Clarett returned to the lineup 11 days after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and finished with 104 yards rushing with three touchdowns. Those numbers were even more impressive than usual because of what happened to the freshman phenom late in the first half.
Clarett had just given Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) a 21-10 lead thanks to his third score of the game. But the touchdown came with a cost.
"On the last touchdown, I felt it split wide open," Clarett said after the game in the Oct. 5, 2002, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin.
It, in this case, was the area of his incision.
"I was trying to hide it from (the coaching staff) when I came off, but the coach knew I fell on it."
Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel had indeed seen it, as did running backs coach Tim Spencer. They had Clarett examined by OSU's medical staff.
"They told me if I didn't get stitches (on the knee) I wasn't going back in the game," Clarett said. "I don't like needles too much, but I had to have it done. After a while, I just laid my head back.
"The blood isn't the problem. It's what they put the needle in your skin."
Clarett toughed it out and returned and aided two more Buckeye touchdown drives before departing with Ohio State holding a 35-10 lead late in the third quarter. His 104 yards came on 21 carries, with three of those carries going for scores from 2, 1 and 4 yards, respectively.
Ohio State led 21-10 at halftime before pulling away thanks to 17 third-quarter points. Chris Gamble rushed for a 43-yard touchdown, and Michael Jenkins added a 4-yard TD reception from Craig Krenzel. Mike Nugent added a 51-yard field goal. In the fourth quarter, Jenkins added a second score, this time on a 15-yard TD reception from backup QB Scott McMullen.
Krenzel completed 11 of 16 passes for 152 yards. Jenkins was the top target of Krenzel and McMullen, catching seven passes for 93 yards.
Defensively, Darrion Scott led the way with nine tackles, including a sack. Will Smith and Simon Fraser also recorded sacks.
"I think we did some things well and there are still some things we need to improve on," Tressel said. "We felt much better in the second half. I thought we had a little more of a ‘We want to put this away' attitude."
1996 – No. 4 Ohio State 29, No. 5 Notre Dame 16: It took nearly 60 years, but the Buckeyes finally evened their record against Notre Dame with a win at South Bend that leveled the all-time series at two wins apiece.
"This was huge," OSU junior cornerback Shawn Springs said in the Oct. 5, 1996, edition of BSB. "You don't get wins like this every day. This was exciting. Notre Dame is Notre Dame."
Springs' head coach, John Cooper, echoed those thoughts.
"It doesn't get any better than this," said Cooper, who was presented with the game ball after recording his 150th win as a collegiate coach.
The Buckeyes dominated on both sides of the football. They blitzed and harassed ND quarterback Ron Powlus throughout the game, and on offense Pepe Pearson sliced and diced the Irish defense to the tune of 173 yards and two touchdowns.
The tone was set early, as Dimitrious Stanley took the opening kickoff and returned it 85 yards to set up the game's first touchdown. From there, Ohio State was in command.
"We come out and take the kickoff almost back for a touchdown, and that just set the tone for the entire game," OSU tight end John Lumpkin said.
The Buckeyes (3-0) led 22-7 at halftime and led 29-10 through three quarters. Notre Dame attempted to mount a late rally, but it was too little too late – especially after a holding call negated a 90-yard punt return for a score by Autry Denson in the closing minutes.
"It was a shame we made that mistake, but Ohio State is as good a team as we've played in a while and particularly when they do things we aren't prepared for," Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz said, noting OSU's blitz packages.
"But give them the credit. They're allowed to do that."
Pearson started the scoring with a 3-yard TD run less than two minutes into the game. His other score came in the final minute of the first half on a 1-yard burst. Matt Calhoun added a 2-yard TD reception from Stanley Jackson in the second quarter, while Josh Jackson added a 24-yard field goal before halftime.
In the second half, D.J. Jones caught a13-yard TD from Jackson for OSU's only score after intermission.
Greg Bellisari led Ohio State with 14 tackles, while Mike Vrabel added nine stops. Both men recorded a sack, as did Winfield Garnett and Luke Fickell. Fickell also added an interception, as did Rob Kelly.
