2007: No. 8 Ohio State 30, Minnesota 7 – On a day in which five of The Associated Press Top 25 lost, the Buckeyes earned a businesslike victory against the Golden Gophers at the Metrodome.
Ohio State moved to 5-0 and kept its national title hopes alive with a fast start and solid finish, extending its Big Ten winning streak to 16 games. Tailback Beanie Wells led the attack by rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the first quarter. His best run, however, did not result in a score. It did arguably provide the knockout punch, though. With the Buckeyes facing a third-and-6 at their own 6-yard line with 1:33 left in the first half, Wells cut to his left behind blocks from fullback Tyler Whaley and pulling guard Ben Person for a 27-yard gain.
That gain, aided by a late hit personal foul on Minnesota safety Jamal Harris, set up a big play by quarterback Todd Boeckman. One play after Wells’ run, Boeckman tossed a deep pass down the right hash to the end zone, where wide receiver Brian Robiskie skied over Harris to make a one-handed catch that pushed OSU’s lead to 20-7.
“(Robiskie) plays the ball in the air very, very well, and Todd loves to throw it up in the air to those guys,” OSU head coach Jim Tressel said in the Oct. 6, 2007, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. “Sometimes he catches and sometimes he’s gotten pass interference penalties. He’s gotten couple interceptions this year, but he has a lot of confidence those guys are going to get to go up there and get the ball.”
The ensuing point-after kick was blocked, but Ohio State still went into halftime with a 13-point lead. The late TD completed a big momentum swing. The drive began at the OSU 2 after Malcolm Jenkins intercepted a pass that halted a Minnesota drive at the 22.
“That was a deflating moment at the end of the half, but we went toe-to-toe with the eighth-ranked team in the country,” Minnesota coach Tim Brewster said. “I told the kids in the locker room to be proud.”
The Buckeyes shut out Minnesota in the second half. Ohio State capped the scoring with a third-quarter 43-yard field goal by Ryan Pretorius and a 19-yard TD pass from Boeckman to Brian Hartline in the fourth quarter.
Boeckman finished with 209 yards on 18-of-29 passing. Robiskie caught five passes for 99 yards. Linebacker Curtis Grant recorded a sack and intercepted a pass. He also led the team with 2.5 tackles for loss.
2001: Ohio State 27, Indiana 14 – Freshman tailback Lydell Ross made a big splash as the Buckeyes opened Big Ten play with a road win at Indiana.
Ross, who had only 17 yards on six carries through the first two games of the season, rushed for 124 yards on 25 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns in the victory.His rushing total represented the first 100-yard game for an OSU freshman in 11 yards.
“It is almost like a dream come true to come out here as a freshman and for us to win like that,” Ross said in the Oct. 6, 2001, edition of BSB.
The Buckeyes earned the win primarily through their ground attack, one that finished with 197 yards and helped OSU hold the football for nearly 35½ minutes. The latter figure helped Ohio State keep dangerous IU quarterback Antwaan Randle El on the sideline.
“We like to run the football,” Tressel said after his first Big Ten game. “We went into the game knowing that we had to keep the ball away from Randle El.”
The Hoosier signal caller finished the game with 67 rushing yards on 11 carries to go with 181 yards on 14-of-21 passing with one touchdown.
Perhaps overshadowed by Ross was quarterback Steve Bellisari. The senior rebounded for a 5-for-23 passing performance in OSU’s previous game at UCLA by completing 15 of 21 passes for 194 yards.
“Steve did a good job of leading our offense,” OSU linebacker Matt Wilhelm said.
Ross scored a pair of second-quarter touchdowns on runs of 5 and 1 yard, respectively, to give Ohio State a 17-7 lead at halftime. Josh Huston extended the lead to 20-7 with a 20-yard field goal early in the third quarter before Randle El cut into his team’s deficit with a 44-yard TD pass to Levron Williams.
Jonathan Wells then sealed the win, capping a 10-play, 71-yard drive with a 7-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter. Wells, OSU’s leading tailback in the first two games of the season, finished with 69 yards on 19 carries.
Defensively, Ohio State was led by Wilhelm’s eight tackles. Will Allen had an interception, Derek Ross recovered a fumble and Mike Doss had a tackle for loss and a blocked punt.
1984: No. 3 Ohio State 35, Minnesota 22 – Senior quarterback Mike Tomczak did his best to help the Buckeyes escape the upset-minded Gophers with a victory at the Metrodome.
Tomczak completed 13 of 19 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns. More impressive were his figures on third down. Six times Tomczak passed on third down and on all six occasions, he completed his throw for a first down.
“I felt real good,” Tomczak said in the Oct. 6, 1984, edition of BSB. “We knew the curls and the flats would be open. We took advantage of that. They tried stopping the curl, and we went to the square patterns. Things just went well today offensively, especially in the passing game.”
