Dazzling Debuts - 3
These articles discuss the first regular season, bowl, or playoff game
of a college or pro player, coach, or team.
Dazzling Debut: Archie Griffin
These articles discuss the first regular season, bowl, or playoff game of a college or pro player, coach, or team.

September 30, 1972: North Carolina @ Ohio State

TB Archie Griffin
Archie Griffin

Coach Woody Hayes
Woody Hayes




Archie Griffin

The article on this game in the next day's Lima (OH) News started like this.

Archie Griffin, an 18-year-old freshman who up until four days ago had never attended an Ohio State University class and who eight weeks ago came within an eyelash of enrolling at Northwestern Uni­versity, shattered the Ohio State all-time single game rushing record here Saturday afternoon as he sparked the Buckeyes to a 29-14 non­conference win over North Carolina.

Playing in his first collegiate contest, Griffin smashed the alltime record of 229 yards set in 1945 by Ollie Cline (against Pittsburgh) when he blasted 11 yards for a touchdown with 4:14 remaining in the fourth quarter pushing his day's rushing total to 239 yards in 27 carries. Grif­fin, listed at 5-10 and 185 pounds, was graduated from Columbus Eastmoor High School in June. And only a spirited sales talk by assis­tant coach Ed Ferkany convinced Griffin that he'd enjoy playing foot­ball more in Columbus than in Evanston Ill.

What the writer didn't know was that another assistant coach had gone to bat for Archie with Coach Woody Hayes just before the season started.

  • Woody didn't agree with the NCAA rules change that year allowing fresh­men to play varsity athletics.
  • Hayes had also been reluctant to recruit Columbus kids, thinking there would be too much pressure from the fans to give the local boys playing time. In fact, he hadn't gone after Griffin, who was actually 5'8" not 5'10", until he heard that not only was Northwestern interested but "that school up north" (Michigan) as well. So he sent Ferkany, who had just joined the staff from Navy, where he had tried to recruit Griffin.
  • Just because Archie dressed out didn't mean Hayes would put him on the field. But RB Coach Ron Hubbard begged the Old Man to give the freshman TB a chance.
  • On his first carry in the opener against Iowa, Archie fumbled. He then fig­ured he'd be on the bench the rest of the season.
  • But the next week against UNC, Hayes put him on the field again and reaped the results.

After the game, Hayes was asked about playing freshmen.

Archie spoke for himself out there today. He has power, speed and breaks the big play. He has a natural knack of knowing what to do and then does it. ... Freshmen are revolutionizing college football. They give you a bigger squad to work with and show a great deal of good coaching. Take Archie for example; all you have to do is hand him the ball. I have never been for or against the freshman rule, but Archie changed my mind today. I'm for it.

Griffin went on to show that his debut was no fluke.

  • Archie broke his own record in his sophomore year with 246y against Iowa.
  • In four years at Ohio State, he ran for over 100y in 34 games, including an NCAA record 31 straight.
  • Griffin amassed 5,589y for the Buckeyes.
  • He won the Heisman Trophy as both a junior and a senior, the only player ever to win the award twice.

After seven years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Archie returned to Columbus where he is the President and CEO of the Ohio State Alumni Association.




1972: Archie Griffin


Dazzling Debuts - 1

Dazzling Debuts - 2


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