2007: No. 1 Ohio State 37, No. 24 Penn State 17 – Maybe the “Color Outs” were a bad choice. They seemed to bring the best out of the Buckeyes.
Penn State became the latest team to do one and end the night with a lopsided loss against visiting Ohio State. Iowa’s “Gold Out” ended in a 38-17 OSU victory in 2006. In ’07, the Buckeyes turned out the lights on Purdue’s “Black Out,” leaving West Lafayette with a 23-7 win.
Against Penn State’s “White Out,” it was more of the same. The Buckeyes passed the first supposed “real” test of the 2007 season and preserved their No. 1 status in The Associated Press and USA Today polls as well as the Bowl Championship Series standings.
Additionally, Ohio State tied a Big Ten record with a 19th straight conference victory and extended its own school mark with a 27th straight regular-season win. Perhaps sweetest of all was the fact that it came at the site of the Buckeyes’ last regular-season loss, a 17-10 defeat at the hands of the Nittany Lions in 2005.
And they did it the way they had dispatched eight earlier opponents this season – a withering defensive attack coupled with an offense that doesn’t get nearly its share of the spotlight.
“Those guys deserve a lot of credit, a whole lot of it,” OSU cornerback Malcolm Jenkins said in the Nov. 3, 2007, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. “I know a lot of people talk about our defense, but our offense is very underrated in my opinion. We have some guys over there who can flat-out play.”
Junior quarterback Todd Boeckman may have had his best game as a starter against the Nittany Lions. He completed 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns while directing the Buckeyes to 453 yards of total offense.
The Nittany Lions entered the contest as the second-best defensive unit in the Big Ten behind the Buckeyes, ranking among the nation’s top 10 in total and scoring defense by allowing averages of just 279.5 yards and 15.0 points per game.
“I thought the coaching staff came up with a really good game plan,” Boeckman said. “Then we had a great game from the offensive line, and the running backs and receivers all played well. When you have that kind of combination, it makes my job that much easier.”
But several of his teammates thought Boeckman was being a little too modest.
“Todd is a great quarterback,” said OSU receiver Ray Small. “I’ve never seen a guy with so much poise. He even practices with poise. I guess that must come natural for him because he’s a great one.”
Even Penn State seemed to be in awe of the Buckeyes’ offensive attack.
“We couldn’t stop them,” said longtime Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno. “I hate to start talking about any one aspect of it. Offensively, they were just one step ahead of us all night.
“You can’t start blaming the secondary or this guy or that guy. You’ve got to give Ohio State credit. They played a heck of a football game.”
Sophomore tailback Beanie Wells highlighted a bruising rushing attack. He carried 25 times and rolled up 133 yards. OSU
The offensive explosion was keyed by a Buckeye attack that took a different approach than seen in past games. Going into Happy Valley, Ohio State had used 1:42 or less of clock on 14 of its last 26 scoring drives. On this night, Penn State rarely gave OSU a short field, but the Buckeyes acted as though they could care less, going an average of 10.2 plays and 62.3 yards on their six scoring drives.
The Buckeyes broke off scoring drives of 91, 87 and 80 yards. They also never punted.
“I just have all the confidence in the world in our team,” Boeckman said. “We had a great game plan. The line did a great job this week. We worked really hard in practice, and I think it carried over to the game.”
OSU kicker Ryan Pretorius opened the scoring with a 50-yard field goal on the first offensive possession of the game. Penn State answered with a 2-yard TD run by Rodney Kinlaw, but the Nittany Lions’ 7-3 lead with 8:25 left in the opening quarter would be its last.
Brian Robisike caught a 9-yard TD pass from Boeckman to give OSU a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, and that lead extended to 10 points at halftime on a 16-yard Brian Hartline touchdown reception from Boeckman.
Jake Ballard added a 15-yard TD connection with Boeckman midway through the third quarter to build the lead to 24-7. From there, it was just a matter of time. Pretorius added field goals of 37 and 35 yards, respectively, in the fourth quarter – sandwiched around a 24-yard interception return for a score by Jenkins to close OSU’s scoring.
