We’ve had some crazy college football games over the years, but one of the strangest was the famous “Snow Bowl” between Michigan and Ohio State on Nov. 25, 1950.

It was snowing so hard at times that the announcers couldn’t see the field Watch this video (old film): Snow Bowl and more film of the game.

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The “Snow Bowl” Michigan-Ohio State football game of 1950.

The temperature was +10F at noon and there was a howling NE wind which gusted to 35 mph during the game. Ohio State’s kicker, Vic Janowicz said after the game that “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,” he continued.

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 and blowing 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. The Buckeyes punted the ball 21 times.

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The “Snow Bowl” Michigan-Ohio State football game of 1950.

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

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

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The snow let up a little and allowed this picture to be taken of some fans in the stands

Over 79,000 tickets were sold for the game, a full house. Believe it or not, 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 temperature fell from 39 degrees in Columbus at 8 PM EST on Thursday evening, to 20 (F) by midnight. By 7 AM EST Friday morning, the temperature in Columbus was down to 8 (F) above zero with snow whipping across the Buckeye State. Between Thursday night and Friday, 2.3 inches of snow fell on the city of Columbus. Temperatures on Friday only rebounded to 11 (F) during the afternoon. Another 7.5″ of snow fell on Saturday.

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Total snowfall from the storm

The storm brought (by far) the coldest cold and the heaviest snow of any November storm. Colburn Creek West Virginia had 62 inches of total snowfall. Several other locations had over 50 inches. From Thursday night through Tuesday, 14.9 inches of snow fell on the city of Columbus. Portions of eastern Ohio received in excess of 20 inches of snow with much deeper drifts The wind blew the snow into gigantic drifts. Grand Rapids, Michigan dipped to 10 below zero, the coldest temperature ever in November in Grand Rapids. Amazing record low temperatures of +5 in Birmingham, Alabama, and +3 in Atlanta were recorded.

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

References and Further Information

More information on the game and weather can be found here:

This year, Michigan capitalized on long passes and long runs to shell the Buckeyes 45-23. They move on to play Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game. Then on to the Final Four.

Michigan keeps title hopes alive, beats Ohio State

  • Playoff Game #1 – Fiesta Bowl | 4 or 8 p.m. EST | ESPN | Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022
  • Playoff Game #2 – Peach Bowl | 4 or 8 p.m. | ESPN | Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022
  • CFP National Championship Game | 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN | Monday, Jan. 9, 2023

The Championship Game may turn out to be Michigan and Georgis (from So-Fi Stadium at Inglewood, California near Los Angeles

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