UM 10 - OSU 10
The 1973 game had all the making of another classic match-up between the Buckeyes and Wolverines. Both came into the game undefeated; Ohio was rated number one in the country and Michigan was number four; the conference title, trip to the Rose Bowl and a possible national championship were all at stake. An NCAA record crowd of 105,233 packed Michigan Stadium and millions more watched the showdown on national television.
On a rain-slicked artificial turf, both teams stuck to a pounding running game - Ohio had 0 yards passing and Michigan just 90, in playing to a 10-10 tie. The post-game controversy over who would go to the Rose Bowl would prove to be as emotionally charged as the game itself.
Archie Griffin breaks one around end
After a scoreless first quarter, in which the Buckeyes could not make a first down, Ohio got on the board with a 31-yard field goal by Blair Conway. Gil Chapman returned the ensuing kick-off to the Ohio 29, but a clipping penalty brought the ball all the way back to the Michigan 12. The Wolverines never got out of the hole and OSU enjoyed excellent field position the rest of the half. Following an exchange of punts, Ohio had the ball on its own 45. With Archie Griffin gaining 41 yards on five carries, the Buckeyes moved to the five yard line. Freshman fullback Pete Johnson bulled in for the touchdown with less than a minute left in the half. Griffin led the Ohio offense with 99 yards rushing in the half.
The second half would be different. Michigan's defense stiffened, holding Griffin to 65 yards and the offense outgained the Buckeyes 209 yards to 91. Michigan took the second half kick-off and marched to the Ohio 32 before Neal Colzie intercepted a Dennis Franklin pass in the end zone. The turning point in game came midway through the third quarter. Ohio had moved the ball to the Michigan 34. On 4th and 2, quarterback Cornelius Greene called his own number on an audible and was stopped at the 33 by Jeff Prelinger and Steve Strinko.
Ed Shuttlesworth pounded the Ohio line for 116 yards.
Michigan took over and Franklin engineered a 11-play drive, relying mainly on fullback Ed Shuttlesworth, who ran for 116 yards on the day. Mike Lantry kicked a 30 yard field goal to make the score 10-3.
The drive for the tying touchdown started on the Michigan 49 following a short Ohio punt midway through the 4th quarter. Franklin connected with Paul Seal for 35 yards, moving the ball deep into Buckeye territory. On fourth and inches from the 10 yard line, Franklin faked to Shuttlesworth up the middle then slid between the OSU tackle and end to score standing-up. Lantry made the extra point to tie the game.
Michigan was moving the ball again, from their own 11 to the OSU 49, when Franklin was hit while throwing to Shuttlesworth. He landed hard on his right shoulder, breaking his collar bone. Two plays later Lantry's 58 yard field goal attempt had the distance, but sailed just inches wide of the left goalpost.
Dennis Franklin ran for 1 td
and had Michigan on the
march when he suffered a
broken collar bone.
Hayes sent in reserve quarterback Hare, a better passer than Greene, to try to pull out a win, but Tom Drake picked off Hare's first throw and returned it to the Ohio 33. Michigan moved the ball to the 28 before using its final time-out. On third down, with 28 seconds on the clock, Lantry set up for a 44-yard field attempt. His kick went wide right. Three Hare passes fell incomplete and the game was over.
Neither team was satisfied with the tie, but Michigan felt better about it than the Buckeyes. The Wolverine players and coaches felt they had outplayed the favored Ohioans and had earned the Rose Bowl bid. Woody Hayes acknowledged as much, saying "We had to win this one to go to the Rose Bowl."
The decision on who would go to the Rose Bowl, who would "best represent the Big Ten," rested with the Big Ten athletic directors. Speculation was rampant. Did Michigan's strong second half tip the balance in its favor? Would Franklin's injury work against Michigan? Was Woody Hayes lobbying behind the scenes?
The decision was announced Sunday afternoon. In a secret ballot, the nod was given to Ohio State. "Bo" Schembechler was outraged, convinced his players had been robbed of what they had earned on the field. Franklin's injured shoulder probably tipped the vote to Ohio State, but "Bo" had his suspicions. He implied that Big Ten Commissioner Wayne Duke had influenced the vote in Ohio State's favor, and that "There were petty jealousies involved and they used the injury to Dennis Franklin as a scapegoat." Woody Hayes acknowledged that the Franklin injury may have been a factor, but argued, "What probably influenced the director's more than Franklin's injury was the fact that the coaches who faced our team and Michigan said Ohio State was the tougher opponent."
Despite Bo's protests, hundreds letters to the editor and threats of lawsuits by indignant Michigan fans, Ohio State went to the Rose Bowl and broke the Big Ten's losing streak with a 42-21 win over Southern California.