The Buckeyes managed only 37 yards rushing, turned the ball over four times and allowed Purdue to drive 80 yards in just over a minute for the game-winning touchdown.
It was not a typical performance by a Jim Tressel-coached team.
Even so, Ohio State had a shot at the end. The Buckeyes (6-4, 3-4 Big Ten) took over with a chance to tie the game with two minutes remaining, but the drive ended abruptly when a pass from sophomore Troy Smith to freshman Ted Ginn bounced into the hands of Purdue linebacker Stanford Keglar.
Boilermaker backup quarterback Kyle Orton came off the bench to lead PU to victory. Orton used a perfect play-action fake and found Dustin Keller for a 14-yard touchdown with 2:17 remaining after Ohio State erased a 17-3 halftime deficit.
Orton was a perfect 6 for 6 for 51 yards on the drive.
"He played like a veteran quarterback," Purdue head coach Joe Tiller said in the Nov. 20, 2004, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "During pregame, he said he was ready to go. We planned to use him today around the third series, to maybe try some hurry-up, no-huddle offense with him. (But late) in the game, we went to Kyle because we thought he was more experienced and more capable of running our two-minute offense."
While Orton excelled in the red zone, the Buckeyes did not. Two of OSU's four turnovers came inside the Purdue 20-yard line.
"You can't come and play a good team and turn it over like we did," Tressel said. "We were down there in the red zone and gave it away twice, and you just can't do that."
Smith completed 14 of 29 passes for 192 yards with three interceptions. He did lead the Buckeyes back in the second half. He threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes in the third quarter to cut OSU's deficit to 17-10. The Buckeyes then tied the game on a 5-yard run by Smith with 3:50 remaining, setting up Purdue's game-winning drive.
Holmes and Ginn combined for seven receptions and 56 yards. Smith also led the Buckeyes in rushing with 62 yards on 16 carries. Defensively, A.J. Hawk had 14 stops and Anthony Schlegel added 12 more. Bobby Carpenter, Simon Fraser and Mike Kudla each recorded sacks, and Quinn Pitcock intercepted a pass.
1999: Illinois 46, No. 25 Ohio State 20 – Ohio State could have become bowl eligible with a senior day win over the Fighting Illini, but Illinois crashed the party by crushing the spiraling Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium.
The loss was Ohio State's worst home defeat in 32 years and put the Buckeyes record at 6-5 (3-4 Big Ten). It also meant OSU would have to win at Michigan in order to continue its 10-year streak of consecutive bowl appearances. Illinois beat the Buckeyes for the first time in four years and came into the game as a double-digit underdog. Ohio State also lost by double digits for the fifth time in 1999.
"We're not playing very good football right now and we're doing an awful job of handling adversity," Ohio State head coach John Cooper said in the Nov. 20, 1999, edition of BSB.
Cooper took responsibility for the loss, which overshadowed a day on which 14 seniors were honored before the game.
"Today was a very embarrassing defeat for me, my coaching staff and our football team," he said. "I'll take the blame for our football team. I'm the head coach and it's my responsibility to get them ready to play. We did not play like we should play at this point in the season.
"The only thing we can do is come back and try to salvage a victory next week. I know we'll have to play a lot better than this if we expect to beat Michigan in Ann Arbor."
Senior fullback and co-captain Matt Keller, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the loss, said the players should take the blame.
"I feel bad for the coaches because they've done everything to prepare us through the week," he said. "We just haven't put things together this year."
The game itself was not close for long. Two Neil Rackers field goals gave Illinois a 6-0 lead after the first quarter and it only got worse from there for Ohio State. Michael Wiley scored a 35-yard touchdown for the Buckeyes in the second quarter, but thanks to a 23-point outburst by the Fighting Illini, the Buckeyes trailed 29-7 at halftime.
Keller's 38-yard touchdown pass from Steve Bellisari in the third quarter and Wiley's 6-yard TD run in the fourth closed the scoring for Ohio State, but it was far too little, far too late.
