Turkey Day Was Gameday At OSU

Ohio State is playing after Thanksgiving for the first time in several years, but the Buckeyes used to play on turkey day itself. Read about those 14 games in this look back at Ohio State history.

Nov. 27, 1890 – Kenyon 18, Ohio State 10: The first Ohio State game on Thanksgiving came at the end of OSU's inaugural football season. The opponent was Kenyon and the game, played at Recreation Park in Columbus, would be the first of many games between the Buckeyes and Lords on turkey day. Ohio State lost the game and finished its first campaign with a 1-4 record.

Nov. 24, 1892 – Ohio State 26, Kenyon 10: A crowd 1,200 watched Ohio State close out the season with a victory against a talented Kenyon team. The contest was initially scheduled to be played in the morning, but Kenyon's team decided to stay in nearby Gambier the night before for a dance instead of traveling all the way to Columbus. Thus the game started in the afternoon, something that irritated OSU fans at the game that had made plans for the holiday assuming the game would start in the morning.

The Buckeyes (5-3) used a new formation in the victory, something they called the "Ryder wedge." The win was not only significant on the field but off. The university netted $1,049 from the game, a big boost for OSU's athletic budget.

Nov. 30, 1893 – Kenyon 10, Ohio State 8: The Buckeyes played – and lost to – Kenyon for the second time in the 1893 season. Approximately 4,000 fans were on hand for the game, which OSU (4-5) led 4-0 at halftime. However, Kenyon took command in the second half. As the Lords took control, displeased fans took to the field and tore down a portion of the fence that surrounded the playing field. The game was halted until local police could calm the crowd.

Nov. 29, 1894 – Ohio State 20, Kenyon 4: The Buckeyes capped a 6-5 season with a win in the now annual rivalry game. Ohio State won four of its last five games and improved to 2-2 on Thanksgiving. Jack Ryder led the team in the second half of the season as coach after M.C. Lilley resigned midway through the campaign.

Nov. 28, 1895 – Ohio State 12, Kenyon 10: Members of the OSU football team were carried off the field as conquering heroes after the Buckeyes (4-4-2) broke a two-game losing streak with a win against rival Kenyon. It was the last game led by head coach Ryder – until he took over the job again in 1898. The win against Kenyon evened OSU's all-time football record at 22-22-2.

Nov. 26, 1896 – Kenyon 34, Ohio State 18: Fans who attended Ohio State home games could purchase concessions for the first time during the 1896 season, and Buckeye fans probably needed it as Kenyon thumped OSU. Fans could purchase candy, popcorn, peanuts and even flowers. They watched the Buckeyes finish the season 5-5-1.

Nov. 30, 1899 – Ohio State 5, Kenyon 0: First-year head coach John B.C. Eckstorm turned OSU's fortunes around in 1899, and that was evident with a season-ending victory over the Lords. The Buckeyes finished the season 9-0-1 and earned its first championship of the Ohio colleges.

Nov. 29, 1900 – Ohio State 23, Kenyon 5: Eckstorm led the Buckeyes to an 8-1-1 record in his second season, including another victory over the team Eckstorm had led before taking the OSU job – Kenyon. Ohio State rented extra bleachers from the Sells Brothers Circus for the Thanksgiving game, expanding the capacity from 700 to 2,000 – not including standing room. The large crowd watched the Buckeyes bounce back after a loss to Ohio Medical and a tie at Michigan in their previous two games.

Nov. 28, 1901 – Ohio State 11, Kenyon 6: The Buckeyes (5-3-1) closed the season with a home win against Kenyon, but the 1901 season is perhaps most memorable for the tragic accident that occurred Oct. 25. The Buckeyes defeated visiting Western Reserve, butlost center John Sigrist. He suffered serious neck damage during the game and died days later at Grant Hospital. He is the only player to ever lose his life playing football for Ohio State. OSU's next game was cancelled, and despite some calls to ban the sport, the Buckeyes decided to continue to play. Among those advocating for the sport were Charles Sigrist, John's brother and the Buckeyes' right tackle.

Nov. 27, 1902 – Ohio State 6, Indiana 6: New head coach Perry Hale led the Buckeyes in 1902, and OSU finished his first season with a tie against the visiting Hoosiers. The Buckeyes (6-2-2) started the season 4-0 before closing the campaign 2-2-2.

Nov. 26, 1903 – Indiana 17, Ohio State 16: A narrow loss to Indiana closed not only the 1903 season but the reign of Hale. Ohio State (8-3) scored three touchdowns, which were worth five points then, but missed two extra points. The Hoosiers earned the victory by scoring three touchdowns, converting all of their extra points and making a field goal – also worth five points.

Nov. 24, 1904 – Carlisle Indians 23, Ohio State 0: Legendary Glenn "Pop" Warner brought his team to Columbus and dominated the Buckeyes. Ohio State, playing under first-year head coach E.R. Sweetland, lost five of its last seven games after starting the season 4-0. Warner would perfect several offensive innovations while at Carlisle, including the overhand spiral throw and the fake hand-off.

Nov. 28, 1907 – Ohio State 16, Ohio Wesleyan 0: The Bishops were held scoreless in the final OSU game of the 1907 season. The Buckeyes (7-2-1) finished the season with two straight wins after dropping a game against Case on Nov. 16. The team was led by head coach Albert Herrnstein, a Michigan graduate who led the team from 1906-1909.

Nov. 28, 1912 – Michigan State 35, Ohio State 20: In the final Thanksgiving game Ohio State has played, the Buckeyes lost to the then-Aggies at Ohio Field. MSU rallied from a 20-14 deficit through three quarters. Ohio State finished the season 6-3 and with losses in two of its last three contests. Head coach John Richards resigned shortly after the game.


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