"That was Big Ten football," OSU strong safety Mike Doss said in the Oct. 26, 2002, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "It was an old-fashioned street fight out there."
Ohio State (8-0, 3-0 Big Ten) trailed 14-13 at halftime, thanks in large part to the efforts of Wisconsin rusher Anthony Davis. The Buckeyes needed a 3-yard touchdown pass from Craig Krenzel to tight end Ben Hartsock with 9:59 remaining to pull out the win.
"We really gutted it out," Hartsock said. "I don't think we played our best ball today, but we stuck it out. This was a clash of two similar types of teams and we were fortunate to come out with the victory."
Krenzel and company started the game with a bang, needing only three plays to drive 75 yards and open the scoring. Maurice Clarett carried the ball on the first play from scrimmage and rushed 25 yards to midfield. Chris Gamble then ran for 3 yards on a reverse, and that set up Krenzel's first touchdown pass of the afternoon – a 47-yard strike to Michael Jenkins on a slant pass that helped give OSU a 7-0 advantage just 1:30 into the game.
"The look we gave them, we were spread out," Krenzel said. "We had three receivers to the right and two to the left. They were trying to play man to man on Mike and Chris' side. That's two tough guys to play man on. Mike ran a good route, I got the ball there, and he did the rest."
Wisconsin responded later in the first quarter with a 41-yard touchdown run by Davis. Mike Nugent gave OSU a 10-7 lead by the end of the quarter on a 27-yard field goal and extended his team's advantage with 13:14 left before halftime on a 25-yard boot. The Badgers took a one-point lead into halftime, however, on a 42-yard touchdown pass from Jim Sorgi to Jonathan Orr with 1:55 left before the break. Sorgi was in the game in relief of starting QB Brooks Bollinger, who left the game in the second quarter after getting hit hard on back-to-back plays.
Neither team could muster anything offensively until early in the fourth quarter. A 45-yard pass from Krenzel to Jenkins on a third-and-6 play from the OSU 16 sparked the Buckeyes. Jenkins leaped and took the ball away UW's B.J. Tucker and Brett Bell on the crucial connection.
"We really needed that play," Jenkins said. "They had been double-teaming me at times and we just took a shot deep. The line gave Craig a chance to set his feet and throw, and I was able to go up and make a big catch."
Krenzel rushed for 16 yards on the next play, taking it to the UW 15. A pair of 6-yard runs by Clarett pushed the ball to the 3 and gave OSU a first-and-goal. Krenzel then faked a pitch and threw to Hartsock on the back side for a 3-yard touchdown.
"That was just a little naked route," Krenzel said. "We tried to get the flow going one way and we had Ben in the flat. I saw Ben out there and I was able to flip it out to him before I got hit."
Ohio State then went for a two-point conversion that failed. Still, the Buckeyes were able to hold on for the win.
"You knew it was going to be a battle up here in Madison, Wis.," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "I thought our guys played all the way. They played the 60 minutes they need to play and kept finding ways to hang in there and succeed and stop them."
Krenzel completed 12 of 19 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Jenkins caught five passes for 114 yards. Clarett set a school freshman record with his sixth 100-yard game in seven appearances. He compiled 133 yards on 30 carries, giving him 980 on the year.
Defensively, Doss sparked Ohio State with a game-high 14 tackles. He also recovered a fumble, while Gamble intercepted a pass. Seven different Buckeyes recorded a sack.
UW was led by Davis, who finished with 144 yards on 25 carries.
1996 – No. 2 Ohio State 42, Purdue 14: Ohio State remained unbeaten with a rout of host Purdue.
The Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) scored 42 unanswered points after finding themselves facing an early two-touchdown deficit. Purdue recorded two long touchdown passes in two of its first four offensive plays.
"We just came out kind of flat," OSU freshman linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer said in the Oct. 26, 1996, edition of BSB. "We thought we would just go out there and show up and Purdue would lose the ball game. We had to play and come back from 14 points down, and I'm real proud of that."
"We have to find a way to get these games started better," Buckeye head coach John Cooper said.
The Buckeyes rallied to tie the game by halftime. Dimitrious Stanley started the comeback with an 11-yard touchdown reception from Stanley Jackson with 28 seconds left in the first quarter. With 12:12 left before halftime, Ohio State tied the game thanks to a 26-yard TD run by Pepe Pearson.
Ohio State took command in the second half. Jackson rushed for a 9-yard touchdown and threw a 63-yard scoring strike to Dustin Keller to give the Buckeyes a 28-14 lead after three quarters. The Buckeyes added two more scores on a 64-yard TD run by Pearson and a 79-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Rob Kelly to end the afternoon.
