The second installment of the Michigan-Ohio State series takes us to 1960. Bump Elliott was in his second year as Michigan’s head coach, and a nicer guy you couldn’t find. Unfortunately, his teams often reflected that, and as we know from recent events, that isn’t always a good thing. It wasn’t very good in 1960, either.
Contrast that with Woody Hayes, who was in his 10th season as Ohio State’s head coach in 1960. Hayes had a tendency to ruffle some feathers from time to time, and he seemed to take pleasure in ruffling all things maize and blue. In 1960, it was the Ohio State defense that did most of the ruffling.
Still, the Wolverines weren’t in the habit of letting their rivals walk all over them, and for more than three quarters, their defense matched the Buckeyes, and with only minutes to go, there was still no score. That’s when Hayes turned to his fullback, Bob Ferguson. In the early ‘60s, fullbacks did more than just block, and Ferguson’s bulldozing style fit the Bucks’ offense perfectly. With a little more than two minutes left, Ferguson rumbled 17 yards for the only score of the game, and the Buckeyes went on to win, 7-0, the exact reverse of the score they lost by in the first game that Hayes coached against Michigan.
Oddly enough, it was the final game of the season for both teams. Michigan finished 5-4, with a record of 3-4 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State finished with a record of 7-2, and 5-2 in the Big Ten. The Big Ten champions? The Minnesota Golden Gophers, who finished the regular season with a record of 8-2, and a 6-1 mark in Big Ten play. The folks in Columbus might not be too happy with that, since Minnesota didn’t play Ohio State in 1960. Following the season, the Gophers made their way to Pasadena, where they were soundly defeated by Washington in the Rose Bowl, 17-7.
I’d like to thank the folks at the Bentley Historical Library for their capsule on the 1960 Michigan football team. As always, I own none of the material presented.