Kevin Kelly added a 27 yard field goal for PSU late in the third quarter, and the Nittany Lions scored the game’s final points on a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by A.J. Wallace after Jenkins’ TD.
2001: Penn State 29, Ohio State 27 – Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno was carried off the field after Penn State gave its longtime head coach his record-breaking 324th victory.
While the PSU sideline celebrated Paterno moving atop the all-time wins list, passing Paul “Bear” Bryant’s 323 triumphs, Ohio State was left to pick up the pieces after blowing an 18-point lead. The loss moved the Buckeyes to 4-3 (2-2) with games against Purdue, Illinois and Michigan remaining.
“I don’t know if I’d put a phrase like ‘killer instinct’ on it or whatever, but we have to do things all the time that you need to do to win,” Tressel said in the Nov. 3, 2001, edition of BSB.
Ohio State appeared to be in complete control when Derek Ross returned a Zack Mills interception 45 yards for a touchdown that gave the Buckeyes a 27-9 lead less than three minutes into the third quarter.
That, however, is where things began to unravel for Ohio State.
Mills responded to his miscue on the ensuing PSU drive when he excited the Beaver Stadium crowd with a long touchdown run. He kept the ball on an option run to the right, hurdled one of his blockers and evaded OSU safety Mike Doss en route to a 69-yard score.
“They got the momentum in the second half,” safety Donnie Nickey said. “We have to stop them and not let them do that. Mills had the long run. That’s the play that changed thins and they never lost momentum after that.”
Penn State narrowed its deficit even further later in the third quarter to 27-22 on a 26-yard TD strike from Mills to Tony Jackson. The ensuing two-point attempt failed, but PSU’s momentum was far from gone. The Nittany Lions took the lead for good 13 seconds into the fourth quarter on a 14-yard TD pass from Mills to Eric McCoo. That capped a 90-yard drive that took 10 plays and closed the scoring.
The defensive breakdowns in the second half angered Nickey.
“If you see it happen again and again you’ve got to be upset,” he said. “If you’re any kind of competitor you have to be angry. We didn’t get things done when we had to. We lost focus and didn’t make the plays we had to make.”
In the end, the day belonged to Paterno. After the game, Penn State announced its plans to erect a statue of Paterno in front of Beaver Stadium.
“He’s been a guy who has always done it by the book and been good for the game,” Tressel said. “But it wasn’t one of my goals this year to come in and be (part of) history.”
1990: Ohio State 52, Minnesota 23 – The Buckeyes bruised and battered previously Big Ten unbeaten Minnesota, its second straight lopsided victory.
The Ohio State offense remained red hot one week after posting six touchdowns in a 42-2 win against Purdue. Against the Golden Gophers, the Buckeyes (4-2-1, 2-1-1) finished with 52 points and 551 yards of total offense – OSU’s best offensive performance since a 52-point, 583-yard effort against Northwestern in 1989.
“I never expected us to have that kind of success moving the ball against their defense, to be honest with you,” OSU head coach John Cooper said in the Nov. 3, 1990, edition of BSB. “Their defense had really improved the last three weeks. I never through we’d have as much total yardage or make as many big plays as we did against them.
“This Minnesota team had shut out Indiana (12-0) last week. That’s was why I was surprised we had more than 500 total yards and 52 points. If someone had told me before the ball game that we would run up and down the field against them, I would have thought they were crazy.”
Senior quarterback Greg Frey led the way. He completed 16 of 28 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for another score. Combine those figures with his totals against Purdue, and Frey had completed 24 of 39 passes for 429 yards and six TDs (including two more rushing scores).
Frey’s top targets against Minnesota were seniors Jeff Graham and Bobby Olive. Graham caught two passes for 25 yards and a touchdown, giving him six catches for 169 yards and three TDs over the Purdue/Minnesota games. Olive caught three balls for 96 yards against the Gophers, including a 52-yard touchdown pass.
“Their defensive philosophy is blitzing a lot, so that leaves Jeff, Brian (Stablein), Bernard (Edwards) and me one on one,” Olive said. “Greg did a good job of checking the plays off, and we caught them every time they blitzed. We got a big play every time.”