Jackson was sacked a season-high five times and was ejected after kicking PU linebacker Chris Koeppen off him following a third-quarter sack. He finished the game with 162 yards on 9-of-22 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Pearson led the offense with 152 yards on 26 carries. Stanley caught five passes for 59 yards.
Defensively, Katzenmoyer led the Buckeyes with eight tackles, including three for loss and two sacks. He also intercepted a pass, as did Kelly and Anthony Gwinn.
1991 – No. 18 Ohio State 34, Northwestern 3: In a game held at Cleveland Stadium, the Buckeyes blasted the "host" Wildcats.
Six Cleveland area natives started for Ohio State (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten): defensive tackle Rich Frimel of North Olmsted, outside linebacker Andy Gurd of Chagrin Falls, inside linebacker Judah Herman of Bainbridge, center Paul Long of Highland Heights and inside linebacker Steve Tovar of Elyria. Also seeing plenty of action in the game were nose guard Pete Beckman of Chesterland, running back Raymont Harris of Lorain and quarterback Joe Pickens of Brooklyn.
"It felt great to play in this stadium," Pickens said in the Oct. 26, 1991, edition of BSB. "It was a great thrill. I've never played here. I've been to a lot of games here, but I've never played here. It was quite a feeling."
Pickens played nearly all of the fourth quarter because Ohio State dominated the first three quarters. Scottie Graham started the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run less than three minutes into the game. Northwestern answered with a field goal, but the four-point deficit was as close as the Wildcats would get.
Ohio State led 20-3 at halftime. Cedric Saunders caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kent Graham with 3:47 left in the first quarter to make it 13-3 after Tim Williams' extra-point attempt failed. Graham added his second touchdown of the game, this on a 1-yard run, with 12:00 left before halftime.
After the break, Scottie Graham scored his third touchdown of the game on a 2-yard run in the third quarter. Late in the same quarter, Carlos Snow closed the scoring with a 6-yard TD run.
"We were very excited about playing this game in Cleveland Stadium and in front of our great fans in this part of the state," OSU head coach John Cooper said. "We have a lot of players on our football team from this area and we were happy to give them the chance to play in front of their friends and family."
Scottie Graham finished with 109 yards on 13 carries to go with his trio of TDs. Kent Graham completed 2 of 8 passes for 23 yards in limited action. Kirk Herbstreit and Pickens also spent time under center. Brian Stablein was the only Buckeye to catch more than one pass, hauling in a pair for 26 yards.
Defensively, Tovar and Greg Smith each made six tackles. Brent Johnson recovered two fumbles.
1985 – No. 11 Ohio State 41, Purdue 27: Ohio State got a boost from the season debut of Keith Byars during a home win against the Boilermakers.
On the second play of OSU's second offensive possession, OSU head coach Earle Bruce sent Byars on to the rain-soaked Ohio Stadium field. Byars was a mere decoy on his first play, carrying out a fake to the left as fullback George Cooper carried up the middle for four years.
Then it was Byars time to get back into the game. Quarterback Jim Karastos flared a pass to the left that Byars caught. He spun around a PU defender and gained five yards on the play.
Byars was back.
"There were some butterflies jumping around," Byars said in the Oct. 26, 1985, edition of BSB. "They were more or less from anxiety. I just wanted to get out there and play football."
The Dayton Roth product carried the ball 26 times for 106 yards, caught three passes for 10 yards and scored Ohio State's last two touchdowns.
"I'm extremely pleased with my effort," said Byars, who had not played a down since the Rose Bowl in January. "I don't care what the statistics say, I'm just happy to be out here again. … I'm just thankful that I have the opportunity to be back playing football."
Ohio State (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) needed Byars' scores in order to pull off the victory. The Buckeyes never trailed, but also struggled to put the Boilermakers away. OSU led 17-10 at halftime thanks to a pair of Karsatos TD passes to Cooper and Mike Lanese and a 39-yard field goal by Rich Spangler.
A 4-yard touchdown reception by Cris Carter gave Ohio State a 24-10 lead with 9:37 left in the third quarter, but Purdue responded with 10 unanswered points to make it 24-20. Spangler booted a 30-yard field goal with 12:46 left in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to seven points, but Purdue answered with a game-tying touchdown with 8:35 left on a 2-yard TD run by James Medlock.
That forced Ohio State to respond with a pair of Byars touchdowns. He scored from a yard out with 4:41 and iced the game with a 9-yard scoring burst with 2:10 remaining.
"It was one of those games," Bruce said. "Jump off to a good start with a lot of zip; jump on them hard playing well both offensively and defensively … then let them back in the game and tie it up and then come on in the end."
