Drive-Thru: #1 Ohio State v. #10 Purdue, 1969

Posted by Vico in Buckeye Lore |

Gotta love the old game programs.
Gotta love the old game programs.
The Buckeyes, fresh from routing the previously undefeated Wisconsin Badgers with an impressive display of defense and special teams, now turn their attention west… to West Lafayette.  That is, the Buckeyes next go on the road to play Purdue.  I’ve uploaded an opponent-relevant YouTube for every game this season, but this game I’m particularly proud to have in my collection.  40 years ago, the #1 ranked Buckeyes played host to the #10 Boilermakers, quarterbacked by Mike Phipps1.  The Boilermakers fared no better than any other foe on Ohio State’s schedule to that point.  Outscoring their opponents by an average of 47-7, the defending national champions gave Purdue a rude awakening on a cold, windy and snowy senior day.  The Buckeyes won 42-14, and it was a score that could’ve been a lot worse for the Boilermakers.  The Buckeyes left, what I counted, to be points on the board 3 times in that game.  They could’ve reasonably pushed their point total into the 60s.  Meanwhile, Purdue’s mighty offense in 1969 needed a garbage time TD to get into double digits against the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s offense started this game slowly, punting on their first two possessions. They got their breakthrough when a botched snap stymied Purdue’s field goal attempt on their second drive of the game.  Ohio State took over and promptly drove half the field en route to a QB draw and TD for Rex Kern.  They responded on their next drive with a field goal and a 9-0 lead.  Afterwards, the flood gates broke for Purdue’s defense and offense.  Mike Phipps threw an interception to Tim Anderson that was returned to the Purdue 5 before the ball was walked back because of Jack Tatum’s block in the back.  No matter, Ohio State marched down the field and took it in for six and a 15-0 lead2.  Mike Phipps threw another INT on Purdue’s next drive, this time to Mike Sensibaugh.  After the runback put the ball within the Purdue’s 5, a Kern dive led Ohio State to a 22-0 lead.  Purdue punted on their next possession and, a few plays into the Ohio State drive, Rex Kern threw the rare forward pass for a 39 yard bomb to Jan White and score.  Purdue did return the ensuing kickoff for a TD to cut the lead to 28-7, and Rex Kern followed that with the dumbest possible interception to give Purdue the ball in scoring position.  Fortunately, Mike Phipps found the waiting arms of Mike Sensibaugh, again, for his third interception of the game3.  A Kern kneel brought the Buckeyes into intermission not having punted since their second possession of the first quarter.  They had just bombarded the #10 team in the country, led by the conference’s most prolific quarterback (and eventual Big Ten MVP and Heisman runner-up), and were not going to let up when they came back from halftime.

Purdue started the second half with the ball, but quickly punted.  Leo Hayden’s 59 yard scamper set up his eventual goal line score, giving Ohio State a 35-7 lead,  Purdue set up to punt on their next possession.  Larry Zelina took it to the house, putting the margin at 42-7 with 10 minutes and 58 seconds left in the third quarter.  This was essentially the backbreaker for Purdue.  Ohio State, who last punted on their second drive of the game, would not punt again until the end of the third quarter.  Meanwhile, Mike Phipps — the all-everything quarterback of the offensive juggernaut Purdue Boilermakers — was finding the turf and Ohio State defenders as much as he was finding his receiving options.  Jim Stillwagon was unblockable; Mike Sensibaugh, Tree Provost and Tim Anderson were everywhere where they were not welcome; Larry Zelina was a first down every time he touched the ball, Jim Otis knocked two Purdue defenders out on a goal-line score and Jack Tatum was clotheslining people.  Even Woody Hayes, who usually had his starters play close to the length of the game, started to substitute liberally in the third quarter.  The backup QB — Ron Maciejowski — played almost the entire 4th quarter.  Purdue’s mighty offense would only get on the scoreboard with a garbage time TD for Mike Phipps with under 2 minutes left to play in the game.  When the final gun sounded, Ohio State had routed the #10 Boilermakers in a performance that the New York Times described as frightening.

