After dropping consecutive conference games to Northwestern and Wisconsin, Ohio State traveled to Iowa City, where the Buckeyes had not lost since 1983. Instead of finding friendly confines, however, the hosts dominated OSU in every fashion and gave the Buckeyes their worst loss since falling 46-20 to Illinois in 1999.
"They kicked our butts," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said in the Oct. 23, 2004, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin.
Iowa entered the game ninth in the Big Ten in total offense, but the Hawkeyes had their way against Ohio State's defense. The Hawkeyes gashed OSU for 448 yards, including 331 through the air thanks to sophomore quarterback Drew Tate. The Iowa running game also found success, racking up 117 yards despite having their tailback corps ravaged by injuries. Walk-on sophomore Sam Brownlee led Iowa with 35 yards, but that total was still higher than the Buckeyes managed on the ground as a team. Ohio State had 27 yards on 29 carries.
While Iowa's offense was firing on all cylinders, Ohio State's was broken down in a ditch. Quarterback Justin Zwick completed only 6 of 14 passes for 74 yards and committed two turnovers before leaving the game in the second half with what was described as a shoulder injury.
The only offensive bright spot for OSU came from the play of Zwick's backup. Troy Smith completed 8 of 12 passes for 76 yards and led the Buckeyes on their lone scoring drive. Another young player, freshman Antonio Pittman, was the leading rusher with 16 yards.
Defensively, linebackers A.J. Hawks and Anthony Schlegel tied for the team lead with 14 tackles. Hawk recorded a sack and two of Schlegel's stops were for a loss.
The final stats weren't pretty. Iowa doubled Ohio State in first downs (24-12) had more than twice the amount of total yardage (448-117), held the ball for nearly eight more minutes and converted nearly have of its third-down plays while holding the Buckeyes to less than 25 percent in those situations.
With the loss, the Buckeyes fell to 3-3 and now needed three wins in their last five games to become bowl-eligible.
"That's not something we're thinking about at all right now," senior co-captain Dustin Fox said. "We can't worry about what bowl game we might go to or even if we're going to a bowl. Our focus right now has to be on finding a way to win. We have to figure out something. We have to figure out something that works. And we have to figured it out right now."
1999: No. 2 Penn State 23, Ohio State 10 – Before the Buckeyes went to Happy Valley, OSU head coach John Cooper admitted that he wasn't sure if his team's best effort would be enough to beat the second-ranked Nittany Lions.
Unfortunately for Cooper, he never found out. Several Buckeye miscues allowed a sloppy Penn State team to still cruise to a relatively easy victory at Beaver Stadium.
"We lost a ball game today to a good football team," Cooper said in the Oct. 23, 1999, edition of BSB. "They're probably as good as, maybe better than, advertised.
"It goes back to if you can't block and can't tackle, you're not going to beat good football teams. That's what happened today."
The Ohio State offense continued its struggles, gaining only 143 yards and allowing eight sacks. The Buckeyes never got inside the Penn State 30 and recorded only 11 first downs – three coming on PSU penalties. Quarterback Steve Bellisari carried the ball 20 times for a team-high 38 yards and completed only 7 of 21 passes for 78 yards with an interception.
"We just did everything wrong," OSU offensive tackle Tyson Walter said. "We have to take responsibility for this. It was an atrocious game."
Ohio State's lone score came from its defense. Senior safety Gary Berry recovered a fumble in the end zone after linebacker Na'il Diggs jarred the ball loose when he hit PSU quarterback Kevin Thompson . But that was the unit's lone highlight. Penn State piled up 422 yards of total offense, led by tailback Eric McCoo. He rushed for 211 yards on 22 carries.
"He got back in the groove and I thought he had a heck of a game," Penn State head coach Joe Paterno said.
The only thing that prevented the final score from being worse for the Buckeyes was PSU's inability to find consistency in the red zone. The Nittany Lions scored two touchdowns but had to settle for five other field-goal attempts deep in OSU territory and two were blocked.
Reggie Germany led the Ohio State receivers with three catches for 45 yards. Defensively, Nate Clements had 10 tackles, while Courtland Bullard had two sacks and Ahmed Plummer picked off a pass.
Ohio State fell to 4-3 and 1-2 in conference.
1993: No. 5 Ohio State 28, No. 25 Michigan State 21 – Ohio State's two quarterbacks did just enough to help the Buckeyes remain near the top of the college football polls thanks to a win at Ohio Stadium against the Spartans.
Sophomore Bobby Hoying and senior Bret Powers continued to play well, with Powers playing the hero against Michigan State. The backup helped the undefeated Buckeyes win by engineering an 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. Even so, Cooper said Hoying would remain the starter.
"Bobby is our quarterback, no question," Cooper said in the Oct. 23, 1993, edition of BSB. "But we have confidence in Bret and we'll probably continue to play both guys about like we did in the ball game today."
Hoying completed 14 of 21 passes for 181 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Power threw for 113 yards on 7 of 10 passing with a touchdown. However, tailback Raymont Harris played the hero. His 7-yard touchdown run with 1:06 remaining provided the winning points and thrilled the crowd at Ohio Stadium, which included many members of Ohio State's 1968 national championship team there to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their accomplishment.
The Buckeyes escaped with the victory despite blowing a 21-10 halftime lead and committing five turnovers, which gave them eight in their last two games.
