Even the most optimistic Michigan football fan isn’t predicting a win over Ohio State tomorrow like the one that took place in 1902.
That year, Michigan trashed the Buckeyes at Ann Arbor’s Ferry Field by a score of 86-0. That’s the highest-scoring game between the two teams ever played. The second highest scoring game was last year’s 42-39 Ohio State win over Michigan in Columbus.
From 1901 to 1905, Michigan coach Fielding Yost led the Wolverines through 56 consecutive games without a loss and to four national championships. In those five seasons, Michigan outscored their opponents 2,821 to 42.
The Ohio State game wasn’t even the highest scoring game of the 1902 season. That year, Michigan also defeated Iowa 107-0 and Michigan State 119-0.
A crowd of 6,000 people came to the game. According to The Michigan Daily-News (which would become The Michigan Daily), the Michigan fans shouted: “What will we do? What will we do? We’ll rub it into OSU, That’s what we’ll do!”
But Ohio State fans also turned out en force. The paper estimated that 2,000 of them took special trains from Columbus to Ann Arbor for the game.
The teams played a 35-minute first half and a 25-minute second half. The Wolverines scored their first touchdown just three minutes and 15 seconds into the game.
During the first half, after a player from Ohio State returned Michigan’s punt for 15 yards, another Buckeye had his jersey completely torn off and the two teams had to form a screen while he put on a new one.
By halftime, after several easy scores for Michigan, the score was 45-0. The second half was a repeat of the first, with Michigan scoring early and often. The Wolverines scored a touchdown in the first and last three minutes in the half.
The day after the game, The Michigan Daily-News quoted then-Ohio State coach Perry Hale talking about the game on his way to catch a train back to Columbus.
“We were licked, that’s all, and we don’t deny it,” he said. “It comes hard to be beaten. I’m sorry it came quite so badly, but we will meet it like sportsman.”
Except for ties in 1900 and 1910, Michigan won every showdown between the schools from their first meeting in 1897 until 1918. Michigan holds a 57-40-6 lead overall.