COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Cooper’s first Ohio State-Michigan game was everything an Ohio State-Michigan game is supposed to be – and then some.

Michigan entered the game already assured at least a share of the Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. The Wolverines were a heavy favorite over the host Buckeyes.

For a while, at least, it looked like the oddsmakers knew what they were talking about.

Michigan jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and lead 20-0 at the half. The Wolverines dominated the statistics the first 30 minutes, outgaining OSU 313 to 116 in total yards.

But it would have been a mistake to head for the exits at intermission.

Sparked by the running of sophomore tailback Carlos Snow, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback that turned an apparent rout into one of the greatest games ever played between the two Big Ten giants.

With 8:30 left in the game, Ohio State took a 24-20 lead and had scored on all four second-half possessions.

Back came Michigan. The Wolverines scored with 4:20 to go on an eight-yard Leroy Hoard run and led 27-24.

Again Ohio State rallied. Starting on their own eight, the Buckeyes moved 92 yards in six plays, fullback Bill Matlock bulldozing into the end zone from 16 yards out. The clock showed 2:02 remaining.

But Michigan still had something left. With 1:37 to play, Demetrius Brown and John Kolesar hooked up on a 41-yard TD that was set up by Kolesar’s 59-yard kick return. It was the final score of a wild second half in which the two teams combined for 45 points and Ohio State amassed 353 yards.

Snow finished with a career-high 170 yards on 25 carries, 106 of those yards coming in the second half. Pat O’Morrow’s 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter was his 18th of the year, tying the OSU single-season record.



Date League Season Attendance
November 19, 1988 Ohio State 1988 90,176


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Ohio Stadium