1987: No. 7 Ohio State 13, No. 4 LSU 13 – In a classic down on the bayou, the Buckeyes and Tigers played to a tie in their first ever meeting.
The two different sides had very different opinions on the game.
"We did everything in the world to win this football game," OSU linebacker Chris Spielman said in the Oct. 3, 1987, edition of BSB. "We played harder than they did. We wanted it more."
The view from LSU's sideline: "We deserved to win that football game. We really dominated them," LSU linebacker Nicky Hazard said. "They're good, but we're a lot better."
The only consensus following the game was that it lived up to the pregame hype. It was a back-and-forth affair with Ohio State getting the final opportunity to pull out the road victory. The Buckeyes had a first-and-10 with 27 seconds remaining and two timeouts from the LSU 39-yard line. Unfortunately for OSU, all the team could manage was a 47-yard field goal attempt by Matt Frantz. It was deflected by LSU tackle Karl Dunbar, sealing the tie as time expired.
Ohio State head coach Earle Bruce was unhappy with the tie – and with the Southeast Conference officials. He, and the rest of the Buckeyes, were unhappy with the officials during the final seconds. Before OSU could run a first-down play from the 39, quarterback Tom Tupa was forced to use a timeout.
"First of all, we came out of the huddle, I looked up and there were only five seconds on the (play) clock," Tupa said. "I don't know where the time went, so I had to call a timeout. We had the ball on the 40, and I thought we would at least get two or three plays off. The refs were slow. They marked the ball fast during the whole game, but we only got one play off. I don't see how that could have happened."
That one play happened after Tupa's timeout. Tailback Vince Workman rushed up the middle for nine yards, and the offense then rushed up to the line for another play instead of taking the final timeout.
"We were on the ball ready to run the play, and the official stood over the ball and we couldn't get off the play," Tupa said. "So we had to call another timeout and kick the field goal."
Frantz's boot was deflected, resulting in his first miss of the season.
"That was terrible, just terrible that we didn't get another play off," Bruce said. "They marked the ball and didn't get away from the ball so we could run the play. I think you all saw it. I hope you saw it. It would have been hard not to see it."
It could be argued Ohio State was lucky to have a chance to win it at the end of the game. OSU cornerback Greg Rogan twice intercepted LSU passes to stop Tiger drives down the stretch. The first interception came with a little more than two minutes remaining. Rogan stepped in front of LSU All-American wide receiver Wendell Davis and picked off quarterback Tom Hodson's pass at the OSU 2. The Buckeyes couldn't do much on offense, and a Tupa punt pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory with 53 seconds remaining. LSU did not settle for the tie, instead throwing with the intention of moving into field goal range. Rogan again made LSU pay for it, nabbing another Hodson pass at the LSU 45 and returning it to the 39.
That set up the controversial finish.
The offense and defense both played better than it had in its first three games, but the Buckeyes were not happy with the result.
"I can't say we won, and I can't say we lost. It's hard to explain how we feel because we have never been in a tie before," cornerback Greg Rogan said. "We're all down. We're kind of taking it as a loss right now because it might hurt our chances to be national champions. That was one of our goals this year."
Ohio State erased a 10-3 halftime deficit with a 38-yard field goal by Frantz in the third quarter and an 8-yard Tupa TD pass to Jay Koch early in the fourth quarter. LSU tied the game with 6:25 remaining on a 40-yard field goal by David Browndyke.
The Buckeyes remained unbeaten at 3-0-1, but no one seemed to be happy about it following the game.
"Who likes a 13-13 tie? No one on our team likes that," Bruce said. "If they did, I guess I wouldn't like them. I wouldn't want them to be celebrating a tie. I try to tell them the good things that came out of the football game, but I really don't like a tie. Our guys always think they should win."
Tupa completed 9 of 21 passes for only 91 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Workman had 80 rushing yards on 19 carries and led the receiving category with three receptions for 19 yards. Koch had two receptions for 39 yards.
Chris Spielman had 11 tackles to lead the defense.
1981: No. 8 Ohio State 24, Stanford 19 – Stanford junior quarterback John Elway almost rallied the Cardinal all the way back from a 24-6 deficit before the Ohio State defense forced a crucial turnover in the final minute, giving Art Schlichter and the rest of the Buckeyes a narrow road victory.
Elway connected with wide receiver Vincent White late in the fourth quarter, but White ran into hard-hitting sophomore defensive back Jeff Cisco. The collision separated White from the ball, and Ohio State's Marcus Marek recovered the fumble at the OSU 46-yard line and sealed the victory with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The turnover spoiled what could have been another Elway fourth-quarter comeback. The Cardinal cut the deficit to 24-12 only six plays into the fourth quarter when Elway hooked up with spit end Don Lonsinger on a 4-yard touchdown pass with 13:15 remaining to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive in which Elway completed all nine of his pass attempts.
After the Buckeyes were forced to punt on the ensuing drive, Elway marched Stanford down the field again. This drive only lasted four plays with flanker Mike Tolliver making a circus catch over Ohio State's Shaun Gayle to reach the end zone on a 23-yard scoring play with 9:00 remaining.
