The Buckeye defense held UCLA star tailback DeShaun Foster to 66 yards on 29 carries, and Ohio State forced five turnovers. However, the offense struggled mightily in a loss at the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State managed only 166 yards of total offense and eight first downs. The Buckeyes' only score came from its special teams when Mike Doss blocked a punt and Ricky Bryant recovered it in the end zone.
The game was only Ohio State's second of the season. OSU's game vs. San Diego State, scheduled for Sept. 15, was postponed due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. OSU head coach Jim Tressel refused to use the postponement as an excuse for the loss.
"It would have been good to have another game," Tressel told Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "I think we learned a whole bunch of things in the Akron game (Sept. 8) and it would have been neat to see if we learned them or not, but everyone is going through that."
The Buckeyes forced four UCLA fumbles inside the Bruin 45-yard line, but Ohio State failed to score each time. Quarterback Steve Bellisari struggled, completing only five of 23 passes for 45 yards. Worse yet was that he only completed one of 17 for nine yards after the first quarter.
"Some of the things we asked of Steve, he did," Tressel said. "There were things he could have done better. But at the same time I could say that about the rest of the offense and the coaches, too."
The Bruins opened the scoring with a 14-play, 80-yard touchdown march on the first drive of the game. Quarterback Cory Paus finished the drive with a 24-yard pass to Ryan Smith that was caught in the right corner of the end zone.
Bryant's fumble recovery for a touchdown cut the lead to one, but kicker Mike Nugent missed the extra point wide right with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter. UCLA kicker Chris Griffith made a 49-yard field goal late in the first half to make it 10-6, and he added another field goal from 33 yards in the third quarter to make it 13-6 Bruins.
For the Buckeyes, Matt Wilhelm led the defense with 10 tackles. Doss added seven. Jonathan Wells led the OSU rushing attack with 47 yards on 14 carries. He also led in the receiving department with two catches for 16 yards.
1984 – No. 5 Ohio State 45, No. 14 Iowa 26
Junior tailback Keith Byars did it all in a big win over Iowa at Ohio Stadium.
Maybe it was because he could do little in a loss to the Hawkeyes a year prior.
Byars, who missed the second half in a loss at Iowa in 1983, ran for two touchdowns, caught a pass for a score and even threw for one in a blowout win in the Buckeyes' conference opener.
"I've been wondering for a whole year now what would have happened if I had played the whole game," Byars said of the 1983 game, a 20-14 loss at Iowa City. "So I had a little added incentive to play the whole game and help out my team as much as possible."
He certainly did that, running for 120 yards on 23 carries. Byars also caught five passes for 55 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mike Tomczak in the second quarter.
Possibly the biggest highlight of the game came after linebacker Pepper Johnson recovered a fumble on the Iowa 35. On the first play after the turnover, Tomczak pitched the ball back to Byars, who found a wide-open Mike Lanese. The flanker caught the ball all alone at the Iowa 5 and turned around for an easy touchdown.
"That was the first time in my life I ever threw the halfback pass," Byars told BSB. "We wanted to show them some flair today. We just opened up our offense a little more."
The offense definitely opened up against the Cougars. Ohio State had 458 yards of total offense and scored 31 first-half points. Tomczak, making his first start at quarterback since breaking his leg in May, completed 15 of 23 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. Tomczak's touchdown throw to Byars broke a 14-14 tie and was the first of three unanswered scores by the Buckeyes in the second quarter.
Johnson led the Buckeye defense with 14 tackles.
1979 – No. 16 Ohio State 45, Washington State 29
The longest pass in Ohio State history highlighted an offensive showcase by the Buckeyes and Cougars.
Quarterback Art Schlichter found tailback Calvin Murray with a short pass over the middle that went for a touchdown when Murray outraced the WSU defense in the third quarter.
Murray scored three touchdowns, and Schlichter completed eight of 13 passes for 233 yards. Receiver Doug Donley caught five passes, including a 29-yarder for a touchdown in the fourth quarter – a quarter that saw 30 of the game's 74 points scored.
Linebacker Jim Laughlin recovered a fumble and blocked a Cougar punt that was recovered in the end zone by Tyrone Hicks.