Jim Naveau: Offenses take over in college


Is 70 the new 50 in college football?

In the 1950s through the 1990s, maybe even into the 2000s, it was unusual to see a college team score 70 points or more.

Sometimes it happened because it was simply unavoidable. Sometimes the coach of a team who did it was almost apologetic because he didn’t want to appear to be running up the score.

Sixty or 70 years ago, even scoring 50 points was uncommon.

It wasn’t until Woody Hayes’ seventh season at Ohio State that one of his teams scored more than 50 points when it rolled over Indiana 56-0 in 1957.

The Buckeyes reached 50 points only three times in the 12 seasons after that and two of those were a 50-20 win over Michigan in 1961 and a 50-14 win over the Wolverines in 1968. The closest a Hayes coached team got to 70 points was 63 points against Northwestern in 1978.

Earle Bruce’s highest scoring game was a 69-18 win over Minnesota in 1983. John Cooper’s 1996 team started that season with a 70-7 win over Rice and a 72-0 win over Pittsburgh. Jim Tressel’s 2010 team beat Eastern Michigan 73-20.

Since Urban Meyer arrived in 2012, Ohio State has scored 70 or more points six times — three times in Meyer’s seven seasons and three times in Ryan Day’s four seasons, including last Saturday night’s 77-21 win over Toledo.

College football has changed, with more passes being thrown and higher play counts. But so have attitudes.

It seems like there are fewer complaints about running up the score now than when 50 points was considered a lot of points. And with the transfer portal, teams have to allow the backups to do much more than just run out the clock in blowouts.


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