#18 Michigan State hosts #10 Ohio State in what has the potential to be a good, old-fashioned Big Ten grudge match at Spartan Stadium. The two teams are going to go after each other – and Woody & Duffy will love watching together from above since it’ll be their kind of clash.
For all of the melodramatic hullabaloo and the ten or twelve books John U Bacon has written about THE TEN YEAR WAR, it’s worth wondering if anyone has ever even looked up, let alone discussed, the following statistic:
Woody Hayes was 9-7 against Michigan State over his legendary career as head coach at Ohio State from 1951 – 1976.
Duffy Daugherty – who never once had any hissy fits like this:
….was, of course, Michigan State’s head coach from 1959 – 1972.
Duffy’s record against Woody was 4-6 over the ten years that their tenures overlapped.
It might be one of the more under appreciated dynamics across all of Big Ten football.
Of course, Duffy didn’t spend time “marketing” (another, perhaps more appropriate, word might be “blabbering”) his rivalry with Woody Hayes and he really didn’t give a crap about all of the nonsense that strayed from the fundamentals of his role as Michigan State’s legendary coach.
Woody was 9-7 against Michigan State, overall, and he had a 6-4 record against Duffy.
I think it’s more than fair to say this: Ohio State had nothing close to a “dominating” edge over Michigan State while Woody was around.
I think it’s also fair to say this: Duffy doesn’t get even get a fraction of the credit he deserves for having matched up as well as anyone against Woody.
And the two respected each other.
I don’t know if they ever kissed one another or if they ever even hugged one another since men didn’t do that type of thing in those days and even if men did do those types of things in those days, Woody and Duffy never would have hugged one another – not that there is anything wrong with men hugging one another. I just hugged the garbage man out in the street this morning.
Do Ohio State people even know that Woody was 9-7 against Michigan State?
Do Ohio State people even know that Woody was 6-4 against Duffy Daugherty?
There has always been so much of a fixation on all of that other stuff – which is fine – that people just don’t know, let alone talk about, facts related to other “rivalries” that warrant attention.
Over the long haul, there isn’t any disputing the Buckeyes’ edge in the series between these two schools.
Ohio State leads the series 31-15.
How about over the last 12 years?
From the time Mark Dantonio took over at Michigan State, Ohio State has a 6-3 edge.
One of the wins for the Spartans came in 2011 when Ray Finkle was Ohio State’s head coach – Michigan State beat the Buckeyes 10-7 in Columbus en route to a Big Ten Leaders Division Championship.
Michigan State’s other two wins over Ohio State during the Dantonio Era were, of course, epic.
The Big Ten Championship Game of 2013 goes down as one of the most compelling “upsets” in Big Ten history since the Spartan victory thwarted #2 Ohio State’s preordained right to play for the National Championship (and win it, of course).
That 2013 Big Ten Championship Game “upset” – it says right here that if the College Football Playoff had existed that season (it would start the next year), Michigan State would have won the whole damn thing since neither Florida State and Auburn (the teams that played in the final BCS National Championship) would have been able to get it done against that Spartan defense.
In 2015, Mark Dantonio’s Spartans played Ohio State in Columbus and, once again, the #2 Buckeyes were preordained to play in – and, of course, win – the National Championship.
Dantonio was without the use of the most successful quarterback in the history of the Spartan program that day and deployed a strategy that utilized both Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry as rotating field generals on a rainy and cold afternoon at The Shoe.
The masterpiece Dantonio executed that day goes down as one of the ten or so “greatest wins” of this Spartan era.
Of course, there are other prolific victories that the Spartans have had over Ohio State with the 1998 defeat of another Buckeye team (this time #1, not #2) that was preordained to win the national championship at the top of the list.
Yes, Ohio State treated Michigan State as if it was coached by Brady Hoke last season in the Buckeyes’ 48-3 thrashing of the Spartans.
Can we all acknowledge that the 48-3 thrashing was an anomaly since every other game played between these two juggernauts over the last decade has been a fierce battle and the winner has left the field with no choice but to respect the loser?
Common sense and practical logic suggest that the battle between these two teams on Saturday in East Lansing is going to be more true to form in the way it will be fierce, hard hitting, well-played, well-coached, exciting, and a game that pits two teams against one another that will fight all game long.
Consider the 2016 game at East Lansing.
The game featured Michigan State’s “worst” team since 1982 as it spiraled to a 3-9 final record – and, of course, Ohio State was its typical self in being the #2 team in the nation with eyes on another National Championship.
On that afternoon, the 3-7 Spartans were unable to convert a 2-point conversion in the game’s waning moments and lost the battle 17-16.
In 2012, a season that the Spartans finished with a 7-6 record, Michigan State battled Ohio State all afternoon at Spartan Stadium in what was another 17-16 victory for Ohio State.
Maybe John U Bacon is three drafts through what is going to be his opus on the Michigan State – Ohio State rivalry.
Maybe John U Bacon has needed the three drafts to respond to his editors who have needed to point out to him that Woody Hayes and Duffy Daugherty had their own “thing” going on before John U Bacon’s patron saint ever arrived on the scene.
And, another word on John U Bacon –
I’ve seen him Twitter this at least 11 times over the last six months:
“In 1999, Michigan athletic director Don Canham told me this: the most important way to keep a PR mess a one-day mess is to not let it turn into a two-day mess.”
SpartansWire gets it – John U Bacon once sat at a table or was walking in an area or had a phone call with Don Canham and Don Canham was once an important figure for people who are members of The Circus.
But, since John U Bacon writes books that have to do with things other than The Circus from time to time and his latest one is about World War I, we’d like to think that John U Bacon has at least a basic sense of history.
And what we mean by that is that the quote that John U Bacon attributes to Don Canham (while genuflecting) has been attributed to some of these people too:
King Henry VIII.
General William Westmoreland.
Canham was a smart guy.
But, memo to John U Bacon:
Canham was an athletic director when the athletic director’s biggest challenge was making sure there were enough fully-inflated footballs for practice each afternoon.
But back to the issue at hand…
What’s going to happen on Saturday in East Lansing while Woody and Duffy settle in together at the Tavern In The Sky with beverages in hand?
First – here’s a reminder on the keys and storylines to this game that we laid out earlier this week –
CAN MICHIGAN STATE’S DEFENSE HANDLE OHIO STATE’S RUSHING ATTACK?
CAN MICHIGAN STATE’S DEFENSE LIMIT DWAYNE HASKINS AND THE BUCKEYES TO A MINIMAL AMOUNT OF BIG PLAYS THROUGH THE AIR?
CAN MICHIGAN STATE GENERATE ENOUGH OFFENSE TO HAVE THREE OR EVEN FOUR REDZONE OPPORTUNITIES?
CAN MICHIGAN STATE POP ONE OR TWO OR EVEN THREE BIG PLAYS THAT CAN GO FOR LONG SCORES?
CAN MICHIGAN STATE POSSESS THE FOOTBALL FOR A LONG ENOUGH TIME TO GOBBLE UP CLOCK, KEEP OHIO STATE’S OFFENSE ON THE SIDELINE, AND KEEP MICHIGAN STATE’S DEFENSE FRESH INTO THE 4TH QUARTER?
Not sure but probably.
CAN JOHN U BACON SEND OUT A TWITTER WITH THE DON CANHAM QUOTE AGAIN SOON?
We all hope so.
OHIO STATE – 24
MICHIGAN STATE – 30
Woody will gladly pay for the drinks all evening as he and Duffy swap stories, laugh about the glory years they both enjoyed together, and chuckle together about The Circus.