The Famous “Snow Bowl” of Nov. 25, 1950.

Bill's Blog

We’ve had some crazy college football games, but one of the strangest was the famous “Snow Bowl” between Michigan and Ohio State on Nov. 25, 1950 (video of the game at the link). It was snowing so hard at times that the announcers couldn’t see the field.

Snow Bowl of Nov. 25, 1950

The temperature was +10F and there was a howling NE wind. Ohio State’s kicker, Vic Janowicz said after the game ““It was like a nightmare. My hands were numb and blue. 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.” Another player remarked that his assignment was to go past the line of scrimmage to block a linebacker. When he moved past the line, it was snowing so hard he couldn’t find the guy he was supposed to block.

Michigan won the game 9-3 despite not getting a first down, not completing a pass and punting the ball 24 times (for 723 yards). Ohio State had just 18 yards passing and a net 16 yards rushing, punting the ball 21 yards.

Snow Bowl Nov. 25 1950

Ohio State blocked a Michigan punt and recovered at the Michigan 8 yard line. They ran 3 plays and lost yardage back to the 21 yard line. Then Vic Janowicz kicked a 37-yard field goal. Still today, some regard this as the best field goal ever kicked given these conditions.

Michigan scored their points by on blocked punts – falling on one in the end zone for their touchdown and getting a safety on another blocked punt.

The stands at the game

Over 79,000 tickets were sold for the game, a full house. Of those roughly 50,000 came to the game. A few of them actually tried to light fires in the stands! Volunteers and the Boy Scouts tried to clear snow from the field during time outs.

The Super Snowstorm of Nov. 1950

The storm brought (by far) the coldest cold and the heaviest snow of any November storm. Colburn Creek W. VA. had 62″ of total snowfall. Several other locations had over 50″. The wind blew the snow in gigantic drifts. Grand Rapids, Michigan dipped to 10 below zero. Low temperatures of +5 in Birmingham AL and +3 in Atlanta GA were recorded.

After the storm, temperatures warmed to above average and the snow melted, resulting in some flooding.

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