Pryor contributed 343 yards of total offense in a 38-7 rout of the Golden Gophers on homecoming. Pryor heard plenty of criticism after looking lost at times in the midst of an upset loss at Purdue seven days earlier, but if any of that bothered him he did not let it show. In fact, he appeared cool and collected when he met with the media the Wednesday before the game.
"I've just been calm all week," he said on Oct. 21. "I feel real calm. When I started relaxing this week, everything came with me, and now I'm just taking what the defense gives me, and eventually it's going to lead to big plays and maybe we can put together some drive sand get this thing exciting again."
Pryor committed four turnovers against the Boilermakers in a stunning 26-18 loss but looked like a different quarterback against Minnesota. He led an offense that piled up 509 yards and crushed the overmatched Golden Gophers. Pryor completed 13 of 25 passes for 239 yards and ran 15 times for 104 more. He threw two deep touchdown passes to fellow sophomore DeVier Posey and had one pass intercepted.
"I thought (Terrelle) did a good job of making decisions today," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said. "He had an interception and he wishes he had that one back. He feels that was a poor decision. But I thought he made some really good decisions on check-offs and throwing the ball. He wasn't under duress quite as much maybe as he was a week ago, and obviously he can make things happen with his feet. He had 104 yards (rushing), so he had a good ballgame."
The Buckeyes also helped their cause on the ground. Ohio State had a season-high 270 yards rushing, a number that is even more impressive when learning that starting tailback Brandon Saine was sidelined in the second half with a concussion and sophomore Dan Herron was out with an ankle injury. In addition to Pryor's running total, the Buckeyes got a combined 113 yards and two touchdowns from freshmen rushers Jermil Martin and Jordan Hall.
"We think Jordan has done well since he's been here," Tressel said. "and Jermil did a heck of a job."
The Pryor-to-Posey connection led the aerial attack. Posey caught eight passes for a career-high 161 yards and caught TD passes for 62 and 57 yards.
Despite the final score, the first half was anything but pretty for Ohio State. The Buckeyes only managed one score on a 62-yard TD pass from Pryor to Posey. That gave the Buckeyes a 7-0 lead at halftime, but Ohio State went on to score 31 unanswered points after the break. A 15-yard touchdown run by Pryor started the onslaught, and Jordan Hall later increased the lead to 21-0 with an 11-yard touchdown burst. Posey's second touchdown, this time ona 57-yard bomb from Pryor, made it 28-0 at the end of the third quarter.
Martin scored his first OSU touchdown on a 39-yard run in the fourth quarter, and senior kicker Aaron Pettery added a 44-yard field goal to cap the Buckeyes' scoring. Minnesota closed the scoring with 4:15 left in the fourth quarter on a 16-yard touchdown pass from MarQueis Gray to Troy Stoudermire.
Minnesota's offense never got on track. Junior quarterback Adam Weber completed only 10 of 23 passes for 112 yards and two interceptions. He was playing without his No. 1 target, senior receiver Eric Decker, who left the game with a sprained foot in the first quarter. Freshman backup QB MarQueis Gray led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 11 carries and primarily ran out of the wildcat formation.
Junior defensive end Thaddeus Gibson led the defense for Ohio State. He collected a career-best three sacks among his six tackles. He also recovered a fumble. Junior linebacker Ross Homan was the leading tackler with eight stops, while defensive tackle Doug Worthington and linebacker Brian Rolle each had five. Senior co-captains Kurt Coleman and Austin Spitler both had interceptions, and redshirt Zach Domicone recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff that eventually led to a touchdown.
1998: No. 1 Ohio State 36, Northwestern 10 – Chicago native Joe Montgomery had a great homecoming and the Buckeyes blew out the host Wildcats.
Montgomery rumbled for a game-high 100 yards on 17 carries and he was one of several examples of where Ohio State's depth was simply too much for Northwestern. Tight end John Lumpkin hauled in a highlight-reel 35-yard touchdown reception, and defensive linemen Brent Johnson, Clifton Wayne and freshman safety all nabbed interceptions.
On a team that featured several big-name players like quarterback Joe Germaine, linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer and cornerback Antonie Winfield, Ohio State's depth continued to be one of its best attributes.