Of Tomczak’s six interceptions, two were drops and a third was ruled an incompletion on a disputed call in which it was ruled Cris Carter landed out of bounds on what would have been a touchdown. Another incompletion would have been a touchdown, had junior college transfer Jamie Holland hauled in Tomczak’s perfect pass on a bomb.
Ohio State (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten) led 21-0 in the first half before Minnesota rallied with a touchdown in both the second and third quarters. The Buckeyes then took command with a 3-yard TD run by Keith Byars and a 6-yard scoring connection from Tomczak and Carter, extending OSU’s lead to 35-14 with 12:23 left in the fourth quarter.
Byars had another solid performance, rushing 28 times for 164 yards and a pair of scores. Junior flaker Lanese was Tomczak’s top target. Lanese caught seven passes for 113 yards. Defensively, Pepper Johnson recorded 13 tackles and intercepted a pass.
1979: No. 14 Ohio State 17, No. 17 UCLA 13 – A late touchdown drive led by Art Schlichter gave the Buckeyes a road win at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Trailing 13-10 with 2:21 left in the fourth quarter, Schlichter engineered the game-winning drive by completing all six of his pass attempts for 62 of the 80 yards Ohio State drove en route to the end zone. Paul Campbell capped the drive by catching a 2-yard TD pass from Schlichter. Campbell, normally OSU’s starting fullback, was playing at tight end because of injuries to players at that position.
Ohio State improved to 4-0 with the win. Calvin Murray led OSU’s rushing attack with 117 yards, including a 34-yard TD run in the second quarter. Kicker Vlade Janakievski kicked a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter.
1973: No. 3 Ohio State 37, TCU 3 – The Buckeyes returned from an off week and trounced the visiting Horned Frogs. Ohio State (2-0) outlasted a rare late September severe thunderstorm in the victory. Sophomore Archie Griffin sparked the Buckeyes with a 68-yard touchdown run on the second play from scrimmage. Quarterback Cornelius Green added a 72-yard TD run later in the game. Linebackers Randy Gradishar, Vic Koegel and Rick Middleton combined for 33 tackles and halted TCU’s option attack. The win came at a cost, however, as Champ Henson suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season.
1962: No. 2 Ohio State 41, North Carolina 7 – The Buckeyes opened the season with a convincing win against the Tar Heel in front of a then-record Ohio Stadium crowd of 84,009. Paul Warfield scored a pair of touchdowns in the win, a 42-yard over-the-shoulder reception from John Mummey and a 4-yard sweep run around right end. OSU head coach Woody Hayes substituted liberally, using a total of 72 players. Ten of those were ball carriers.
1956: No. 8 Ohio State 34, Nebraska 7 – The ’56 season got off to a good start with a win against visiting Nebraska. Newcomer Don Clark scored on TD runs of 35 and 38 yards, and OSU outgained Nebraska 478-253. The game ended a difficult offseason for Ohio State, as it was placed on probation after an NCAA investigation into the university’s “jobs program for athletes.” The probation meant the Buckeyes were ineligible for the 1957 Rose Bowl.
1951: No. 3 Ohio State 7, SMU 0 – The first game of the Woody Hayes era began with a narrow victory against the Mustangs. The then-largest Ohio Stadium crowd in history – 80,735 – watched OSU’s new T-formation offense sputter for much of the game. The Buckeyes’ lone touchdown came on a pass, surprisingly enough. In the third quarter, quarterback Tony Curcillo tossed a 21-yard TD pass to end Bob Joslin.
1945: Ohio State 47, Missouri 6 – Carroll Widdoes earned a win in his first game no longer holding the word “acting” in front of his head coaching title. Despite graduation – and the draft – forcing OSU into a rebuilding mode, the Buckeyes cruised past the Tigers. Paul Sarringhaus scored four touchdowns, and Ollie Cline added two more. Don Steinberg added the final TD on a stolen lateral that went for a 15-yard score.
1917: Ohio State 49, Case 0 – Ohio State crushed its in-state rival in the season opener. The Buckeyes dominated on both sides of the ball, but especially on defense. OSU allowed Case to record only one first down. Standout Chic Harley was limited by an injury, but it did not affect the final result.
1906: Ohio State 41, Otterbein 0 – The Buckeyes whitewashed visiting Otterbein in the ’06 season kickoff. The Buckeyes would face three in-state schools – Otterbein, Wittenberg and Muskingum – before facing rival Michigan on Oct. 20.
1900: Ohio State 20, Otterbein 0 – Ohio State earned the first of what would be seven shutouts by blanking the Cardinals. John Eckstorm’s team played in front of a crowd at upgraded University Field. Before the season, both a scoreboard and additional bleachers were added.