Skull Session: Fielding Yost sabotages Ohio State in 1922, the Buckeyes are an elite team and Zach Harrison is playing his best football in his fourth year

One. More. Sleep.

It’s time for Ohio State to beat Michigan. Whatever it takes.

Let’s have a nice Friday, shall we?

SABOTAGE. Buckeye fans have long wondered if famed Michigan football coach Fielding Yost played a role in ruining Ohio State’s 1922 season by derailing it four days before the Buckeyes took the field for their first game.

According to the letters uncovered by Neal E. Boudette of The New York Times, absolutely, unequivocally yes, and Boudette proved it in his latest article:

Michigan and Ohio State, who meet Saturday as the jockeys battle it out for the national championship, have one of the most intense and deep rivalries in American sports.

However, the origin of this hostility has long been debated. Never was the rivalry more heated than in the epic “Ten Year War” from 1969 to 1978, when Bo Schembechler coached Michigan against his former mentor Woody Hayes. Some historians also point to the 34-0 drubbing by Ohio State in 1934, when the Buckeyes started the tradition of awarding small pendants to players to commemorate each victory over Michigan.

But correspondence from the school’s archives recently discovered by The New York Times sheds new light on an even earlier story, one of betrayal and revenge stemming from a 1922 play that is adding new fuel to the century-old feud.

The letters show that Michigan coach Fielding Yost learned from a graduate that Ohio State’s star quarterback was ineligible to play entering the 1922 season and that Yost strategically took steps behind the scenes that led to the athlete’s suspension just days before the season began . .

When the rivalry game hit later that season, Michigan won 19-0, spoiling the opening fanfare of the newly constructed horseshoe-shaped Ohio Stadium.

Yost, called an “evil genius” by Michigan football historian John U. Bacon, was so discreet in his moves to sabotage Ohio State that when Boudette was contacted by spokespeople for both programs, they were unaware of the background of the 1922 game and that Yost had played. part in Ohio State’s quarterback suspension.

Here’s how Yost got away with it — at least for 100 years:

The Buckeyes had high hopes for the 1922 season as their offense was powered by Noel Workman, the West Virginia quarterback nicknamed Dopey, and his halfback brother Harry. The Workman brothers chose Ohio State over Michigan in 1919.

But about a week before the season started, Ohio State announced some devastating news. Evidence emerged that Noel Workman, the quarterback, was no longer allowed to play college football because he played at a small school in West Virginia in 1917. Players were limited to three seasons of eligibility at the time, and Workman reached that limit once. season at West Virginia and two at Ohio State. The final decision to disqualify Workman was made by John L. Griffith, the Big Ten commissioner who was responsible for enforcing eligibility rules.

The decision, Ohio State’s student newspaper, The Lantern, reported, deprived Ohio State of “the strangest quarterback” in the conference and “the man most of its faith was placed in this season.” Head coach John Wilce moved Harry Workman to quarterback and the Buckeyes’ offense sputtered early in the season. And against Michigan, in front of a crowd of more than 70,000 fans packed into the bleachers plus additional chairs and stands, Harry Workman threw an interception that was returned for a Michigan touchdown.

The game was so lopsided that Buckeyes fans began heading for the exits in the third quarter, leaving their new building to raving Michigan fans. Ohio State alumni “raised their eyebrows and listened,” the Detroit Free Press reported. The Michigan band, along with about 5,000 Wolverines fans, marched through the streets of Columbus and played their fight song, “Hail to the Victors,” according to The Lansing State Journal.

As Boudette continued his article, he revealed the discovered letters between a man named Lou Barringer and Yost. The men were friends, and Barringer even pushed for Noel Workman to go to Michigan to play football before he chose Ohio State.

In Barringer’s letter, he shared evidence that Noel Workman played a year of football at Bethany College in 1917—a circumstance difficult to track at the time—which meant Workman would only be eligible for two seasons at Ohio State. This information, unknown to the Buckeyes, would be used by Yost to derail his rival’s season before it began.

Yost wrote back to Barringer: “This matter will be treated as completely confidential as far as any names are concerned.”

By then, Yost had begun pushing the Big Ten Conference to appoint an athletic commissioner to enforce athlete eligibility rules. Yost’s running mate for the post — Griffith — filled the seat in July.