Bellisari completed 9 of 24 passes for 133 yard with a touchdown and an interception. Backup Austin Moherman completed 3 of 5 passes for 35 yards. Wiley had a solid game with 128 yards on 19 carries, and Keller was OSU's top passing target with three receptions for 57 yards.
Defensively, Percy King had 11 tackles and Mike Doss added 10.
1993: No. 5 Ohio State 23, No. 19 Indiana 17 – Two Buckeyes clutched single roses, and a couple of others lifted Cooper to their shoulders and carried him to midfield.
But the celebration after Ohio State earned a share of its first Big Ten title since 1986 was a tad subdued.
There was still work to be done.
"What have we done?," OSU senior tailback Raymont Harris asked in the Nov. 20, 1993, edition of BSB. "We have clinched a tie for the championship and that's all. If we go up to Michigan next week and lose, and then Wisconsin wins out, we don't go to the Rose Bowl and that's what this season has been all about."
"We have said all season that we want to take each game one at a time. We have done that 10 times now and we still have to remain focused on one more. True, indeed, we have clinched a share of the championship and that is an accomplishment we are proud of. But if we have come this far and don't get to the Rose Bowl, it won't mean as much. In fact, it won't mean much at all."
Ohio State (9-0-1) used its two-headed offensive monster in getting past the visiting Hoosiers on senior day at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes piled up 419 yards of offense, and receiver Joey Galloway and tailback Raymont Harris had much of that total. Galloway caught five passes for 115 yards – all in the first half – and also tied an OSU single-season record by catching his 11th touchdown of the season.
Harris did his part by grinding out 162 yards on 34 carries. He also became the first OSU running back since 1990 to top the 1,000-yard mark for a season.
The Ohio State defense also did its job by holding Indiana to 238 yards of offense, with 31 coming on the ground.
"I think we dominated them," OSU senior defensive end Jason Simmons. "They have a good offensive line, but I thought we played a tremendous game today up front. I would have liked to have gotten a little more pressure on the quarterback, but we did a real good job up front."
Ohio State built a 17-10 halftime lead when a 5-yard touchdown reception by Buster Tillman from Bret Powers broke a 10-10 tie. The Buckeyes added the eventual game-winning points in the third quarter on a pair of Tim Williams field goals of 23 and 22 yards, respectively.
Indiana scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to six, but the Buckeyes held on for the victory.
Powers and Bobby Hoying combined to complete 19 of 28 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. ON defense, Jayson Gwinn led the way with nine tackles. He also recorded two sacks.
1982: Ohio State 40, Northwestern 28 – A big first half propelled the Buckeyes to a win in Evanston.
Ohio State led 28-14 at halftime and defeated an improving Wildcats squad that earned the respect of OSU coach Earle Bruce.
"I'm glad we won the football game," Bruce said in the Nov. 20, 1982, edition of BSB. "The Northwestern football team and its coaching staff made a great effort. They did a great job of getting the play, of throwing the football."
Northwestern quarter Sandy Schwab threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, keeping NU within shouting distance for most of the afternoon. However, OSU rusher Tim Spencer did his best to overcome Schwab's big game. Spencer rushed for 190 yards on 26 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that closed the scoring.
Cedric Anderson scored a pair of touchdowns for the Buckeyes on a 5-yard run and a 33-yard TD reception from quarterback Mike Tomczak. Tomczak completed 12 of 20 passes for 222 yards with an interception. He also rushed for a 1-yard touchdown.
Ohio State's Gary Williams made history in the game by catching a pass in his 43rd straight game, setting an NCAA record in the process. "It's a great record, most certainly, to catch a pass in that many consecutive games," Bruce said. "It tells you what type of receiver he is. He's a great one."
1976: No. 8 Ohio State 9, Minnesota 3 – Ohio State clinched a share of the Big Ten championship with a win at Minnesota. The win was also OSU's 17th straight conference victory, tying a record. All of the game's scoring came in the first half. Ohio State's points came on a 39-yard field goal by Tom Skladany in the first quarter and a Jim Pacenta 4-yard TD run, his first as a Buckeye. Ohio State's defense dominated against Minnesota and quarterback Tony Dungy.
