Ohio State

1956 - 59 Buckeyes
(Authentic Reproduction)



The season began with a new helmet addition, and with the Buckeyes serving a one-year probation and bowl ban. The light gray Riddell RK helmet with one-inch red center stripe now sported black two-inch “NCAA style” identifying numerals on each side and most had a one or two-bar mask. The probation stemmed from what had seemed to Hayes, an innocent oversight. In a kinder and gentler era, Hayes admitted what head college coaches often did, that he had casually loaned some of his players small amounts of money in times of need, out of his own pocket while not realizing this was a violation of NCAA rules. More significantly, the inquiry into Hayes' actions, deemed innocent of intent though still against the rules, led to an investigation of an athletes' job program and it was discovered that some players from almost all of OSU’s varsity sports were being paid for no-show jobs. It was this that led to the punishment. Despite the talent of two-way tackle Jim Parker who was All Everything and the Outland Trophy winner before heading off to a spectacular career as both an OG and OT for the Colts and a ticket to the Pro as well as College Football Halls Of Fame, there was a slight drop to a 6-3 mark. The disappointment came due to a lack of scoring punch in the last two games which included a loss to hated Michigan. Along the way, the in-Conference seventeen game win streak was broken in the loss to Iowa. QB Frank Ellwood again led the team, staying on the field for an average of fifty-five minutes per game. Soph HB Don Clark was an immediate force and Jim Roseboro provided experienced backfield leadership and ability running behind Parker and tough guard/LB Aurealius Thomas. Future stardom was being predicted for second-string two-way back Dick LeBeau and tough guard/LB Bill Jobko.    




An opening day 18-14 loss to TCU was the only glitch in a superb 9-1 season that included a 10-7 Rose Bowl win over Oregon. This was a team loaded with future pros. Tackles Jim Marshall and Dick Schafrath, soph end Jim Houston out of Massilon, and guard/LB Bill Jobko, all had NFL futures as linemen and linebackers yet the best in '57 was guard Aurealius Thomas, a consensus All American and eventual College Football Hall Of Fame member. Thomas was an inspirational leader who played an average of fifty-seven minutes in each game. Jobko plied his trade as a rough-and-tumble LB for the Rams for five seasons and finished his career with the Vikings and Falcons as a productive player. Don Clark led the rushers with 797 yards but Dick LeBeau saw a lot of action as did soph FB Bob White. They overcame a Wisconsin lead to procure victory, and in a must-win game against powerhouse Iowa, had a final sixty-eight yard on-the-ground drive spearheaded by White to capture the conference title 17-13. Winning the Rose Bowl gave them the UPI National Crown and they were second to Auburn in the AP poll. Hayes really silenced his critics being named National Coach Of The Year and doing it his way as the three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense rolled up 3126 yards on the ground and only 672 via passing.


1958 presented Buckeye fans with another loaded team and the pre-season number one ranking so the excellent 6-1-2 and number-seven national finish, sullied by an inconsistent offense was a downer for many partisans. The backfield featured HB's Dick LeBeau who perhaps played better on defense (and did so for fourteen years with the Lions before becoming a long-time NFL defensive coordinator and head coach of the Bengals), Don Clark, and junior FB Bob White who was named All American. Overlooked was White's excellent play at LB primarily because he carried the football an incredible 218 times without ever losing a yard. The backups were sophs Tom Matte and Jim Herbstreit. Tackle Jim Marshall and end Jim Houston were also All Americans. Houston was a two-way ironman and it may surprise some that Marshall was a very competent pass receiver. Schafrath was a great blocker from his OT position and was the number-two Browns' pick, having a productive career from '59 through 1971. With future pro Jim Tyrer also on the line, the Bucks were devastating. The season turned on a 21-0 loss to upstart Northwestern and Hayes made news by rushing the officials at mid-field during the Indiana contest to protest a call. When 1959’s football season began, end Jim Marshall had been lost for academic reasons but surfaced to begin an outstanding twenty-year NFL career, all but his first season with the Browns, spent as a member of the Vikings. Jim Houston again was a great end and consensus All American. A 2006 entry to the College Football Hall Of Fame for his outstanding two-way play, he averaged over fifty-six minutes per game in his final two years, both of which saw him as team MVP. After terrorizing the Big 10, Houston went on to captain the Browns as their number-one draft pick, for seven of his thirteen years and made four Pro Bowls. T Tyrer moved in next to Houston with G Ernie Wright and the line moved people out of the way for FB White (who had an injury-shortened one-season career with the Oilers) and newcomer Bob Ferguson, their leading ball carrier who ran from left HB. Wright was just as effective in a thirteen-year pro career with the Chargers and Bengals at OT. HB Tom Matte was moved to QB and the ex-track champion was effective on the roll-out options although the offense was woeful for much of the year, leading to their disappointing 3-5-1 mark, Hayes' first losing season. In the Michigan game, Hayes bared the cold weather as he stripped off his jacket and hurled it to the ground, spending much of the afternoon railing at officials as the Bucks lost to the hated Wolverines.

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