Pittman outshined counterpart Laurence Maroney, who entered the game No. 3 in the nation in rushing with a 161.9-yards-per-game average. The Buckeye ball carrier was better in the Metrodome, however, as Pittman ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns in leading his team to victory.
"Without a doubt, he's a great running back," said Pittman of Maroney in the Nov. 5, 2005, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "I've watched a lot of Minnesota film, watching how he does things, watching for little things to see if maybe I can use them, too. I look up to the dude, man, and it was a challenge for me to get to go toe-to-toe with him today."
Pittman sparked Ohio State in the second half. He was held to 52 yards on 10 first-half carries before running 13 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns after halftime. The touchdowns were both crucial for the Buckeyes. The first came on a 67-yard explosion through the middle of the Minnesota line just more than two minutes into the second half. It broke a 17-17 halftime tie.
"That was just a great call by the coaches," OSU senior offensive guard Rob Sims said. "It was designed for me to pull over into the 46 hole (the gap between the right guard and right tackle). I got over there and took care of the linebacker. Then I saw this kind of blur. It was Antonio flying through that hole. I knew right then he was gone."
Pittman's second TD was far less exciting, coming on a simple 4-yard run, but it was still very important to OSU's cause. Minnesota had cut the Buckeyes' lead to 31-24 with 6:14 left in the third quarter before Ohio State (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) took back the momentum. Following a good punt return from Ted Ginn Jr. that put the OSU offense in good field position, Pittman led a six-play, 37-yard touchdown drive. He carried the ball four times for 16 yards, including the touchdown run – one in which he dragged two Minnesota defenders into the end zone with him.
Ohio State never trailed, taking a 17-7 lead before Minnesota rallied to the game by the break. Santonio Holmes started the scoring in the first quarter by hauling in a 41-yard Smith pass at the 12:42 mark of the first quarter. Kicker Josh Huston later added a 31-yard field goal with 7:09 left in the quarter. Minnesota answered with a 1-yard TD run by Maroney, but the Buckeyes quickly took back the momentum with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Ginn.
Following Pittman's second touchdown run, which happened with 13:20 left in the fourth quarter, Ohio State iced the game with a 30-yard TD pass from Smith to Holmes. That gave OSU a 45-24 lead. Gary Russell added a 1-yard touchdown run with less than a minute for Minnesota left to set the final score.
Smith had an impressive afternoon, throwing for 233 yards on 14-of-20 passing with three TDs. Cupito was even better, completing 26 of 35 passes for 396 yards and a score. Holmes caught four Smith passes for 94 yards. Minnesota's Jared Ellerson caught five passes for 113 yards.
Maroney finished with 127 yards on 25 carries for the Gophers.
1994: No. 1 Penn State 63, No. 21 Ohio State 14: Mark Rea's cover story in the Nov. 5, 1994, edition of BSB listed several ways to describe the lopsided loss for the Buckeyes against the host Nittany Lions.
"Embarrassed. Destroyed. Wiped out. Crushed. Overpowered. Demolished. Bombed. Pulverized," Rea wrote.
All were fair descriptions. In fact, they were all words used by one person or another to describe the blowout. While the game set Penn State on a course to finish the season unbeaten, the loss for OSU left coaches and players looking for answers.
"We have three more games, 21 days to see what we're made of," OSU offensive coordinator Joe Hollis said. "We have to bull up, do the intangibles right, coach like hell, play like hell and see where we stand."
Added co-captain Marlon Kerner: "I've been on a team that won and beat teams by this kind of margin, but I've never lost a game like this. Right now, I don't think any words can describe how I'm feeling. It was absolutely embarrassing. They made some nice plays and some great catches out there, but never in my wildest nightmare would I imagine them putting up 63 points.
"I mean, you want to say that we lost to a good team and I'm not taking anything away from Penn State. They are a good team. But I don't think we played up to the level that we can play as a whole team. Then, you have to face the reality that they scored 63 points. As a defensive player, that's just sickening."
It wasn't much better for the offense. Junior quarterback Bobby Hoying echoed Kerner in calling the performance "embarrassing."
"For a lot of us who grew up in Ohio and have always been a true Buckeye, this is the toughest thing I've ever had to go through," he said. "It's the most hopeless feeling in the world. Everything just went right for them and we didn't have enough answers at all."
