In 1972, the North Carolina Tar Heels were the best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. They finished their season with an 11-1 record and a 6-0 record in the ACC.
They were a good team and they came into Columbus, Ohio for their 4th game with a 3-0 record.
Home town guy, Archie Griffin had been lightly recruited coming out of high school and you can read more about him here:Legend
The 1972 season was the first one since the World War II era, that freshmen were eligible to play on
the varsity level.
But, that doesn’t mean that Ohio State Buckeye coach Woody Hayes was interested in playing them.
Supposedly, the Buckeye Running Back coach Rudy Hubbard had persuaded Woody to play true freshman Archie Griffin against Iowa in the Buckeyes opener and Griffin fumbled the ball on his first college carry.
Coaches don’t like fumbles and Woody Hayes probably liked them the least of any of them.
Griffin might have been concerned he would never play again. But, apparently, coach Hubbard went to work on Woody.
The Tar Heels had already played 3 games coming in, but the Buckeyes had only played one game so far in 1972. They beat the Iowa Hawkeyes, 21-0.
The Buckeyes had several Running Backs returning from the 6-4 1971 Buckeye team, but none of them particularly stood out above the others.
It was one of the more remarkable games in the history of college football for a true freshman
But, Woody Hayes was still a little bit hesitant to go with Archie Griffin as his starter. As a freshman, Griffin finished up with 867 yards total.
But, it was all a set up for the 1973 season where Archie Griffin ran for 1,577 yards and the Buckeyes finished their season at 10-0-1 and they may have been the best team in the nation.
September 30th, 1972 the entire college football world found out about Archie Griffin a few years before he became the one and only two time Heisman Trophy winner.