"We're certainly not one-dimensional," Ohio State head coach John Cooper said in the Oct. 31, 1998, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "We feel like we have some depth."
That was a sentiment shared by Katzenmoyer.
"The focus is on our supposed superstars, but I think our whole team is full of superstars," he said. "We're all playing well together and focused on one goal."
The Buckeyes had little trouble moving the ball against Northwestern. Germaine threw for more than 300 yards for the third consecutive game. He completed 19 of 35 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. David Boston caught eight of those 19 passes for 171 yards and a pair of scores.
The Wildcats kept the game close for most of the first half before the Buckeyes were able to pull away. Ohio State scored first on a Michael Wiley 28-yard touchdown run and added a 37-yard Dan Stultz field goal in the first quarter. Northwestern responded with a 60-yard touchdown pass to D'Wayne Bates from Gavin Hoffman, but OSU extended its lead to 17-7 with a 19-yard TD run by Montgomery in the final minutes of the opening quarter.
Northwestern cut the deficit to 10 points with a 39-yard field goal by Brian Gowins, but the Buckeyes' offense took command from there. Lumpkin's touchdown pass began the onslaught and made the halftime score 23-10. Ohio State then added a pair of touchdowns in the second half, both coming on Boston touchdown passes. The first came on a 38-yard pass in the third quarter, and the final score came on a 31-yard haul.
While the offense piled on the points, Ohio State's defense ground down the Northwestern attack. The Buckeyes recorded five sacks, intercepted three passes and held the Wildcats to just 48 yards rushing.
"We just want to come out in the beginning of the game with a great attitude," defensive end Rodney Bailey said. "Then we come out in the second half and put on more steam. We never lay off as the game goes on. We just keep going."
1992: Ohio State 27, Michigan State 17 – After already failing twice during the season in overcoming adversity, things didn't look good when the Buckeyes fell behind the Spartans 14-3 in the first half. OSU fell behind and never rallied in a loss to Wisconsin and fumbled twice at the goal line in a loss to Illinois.
This time, however, the Buckeyes responded. Ohio State kept its hopes of playing in a New Year's Day bowl alive by taking the lead by halftime and holding on for a win in East Lansing.
"It seems like we have a pattern now where it takes us getting real upset before we show what we're capable of doing," quarterback Kirk Herbstreit said in the Oct. 31, 1992, edition of BSB. "It was evident against Syracuse, late in the Wisconsin game, and today.
"When you're down 14-3 in the first half, on the road, that's pretty much of a wake-up call. That's when the seniors have to step up and show leadership."
Herbstreit did his part, answering MSU's second touchdown with a 77-yard scoring drive that was capped with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Greg Beatty. It was Beatty's first collegiate touchdown reception.
Another TD drive gave the Buckeyes the lead at halftime. Tailback Butler By'not'e reached the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown run with 68 seconds remaining before the break. Ohio State built on the lead after taking the opening drive of the second half and marching 67 yards on just three plays. Robert Smith finished the drive with a 20-yard TD burst.
The Spartans and Buckeyes traded field goals to cap the scoring.
"Coming back from 11 points down on the road made it a very good victory for us," Cooper said. "I thought our offensive line played as well as it has played all year. We were really physical at the line of scrimmage, and that allowed us to do some things running and throwing."
Herbstreit finished with a 14-of-21 passing effort for 201 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for 21 yards on six carries. By'not'e and Raymont Harris led the rushing attack with 62 yards apiece. Brian Stablein caught six passes for 106 yards, and Steve Tovar led the defense with 13 tackles.
1987: No. 16 Ohio State 42, Minnesota 9 – Carlos Snow scored three rushing touchdowns and led a powerful OSU offensive attack in a victory at Ohio Stadium.
The freshman tailback from Cincinnati accounted for 85 yards on 15 carries and looked impressive after suffering some early-season fumbling problems. He told reporters after the game he wasn't thinking about his issues holding onto the ball. Snow was thinking about the Buckeye seniors.
