were just as impressive in their 10 conquests, outscoring their
276-80. Did the Wildcats feel they had a chance to win?
said Sarkisian, "and we had to feel that way. Otherwise there's
way we could have made it from our own 12-yard line to their end zone
only two and a half minutes left!"
a thriller and was not disappointed. Northwestern's senior
Frank Aschenbrenner ignited the fireworks early in the first quarter
he raced 73 yards for a touchdown, a run which stood for years as the
run from scrimmage in Rose Bowl history. Jim Farrar's
kick was successful, and the Purple and White went up 7-0. On the
very next play from scrimmage, California All-America fullback Jackie
scampered 65 yards for a touchdown, and the Bears knotted the game at
quarter, Wildcat fullback Art Murakowski plunged over the goal line,
in the air. The officials ruled the play a touchdown, and after a
missed extra point, NU led 13-7, a score which held into the second
the third period,
Cal's Jensen left the game with a back injury, and it seemed as though
Northwestern had the upper hand. However, Jensen's understudy,
Brunk, proved just as destructive, and spearheaded a drive that put the
Bears ahead, 14-13.
of thwarted drives, the Wildcats took over at their own 12-yard line
less than three minutes remaining in the game. Several short
moved NU to the California 43-yard line, setting the stage for perhaps
the greatest play in Wildcat gridiron history-- and certainly the most
dramatic. Ed Tunnicliff, NU's 155-pound halfback, took a direct
from the center, Sarkisian, bypassing the quarterback. As the
defense was maneuvered out of position, Tunnicliff, aided by several
blocks, swept into the end zone for the winning score.
knew they had
that play," Walforf said following the game. "We practiced it
I was coach there... it's just that we never used it!"
out, NU defensive back Loran "Pee Wee" Day doused the Bears' final hope
as he intercepted a desperation pass at midfield to preserve the
win. Minutes after the game ended, Wildcat fans tore down the
posts, determined never to forget Northwestern's "Rags to Roses"
Here is another account of the Rose Bowl
The following description comes from Northwestern
150 Years, by Jay Pridmore. Pridmore's book was
released by the University
as part of its Sesquicentennial
wasn't that Northwestern was unfamiliar with gridiron glory. It
been helping national powerhouses like Notre Dame and Michigan achieve
for years. But the 1948 season was different. That year the
finally got their bid to the biggest football game in the nation at the
-- the Rose Bowl.
When the Wildcats beat Illinois in the last game of the regular season,
clinched second place in the Big Nine. (Without the University of
which dropped football in 1939, and Michigan State, which was admitted
1949, it was not then "Big Ten.") Since the conference champion
went to the Rose Bowl but was not permitted to go two years in a row,
champs Michigan stayed home, and Northwestern got its first chance
the best of the Pacific Conference on New Year's Day 1949.
When the bid came, the campus was on cloud nine. A 24-hour
erupted, with undergrads prowling the streets and fraternity men
women in their dorms. President Snyder, always bookish and
also got a visit from happy songsters, who tacked a "no school" sign on
door. The Admiral even seemed to enjoy it.
On Monday a good-natured "strike" was called. Pledge classes were
to barricade the doors of classrooms, which was unnecessary, because no
went to class anyway. That night a Rose Bowl dance was followed
an announcement by Captain Alex "Sarkie" Sarkisian '49 that school was
the rest of the week.
Such a vacation from academic work seemed extreme to
some, including students
at the University of Chicago, who rushed out with a Daily
Northwestern parody. The Daily Country Club
had the headline "Onions!" mocking the Daily's "Roses!" And
purported to quote President Frank "Blissful" Snyder: "Other schools
suspend classes for a big thing like a bid to the Onion Bowl, but here
CCU (Country Club University), where we have no classes of importance
we are not faced with that problem."
Hyde Park's jealousy aside, Coach Bob Voigt's tough Wildcat team was
real thing, led by Sarkisian at center and a front line that included
Steve Sawle '50, the following year's captain. Art Murakowski '51
Frank Aschenbrenner '49 did most of the running chores. Everyone
ready on January 1, 1949, when the Purple team went up against the
Bears of the University of California, headed by former Northwestern
"Pappy" Waldorf. The game went down to the final minute, when
halfback, Ed Tunnicliff '50, scored on a 45-yard end sweep. The
victory was sealed when Loran "Pee Wee" Day '50 intercepted a pass to
Cal's final drive.
