Snow Bowl

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Ohio Stadium (Reflection).jpg
Reflection of the Ohio State University football stadium in the Olentangy River, Columbus, Ohio, ca.


The Ohio State University versus University of Michigan football game in 1950 became known as the Snow Bowl. The game occurred on November 25, 1950, and the teams played in Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Five inches of snow had already fallen before the kickoff, and more snow fell during the game. Winds gusted to almost thirty miles per hour. This was the worst blizzard to strike Columbus, Ohio, in thirty-seven years.

Although The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and officials from the Big Ten all considered canceling the game due to the extreme conditions, these three entities decided to play the game. If the game had been cancelled, Ohio State would have won the Big Ten title by default. More than fifty thousand fans attended the game.

Practically all of the plays were running plays. Players slipped and fell on the field, unable to gain their footing. After two downs, both teams usually punted because they feared that the punter might fumble the ball due to the cold. Assuming that the team recovered the fumble, the players would have fourth down to attempt the punt again. Workers had to repeatedly sweep the lines on the field so that the game could continue. Vic Janowicz kicked a field goal for the only Ohio State points, while Michigan players forced a safety and recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown. In the end, Ohio State lost the game three points to nine points. Following the game, Janowicz remarked, “It was like a nightmare. My hands were numb. I had no feeling in them, and I don’t know how I hung onto the ball. It was terrible. You knew what you wanted to do, but you couldn’t do it.”

See Also