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Oh Boy, Blue!

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The earthquake Saturday afternoon?

It was the colossus of college football, Ohio State, being detonated from the ranks of the nation’s “unbeatable” football teams by Michigan’s Big Blue. The 24-12 temblor was heard around the world.

News Staff reporter Ron Cordray rode to the game in a shuttle bus and mixed with the fans in the stadium during the contest. Here is the report:

Some weren’t around for the fireworks which followed one of the biggest upsets in college football’s 100 years—but they were mostly Ohio State University fans.

Never has Michigan Stadium been the scene of more exuberance as thousands poured onto the tartan turf to scramble eagerly about and spell doom to the goal posts.

Others stood screaming wildly on seats they had bounced from on numerous occasions during the U-M victory over the badgered Buckeyes.

Never had the U-M’s “Victors” been sung with more vigor and enthusiasm. And thousands strained to just touch the goal post uprights that had been torn from the crossbar through sheer weight of numbers.

The uprights were passed through the stadium, from hand-to-hand, up the long rows and back down to the field again to disappear and perhaps become a trophy in some fraternity house.

The explosion of emotion had been built up through four quarters of play and ignited when the final seconds disappeared on the scoreboard between the 24 points recorded for Michigan and the 12 notched by Ohio State.

Parking areas became scenes of impromptu parties and the bottles—and what remained in them—were passed from hand to hand and mouth to mouth. Ohio State fans were hooted as they left the game early—after it was apparent the Buckeyes were going nowhere except down in the polls.

And on their way home, many Ohio motorists were confronted by a jeering chorus as they passed a fraternity house. Some of the brothers were standing on the balcony while another was on the street pointing to Ohio license plates.

“We’re number one” was one of the favorite sayings around Michigan Stadium, while many of the U-M fans paid tribute to Woody Hayes by serenading him with such old favorites as “Good-bye Woody, We’re Going to Miss You Now,” and “They’ll Hang Woody Hayes from a Sour Apple Tree.”

Despite the cheers of being number one, there were few who believed this prior to the game. A few faithfuls did, and proudly displayed their signs which were painted before the 1:30 p.m. kickoff time.

Ohio State fans were smug before kickoff, and it took awhile for the confidence to turn into despair. Most OSU fans sat at the south goal, and many were wearing the Buckeyes colors of red and white.

The Wolverine touchdown which put U-M ahead to stay was scored right below the noses of the OSU contingent of fans. But they didn’t believe it. And the remainder of the fans in the stadium didn’t believe it right away, either.

It was not until well into the fourth quarter that Michigan fans knew they had a winner. And hope turned into confidence, surprise into “I knew it all the time.” Ohio State had the ball on its own 42 yard line and it was fourth down with one yard to go.

Woody Hayes went for it, and his unbeatens fell short. For the fans, that was the game. They knew Ohio State was finished.

“We’ve got ‘em!” That was the general sentiment around the stadium.

For Ohio State partisans, the game started just as they expected. There was no great surprise on their part when Ohio ripped through Michigan early in the game to score. This was the Ohio State team they’re used to seeing. They weren’t too concerned when the extra point was missed. “It’ll just be one less point we beat ‘em by,” an OSU partisan bragged.

Ohio State fans sat watching with interest as Michigan scored and kicked the extra point to go ahead. No panic, however. Quiet confidence. But the quiet confidence wore thin as the OSU charges succumbed to Michigan. Mild concern replaced the earlier mood. And then mild concern with despair, and a few coeds wiped tears from eyes which probably had never seen an Ohio State team go down to defeat.

At the end for Ohio fans it was stunned silence, and the long walk back to the car or bus with still some six minutes left to play.

On the bus ride to the stadium, Ohio State fans were quite benevolent, “We came up to give you a send-off to the Rose Bowl,” said one fan. “We hope you get it (the bowl bid).” And the Ohio fans joked, “Should we start our second team or should we end it quickly with our first?” And they’d ask, “What happened to you when you played MSU?”

One Ohio knowledgeable told the bus riders why OSU was so good. “You see, we have only one major state college down there. There are no divided loyalties, so we get the pick of the best high school players.”

The police could find no evidence of ticket scalpers yesterday, with an officer saying the highest he was aske to pay for tickets was $6, which was the going rate. He said some were selling tickets for as little as $2.

At game time, which was switched from 1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., there were still hundreds of fans waiting in line to get inside the huge oval. If the game had started at 1:15 as originally announced, thousands would have missed the kickoff.

Aisle attendants were dumbfounded as they looked around what appeared to be a filled stadium while still thousands waited to get in. “Where are we going to put them?”

Many of the U-M fans couldn’t believe what they were witnessing down on the field. And some missed the second half as they celebrated too much during the first 30 minutes of play. Police had set up a special “drunk tank” at the first aid station and it was well used during the game.

But as it turned out, the first half was just about the game. Little did the fans know that as they roared out one by one the points Michigan had scored that that would be the end of the day’s scoring.

It was not the end of cheering and jeering, however. OSU fans screamed wildly whenever their team stopped Michigan. That was about all they had to cheer about.

And as the game progressed and Michigan was the apparent winner, the U-M fans became benevolent themselves. Early cries of “Kill Otis” were replaced by remarks such as “He (Otis) is a helluva player.”

Throughout the first half, planes circled the field advertising whiskey and restaurants. And at halftime—as though it was rushed in hurriedly though obviously it wasn’t—there was a plane advertising trips to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl at $144.

And one fan—who apparently looked at the national polls with realism—replied “Texas” when asked “Who’s number one?”

But for most fans here yesterday, the answer to that question was “Michigan,” and none of the Ohio partisans was seen to disagree with that judgment.

Superior Ambulance reported that some dozen people were taken to the hospital before, during and after the game. All were treated and released, according to hospital authorities.

Traffic plans instituted by the Ann Arbor police department worked well, considering the size of the crowd, according to a city police official. “In fact I thought the operation went exceptionally well,” he said. “You can’t expect it to clear up as fast as it would on a more normal football Saturday.”

Police termed the traffic “congested” until 7 p.m., about 1 ½ hours later than the usual clearup time of 5:30. Later in the evening police reported that traffic was not completely tied up but that assistance by police officers was still needed since traffic was heavy. During most of the evening, traffic was listed as “heavy” all through the perimeter area: Stadium, Plymouth and Washtenaw.

“We have had a big overload of everything from 10 in the morning to 7 p.m.” one police official said. Later in the evening things started to level off and the officers had a chance to catch up on their assignments, he said.

Police said there were no serious traffic accidents but a number of “fender-benders.”