It was a good thing for Evanston that the victory took place in
or Evanston might have collapsed under another celebration.
Cheyenne, Wyoming, bore the brunt of Northwestern's school spirit.
where the "Wildcat Special" Rose Bowl train was stranded for three days
a blinding Rocky Mountain blizzard. The streets of Cheyenne were
to three days of spontaneous Northwestern cheers before 275 students
Myers to Flatley
installment is from
Tale of the Wildcats, a Centennial History
of Northwestern University Athletics, a 1951 classic by Walter
Long out of print,
Tale of the Wildcats gives an 'official' history
of NU football, including the following recollections by some of NU's
These quotes were
collected in 1950 during interviews with some of the oldest surviving
as well as contemporary Wildcats. The players recounted what
for them, the greatest and most remarkable moments on the field.
class of 1913: "A 65 yard run against Indiana in the rain in
Score: NU 5, Indiana 0."
"It makes you feel good to have your children read about you in the
books and to have them think you could do something in your younger
now that you're fat and 50."
'27: "When I called for a drop kick from the 42 yard line, one yard
the sidelines in the Notre Dame game of '24 and [Ralph] Moon Baker
it between the uprights. Moon was nice about such things. I'd
a dumb play and he'd get me out of it with a long run or a great kick."
'28: "The Iowa game of '26. With that victory NU won [a] Big Ten
'23: "Playing Iowa's conference champions and suddenly realizing that
champions aren't superhuman. We ran all over the field in the
James Oates, 1893: "Winning
game Northwestern ever played against Michigan in 1892 and taking 13
to Minneapolis for the Minnesota game of the same year. We played
60 minute football then."
Don Heap, '38: "Scoring the
touchdown against Notre Dame in '35 and the following year committing
which lost the game, emphasizing how little difference there is between
the hero and the heel."
Walter Dill Scott, 1895:
by Michigan, 72-6, in '93."
Albert Potter, 1897:
minute of every game for two years. It was a case of necessity.
had few subs."
Harry Allen, 1904: "The
and the mass plays. To leave a game was a disgrace unless the
had to be carried off the field."
Charles Ward, 1903: "When I
up the line against Michigan's 'point-a-minute team' and the great
Heston nearly knocked my head off."
Charles Blair, '05: "Oddly
worst defeats are longest remembered. Coach Wally McCornack's
that '60 minutes to play and all your life to think about it' is 100
Albert Weinberger, '06:
"Only in later
life does one come to appreciate the full benefits of football:
to accept victory and defeat in good grace; a willingness to sacrifice
and not let your fellow players down."
Robert Wienecke, '25: "The
the '24 team which carried to superb heights against Chicago and Notre
Dame and earned Northwestern the nickname of Wildcats."
Jack Riley, '32: "The
battles of wit
and strength against brilliant opponents; the feeling of confidence
by such teammates as Baker, Manske, Marvil, Bruder, Moore, Rentner, and
others; the satisfaction of having taken part in a winning combination."
Harry Wells, '13: "Those
games in which
it was obvious that team play and team morale were on such a plane that
the team refused to be beaten. That is the greatest contribution
which the game has to offer and the thing for which we should all
Jack Heuss, '34: "When the
cop wouldn't let our bus driver make a left turn on Michigan Avenue on
our way to Soldier Field for the Stanford game and thinking what the
people in the stands would do if we didn't get to the field."
Bill Ivy, '46: "I received
a cut on
my face in the Ohio State game and told Carl Erickson to let me stay in
the game as I was a physician. 'You may be a doctor,' retorted
'but I'm the trainer and I'll let you know when you can play."
Alex Sarkisian, '49: "After
Bowl victory the photographers asked Coach Voigts to pose with me
the football used in the game. I was still in my wet, soiled
and I told the coach not to put his arm around me as it would soil his
suit. He looked at me and said, 'I can always get a new suit but
I'll never get another football team like this one.' It was
a privilege to have played under such a fine gentleman and truly great
This was a featured
article from NU's athletic department, written by Greg Jayne in
Jayne's "Wildcat Legends" article gives an account of the 1962
which for two weeks was ranked the #1 team in the nation.
makes an improbable catch vs. the Irish
Sports Illustrated Covers NU
The 1962 Wildcats,
respected but unranked by pre-season pollsters, started the year with
straight victories and spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in the nation.