Two months later, Ohio State began preseason practice with Noel Workman running the offense without knowing what was in store. Then, in a letter dated Oct. 3 — four days before Ohio State’s first game and 18 days before it was scheduled to face Michigan — Griffith wrote a letter informing the university that Noel Workman appeared to be ineligible for football.

Ohio State officials protested, but Griffith didn’t budge, and the Buckeyes were forced to come up with a new offense days before the season opener.

As mentioned above, Ohio State lost that game 19-0 to Michigan. And it was all because Yost played the long game and worked slowly behind the scenes to make sure he could destroy the Buckeyes all season long.

Tricky stuff. I mean, really erratic. But it’s things like that that make this rivalry so great. One hundred years later, Ohio State can avenge the loss the Buckeyes suffered because of such a trick, and it will be amazing when they do.

ELITE TEAM. Ohio State is an elite football team. We know it. Michigan knows this. The entire college football world knows it. But what makes the Buckeyes elite?

FOX’s Joel Klatt breaks down some of the reasons Ohio State has been so dominant this season and discusses how the team could use those things to their advantage in Saturday’s battle with the Wolverines.

Spoiler: This video talks a lot about CJ Stroud, Marvin Harrison Jr., Ryan Day, Jim Knowles and many other big names. But honestly, it really is that surprising that these names are associated with the word “elite”?

I can’t wait to see how all those things play out this weekend. It will be pure joy.

ZACH HARRISON, EVERYONE. When Zach Harrison arrived in college as a top-five recruit in 2019, he was viewed as a player already on his way to becoming the next Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa or Chase Young. That’s not exactly how things turned out for the native of Lewis Center, Ohio.

On this week’s episode of Big Ten Network’s The Journey, Harrison told the story of his time at Ohio State. Now in his fourth season with the program, he’s realized he never had to be the next Bosa or Young to make a significant impact on the Buckeyes — he just had to be Zach Harrison.

Ryan Day has said on more than one occasion this season that Harrison is playing the best football of his college career in 2022. On The Ryan Day Radio Show Wednesday, the Ohio State head coach took that idea a step further.

“I think he’s one of the most powerful and productive defensive ends in the country right now,” Day said.

And Day is right.

This season, Harrison has 26 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, three pass deflections and an interception in 11 games. His production in recent weeks has been off the charts, especially against Maryland. Last weekend, Harrison tallied five tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks and a forced fumble on the Terps’ final offensive drive that led to a Steele Chambers touchdown to give Ohio State a 43-30 win.

This — the stats, the impact, all of it — is what Zach Harrison can do for Ohio State when he plays himself and doesn’t try to be something he’s not (ie. Bosa or Young). The Buckeyes will take what they offer seven days a week and twice on Saturdays.

Harrison will continue his spectacular season this weekend against Michigan in what he calls “more than a game.”

I’m serious. What better holiday is there for Zeke—the man who’s always trying to get something to eat—to feast on than when we’re all stuffing our faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever other food we can fit on our plates?

I will answer that. No it is not.

Elliott had his best performance of the year Thursday, rushing for a season-high 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and adding one catch for 3 yards in the Cowboys’ 28-20 win over the New York Giants.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent seasons that Elliott isn’t the same runner he was when he first broke into the league and is therefore “washed up.” But with performances like the one against the Giants, I don’t think he’s going to let up anytime soon.

Elliott may not be the same player he was in his early years in the NFL, but he’s far from washed up. This season, Zeke has rushed 124 times for 485 yards and six touchdowns in nine games. The Cowboys are 8-3 and could make the playoffs in a few months. The former Ohio State linebacker will play an integral role in some of Dallas’ biggest games to help them reach the postseason, and he’s certainly up for the task.

After all, Elliott always played best on the biggest stages when he was a Buckeye. Why would that change years later?

SONG OF THE DAY. “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys.

CUT TO THE HUNT. All we want for Christmas is… Spam Figgy Pudding?… Winston the French Bulldog wins the National Dog Show… Steve Martin has no regrets about his rental car tirade in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”… Robot baristas are taking over California cafe.

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