"We cannot continue to do that and hope to continue to win," Cooper said. "We turned the ball over five times today and still won the ball game. That is unusual. You usually don't get away with that. That's why we feel very fortunate to have won this ball game."
Joey Galloway sparked the Buckeyes with three touchdown receptions of 22, 64 and 14 yards. He finished with nine receptions for 186 yards. Harris rushed for 103 yards to lead the ground attack. Defensively, Lorenzo Styles led in tackles with 18.
1982: Ohio State 26, No. 15 Illinois 21 – Rich Spangler's 27-yard field goal with three seconds left in the fourth quarter gave the Buckeyes an upset victory at Champaign.
Spangler's boot provided the winning points, but a safety on the final play set the winning margin at five points. The defensive points came at the end of a game dominated by Ohio State's offense. The Buckeyes piled up 490 yards of offense and received a solid performance by quarterback Mike Tomczak. After being on the bench for a game and a half, Tomczak completed 14 of 34 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown, while adding another 41 yards and a score on the ground.
The Buckeyes never trailed, scoring the game's first points in the first quarter on a 74-yard touchdown bomb from Tomczak to Cedrick Anderson. Ohio State took a 14-7 lead into halftime thanks to a 44-yard Tim Spencer touchdown run in the second quarter and built that lead to 14 points in the third quarter on a 1-yard Tomczak run.
Illinois responded with a pair of touchdowns, but Spangler's field goal at the end of Ohio State's final drive gave the Buckeyes the win. The biggest play on the game-winning drive came when Tomczak converted a third-and-11 at the Illini 38 on a 21-yard pass to Thad Jemison.
Spencer finished with 151 yards on 24 carries, while tight end John Frank caught four passes for 31 yards. Anderson had 108 yards on three receptions. Defensively, linebacker Glen Cobb had 11 tackles.
1976: No. 9 Ohio State 30, Wisconsin 20 – A then-record crowd of 79,579 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison watched the Buckeyes win thanks in part to a change in offense. Ohio State ran out of the I-formation for most of the game after using the pro-set and veer offenses during its first five games. The change confused the Badgers and head coach John Jardine.
1971: No. 13 Ohio State 27, Indiana 7 – The OSU passing game led the way to a win at Bloomington. The Buckeyes scored in each quarter and gained 384 yards of total offense, including 263 through the air behind the efforts of Don Lamka and Greg Hare.
1965: No. 4 Michigan State 32, Ohio State 7 – The Spartans piled up 538 yards of offense and crushed the Buckeyes. Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes watched his team rush for minus-22 yards and have no answer for MSU's offense. Don Unverferth threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Arnie Fontes for OSU's lone score.
1954: No. 4 Ohio State 20, No. 13 Iowa 14 – Touchdowns by Bobby Watkins, Dave Leggett and Dick Brubaker were enough to lead the Buckeyes past the host Hawkeyes. Iowa, under head coach Forest Evashevski, drove inside the OSU 5 late in the fourth quarter, but the unbeaten Buckeyes stopped the Hawkeyes on downs.
1948: Ohio State 17, Indiana 0 – The Buckeyes bounced back from an upset loss to Iowa with a victory at Bloomington against the Hoosiers. Joe Whisler and Jimmy Clark scored first-quarter touchdowns, and Jimmy Hague added a 24-yard field goal. Ohio State outgained the Hoosiers 333-99.
1943: No. 5 Purdue 30, Ohio State 7 – More than 40,000 people were at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland to watch the Boilermakers beat a young OSU squad. The Buckeyes led 7-0, but unbeaten Purdue took control after halftime. The game was played in Cleveland because transportation shortages and gas rationing made it difficult for fans outside of Columbus to travel to Ohio Stadium. Thus, OSU moved its conference opener to the shores of Lake Erie.
1926: Ohio State 32, Columbia 7 – The Buckeyes made their first trip to New York City and returned with an impressive win over the Lions at the Polo Grounds in front of nearly 30,000. Despite playing in the rain, OSU's offense impressed. Freddy Grim scored three touchdowns, and Ohio State's 100-piece marching band made plenty of fans during their performance.
1920: Ohio State 17, Purdue 0 – Behind a touchdown, conversion and field goal by quarterback "Hoge" Workman, the Buckeyes defeated Purdue and earned their third straight shutout victory. Ohio State improved to 3-0 on the season with a game against conference title contender Wisconsin next on the schedule.
1915: Ohio State 3, Illinois 3 – Ohio State tied a powerful Illinois squad and earned a moral victory. A crowd of 6,634 at Ohio Stadium saw the Buckeyes play well against the defending national and Big Ten champions. Halfback Harold Winter made a 33-yard field goal for OSU's only score.
1909: Michigan 33, Ohio State 6 – The Wolverines beat Ohio State in the one of the Buckeyes' three big games of the season. OSU scored its lone touchdown on a Buckeye punt. In 1909, a punt was known as an "alive ball" play, meaning the kicking team could recover the football, keep possession and advance it. During an OSU punt, Michigan fullback Charles Freeney allowed the ball to roll, assuming it would go into the end zone for a touchback. It didn't, and Ohio State center Chelsea Boone picked up the football before it reached the goal line and took it in for a score.
1897: Michigan 34, Ohio State 0 – In Ohio State's seventh year of football, the Buckeyes dropped their first game against their archrival. Michigan was in its 18th year of football and scored all of its points in the first half. The Wolverines dominated, so much so that the game was called off with approximately five minutes remaining.