NU was coming
off a 4-5 season that included a 2-4 Big Ten record and gave no hint of
the greatness to come. But unsuspecting opponents quickly learned that
head coach Ara Parseghian had designed one of the nations most
offensive attacks, built around the strong arm of quarterback Tom Myers
and the soft hands of flanker Paul Flatley.
It was Myers who
provided the Wildcats with the element of surprise. Freshmen were not
to compete at the varsity level, so opponents had little idea before
season that the 6-0, 180-pound sophomore was one of the nations best
It didn't take
them long to find out. Myers completed 20 of 24 passes for 275 yards to
lead NU to a 37-20 victory over South Carolina in the season opener.
After just one
game, Myers had established himself among the greatest passers in
history and the Wildcats had served notice that they would compete for
the conference crown.
sophomore quarterback playing his first collegiate game had fans
his name in the same breath with (Otto) Graham's,” Roy Damer of the Chicago
But things were
just beginning for Myers and the Wildcats. In their next outing, they
arch-rival Illinois, 45-0, and Myers received more rave reviews.
“Myers was a
sharpshooter at finding his targets and a whirling dervish at avoiding
charging tacklers,” Howard Barry of the Tribune wrote.
While some people
were convinced the Wildcats were for real, critics remained. After all,
the best record Parseghian had produced in his six years at the school
was a 6-3 mark in 1959.
But the third
game of the season convinced almost everybody. NU traveled to
to face the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. The Gophers were defending
Bowl champions and had won the national title in 1960.
“The answer is
yes, Tom Myers, 19-year-old Northwestern sophomore quarterback, IS that
good,” Barry wrote after the Wildcats had earned a 34-22
victory. Myers completed 16 of 25 passes for 251 yards and four
With its third
straight win, NU bolted into the Top 10. More importantly, the Wildcats
had a 2-0 conference mark and were tied for first in their bid to
to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1948 season.
was facing its toughest test yet: the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus.
The Buckeyes were defending Big Ten champions and had been named
champions in 1961 by the Football Writers’ Association. Ohio State
Woody Hayes, in his 12th season at the school, already had achieved
status and had won three national titles.
The Buckeyes began
1962 ranked No. 1, but had fallen from that spot after a loss at UCLA.
Despite the blemished record, OSU still was favored to win the
crown, and surely would put the upstart Wildcats in their place.
But Myers and
company had something else in mind. They marched into Ohio Stadium and
beat the Buckeyes, 18-14, before a stadium-record crowd of 84,376.
was 18 of 30 for 177 yards. Ten of the completions went to Flatley,
him 29 in just four games.
The victory was
NU’s first in Columbus since 1943, and touched off a campus celebration
that enthusiastic students carried to the streets of downtown Evanston.
“Scent of Roses
Fills Air in Evanston as N.U. Students Roar Welcome to ‘Cats,” read a
in the next day's Tribune. The win had Wildcat fans thinking
Bowl" and jumped the team to the No. 2 spot in the national polls.
Notre Dame was
next on the agenda for the Wildcats, and NU took advantage of the weak
Irish to score an easy 35-6 win. The non-conference win didn't surprise
anybody or help Northwestern’s quest for the Rose Bowl berth, but it
NU into No. 1 spot in the nation for the first time since 1936.
The Wildcats almost
found fame to be fleeting the next week. Despite outgaining Indiana 504
to 245 in total offense, NU squeaked out a 26-21 win to hand the
their 17th consecutive Big Ten defeat. The victory wasn't impressive,
it was enough for the Wildcats to retain their top ranking and set up
biggest showdown of the Big Ten season.
week, NU’s dreams of an undefeated season and a national championship
shattered by Wisconsin. The Badgers used a potent passing combination
their own, Ron VanderKelen to Pat Richter, and a stifling defense to
a 37-6 victory.
The loss dropped
Northwestern into a tie with Wisconsin and Minnesota for first place in
the conference. But the Wildcats had a disadvantage in the race for the
Big Ten title: they were scheduled to play six conference games while
and Minnesota had seven.
But the schedule
inequity proved to be meaningless as Northwestern took itself out of
race the next week with a 31-7 loss to Michigan State.
strong, aggressive line and its fast, elusive backs yesterday delivered
the final hammer blows to Northwestern’s hopes for a distinguished Big
Ten campaign." Barry wrote in the Tribune.
The loss also
dashed all NU hopes for a bowl bid. Until 1975, Big Ten teams could not
go to bowls other than the Rose Bowl, a rule that kept the Wildcats out
of post-season play.
