Ohio State

1954 - 55 Buckeyes
(Authentic Reproduction)





A National Championship, an undefeated 10-0 season, a Rose Bowl victory, a first-team consensus All Ameican halfback and third-place vote-getter in the  Heisman Trophy voting is enough to get you off the hot seat. Hayes' '54 season was a curt reminder to his critics that he could in fact, coach well and proved to be the turning point in his career. With elusive HB Howard "Hopalong" Cassady and end Dean Dugger as the vote-getters, powerful guards Jim Parker and Bob Myers, who caught on with the Colts for the following season, the team was loaded with talent. HB Bobby Watkins again led the team in scoring and then went on to the Bears and Cardinals, and QB Dave Leggett (Cardinals in '55) was quite dependable. The 20-14 win over Iowa was the closest game of the year and USC got whomped 20-7 in the Rose Bowl with Leggett the game MVP. It wasn't only offense, as the defense, which gave up but seventy-five points all season, held Heisman winner Alan Ameche of Wisconsin to forty-two yards with two-way lineman Parker and LB Hubert Bobo leading the charge. Another season highlight was a change in the helmet, with the base color altered from white, to a shell of light gray which contrasted nicely with the red one-inch center stripe.


With Cassady as good on defense as he was on offense, the faithful expected another great season in ‘55. The eleven game winning streak was broken in a nationally televised game against Stanford and they lost 20-14 to Duke to finish at 7-2 but still won a second consecutive Big Ten title. HB’s Cassady and Watkins were the leading rushers in the Big Ten and the Bucks averaged over 300 yards per game on the ground. HB Jim Roseboro and left guard Parker were the other big guns with Parker being named All American. Against Iowa, Parker squared off with the Outland Trophy winner, Calvin Jones and with both wearing number 62, it was one end of Ohio with Parker from Toledo, against the other with Jones from Steubenville, in a battle of titans. QB Frank Ellwood directed the attack. LB/FB Hubert Bobo left school early and later played LB for the AFL Chargers and Titans. Cassady finished his career with a total of 2374 yards and posted thirty-seven TD's. He was a unanimous All-American,  won the Heisman Trophy, and was Big Ten MVP before moving to the NFL where he played DB, HB, and flanker for the Lions for six seasons before spending another three years with three teams. Cassady was later elected to the College Football Hall Of Fame.   





It took three of Ohio State’s greatest players to break the records held by halfback Howard Cassady, the Central High School star who grew up in Columbus. A two-time All American in 1954 and ’55, Cassady’s rushing record of 2466 yards was broken in 1969 by Jim Otis. His 222 points was exceeded by All American Pete Johnson in 1975. His accumulated total of 4403 yards was surpassed by two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin in 1974 and perhaps it would take someone as great as Griffin to do this. A Heisman winner also, Cassady topped off his great senior season by being awarded the Maxwell Trophy and being named the Associated Press Athlete Of The Year. A two-way halfback who reputedly did not have one pass completed to the man he was guarding in four years of college football, he put in four sixty-minute performances in 1955 and was the Big Ten MVP. A fine baseball player for the Buckeyes, Cassady went on to nine years in the NFL, the first seven with the Lions where he teamed with Bobby Lane and John Henry Johnson in their backfield but primarily played in the defensive secondary. He finished his pro career with the Browns and Eagles and then was a successful businessman as well as a scout and minor league coach for the New York Yankees organization.

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