Things certainly were not looking good for the Buckeyes in the final minutes of their game vs. LSU on Sept. 24, 1988.
LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson had connected with Alvin Lee for a 55-yard touchdown pass with 4:29 remaining to give the Tigers a 33-20 lead and sent several of the 90,000-plus at Ohio Stadium to the exits.
Those who left missed one of the most dramatic comebacks in Ohio State history. The Buckeyes scored 16 unanswered points to shock previously unbeaten LSU, 36-33.
"I thought we were going to come back and I'm not just telling you that," OSU head coach John Cooper said. "You know the old saying, 'It ain't over 'til it's over.' We say that all the time."
Sophomore quarterback Greg Frey drove the Buckeyes 59 yards in 10 plays – eight passes – and Carlos Snow cut the lead to six with a 5-yard touchdown run with 1:56 left. Instead of attempting an onside kick, Cooper had Pat O'Morrow boot the ball deep for a touchback. The gamble paid off, as the OSU defense forced a three-and-out. Instead of punting, LSU head coach Mike Archer had the Tigers take a five-yard delay of game penalty and then instructed punter Rene Bourgeois to run out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety. That cut the deficit to four, 33-29.
Following the safety, Bourgeois took a free kick at the LSU 20. OSU sophomore Bobby Olive caught the ball and, with the help of a key block from fellow sophomore Jeff Graham, returned the kick all the way to the Tiger 38.
The comeback was capped moments later when Frey found Olive for a game-winning, 20-yard touchdown. Olive streaked across the middle of the field and stretched to haul in the pass 1-yard deep in the end zone.
It was a rags-to-riches afternoon for Olive, who set up LSU's first points of the game when he fumbled a punt.
"I knew the pass was coming to me and the first thing I was wondering was if I was to get open, make sure I catch the ball," Olive said. "When I made my post move, I looked up and saw the ball coming. I said to myself that I had to catch it because I really wanted to make up for that dropped punt."
Frey finished with a then-career best effort. He completed 24 of 37 passes for 281 yards. Of OSU's 374 yards of total offense, 97 came in the final 4:24.
"I don't know if I've ever been around a more exciting finish," Cooper said. "Obviously it's exciting for us. It's not very exciting to be on the other side of the ball, but I think that's a good example of what can happen when you hang tough and hang tough and hang touch like we did."
For LSU, the loss snapped a 14-game road winning streak.
"This Ohio State team is a lot better than anyone give them credit for being," Archer said. "My stomach doesn't feel very good, but the sun is going to shine tomorrow. Most of the credit goes to Ohio State. We needed to play a 60 minute game and came up 38 seconds short."
Snow finished with 90 yards on 21 carries to lead the OSU rushing attack. He also scored twice.
The game was the second in a two-game series between LSU and OSU. The two teams tied, 10-10, in Louisiana in 1987.