The first Ohio State University football team took the field in 1890 before football was even a traditional fall sport with the inaugural game being played in May. Later that same year football returned in the fall and an area tradition of autumn kickoff parties was born. With nowhere to go but up after suffering a 64-0 shellacking in their first home game the initial defeat was fortunately not an omen of things to come further down the road. Still the early road was rocky during the first few years as OSU encountered a significant pothole in the form of a dismiss 1897 season in which the squad had only 1 win to 7 losses. The earliest encounter with now hated rival the University of Michigan Wolverines occurred in the same season when the team from Ann Arbor, Michigan soundly defeated the Columbus, Ohio boys by a definitive score of 34-0.
After the embarrassing manner in which the football program began the administration realized they had to do something to right the ship and the specific action they took was to recruit the services of a man that became the first coach hired by OSU. With the help of a professional coaching staff that was led by the John Eckstorm the program quickly turned things around and enjoyed their first undefeated season in the fall of 1899. The Ohio State University Buckeyes football program has enjoyed 9 undefeated seasons to date.
In spite of their newfound success on the field the Ohio State University Buckeye football program encountered a truly tragic obstacle when a player was killed in a game as a result of a blow he took to the head. The on field fatality occurred in 1901 and as a result the program barely sustained itself into the twentieth century.
Today some 400,000 plus living OSU alumni along with countless other fans around the globe are thankful every fall Saturday that the Ohio State Buckeyes football history did not simply come to a screeching halt more than a hundred years ago when the setbacks of losing seasons and the tragic loss of life could have easily put an end to OSU football before it really even began.
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Members of Buckeye nation as asked to spread this piece on the early history of their beloved football program to other interested parties.