NU rebounded in
the final game of the season to beat Miami of Florida, 29-7. The 7-2
was the school's finest since 1948.
didn't make it to the Rose Bowl and they didn't win the national
the 1962 Wildcats can say something that no other Northwestern football
team of the past 50 years can say:
“We were ranked
No. 1 in the nation.”
The Wildcats Beat OSU
1962, Ara Parseghian's Wildcats briefly held the top of the national
rankings. The following fall Sports Illustrated published (in the
4, 1963 issue) an article about the Big Ten's linemen, and featured the
Wildcats on its cover. It was the first time NU football appeared
SI's cover, and it would be the Purple's only appearance until Darnell
burst onto the cover in 1995. Forty years after it was published,
is the text from the Sports Illustrated Big Ten piece which relates to
man in the Big Ten who is perhaps most preoccupied with linemen is
Ara Parseghian, who has more trouble getting them than anyone else.
of depth goes with Parseghian and Northwestern, the only privately
school in the conference, like wind goes with Chicago's streets.
still, every time it appears that Parseghian has done something to
his problem, Northwestern's line cracks in the middle, and late season
run through it as merrily as ducklings in an animated cartoon.
Parseghian thought all might be different this year. Although he
not get the marginal recruits who go to the state-supported schools, he
up with some fine line prospects to go with the passing of slender Tom
Even injuries, primarily to Guards Cvercko and Larry Zeno, which
down the strength of his interior, had not dimmed his hopes as he
last week's game against Michigan State with four victories and only a
loss behind him.
A Late Fader
Unfortunately, when a gorgeous, cloudless day greeted 51,013 for
homecoming at Evanston, the results for Parseghian were sadly the same
in the past. Northwestern got off to a 7-0 lead, but in the
half the Wildcat line was torn open for one bolting 87-yard run by
State's Sherman Lewis. At the end the Spartans' Duffy Daugherty
the announcement of a new five-year coaching contract with a 15-17
Facing a variety of storming defenses, including a safety blitz that
could not pick up quickly enough, Tom Myers had one of his worst days.
completed only nine of 26 passes and had two intercepted. He was
for 61 yards in losses by the swarming Spartan rushers. Some of
slowness in avoiding the rush had him throwing badly off balance. . . .
"I know you don't hear it said that a passing team doesn't play the
tough defense," said Parseghian. "But we played well. Lewis
the difference. He's been the difference against a lot of people.
don't think of ourselves as a passing team. We like balance.
you do what you can do best. What are we going to do with Myers?
him a split T runner?"
Northwestern is not the only Big Ten team that passes. The
average is about 20 throws per game. But there is a paradox.
are making fewer points. As Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan
moved into a tie with 2-0-1 records, each was averaging a fraction more
two touchdowns a game.
"I guess they're scoring less because of the tougher defenses," says
"But the season's only half over. I think you'll see some
Northwestern is now, at a very early date, almost out of the
race after being the favorite. While most Big Ten people believe
Northwestern will never win a championship because it cannot recruit
of the quality interior linemen it needs to last through the rugged
Parseghian refuses to agree. "I've seen some good line play for
this year," he said. "Certainly if we had Cvercko, people would
a great one. But we have two or three players who have a chance
be really good. Kids like Cerne, Szczecko and Mike Schwager.
been close to a championship two or three times, but have lost out late
the season. Because injuries have hurt us, we got hit early.
the past five years it was our schedule that got us. For example,
that time, the first six teams we've played each year have won 48% of
games, and the last three have won 68%."
Doc Urich, Northwestern's end coach, probably put it better than anyone
when he said, "About the best we can hope for is that every three or
years we can get a group that can make a good run, like some of those
do all the time. And we'll need some luck."
It took NU over thirty
years, but it finally proved "most Big Ten people" wrong by winning
championships in the span of six years. Critical to those
especially the ones claimed in the nineties, was the Wildcats' superior
After this issue of Sports Illustrated hit the stands, Ara Parseghian
coach the Wildcats in only two more games, ending with a Northwestern
over Ohio State in Columbus. Parseghian then left for Notre Dame.
column, describing Northwestern's last win against the Ohio State
was written by The Daily Northwestern staff writer Brian
and appeared in the October 23, 1998 Gameday edition prior to
'98 OSU game.