"I was thinking about them a lot because they don't want to end up in no Cherry Bowl," Snow joked in the Oct. 31, 1987, BSB in reference to the former postseason game held in Detroit that usually pitted a pair of 6-5 teams against each other.
The Buckeyes rolled over the Gophers defense and finished with 422 yards of total offense, including 252 on the ground. Snow led the OSU rushing attack and added a fourth touchdown on a 45-yard pass from Tom Tupa.
Not bad for a man celebrating his 19th birthday.
"I got a couple of cards from my teammates," Snow said. "It said, ‘Where is the party tonight? It's at 3:30 on the field' and ‘We're going to be jammin' out there.' " Snow said.
Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce was impressed by Snow's performance.
"You can see what one little guy can do," Bruce said. "He makes you smile a little bit because he's capable of making the big play at any time. Carlos did a great job. He said earlier in the week, ‘I'd like to have a good day on my birthday.' Can you imagine that? He had a tremendous day on his birthday."
Ohio State only led 14-9 at halftime before running away with the victory in the second half. Three of Snow's touchdowns came after the break, including on runs of 6 and 5 yards. Senior fullback George Cooper capped the scoring with an 8-yard run in the fourth quarter.
1981: Ohio State 29, Indiana 10 – An impressive second-half performance helped the Buckeyes continue their dominance against Indiana head coach Lee Corso.
Corso's crew actually led 10-9 late in the first half before the Buckeyes regained momentum in with a last-minute field goal. Art Schlichter threw a touchdown pass and ran for another in the third quarter to help OSU pull away.
"Sure, I'm disappointed we didn't win the game," Corso said in the Oct. 31, 1981, edition of BSB. "But I thought coming in that we could win. Their big plays simply overpowered us in the second half. They made some key catches and their running game improved as they went on.
"And don't discount the performance of Art Schlichter because he can do so many things to beat anybody."
Bob Atha made four first-half field goals and finished with five makes for the game – a school single-game record. Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce lauded the play of his senior placekicker following the game.
His final first-half field goal was a big momentum changer. It also tied a record first set by Tom Klaban in the memorable 12-10 win over Michigan in 1974. The mark was tied in 1980 when Vlade Janakievski when he made four kicks against Minnesota.
"I didn't hit it really well," Atha said. "I hit it on the outside of my foot. The wind took it and brought it back in. I made it by maybe only two or three feet."
Atha broke the tie with Klaban and Janakievski when he made a 20-yard kick with 8:28 left in the final quarter. Schlichter had earlier thrown a 5-yard touchdown pass to tight end John Frank and ran for a 1-yard TD to extend Ohio State's lead.
1970: No. 1 Ohio State 48, Illinois 29 – The Illini showed plenty of fight for embattled head coach Jim Valek before the Buckeyes survived a scare in Champaign.
Illinois confirmed a rumor before the game that said Valek would be removed as head coach following the game. The Illini threatened to boycott the game – and the rest of the season – before eventually taking the field and taking it to the Buckeyes. Illinois led Ohio State 23-16 early in the third quarter before the Buckeyes took control in the second half. OSU scored five touchdowns on its first five possessions after halftime.
Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes used his postgame press conference to criticize Illinois for removing Valek in the middle of the season. Valek was 7-29 in his three-plus seasons in Champaign.
1964: No. 1 Ohio State 28, Wisconsin 3 – Homecoming was a happy time in Columbus as the Buckeyes battered the visiting Badgers.
Ideal October weather greeted both teams, and the Buckeyes thrilled the 84,365 fans at Ohio Stadium by dominating both sides of the football. Ohio State reached the end zone twice in the first and fourth quarters to put the game out of reach. OSU outgained UW 408-188 and had 29 first downs to only 10 for Wisconsin.
1959: No. 12 Wisconsin 12, No. 20 Ohio State 3 – The Badgers scored all of their points in the first half and earned their first win over the Buckeyes since 1946.
Wisconsin put points on the scoreboard first with a safety when Danny Lanphear blocked an OSU punt that rolled out of the back of the end zone. Next came a 7-yard touchdown run by quarterback Dale Hackbart. UW capped its scoring with a Karl Holzwarth 27-yard field goal.