Ohio State was again forced to punt, but Stanford was unable to sustain a drive. Elway was injured on the drive when OSU's Chris Riehm decked the future NFL Hall of Famer, tweaking Elway's already injured ankle. Stanford's backup QB, Steve Cottrell, completed two passes in Elway's absence, but a holding penalty halted the Cardinal drive.
The Buckeyes had a chance to run some time off the clock following Stanford's punt, but the Cardinal got the ball back at the Stanford 17 with 1:33 remaining. Elway returned, but the fumble near midfield erased any chance at some late-game heroics.
"I thought it was a good matchup, didn't you?," Bruce said of the Elway-Schlichter battle in the Oct. 3, 1981, edition of BSB. "I thought both quarterbacks played well, and I thought Art was exceptional until he wore down at the end."
Schlichter completed 16 of 32 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Elway threw for 248 yards on 28-of-42 passing with two TDs and no picks.
A 17-point second quarter helped the Buckeyes pull ahead. Jimmy Gayle gave OSU a 7-3 lead with a 1-yard TD plunge over right tackles, and Bob Atha's 45-yard field goal and tight end Brad Dwelle 5-yard TD catch with 27 seconds left before halftime made it 17-6 at the break.
Dwelle added a 7-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter to cap OSU's scoring. He finished with three receptions for 34 yards and was the first Buckeye tight end to catch two touchdown passes in a game in 13 years.
Tim Spencer led OSU's rushing attack with 91 yards on 21 carries. Tim Williams had 97 receiving yards on six catches. Marek led the defense with 16 tackles, 13 of which were solo stops.
1970: No. 1 Ohio State 56, Texas A&M 13 – The Buckeyes opened the season by scoring the most points the Aggies had allowed in their previous 75 years of football.
An Ohio Stadium crowd of 85,657 saw Woody Hayes' Buckeyes throttle Texas A&M, a team that was already 2-0 coming to Columbus with wins over Wichita State (41-14) and LSU (20-18). Sever different players scored Ohio State's eight touchdowns, and Hayes was able to substitute liberally. The Buckeyes outgained the Aggies, 513-321, and forced five turnovers.
1964: No. 5 Ohio State 27, SMU 8 – The offense and defense shined as the Buckeyes opened the season with a win over Hayden Fry's Mustangs at Ohio Stadium.
The defense intercepted three SMU passes and recovered three fumbles, while the offense scored two of its three touchdowns on long plays. Tom Barrington ran for a 39-yard score in the first quarter, and Willard Sander added a 42-yard TD sprint through the Mustang defense in the fourth quarter.
Even the defense got in on the scoring. Defensive end and team captain Bill Spahr recovered a fumble and returned it 31 yards for an early third-quarter touchdown.
New kicker Bob Funk added a pair of field goals from 39 and 27 yards.
1959: No. 12 Ohio State 14, Duke 13 – Hayes' new "more wide open" offensive attack had just enough juice to outlast the Blue Devils in the '59 season opener in Columbus.
The Buckeyes stormed across the field after receiving the opening kickoff. Ohio State went 58 yards in eight plays, capped by a then-left halfback (and later an All-American fullback) Bob Ferguson 15-yard touchdown. That was the lone score of the first half, but Ohio State suffered a big loss near halftime when quarterback Jerry Fields injured his right arm had had to leave the game.
Backup Jack Wallace struggled to replace Fields in the second half, and Duke rallied to take a 13-7 lead. With the ball at the OSU 37 with just more than four minutes remaining, Hayes had right halfback Tom Matte take over at quarterback. The bold move worked, as Matte led Ohio State on a nine-play, 63-yard touchdown drive. The winning score came on a fourth-down, 22-yard rollout pass from Matte to end Chuck Bryant.
Kicker Dave Kilgore booted the extra point through the uprights, giving OSU a nail biting victory.
1953: No. 7 Ohio State 36, Indiana 12 – The visiting Hoosiers were no match for Ohio State in the first game of the season.
The Buckeyes put the 75,898 fans at Ohio Stadium at ease early by building a 23-0 lead by halftime. Quarterback John Borton, fresh off a 1952 campaign in which he set an OSU single-season passing mark with 1,555 yards, completed 8 of 13 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
Borton's single-season passing mark stood until 1979.
1942: Ohio State 59, Fort Knox 0 – A rainy, muddy day in Columbus was not enough to slow the Buckeyes against the Fort Knox Army Base service team.
With the United States' involvement in World War II underway, only 22,555 came to see the Buckeyes cruise to victory over an overmatched team. Ohio State finished with 507 yards of offense and had seven players score its nine touchdowns. All 38 players available to head coach Paul Brown saw game action for at least five minutes.
Ten percent of the gate receipts from the game, and every other home game for a Big Ten school in 1942, went to Army and Navy relief funds.
1908: Ohio State 18, Otterbein 0 – Ohio State began the season with a blanking of Otterbein at University Field.
The field had some new features as the Buckeyes and Cardinals took the field. New bleachers had been added to the east side of the playing field, and a new scoreboard helped fans keep track of the downs and the score. The field would also be renamed Ohio Field in late November.
1903: Ohio State 18, Otterbein 0 – The Buckeyes began what would be an 8-3 season with a home victory. Ohio State's defense would allow only five points through its first five games.