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The Football Fever: Ohio State loses one of its all-time greats with Stillwagon's passing

Jim Stillwagon was one of the pillars that the tradition of Ohio State football rested on. One of the Buckeyes defensive greats is gone at just 68 years old, passing away unexpectedly Saturday night.WSYXThumbnail

COLUMBUS -- Jim Stillwagon was one of the pillars that the tradition of Ohio State football rested on. One of the Buckeyes defensive greats is gone at just 68 years old, passing away unexpectedly Saturday night.

Stillwagon, from Mount Vernon, Ohio, was a three-year starter on Hayes’s Buckeye teams from 1968 through 1970, during which time Ohio State went 27-2 overall, won two national championships including the consensus national title in 1968, and three consecutive Big Ten Conference championships. In 1970, Ohio State was named national champion by the National Football Foundation. He also played in two Rose Bowl games.

Stillwagon was the 1970 team Most Valuable Player and played in the middle of Ohio State defenses that simply shut down their opponents. In 1969, the Buckeyes gave up just 93 total points. In 1970, only two opponents scored more than 13 points and seven were held to 10 points or less.

Stillwagon was the first player to win the Lombardi Award in 1970, and he also won the Outland Trophy that same season. He was named a consensus All-American in 1969 and a unanimous All-American in 1970, along with being honored as the UPI’s defensive lineman of the year. He was all-Big Ten Conference both seasons.

After graduation, Stillwagon was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. He chose, instead, to play in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts, and he was one of the premier defensive linemen in that league until he retired after the 1975 season. A three-time CFL all-star, he was runner-up for the league’s outstanding defensive player award in 1972.

Stillwagon is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame (1991) and the Ohio State Sports Hall of Fame (1979).


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