Ohio State only managed a 27-yard field goal by Dave Kilgore in the second quarter.
1953: Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 19 – A then-record crowd of 52,819 at Camp Randall Stadium watched the Buckeyes storm back from a two-touchdown fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Badgers.
The Badgers and Buckeyes entered the game with identical 3-1 records, and Wisconsin head coach Ivy Williams had revenge on his mind. The Buckeyes upset UW in 1952 to knock the Badgers from their No. 1 ranking. Leading Williams' cause was bruising junior fullback Alan Ameche, who led the Big Ten in rushing the previous two seasons.
Ohio State struck first midway through the first quarter when halfback Hopalong Cassady scored from the 3-yard line. Wisconsin then took command, scoring a touchdown in each of the first three quarters to build a 19-7 lead. Unfortunately for the faithful in Madison, the Badgers missed their first two conversion attempts, which came back to haunt in the end.
The Buckeye rally began on the first play of the fourth quarter. Bobby Watkins got his team back on the scoreboard with a 3-yard touchdown run to cap a 59-yard drive and narrow the lead to 19-14. After stopping Ameche on a fourth-down run at the Wisconsin 40, Ohio State took the air out of the stadium with a beautiful 60-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Dave Leggett to Cassady with 2:31 remaining. On first down, Leggett found Cassady at the UW 36, and the fullback never broke strike and streaked to the end zone.
The touchdown was not that last dramatic moment of the game, however. Wisconsin quickly drove all the way to the OSU 17, but with 22 seconds remaining Bill Miller's 23-yard field goal attempt went wide right by mere inches.
1942: No. 1 Ohio State 20, Northwestern 6 – The top-ranked Buckeyes took to the road for the first time in four weeks and earned a hard-fought victory.
A Dyche Stadium crowd of 46,000 watched the Buckeyes ruin homecoming. Ohio State opened the scoring with less than a minute left before halftime on a Gene Fekete 2-yard touchdown plunge. The score remained 7-0 in the Buckeyes' favor until the fourth quarter. Oho State extended the lead to 13-0 after a 68-yard drive that ended with a Paul Sarringhaus TD run. Northwestern's Otto Graham cut the deficit with a 28-yard scoring strike to Nick Vodick, but Sarringhaus ended any thoughts of a Wildcat rally when he turned a Graham interception into points on a 15-yard scoring run.
Ohio State head coach Paul Brown told reporters after the game he had looked forward to winning in Evanston for a year. The Wildcats were the only team to defeat his Buckeyes in 1941.
1936: Ohio State 7, Indiana 0 – Ohio State head coach Francis Schmidt went back to smashmouth football in earning a home victory over the Hoosiers.
Schmidt's dynamic offense used a simplified attack to earn the victory in front of 44,410 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes especially relied on their off-tackle smash, end run and simple forward pass plays. OSU marched 60 yards in 10 plays to score the game's lone touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Tippy Dye to Merle Wendt.
1931: Northwestern 10, Ohio State 0 – Seven days after earning a rare win in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes fell to defending Big Ten champion Northwestern.
After a scoreless first half Northwestern took command. Ohio State fell to 2-2 with the loss.
The Wildcats would repeat as conference co-champions in 1931.
1925: Iowa 15, Ohio State 0 – The Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes for the fourth straight season and gave Ohio State its first loss of the season.
It was a disappointing effort for the Buckeyes, who defeated Ivy League power Columbia a week before in Columbus.
1914: Wisconsin 7, Ohio State 6 – The Badgers made the trek to Columbus for the first time and left with a one-point victory.
The loss was Ohio State's second in a row and it moved OSU's record to 2-2.
1908: Michigan 10, Ohio State 6 – The Buckeyes saw a 6-4 halftime lead evaporate in a loss to the visiting Wolverines.
Ohio State scored its lone touchdown on a 75-yard run on a fake punt by Millard Gibson. Michigan rallied in the second half and improved to 9-0-1 against OSU.
1903: Case 12, Ohio State 0 – Case defeated Ohio State for the second straight season to hand the Buckeyes their first loss of the '03 campaign.
The Buckeyes had won their first five games by a combined 159-5 score before losing on the road.