"I understand it was Indiana, but who cares?," Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes said in the Oct. 30, 2004, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "This was another team that we had to get out of there and fight because if we would have let up they would have taken full advantage of it."
Added offensive lineman Rob Sims: "It's not so much us beating Indiana. It's us doing better. That's the way I'm looking at it. I just think we did better today."
The game also marked the breakout game for Troy Smith. With starter Justin Zwick out with an injury to his throwing shoulder suffered a week earlier at Iowa, Smith passed and ran for 219 yards. The Cleveland Glenville product completed 12 of 24 passes for 161 yards and two scores.
"I thought I did OK," Smith said after the game. "There were some things I saw that didn't go right, but we got the win and that was the most important part.
"We needed a win around here. I was just glad to be able to play a role in a game that will hopefully get us back on track."
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel was non-committal when asked if Smith fared well enough to keep the job. Smith remained diplomatic when asked the same question.
"That's not for me to say," he said. "I'm not here to decide who plays and who doesn't. That's up to the coaches and whatever they decide is how it's going to be. I just want o do my part – whatever I can to help this team. If that's starting next week, so be it. If it's doing something else, that's what I'm ready to do."
Smith had plenty of help against Indiana, especially from freshman tailback Antonio Pittman, who added a 144 yards. Pittman led a rushing attack that compiled 292 yards and averaged 6.6 yards on 43 carries.
"The guys up front were definitely opening holes," Pittman said. "I don't really know how many yards we got but it seemed like a lot. And we won. That's what counts. We won."
Smith tossed both of his touchdown passes in the first quarter. The first went 59 yards to Ted Ginn Jr., and the second was a 5-yard pass to Holmes. IU answered with a score of its own, but the Buckeyes scored the game's final 16 points through the final three quarters to set the final score. Pittman scored a 28-yard touchdown, and Mike Nugent added three field goals.
Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel led the defense with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively. Carpenter added two tackles for loss, an interception and he was six Buckeyes to record a sack.
1999: No. 22 Ohio State 20, No. 24 Minnesota 17 – The Buckeyes improved to 5-3 and evened their Big Ten mark to 2-2 with a key road victory at the Metrodome.
Ohio State, had it lost, would have need to win three of its last four just to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 1988. Instead, the Buckeyes played one of their best games to date and prevented the Golden Gophers from becoming bowl eligible themselves.
"You're looking at a happy football coach," OSU head coach John Cooper said in the Oct. 30, 1999, edition of BSB. "I am so proud of this football team. Obviously, we are a long way from being a great football team, but I don't know how you could ask any more of a football team than what they gave us today."
A pair of fourth-quarter field goals by kicker Dan Stultz provided the difference. He made kicks of 43 and 40 yards in the final 6½ minutes to reverse what was a 17-14 Minnesota lead. The game-winning kick came with 1:15 left and hooked just inside the right upright.
"I pretty much aimed it there because right-footed kickers have a tendency to hook the ball a little bit," Stultz said. "I lined up my line and put it there and that's where it finished.
"That was a great feeling."
Ohio State scored first on a 3-yard touchdown run by Michael Wiley, but the Gophers took a 10-7 lead into halftime thanks to a 9-yard TD run by Billy Cockerham and a 30-yard field goal by Dan Nystrom.
The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter, setting up Stultz's winning boots in the fourth. Wiley rushed for a 44-yard touchdown in the third, and Minnesota answered with a 7-yard scoring run by Thomas Hammer.
Wiley finished with 118 yards on 22 carries to lead the OSU offense. The Buckeyes used two quarterbacks, Steve Bellisari and Austin Moherman, and the duo combined to complete 11 of 23 passes for 89 yards. Ahmed Plummer led the defense with seven stops, and Nate Clements had an interception.
1993: No. 3 Ohio State 45, Purdue 24 – Unbeaten Ohio State had little trouble with the Boilermakers, and talk after the game had already turned to the rest of the conference slate.
Next up for the Buckeyes was a visit from new Big Ten team Penn State. Then Ohio State would finish the season with games at Wisconsin, vs. Indiana and at Michigan. All four of the rest of the opponents on the schedule were currently ranked in the top 25.
"We realize what's on the line here and we realize what kind of team Penn State has," cornerback Tim Walton said in the Oct. 30, 1993, edition of BSB. "They're going to come in here ready to play. They have one of the better teams in the country and it's going to be a dogfight all the way to the end. So we'll be prepared and practicing hard and definitely we'll be ready to go to the bone."
The battle at Ross-Ade Stadium was not as hard-fought. The Buckeyes took the opening kickoff and marched 85 yards for a touchdown and after that the outcome was never in doubt. Ohio State scored the game's first 35 points in the first half and ran all over the Purdue defense to the tune of 250 yards in the two quarters alone. Conversely, Purdue had only 92 total yards at halftime.
The play of game came in the second quarter when a long kickoff return and two OSU penalties gave the Boilermakers a first-and-goal at the Buckeye 2-yard line. But on that first down play, OSU junior cornerback Marlon Kerner stepped in front of a pass at the goal line and raced 100 yards for an interception return for a touchdown.
"I thought we had a good balance today offensively and defensively, especially there in the first half," Cooper said. "Our game plan was to try and get up on them early and we were successful at that."
Raymont Harris led the OSU offense with 118 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. Quarterbacks Bobby Hoying and Bret Powers combined to throw for 122 yards.
