"It's absolutely devastating, demoralizing," sophomore defensive lineman Jay Richardson said in the Oct. 16, 2004, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "This is our stadium. We haven't been beaten here since I've been here. Since my freshman year of 2002, I've never lost here."
Things started well enough for Ohio State. The Buckeyes scored the game's first points on a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown by Ted Ginn Jr. However, that was OSU's lone trip to the end zone. The offense struggled to find any consistency. Quarterback Justin Zwick was sacked five times and completed 15 of 31 passes for 125 yards, and the rushing attack produced only 99 yards. That represented the fourth straight game in which the Buckeyes failed to rush for 100 yards as a team.
"We didn't really get anything going, never really got inot a rhythm," Zwick said. "Some things worked and some things didn't. We just didn't execute the way we needed to."
Ohio State built a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, but the Badgers took command from there. Anthony Davis cut the deficit to 10-7 on a 31-yard touchdown run, and the Badgers took the lead when Darrin Charles added an 8-yard touchdown pass from Joe Stocco.
Nugent added a 55-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter, but Wisconsin dominated the second half. The Badgers set the final score with a 26-yard field goal by Mike Allen and a Jonathan Orr 10-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Stocco.
The loss provided a pair of negative milestones. It was the first home loss for Ohio State since 2001, snapping a streak of 18 straight home victories, and also put the Buckeyes at 0-2 in the conference for the first time since 1992 with a game at Iowa next on the schedule.
"I guess this puts us at a crossroads," senior kicker Mike Nugent said. "To be honest, I don't think we're a bad team. The one thing I see is how much work we put into this thing. That's when things don't go our way, it's very frustrating.
"But we have to go back, see what we did that was wrong and try to correct it. The season isn't over – not by a long shot. But we have to play better. I don't think there's any question about that."
1999: No. 21 Ohio State 25, No. 17 Purdue 22 – After a week of soul-searching following a listless 42-17 loss to Wisconsin, the Buckeyes pulled out a thrilling home win against the Boilermakers and quarterback Drew Brees.
A blocked field goal in the waning moments saved the day for Ohio State and provided the necessary tonic for the Buckeyes. Purdue kicker Travis Dorsch lined up a 29-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for the Buckeyes and the crowd at Ohio Stadium, OSU defensive end Brent Johnson squirted between Purdue's left taclk and left guard and get his right arm on the ball.
"I'd love to tell you that I saw it and everything went the way I wanted it to, but, no, the whole line got a lot of penetration," Johnson said in the Oct. 16, 1999, edition of BSB. "My guy kind of blocked down on me, and I just swam around him, got my hands up and got a piece of it."
Thanks to Johnson's efforts, a fourth-quarter touchdown drive provided the winning score. The Buckeyes drove 76 yards and scored the go-ahead TD with 5:13 left in regulation on a 2-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Wells on a first-and-goal play. The score put Ohio State ahead 23-22, and a two-point conversion run by Michael Wiley gave the Buckeyes a three-point cushion.
Brees attempted to rally the Boilermakers with some late heroics. The eventual Super Bowl champion drove Purdue 68 yards to the OSU 12-yard line before a third-down pass attempt to Chris Daniels was deflected away by OSU's Nate Clements. That set up the crucial field goal attempt and subsequent block.
The loss is frustrating because it was such a hard-fought battle right down to the very end," Brees said. "The defense played so well, and our offense … we drove the ball. They can't say the shut us down. But give them credit – they made plays when they had to and we didn't."
While the OSU defense did not entirely shut down the PU offense, Brees did have his worst performance of the young season. He completed 24 of 39 passes for a season-low 205 yards and no touchdowns.
A Derek Combs 6-yard touchdown run started the scoring, but Ohio State trailed 13-7 at halftime. The Buckeyes rallied with a 7-yard touchdown reception by Darnell Sanders from running back Michael Wiley and a Dan Stultz 45-yard field goal that gave OSU a 17-13 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Dorsch cut the deficit to one with a 22-yard field goal in the first minute of the final period, and a 5-yard touchdown run by tailback Montrell Lowe gave the Boilermakers the lead with 13:42 left in regulation.
Ohio State quarterback Steve Bellisari had an solid all-around performance in the win, contributing 270 yards of OSU's 369 yards of total offense. He completed 10 of 26 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns and also rushed for a team-high 96 yards on 17 carries.
1993: No. 6 Ohio State 20, Illinois 12 – The Buckeyes broke a five-game losing streak to the Fighting Illini in a win at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
The pregame talk featured some trash talk by the Fighting Illini and head coach Lou Tepper, and the seemed to motivate Ohio State.
"Ohio State has this prima donna attitude that it's only them in Michigan in the Big Ten," Illinois nose tackle Mikki Johnson said. "Obviously, we have been proving them wrong the last five years."
Added Tepper: "We're not chopped liver over here. You have to remember (Ohio State's five straight (losses) weren't against doughboys." After beating the Illini in front of their home crowd, Ohio State senior tailback Raymont Harris downplayed the rivalry with Illinois.
"It felt good to win, but to me personally, it wasn't any bigger than any other," he said in the Oct. 16, 1993, edition of BSB. "In my mind this was no more important than beating Northwestern. They all count just once."
Later Harris did add one potshot, however, adding when asked if the victory squared things between the two teams, "Ask the players in four or five years after Illinois has been beaten five times in a row. Then it'll be evened out."
The Buckeyes had to hold on for dear life in the second half after thoroughly dominating the first 30 minutes. The first half saw the Buckeyes cruise out to an early lead. Ohio State was gifted a score in the early going. On the first play from scrimmage, the Illini turned the ball over with a fumble by quarterback Johnny Johnson that was recovered by OSU at the Illinois 14-yard line. Three plays later, OSU quarterback Bobby Hoying connected with split end Joey Galloway for an 11-yard touchdown.
