Ohio State had beaten N.C. State in overtime a year earlier, and many had predicted the Buckeyes would struggle in the return game in Raleigh. ESPN college football analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit – a former Buckeye – even picked the Wolfpack to win.
Those perceived slights help give the Buckeyes motivation they used in an eight-point victory.
"We showed them what Big Ten football was all about last year, and I guess they needed to be shown again," OSU linebacker Bobby Carpenter said in the Oct. 2, 2004, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "It was exciting for us to go out there today and show everyone that we are a solid football team. It was our first road test and everyone was wondering about us.
"I wonder what they think now?"
The win was far from perfect, however. Ohio State had only 64 rushing yards and needed some help from N.C. State to pull off the victory. Five of OSU's 11 first downs camp from Wolfpack penalties, and turnovers led to 16 of the Buckeyes' points.
"Too many mistakes," N.C. State head coach Chuck Amato said. "We just made too many mistakes. You can't make as many mistakes as we made and expect to win any ballgame."
OSU kicker Mike Nugent was the ace in the hole for the Buckeyes. He tied a school record by making five field goals. He connected from 50, 30, 33, 46 and 47 yards. His efforts were needed because the Ohio State offense failed to gain traction. The Buckeyes had only 137 yards of total offense.
1999: No. 13 Ohio State 40, Ohio 16 – Despite being a 43-point favorite against the visiting Bobcats, Ohio University stayed in the game longer than most expected before eventually falling to the Buckeyes.
The Bobcats even led 10-3 in the second quarter before Ohio State took command. OU's option offense had OSU off balance for part of the afternoon, and the Bobcat defense looked much better than it did when it lost to Division I-AA Northern Iowa a week earlier.
"This game will make an old man out of you," OSU head coach John Cooper said in the Sept. 25, 1999, edition of BSB.
A special teams miscue by Ohio allowed the Buckeyes to open the floodgates in the second half. Trailing 17-10 in the third quarter, the Bobcats attempted a fake punt deep in their own territory. The play failed, and Ohio State made OU pay by scoring a touchdown on a 15-yard run by Michael Wiley on the very next play from scrimmage. From there, Ohio State added another touchdown run by Wiley, a 68-yard scoring by to Ken-Yon Rambo from Steve Bellisari, a 31-yard field goal by Dan Stultz and a 15-yard TD run by Derek Combs.
The Bobcats fell to 0-3 but gave it everything they had.
"We didn't come up here looking for respect," OU head coach Jim Grobe said. "We came up here trying to win the game."
1993: No. 11 Ohio State 63, Pitt 28 – Much of the talk leading up to Ohio State's game at Pittsburgh was about whether the Buckeyes would have an emotional letdown following their week against Washington a week earlier.
There was no letdown, nor did the Buckeyes let up in posting their most lopsided victory since routing Utah 64-6 in 1986. Butler By'not'e returned the opening kickoff for an 89-yard touchdown, and it went on from there for Ohio State. The Buckeyes scored 28 first-quarter points and pasted the Panthers.
"We wanted to come out and establish ourselves early. Obviously, Butler's kickoff return did that," OSU sophomore quarterback Bobby Hoying said in the Oct. 2, 1982, edition of BSB. "We wanted to put Pitt away as early as we could. I think we accomplished that pretty well."
Ohio State scored 35 points in the first 16 minutes of the game. It only took 3½ minutes before the Buckeyes added another touchdown after the opening kickoff TD. Raymont Harris reached the end zone on a 4-yard scamper. Later in the quarter, Hoying found junior split end Joey Galloway for a 6-yard score, and then tailback Eddie George scored twice in 71 seconds to make it 35-0.
"I'm not surprised it turned out this way," Pitt head coach Johnny Majors said. "When it's 35-0 in the second quarter, it can easily get out of hand."
The Buckeyes started to substitute liberally after building their five-touchdown advantage. That stopped Ohio State's momentum and the Buckeyes took a 35-0 lead into halftime.
Pitt attempted to make a game out of it in the third quarter when the Panthers scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to make it 35-14. However, any comeback bid was quickly squashed. Galloway added a 5-yard touchdown run and a9-yard TD catch from Hoying to answer the Pitt rally. A 9-yard touchdown pass to Eric Moss from Bret Powers and a 24-yard scoring run by Keith Wilkerson ended the OSU onslaught.
1982: No. 12 Ohio State 31, Michigan State 10 – The final score may not show it, but the Spartans gave the Buckeyes all they could handle in the Big Ten season opener in East Lansing.
The Buckeyes scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away. The score was tied 10-10 before MSU's Darryl Dixon fumbled a punt that was recovered by Ohio State's Jimmy Gale. That set up a 3-yard touchdown run by fullback Vaughn Broadnax on a fourth-and-1 play. The Buckeyes added another touchdown a little more than four minutes later on a 61-yard, four-play scoring drive that was capped by a 10-yard touchdown run by tailback Tim Spencer. Closing the scoring was junior tailback Kelvin Lindsey, who scored on a 6-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left to play.
"I thought we showed a little character today, coming back in the fourth quarter," Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce said in the Sept. 25, 1982, edition of BSB. "I thought that our team played well."
The crowd at Spartan Stadium was thinking upset in the early going. Michigan State put together a 63-yard, nine-play scoring drive the first time it went on offense, taking a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by halfback Aaron Roberts.
The Buckeye defense clamped down from there, allowing only a 32-yard field goal by Ralf Mojsiejenko the rest of the way.
Quarterback Mike Tomczak led the Ohio State offense with 151 total yards. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 35 yards on four carries.
1976: No. 2 Ohio State 12, No. 7 Penn State 7 – The Buckeyes traveled to Happy Valley for the first time and left with a victory in a showdown of top-10 teams.
Penn State had played in Columbus five previous times, but the Buckeyes had never returned the favor. The long-awaited trek was worth the wait for OSU, as the Buckeyes built a 6-0 halftime lead and extended it to 12-0 on the first play of the fourth quarter. Halfback Bobby Hyatt scored on a surprise option sweep around left end on a fourth-and-2 play deep in PSU territory. The score was not only Hyatt's first as a Buckeye but it would also be his only collegiate touchdown.
Ohio State's defense also stood tall in the victory, stopping Penn State twice inside the OSU 5-yard line. Safety Ray Griffin intercepted a pass in the end zone, and Bob Brudzinski recovered a fumble at the OSU 4. Penn State's lone score came late in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard TD dive by fullback Matt Suhey.