Recalling a '71 shocker
THE LEGENDARY WOODY
HAYES ROAMED THE BUCKEYES
SIDELINE DURING NU'S LAST WIN VS. OSU, AND IT WASN'T BY COINCIDENCE
Hayes swallowed losses like teaspoons of castor oil. He coached
years at Ohio State, about 27 longer than those who dealt with him
preferred, amassing 205 victories and spewing at least that many
at the officials each game. Once, as an opposing player dashed
toward the end zone, Hayes leapt out from the sideline and tackled
Ohio State faithful wondered why the player got in coach Hayes' way.
Strunk didn't see who was on his tail, at least not until he got the
On a November day that would make Robert Frost swoon, Northwestern had
just surrendered a touchdown to vaunted Ohio State and Strunk, a
cornerback, received the ensuing kickoff.
hear 80,000 hosannas suddenly cease? If you're curious, look Greg
Strunk up. He's listed in Phoenix, and he's got the original
Funniest Home Video stashed away. Down a touchdown and a ton of
Strunk cradled the kick and started to his right. He hugged the
all the way, for 93 yards, and the only guy close to him was a graying,
irascible ball of Buckeye fury named Woody, chugging ever so hard, but
failing to record his first career tackle this day.
got the film of it," Strunk says. "Woody Hayes was running down
sidelines after me, throwing his hat. It did get a lot quieter
there were two things that wouldn't happen under Woody Hayes' watch in
Columbus, both of them were losing to NU at home. Hayes might
had his players put their hand on the playbook and swear as much.
But for one Saturday in 1971, NU got Woody, a 14-10 win special only
it hasn't happened again since. Which makes keepsakes like Jerry
Brown's something of a collector's item. Sitting unobtrusively in
his home, still there to this day, is the game ball each and every
NU player received after the shocker. Brown is now 
NU's co-defensive coordinator, but what he'd get most defensive about
1971 was the smack his high school buddies laid on thick and heavy
summers back home.
of Brown's teammates from Roosevelt High in Kent, Ohio, went to Ohio
Brown received a polite "Thanks but no thanks" from Hayes and the
gift of a scholarship to NU. For two years, the Buckeyes got the
better of the 'Cats. Brown got the worst of the trash talk.
summer we'd get together and talk, and they had two on me, so I owed
one," Brown says. "They always throw it at me now that they beat
me two out of three, but I always say, 'Isn't it the last one that
[ed. note: Notre Dame fans, in particular, should pay attention to
practices that week in '71, you'd think this was the only one
counted. Countries mobilize for war with less intensity than NU
before the Ohio State game. NU was 5-4 heading in, but it might
well have been 5-400, as long as it was Woody Hayes and Ohio
With 24 players from the Buckeye State on the roster, the term "light
meant one in which only smaller bones were broken.
Lilja probably hates Ohio State more than anyone, if only because the
nicks from that week haven't healed yet. Lilja, now NU's strength
and conditioning coach, was a freshman tight end in 1971. Since
were ineligible to play then by NCAA mandate, Lilja had the envious
of mimicking Ohio State's offense on the scout team. He may have
gotten his current job on the merits that he survived the week with
just remember getting the shit beat out of me that week," Lilja
"Players were just so intense. I remember thinking, 'Geez, I hope
they play like this during the game."
Strunk: "Kids from Ohio were in the locker room, standing up and giving
speeches. The coaches realized the magnitude of the game.
were really grinding on us. They worked real hard, and they made
us work real hard."
Strunk started, fullback Randy Anderson finished with a one-yard dive
the fourth quarter, erasing a 10-7 deficit. While the world's
funeral procession ensued outside-- the Buckeye's slim Rose Bowl hopes
were dashed by the loss-- a virtual Mardi Gras flooded the visitors'
room at Ohio Stadium, which was sort of like holding a Fourth of July
at Buckingham Palace.
all the scarlet and gray in the stands, the prevalent colors on the
were black and blue. "You could hear the hitting," Strunk says.
the game soundtrack featured more snaps, crackles and pops than a bowl
of Rice Krispies, the visitors' lockers got the worst. Anything
made a loud noise when punched would suffice. Of course, after
Ohio State on ground more sacred than Jerusalem, it was clearly
be able to do that in front of their fans was a big thrill," says Barry
Pearson, the leading receiver for that NU squad, who had three catches
on the day. "The guys from Ohio were really going nuts, because
could go home and hold their heads up. I guess it just means so
to get that one, you could just lose all the others as long as you got