The quality of this game isn’t very good.  It is, after all, a radio feed spliced in with coaches footage.  Nevertheless, this game is one of my favorites in my possession.  As you watch this, I think you see the death of one era and the beginning of another.  If you’re watching this game and see that it’s Purdue during the “Big 2 Little 8″ era and think that we had just routed a conference patsy, you’d be mistaken.  Purdue was damn good this year.  Their only loss this season came to freshman coach Bo Schembechler’s Wolverines.  They averaged 35 points a game.  If you factor out the Michigan and Ohio State losses, that number goes into the high 40s.  They beat Jim Plunkett’s Stanford Cardinal in a thriller and housed Notre Dame whose only other loss would be to the hands of the national champion Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl.  Mike Phipps was a Heisman runner-up for a reason.  This was the height of Purdue’s “Quarterback U” era, where the Boilermakers were led by Bob Griese, Mike Phipps and, our ol’ buddy, Gary Danielson in succession.  They were one of the best teams of the Big Ten in the late 60s and Ohio State beat the hell out of them this game.  Afterwards, Purdue’s legendary coach Jack Mollenkopf stepped down, and was replaced Bob DeMoss.  DeMoss won 13 games in 3 years and was replaced by Alex Agasse, who won 18 games in 4 years.  Buckeye and Wolverines fans know about the “Big 2 Little 8″ era of Big Ten football, where the 10 Year War decided the conference’s fate.  Basically, Purdue was the last domino to fall.  Michigan State, Purdue (and to some degree: Indiana) all had some success in the mid to late 1960s, but the Spartans and Hoosiers were middle of the pack at best by the end of the decade.  Purdue held on to success later than the rest.  After this game, Mollenkopf’s Boilers had their swan song against the Hoosiers (a 44-21 win), but this game against the Buckeyes may have been the death nail.

Game is below, if you’re interested.  And, no, we’re not going to talk about the Ohio State game that came after this one.

  1. ‘amemba him, Browns fans? []
  2. Ohio State missed 3 point afters this game. []
  3. He apparently finished with 5, but I could only locate 4. []


Written by: Vico | full bio

Vico is the nom de guerre of the founder and current website chair of Our Honor Defend. He is currently living in exile in Alabama.


10 Responses to “Drive-Thru: #1 Ohio State v. #10 Purdue, 1969”

  1. 1 Kip

    I love the old videos as much as you do and wish there were more quality ones available.

    Ron Maciejowski(#18) was Kern’s backup. Also I am pretty sure my dad is visible during the mop up time. Not sure if I wanna say what number he is because he kind of blows a block…..

  2. 2 Vico

    Thanks for that Kip. Now I remember him, his entry into the next game in favor of the benched Kern, and his son playing for Minnesota recently.

  3. 3 Dan Isaacs

    Jack Mollenkopf was also a coach at my High School (Toledo Waite), and our stadium is named in his honor. :)

  4. 4 Vico

    Oh that reminds me Kip. You have no idea how impossible it is to find a video of a Big Ten game from this era that wasn’t played in either Ohio Stadium or Michigan Stadium… and wasn’t played between Ohio State and Michigan. I love a good ol’ fashioned rout (what every other Big Ten game involving Ohio State usually degenerated into), but I guess ABC at the time wasn’t interested in dedicating a broadcast to a game where Ohio State beats Wisconsin or Minnesota 62-0. Philistines.

  5. 5 KLEM

    Thanks for the great upload!

  6. 6 TheBuckeye00

    I remember my brother bringing home a program from the OSU vs TCU game . It had the same kind of cover on it ,,, A cartoonized OSU Football player holding a TCU by it`s Angel wings !

  7. 7 Ken

    Vico, thanks for the posting, I’d forgotten about this game. I did remember the previous year’s game when Purdue had Phipps and LeRoy Keys. Ah, memories…

  8. 8 MikeLew

    Great work, Vico- I love it. Just one question- would it be “points after”, rather than “point afters”?

  9. 9 Chad

    How did we manage to get Purdue back to back to back times at home! 67, 68, and 69!!!!

  10. 10 Robert Nozar

    I was at this game. It was played in Columbus.

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