1982: Ohio State 49, Indiana 25 – The Buckeyes raced out to an early lead and never looked back against host Indiana. Big plays allowed Ohio State to get back on track with its second straight win after three consecutive defeats.
The Buckeyes built a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 72-yard touchdown bomb from Mike Tomczak to Cedric Anderson, a play that OSU head coach Earle Bruce praised after the game.
"That was a great call, wasn't it?," Bruce said in the Oct. 30, 1982, edition of BSB. "I think the big thing about that play was the execution. I thought it was super execution. They broke the huddle wrong. They weren't set for that play, but (Anderson) was all alone and that was a beautiful pass."
Indiana quarterback Babe Laufenberg had a big game, throwing for 334 yards and four touchdowns, but Ohio State used a balanced attack to cruise to victory. Tomczak passed for 145 yards and a pair of scores, while Tim Spencer added 187 on the ground.
"I don't know what's been the change (over the past two weeks)," Spencer said. "I think we're executing well, and I think we're getting some good blocking from the line, the wide outs and things are happening now."
1976: No. 9 Ohio State 24, Purdue 3 – The Buckeyes held a narrow 3-0 lead at halftime before pulling away in the second half on homecoming. The win was costly, as quarterback Rod Gerald suffered a hair-line fracture of the lumbar vertebrae in his back in the first quarter. Backup Jim Pacenta came off the bench and led the way to victory. Jeff Logan aided the cause by rushing for 175 yards on 27 carries with two touchdowns. Pete Johnson added the other OSU score, the 51st of his collegiate career.
1971: No. 12 Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 6 – Ohio State debuted a wishbone-T formation and had its best performance of the season. Buckeye tailback Morris Bradshaw scored twice on 88-yard touchdown runs, one of a second-quarter run and another on a kickoff return late in the game.
Wisconsin lost three fumbles and had four passes intercepted. Randy Gradishar led the way with 11 solo tackles, seven assists and two fumble recoveries.
1965: Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 10 – The Buckeyes ruined homecoming in Madison on an overcast afternoon. Ohio State was outgained 228-199 but found a way to win and improved Woody Hayes' record against the Badgers to 12-1-2.
The Badgers started the scoring with a field goal, but Ohio State scored 17 points in the second quarter to take command. Willard Sander scored two touchdowns in the victory.
1954: No. 4 Ohio State 31, No. 2 Wisconsin 14 – A top-five showdown between unbeatens went OSU's way in front of a large crowd and more than 400 sportswriters and broadcasters from across the nation.
Wisconsin led 7-3 at halftime before the Buckeyes rallied. The play that sparked the rally was an interception return for a touchdown by Hopalong Cassady. He hauled in a UW pass at the OSU 12-yard line and raced down the field for an 88-yard score.
1948: Ohio State 34, Wisconsin 32 – An aerial attack helped the Buckeyes earn a home victory against Wisconsin. All five of Ohio State's touchdowns came through the air. The lead switched hands four times, and three tiems Ohio State came back from a 12-point deficit.
Jerry Krall's second touchdown pass to Alex Verdova, a 4-yard connection, provided the game-winning points in the fourth quarter. The win came in Ohio State's 500th football game and moved OSU's all-time record to 313-151-36.
1943: No. 17 Northwestern 13, Ohio State 0 – The Buckeyes lost their third straight game, dropping a contest against Otto Graham and the Wildcats. Graham contributed both NU touchdowns on a 6-yard run in the first quarter and a 6-yard pass to Lynne McNutt in the fourth quarter.
The loss was the first – and only time – a Paul Brown-coached Ohio State team was shut out.
1937: No. 12 Ohio State 7, No. 7 Northwestern 0 – Dick Nardi's 5-yard touchdown run provided the game's only points in a home win against the Wildcats. Not to be outdone by the offense, Ohio State's defense also had a big moment. The Buckeyes kept the game scoreless before Nardi's touchdown by holding the Wildcats on downs after Northwestern had reached the OSU 5-yard line.
1926: Ohio State 23, Iowa 6 – A crowd of more than 42,000 at Ohio Stadium saw the unbeaten Buckeyes handle the Hawkeyes. The play of the game was a 44-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robin Bell to Freddie Grim.
1920: Ohio State 13, Wisconsin 7 – In a battle of unbeatens, Ohio State beat the Badgers at Ohio Field in front of a crowd of more than 16,000 on an unseasonably warm day. The Buckeyes handled the 80-degree weather and the Badgers, despite the fact that Wisconsin refused to wear numbered jerseys.
Wisconsin led 7-0 at halftime before Ohio State rallied. Hoge Workman threw a pair of touchdown passes, both going to Pete Stinchcomb. The final score came in the final minute and allowed Stinchcomb to avoid being the game's goat. His point-after attempt after the first OSU touchdown went off the upright and allowed the Badgers to maintain a 7-6 lead.
1915: Wisconsin 21, Ohio State 0 – Playing in a heavy snowstorm, the host Badgers whitewashed Ohio State. The Buckeyes fell to 2-1-1 with the loss.
1909: Ohio State 29, Denison 0 – A week after losing for the first time in 1909, Ohio State blanked the Big Red. The Buckeyes blanked an opponent for fourth time in five games. The lone exception was a 33-6 loss at Michigan.
1897: Ohio State 12, Otterbein 12 – The Buckeyes bounced back from back to back losses, including a loss to Michigan in the first game in the rivalry's history, with a tie against Otterbein. Ohio State had its record move to 1-2-1.