[Ed. Bumped for Beat Ohio week.]
by Steve “Dr. Sap” Sapardanis
On November 24,1973 the Ohio State Buckeyes performed one of the most heinous acts in any rivalry, in any sport – they went after the sacred GO BLUE M CLUB SUPPORTS YOU banner.
If you aren’t aware of this, or have been living under a rock, I have created a YouTube Video that documents this act, one which legendary broadcaster Bob Ufer decried that the Buckeyes “will meet a dastardly fate here for that!”
Recently, I was doing some work for the Ufer Family and I stumbled across a video that was labeled “1973 OSU Banner.” Curious to see what it was, I popped in the videotape only to see that it was NOT the 1973 OSU Banner Incident. The short clip is what I call, ‘1977 OSU Banner Incident Part 2.’ As I watched the tape I noticed that a few Michigan Students wearing their M varsity jackets were indeed fending off Woody and his Buckeyes. There were some serious haymakers being thrown as things got downright ugly. Ohio State players and coaches got involved, even the fat-man himself, old Dr. Strange Hayes, was part of the melee. Check it out!
Light brown, mullet length hair. Possibly a goatee with a mustache. Tough looking dude for sure…
..could it be this guy?
It couldn’t be?! That’s former M man All-American Dave Gallagher who graduated in 1973 and who I believed was playing in the NFL in 1977. Or was he?
When I double-checked his NFL stats, I noticed that there was a one-year hiatus in his career…in 1977!
I recently tracked down Dr. Gallagher and asked him if he indeed was the Buckeye Banner basher dude.
His response? “Yes I was,” he told me as I could hear him proudly smile over the phone.
My suspicions confirmed, I needed to find out more. Not only was it Gallagher, former Michigan teammates Doug Troszak and Tom Drake also donned their M Jackets to thwart Woody and company one more time.
“I bought tickets and I told them (Troszak & Drake) that we were going to defend the banner,” the 1973 co-captain told me.
“We stood in front of the banner as a warning to Woody and them,” he recalled.
But the Ohio State players and coaches paid no heed to #71’s warning as they headed right for the M Club banner that fateful day in 1977.
Push came to shove and next thing you know, even Woody started throwing some punches himself!
Don’t believe it? See for yourself:
Photo Credit: Alan Bilinsky (Michigan Daily) via U-M Bentley Historical Library
Here’s the caption from the Daily:
Yup – that’s Woody Hayes already grabbing Gallagher with his right hand and clenching his left fist about to show the former Michigan Captain how much the old man still had in his left hook.
Now remember, all this happened before the Wolverines took the field! After cooler heads finally prevailed, Gallagher emerged with a bloody nose and ready to grab his #71 jersey one last time!
The first Michigan coach to see what was going on was Freshman Coach Dennis Brown. He relayed what had just transpired to the maize and blue waiting in the locker room and you can only imagine how fired up they were to take the field in 1977!
Michigan took down Woody and his Scarlet and Gray Test-tubes that day, 14-6, to win the Big Ten Title in 1977, but Dave Gallagher got one more souvenir from his last skirmish with the Scarlet & Gray.
“At the end of the year, the Michigan Football team held a players-only banquet and I was the only non-player invited to the event. The 1977 team gave me a plaque commemorating my involvement in defending the banner that year.”
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