The loss was historic for all the wrong reasons for Ohio State. The 49-point margin of victory was the most lopsided defeat for the Buckeyes since a 58-6 loss to Michigan in 1946. Penn State's 63 points were the third largest total for an OSU opponent and the most scored by the opposition since the Roosevelt Administration – Teddy Roosevelt. Only one other opponent, the 1902 Michigan squad, put up more points against Ohio State. Those Wolverines beat the Buckeyes 86-0.
Ki-Jana Carter led the PSU attack, rushing for 137 yards on just 19 carries. He added four touchdown runs of 20, 1, 36 and 12 yards. Quarterback Kerry Collins added 265 yards on 19-of-23 passing with two TDs.
The Lions finished with 572 yards of total offense and limited Ohio State to 214.
The Buckeyes' lone points came on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Hoying to Chris Sanders. That made the score 35-6 in the third quarter. A 6-yard TD run by backup QB Stanley Jackson – and a two-point conversion pass from Jackson to Rickey Dudley – closed the scoring in the fourth quarter.
Pepe Pearson led OSU's offense with 57 rushing yards on nine carries. Hoying threw for 87 yards on 12-of-24 passing with three interceptions and a score. Sanders caught four of those passes for 32 yards.
Ohio State fell to 6-3 (3-2 Big Ten)
1988: Michigan State 20, Ohio State 10: Sophomore quarterback Greg Frey could not hold in his displeasure after the host Spartans beat his Buckeyes, OSU's fourth loss in five Big Ten games.
"I'm really frustrated," Frey said in the Nov. 5, 1988, edition of BSB. "We've got a good offense. We just keep stopping ourselves over and over and over. I'm getting sick of it."
Frey led the Ohio State offense to 360 yards against what was the third-best defense statistically in the Big Ten. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. But he also had two passes picked off, both coming at inopportune times. The first came on an aborted option play that stopped a drive at the MSU 8-yard line. The second came in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes (3-5, 1-4) were trying to mount a late comeback.
"On the first one, I should have kept the ball or either pitched it sooner," Frey said. "It was just a dumb mistake on my part, especially on the 5-yard line.
"It was just one of those things. I shouldn't have pitched it. Once I was in the grasp, I should have eaten the ball because it was only second down. We should have had two more chances to put it in."
Head coach John Cooper talked about the ineffectiveness of the offense. Defensive coordinator Bill Young talked about his unit's inconsistency. Frey talked about his mistakes.
But junior tailback Marc Hicks might have put it best.
"I don't know how, why or what, but we're jinxed," he said.
The game was tied 10-10 at halftime. Ohio State scored first on a 14-yard touchdown catch by Bernard Edwards from Frey. MSU answered with a 1-yard TD run by Hyland Hickson and took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter with a 35-yard field goal by John Langeloh. The Buckeyes tied the game in the last minute of the first half with a 28-yard field goal by Pat O'Morrow.
Michigan State earned the victory with 10 third-quarter points. Quarterback Bobby McAllister rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, and Langeloh added a 32-yard field goal.
Carlos Snow rushed for 53 yards on nine carries to lead OSU's ground attack. Tight end Jeff Ellis caught seven passes for 73 yards. Cornerback Zach Dumas had 16 tackles to lead the Buckeye defense. He added a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. Bo Pelini had 14 stops, including one for loss.
1983: No. 16 Ohio State 45, Wisconsin 27: Junior safety Kelvin Bell hauled in two third-quarter interceptions as the host Buckeyes blasted the Badgers.
Bell and the OSU defense responded well after halftime. Wisconsin quarterback Randy Wright had 208 passing yards at the break, including two touchdown passes. But the Buckeyes bounced back, limiting Wright to 111 yards in the second half as Ohio State took command.
"Early in the year, we were dropping a lot of interceptions," Bell said in the Nov. 5, 1983, edition of BSB. "I know myself I dropped interceptions in the Iowa game. It's just a matter of when you get the opportunity just taking it and doing the best you can when it comes."
Ohio State quarterback Mike Tomczak led the Buckeye offense. He completed 12 of 14 passes for a then-career high 167 yards. Tailback Keith Byars added 174 rushing yards as the Buckeyes improved to 6-2 and 4-2 in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin built a 14-7 lead through the first quarter before the Buckeyes rallied. Ohio State scored three unanswered touchdowns to take a 28-14 lead. Tomczak started the run with a 28-yard touchdown rush. Byars added a 13-yard score, and Vaughn Broadnax rushed for a 1-yard score with 2:07 left before the break.