1985 – No. 5 Ohio State 48, Washington State 32: Quarterback Jim Karsatos was not known for his rushing ability, but his feet helped the host Buckeyes beat back the visiting Cougars.
Karsatos entered the game with minus-28 yards rushing but upped that total considerably in leading Ohio State. Karsatos not only completed 18 of 24 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, but he also rushed 13 times for 58 yards and another score.
"That was great," Karsatos said in the Oct. 5, 1985, edition of BSB. "I got positive rushing yards for the first time."
OSU head coach Earle Bruce couldn't help but say, "I told you so," about Karsatos' rushing performance.
"I like to see him run," Bruce said. "He's a better runner than you think. He's in pretty good shape. He'll get better."
The Buckeyes (3-0) outgunned WSU and quarterback Mark Rypien. Ohio State erased a 14-7 second-quarter deficit with a pair of touchdowns within 2:01 of each other. Mike Lanese caught a 31-yard TD pass from Karsatos to tie the game, and after quickly getting the ball back, Ohio State took the lead for good on a 17-yard TD strike from Karsatos to Ed Taggert.
In all, the Buckeyes scored four second-quarter touchdowns to take command. They led 35-17 after Karsatos added a 7-yard TD run and Lanese caught a 26-yard scoring pass before the break.
John Wooldridge led OSU's rushing attack with 103 yards on 20 carries. Cris Carter caught eight passes for 99 yards and threw for a touchdown. Sonny Gordon and Chris Spielman both recorded 10 tackles apiece.
1974 – No. 1 Ohio State 28, SMU 9: The Buckeyes only outgained the Mustangs 403-337 but still earned a relatively easy home victory.
Ohio State (2-0), in its first week as the top-ranked team in the nation, scored in every quarter. Still, SMU kept it closer than most expected – thanks in large part to 281 rushing yards.Wingback Brian Baschnagel led OSU's attack with a pair of touchdowns on reverse plays, going for 44 yards in the second quarter and 64 yards in the fourth. Baschnagel finished with 140 yardson seven carries, and Archie Griffin had 156 on 24 attempts.
1968 – No. 11 Ohio State 35, SMU 14: The Buckeyes kicked off what would be a national championship season with a home win against SMU.
Hayden Fry, who would later lead Iowa, brought a high-powered Mustang attack to Columbus and neither team disappointed on that side of the ball. The teams combined for 178 plays – 93 passes (76 by SMU) – in a game that lasted more than three hours. The Mustangs threw for 437 yards, but Ohio State's 227 yards on the ground proved to be enough – especially when adding 145 passing yards by Rex Kern in his first start.
1963 – Ohio State 17, Texas A&M 0: In the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Aggies, host Ohio State held TAMU to 110 yards of total offense in an easy win.
The Buckeyes (1-0) finished with 280 yards, including 85 on the ground by Paul Warfield. The game was one of the quickest in Ohio Stadium history, lasting barely over two hours.
1957 – TCU 18, Ohio State 14: Despite being two-touchdown favorites against the visiting Horned Frogs, Woody Hayes suffered his first loss in a season-opener.
Ohio State led 7-6 after the first quarter thanks toa 2-yard TD run by Dick LeBeau. The lead did not last long, as TCU answered with a Jim Shofner punt return for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. The Buckeyes responded with an 18-play, 68-yard touchdown drive to go ahead 14-12 at halftime.
The Horned Frogs scored a third-quarter touchdown to set the final score.
1946 – Ohio State 13, Missouri 13: The Buckeyes (0-0-1) lost three fumbles, threw an interception and committed seven penalties in a surprising home tie against the Tigers. Missouri entered the game as a big underdog after losing its season opener 42-0 a week earlier at Texas.
1940 – Ohio State 30, Pitt 7: Under steamy conditions in Columbus, the Buckeyes opened the season by crushing the Panthers. Things started slow for Ohio State, as the Buckeyes held a 3-0 lead at halftime. Three third-quarter touchdowns allowed the Buckeyes to cruise to victory.
1907 – Ohio State 28, Otterbein 0: Ohio State opened the season with a blanking of the visiting Cardinals.
1901 – Ohio State 0, Otterbein 0: The Buckeyes and Cardinals settled for a season-opening scoreless tie.