Ohio State added another score on its next possession when Tim Williams matched a career-long with a 52-yard field goal. Illinois answered later in the half with a 29-yard field goal by Chris Richardson, but the Buckeyes still dominated the first half and held the Illini to 54 yards of total offense.
Another Illinois miscue gave the Buckeyes a 17-3 lead at halftime. UI punter Brett Larsen lost a fumble in the end zone that was recovered by Ohio State's Terry Glenn, giving the Buckeyes a two-touchdown lead and momentum heading into halftime.
While it looks like Ohio State would win going away at halftime, Illinois had other ideas. Aided by having the wind at their backs in the third quarter, the Illini used good possession gained from wind-hampered OSU punts in two scoring drives. To Ohio State's credit, the defense held those drives to field goals and not touchdowns and allowed the Buckeyes to keep the lead at 17-9 in the third quarter.
A crucial moment in the game happened late in the third quarter when Glenn fumbled a kickoff that Illinois recovered at the OSU 15. Once again, the defense stood tall, holding the Illini to a Richardson field goal.
Williams later added a 39-yard field goal to set the final score. The Illini did attempt a final really, driving to the OSU 36 before Tim Walton intercepted a pass in the end zone with 40 seconds remaining.
1982: Wisconsin 6, Ohio State 0 – A gloomy, rainy day was the backdrop as the Buckeyes lost their third in a row and fell to 2-3 on the season.
Ohio State's best chance to score was arguably on its first drive. The Buckeyes opened their first offensive series at their own 20-yard line and drove to the Wisconsin 8 before settling for a 36-yard field goal attempt by Rich Spangler that he pushed wide right. Wisconsin then responded with an 80-yard drive that took 14 plays and was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by John Williams with 6:21 remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State's Jerome Foster blocked the extra point attempt, but the touchdown provided all the points the Badgers would need.
Wisconsin beat Ohio State for the second year in a row and won at Ohio Stadium for the first time and won in Columbus for the first time since 1918.
1976: No. 10 Ohio State 34, Iowa 14 – Ohio State won for the first time since Sept. 18, beating the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Touchdowns on their first three offensive possessions sparked the Buckeyes. Pete Johnson led the way with three touchdowns and set a then-Big Ten record with 48 career scores.
1971: No. 15 Ohio State 24, Illinois 10 – On a chilly afternoon in Champaign, the Buckeyes took advantage of four Illinois turnovers in their first road game of the season. Ohio State was forced to play without standout offensive players John Bledsoe and Fred Pagac, who were both out with injuries. Fullback Randy Keith picked up the slack by scoring two first-quarter touchdowns.
1965: Ohio State 28, Illinois 14 – Three second-quarter touchdowns led Ohio State to a win at a rainy Ohio Stadium. Tom Barrington rushed for 179 yards on 32 carries and scored touchdowns on runs of 12 2 and 1 yard.
The game is also notable because it marked the return of William A. Dougherty. The retired attorney composed "Across the Field" as a junior at Ohio State in 1915. He played the song at halftime on a piano placed at midfield.
1954: No. 10 Ohio State 40, Illinois 7 – The Buckeyes opened the Big Ten season with a rout of the host Fighting Illini. The win avenged the previous season's 41-20 loss to Illinois. Ohio State outgained UI 479-123.
1948: Iowa 14, No. 11 Ohio State 7 – Four lost fumbles sent the Hawkeyes to their first win in Columbus in 20 seasons. The Buckeyes fell to 2-1 at the end of a three-game homestand to start the season.
1943: No. 12 Great Lakes 13, No. 18 Ohio State 6 – In a game played at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, the Buckeyes fell short against the bigger and more experienced Bluejackets. A crowd of 22,000 fans watched the teams battle to a scoreless tie in the first half before Great Lakes pulled out the win in the second half.
1937: USC 13, Ohio State 12 – Trojans halfback Ambrose Schindler was too much for the Buckeyes in a narrow loss at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
USC built a 6-0 lead at halftime on a Schindler touchdown run, and after Ohio State built a 12-6 lead on a pair of touchdowns on a 2-yard run by Jim McDonald and a 28-yard pass from Mike Kabealo to Dick Nardi, the Trojans earned the victory with a Schindler touchdown pass to Bill Anderson and a successful point-after attempt by Ralph Stanley.
To add to his impressive performance, Schindler iced the victory by intercepting an OSU pass in the final seconds.
1926: Ohio State 47, Ohio Wesleyan 0 – The Battling Bishops could not handle Ohio State sophomore Byron Eby. The halfback ran for touchdowns of 43 and 66 yards.
1920: Ohio State 37, Oberlin 0 – The Buckeyes finished nonconference play with their second-straight shutout. Frank Willaman, who scored twice a week earlier against Ohio Wesleyan, did not play because of an injury suffered in a mid-week practice.
1915: Ohio State 14, Case 0 – A home win against Case set up a showdown with a powerful Illinois team. The Buckeyes blanked Case in front of head coach John Wilce and a crowd at Ohio Field.
1909: Ohio State 74, Wooster 0 – Ohio State improved to 3-0 with a third-straight shutout victory against an in-state opponent. The 74 points scored by the Buckeyes were the most the team scored in a game since beating Miami (Ohio) 80-0 in 1904.
1897: Case 14, Ohio State 0 – The Buckeyes fell to 1-1 on the season with a loss. Ohio State's next game would be in Ann Arbor against Michigan in the first meeting between the schools.