The Badgers took some momentum shortly before halftime with a 23-yard touchdown reception by Al Toon. Wisconsin added another touchdown, this time on a 17-yard TD reception from Bret Pearson in the third quarter. Pearson's score could have tied the game, but OSU kept the lead at 28-27 after a missed extra point.
The Buckeyes took command from that point. Rich Spangler kicked a 36-yard field goal, Byars rushed for a 3-yard touchdown run and Roman Bates ran for a 14-yard TD to close the scoring.
The game was also notable for the man honored at halftime. Ohio State had a ceremony for legendary coach Woody Hayes, who was recognized for his selection to the National Football Hall of Fame. He also dotted the ‘i' in the famed Script Ohio.
1977: No. 3 Ohio State 42, Wisconsin 0: The Buckeyes wowed their homecoming crowd by blanking the Badgers. It did not take Ohio State long to get on the scoreboard. Rod Gerald and wingback Jimmy Harrell connected on a 79-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game. Six different players scored touchdowns for OSU (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten), and the Buckeye defense did its share by catching four interceptions.
1966: Minnesota 17, Ohio State 7: A week after losing 49-0 at Michigan, Minnesota knocked off the Buckeyes. Ohio State's lone touchdown came on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Bill Long to halfback Bo Rein in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes (2-4, 1-3 Big Ten) had other chances to score, however, but turned the ball over inside the Minnesota 5-yard line twice. As usual, Hayes was short with the media after the game. His press conference following the loss lasted 20 seconds.
1960: No. 8 Ohio State 21, No. 10 Michigan State 10: In OSU's first game at East Lansing, the Buckeyes (5-1, 3-1 Big Ten) rode halfback Bob Klein to victory. Klein, a native of Athens, Mich., scored the game's first touchdown on a 45-yard halfback trap in the second quarter. Bob Ferguson extended the lead with a 3-yard TD run. OSU's third and final touchdown came when Tom Matte tossed a 25-yard TD pass to end Bob Middleton. Ferguson led all rushers with 112 yards on 18 carries.
1955: No. 15 Ohio State 49, Northwestern 0: The Buckeyes (4-2, 3-0) scored in each quarter during a homecoming rout of the visiting Wildcats. The victory was the most lopsided in the series between the schools since a 58-0 OSU victory in 1913. Six different Buckeyes scored touchdowns, and Hopalong Cassady led the offense with 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns – his 30th and 31st at OSU. His second score tied what was then a Big Ten career touchdown record set by Red Grange at Illinois from 1923-25.
1949: No. 18 Ohio State 24, Northwestern 7: The visiting Wildcats did not reach OSU territory until the second half, and the Buckeyes dominated on Dad's Day. The win moved the Buckeyes (4-1-1, 3-1 Big Ten) into a first-place tie with Iowa after Michigan upset Illinois and Purdue beat Minnesota.
1938: No. 20 Ohio State 32, NYU 0: Ohio State earned a victory at the famous Polo Grounds, blanking the Violets. The Buckeyes (3-1-1) scored four touchdowns in the second quarter in order to pull away.
1932: Ohio State 7, Wisconsin 7: The Buckeyes (1-1-3, 0-1-2 Big Ten) could only manage a first-quarter touchdown in a tie with the visiting Badgers. Fullback Mickey Vuchinich rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, but that was the extent of OSU's offensive output. Wisconsin's touchdown came on a 70-yard punt return in the second quarter.
1927: Ohio State 13, Chicago 7: A 50-yard touchdown pass from Robin Bell to halfback Howard Kriss proved to be the difference in an OSU Dad's Day win against the visiting Maroons. The TD pass erased a 7-6 Chicago lead. The Buckeyes improved to 3-2.
1910: Ohio State 5, Denison 5: A week after tying Michigan, the Buckeyes earned another draw at Ohio Field. Ohio State remained unbeaten, moving its record to 4-0-2.
1904: Indiana 8, Ohio State 0: The Buckeyes lost in their first road game of the season. Ohio State had played six straight home games before traveling to Bloomington and fell to 5-2 with the loss.
1892: Ohio State 80, Marietta 0: Ohio State earned its second consecutive shutout victory. The Buckeyes (2-1) would next travel to Denison before hosting Oberlin in a rematch of OSU's season-opening 40-0 loss.