Karsatos completed 13 of 26 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Cooper added 69 yards on 14 carries, and Carter caught four passes for 96 yards. Pepper Johnson paced the defense with 14 tackles. Byron Lee and Chris Spielman intercepted passes, and Greg Rogan, Johnson and William White recovered Purdue fumbles.
1974 – No. 1 Ohio State 49, Indiana 9: The Buckeyes remained perfect on the season with a rout of visiting Indiana.
Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) compiled 568 yards against Lee Corso's squad, including 377 by halftime. Sixteen different players carried the ball for OSU, and linebacker Bruce Elia sparked the defense with 14 tackles. The crowd of 87,671 included members of Ohio State's 1954 national championship team, who were celebrating their 20th reunion.
1968 – No. 2 Ohio State 45, Northwestern 21: A week after upsetting then No. 1 Purdue, Ohio State continued its march toward a national title with a homecoming win over the Wildcats.
There was a little bit of a letdown for host OSU, as Northwestern led 7-6 after the first quarter. Still, the Buckeyes (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) recovered in time to pull away for a comfortable victory. Rex Kern led OSU with three touchdowns – two rushing and one passing.
1963 – USC 32, No. 4 Ohio State 3: The Trojans overwhelmed the visiting Buckeyes (2-1-1, 1-0-1 Big Ten) in Los Angeles. USC outgained Ohio State 407-178 and intercepted four Buckeye passes. The loss dropped OSU head coach Woody Hayes to 0-3 in games played at L.A.'s Memorial Coliseum.
1957 – Ohio State 56, Indiana 0: The Buckeyes improved to 2-0 in the Big Ten with a blowout of overmatched and visiting Indiana. Nine different players scored for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes outgained IU 458-146. The win kept OSU (3-1) in a tie for first place in the Big Ten in a race that got more interesting that afternoon thanks to Purdue's upset of Michigan State.
1946 – Ohio State 14, Purdue 14: Missed opportunities plagued Ohio State in a home tie with the Boilermakers. The Buckeyes (1-1-2, 0-1-1 Big Ten) built a 14-0 lead, only to have PU rally. Even so, Ohio State had chances to emerge with a win. Fullback Pete Perini fumbled at the goal line in the fourth quarter, and another final quarter drive ended in Purdue territory with a missed field goal.
1940 – No. 7 Minnesota 13, No. 15 Ohio State 7: The visiting Golden Gophers handed Ohio State (2-2, 1-2 Big Ten) its second consecutive loss. Played in a steady rain, the game featured three Minnesota fumbles that were recovered by OSU. The Buckeyes were unable to take advantage despite outgaining the Gophers 346-231. The defeat was the second of three in a row for the Buckeyes, their first three-game losing streak since 1934.
1935 – Ohio State 28, Northwestern 7: Ohio State opened Big Ten play with a home win against the Wildcats. The Buckeyes improved to 3-0 (1-0 Big Ten).
1929 – Ohio State 7, Michigan 0: For the second straight year, the Buckeyes bested their archrivals. Defense ruled the day for OSU (3-0), as the Buckeyes stopped Michigan drives inside the OSU 20-yard-line four times. Near halftime, the Buckeyes held U-M on downs at the OSU 10. In the second half, Ohio State recovered a fumble at the 9 and stopped the Wolverines on downs again at the 19 and 6, respectively.
1912 – Michigan 14, Ohio State 0: The Buckeyes fell to 2-1 with a home loss to the Wolverines at Ohio Field. An overflow crowd of 8,500 – a then Ohio State record – watched Fielding Yost coach his team to victory in his 100th game at Michigan. It would be the last game between the rivals until 1918 because Ohio State would join the Western Conference the following year. Michigan did not join until 1918.
1907 – Ohio State 6, Wooster 6: Ohio State (3-0-1) failed to win for the first time during the season. Wooster was coached by Lynn W. St. John, who later went on to aid the development of athletics at Ohio State as men's basketball and baseball coach and later as an OSU administrator. Yes, he's the St. John in St. John Arena.
1901 – Ohio State 24, Marietta 0: The Buckeyes won their third straight following a season-opening tie. Ohio State (3-0-1) was forced to scramble for an opponent that afternoon when Cincinnati canceled its trip to Columbus days earlier. The Buckeyes then sent telegrams to Denison, Heidelberg, Marietta, Mt. Union and Wooster looking for a team to replace UC. Marietta was the first to respond, setting up the game between the Buckeyes and Pioneers.
1895 – Oberlin 12, Ohio State 0: OSU fell to 1-2 with a home loss to the Yeomen.