1971: Northwestern 14, No. 16 Ohio State 10 – Northwestern dropped OSU to 6-3 with an upset win at Ohio Stadium. The loss dropped Ohio State from Big Ten title contention. OSU scored first with a 7-yard TD run by Don Lamka and held a 10-7 lead on a Fred Schram 27-yard field goal, but the Wildcats rallied for the win.
1965: Ohio State 38, Iowa 0 – The Buckeyes (6-2) crushed the Hawkeyes on Dad's Day. The game featured OSU's largest offensive output in 33 games and was Iowa's worst conference loss since 1950. Tom Barrington and Willard Sander combined for 198 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Quarterback Don Unverferth completed 12 of 19 passes for 99 yards, including a 22-ayrd TD pass to Bo Rein.
1954: No. 2 Ohio State 28, Purdue 6 – Ohio State set up a showdown against Michigan with the Rose Bowl on the line by blasting Purdue. The Boilermakers put up little resistance as the Buckeyes improved to 8-0 on the season.
1948: Ohio State 34, Illinois 7 – The Buckeyes (6-2) spoiled homecoming in Champaign by playing one of their best games of the season. Ohio State scored three of their five touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes dedicated the game to retired OSU athletic director Lynn W. St. John, whose wife passed away the day before the game.
1943: Ohio State 29, Illinois 26 – The lead changed hands four times, and fortunately for OSU, the Buckeyes were the last to take command. The game featured one of the most unusual endings in college football history when most fans had left thinking the game had ended in a 26-26 tie when Ohio State (3-5) failed to score from deep inside Illinois territory before time expired. Illinois was flagged for an offside call on the final down, but most people did not see head linesman Paul Goebel signal the penalty. Even the teams left the field. Ten minutes later, the teams returned for one final play. Freshman kicker Johnny Stungis was called on to attempt a 33-yard field goal, which he converted to give Ohio State the victory in what was then known as the "fifth quarter" game. It was Stungis' first – and only – field goal attempt as a Buckeye.
1937: Ohio State 19, Illinois 0 – The Buckeyes bounced back from an upset loss to Indiana with a blanking of visiting Illinois on homecoming. Ohio State (5-2) started quick, scoring on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Nick Wasylik to Jim McDonald seconds into the game. Dick Nardi scored the other Ohio State touchdowns on short runs in the second half.
1926: Michigan 17, Ohio State 16 – In what was one of the best editions of The Game in history, the Wolverines spoiled a potential undefeated season by beating the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State (6-1) led 10-0 but could not hold on for the win. Michigan scored the game-winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter after the Buckeyes lost a fumble on a punt return deep in OSU territory. The Buckeyes cut the lead to 17-16 on a Bryon Eby touchdown with two minutes remaining, but Myers Clark missed the extra point.
The official attendance for the game was 90,411, but no one really knows for sure how many people were there. An estimated 10,000 were unable to get tickets and remained outside during the game, listening to the public address system inside the stadium. Several people tried to climb the stadium fences and some broke bones in the process. As part of the pregame festivities, aerial bombs were set off from a field south of the stadium. Unfortunately one exploded into the stadium's south stands, injuring two women. The sisters suffered burns.
1915: Ohio State 25, Oberlin 0 – A week after knocking off Indiana for the first time ever in Columbus, the Buckeyes built on the momentum by blanking Oberlin. Ohio State improved to 4-1-1 with the win with only a game at Northwestern left on the schedule.
1909: Ohio State 5, Vanderbilt 0 – The Buckeyes beat Dan McGugin's talented Commodores squad at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State (6-2) was largely aided by a goal line tackle by Bill Wright that kept the shutout intact.
1897: Cincinnati 24, Ohio State 0 – Ohio State's difficult campaign continued with a loss to the host Bearcats. The Buckeyes fell to 1-6-1.