The rushing attack also contributed to the OSU offense. Freshman tailback Robert Smith rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Gophers, giving him 216 yards in the last two weeks. Redshirt freshman Raymont Harris added 81 yards and two TDs against Minnesota.
“I think you have to give the offensive line a lot of credit,” Harris said. “We have a lot of young guys in there, but they’re doing the job. They’re moving the other people out of there.”
Minnesota actually scored the first points of the game on a field goal before Ohio State took command. The Buckeyes led 21-3 after the first quarter and 38-17 at halftime.
Steve Tovar led the OSU defense with 10 tackles. Vinnie Clark added two interceptions.
1984: Wisconsin 16, No. 6 Ohio State 14 – The Badgers earned their third win against the Buckeyes in four years, dropping Ohio State to 3-3 and thrilling UW fans at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin dominated the first half, taking a 10-0 lead into the break. With a little more than 11 minutes left in the second quarter, the Badgers opened the scoring on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Mike Howard to Thad McFadden. The Badgers added a 27-yard field goal by Todd Gregoire with 12 seconds left before the break.
While Wisconsin found offensive traction, the Buckeyes were stuck in neutral. Of OSU’s seven drives, five ended in punts. One resulted in a fumble deep in UW territory on a failed exchange from center Tim Odom to quarterback Mike Tomczak. Odom was in the game because of an injury to starter Kirk Lowdermilk, one that ended up being a season-ending broken leg. The other march that did not end in a Tom Tupa punt was the final one before halftime, which lasted all of one play.
The Buckeyes bounced back after halftime. After halting UW on its first possession, Ohio State quickly moved into opposition territory. OSU then got on the scoreboard when flanker Mike Lanese sprinted around left end on an inside reverse play for a 37-yard touchdown run.
“All I have to do is follow the big guys – Rory Graves and Jim Lachey,” Lanese said in the Nov. 3, 1984, edition of BSB. “We fooled them. We got them looking at (tailback Keith Byars).”
Wisconsin answered the score early in the fourth quarter thanks to an OSU miscue. Tomczak had a pass intercepted for the second time during the afternoon, and that turnover led to a 35-yard Gregoire field goal that extended his team’s lead to 13-7.
Gregoire later added a third field goal, this one a 23-yard boot, with 6:11 remaining. The Buckeyes responded with 2-yard touchdown run by Byars that capped a nine-play, 70-yard drive. That helped narrow the deficit to 16-14 with 2:11 remaining, but the Buckeyes could get no closer.
Wisconsin was led by tailback Marck Harrison, a product of Columbus Eastmoor. He rushed for 202 yards on 31 carries. Howard completed 17 of 29 passes for 158 yards.
Byars was once again OSU’s top offensive threat. He rushed for 142 yards on 26 carries and led the passing attack with five catches for 91 yards. Tomczak completed 8 of 21 passes for 106 yards but was picked off three times – all in the second half.
Ohio State fell to 6-2 (4-2) with three games left on the schedule.
“We’re going to see what we’re made of next week,” Byars said. “We have to put this loss behind us just like we put victories behind us.”
1979: No. 4 Ohio State 42, Michigan State 0 – Ohio State posted its second straight shutout and moved to 8-0 (5-0) with a lopsided Homecoming win against the Spartans. With the victory, the Buckeyes remained in a tie with archrival Michigan atop the Big Ten.
1973: No. 1 Ohio State 60, Northwestern 0 – The Buckeyes returned home after two straight road games and thumped the Wildcats on Homecoming. Seven different players scored touchdowns for OSU (6-0, 4-0), who scored 27 points in the second quarter and 26 more in the third. Among those to score were cornerback Tim Fox, who returned a blocked kick 12 yards to the end zone, and Neal Colzie, who intercepted a pass and returned it 19 yards for a score.
1962: Ohio State 14, No. 5 Wisconsin 7 – Seven days after losing to new No. 1 Northwestern, the Buckeyes responded by handing visiting Wisconsin its lone loss of the season. Ohio State (3-2, 2-1) began the scoring with a 21-yard TD pass from Joe Sparma to Paul Warfield. After UW answered before halftime, the Buckeyes scored the winning TD midway through the fourth quarter on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by John Mummey
1956: No. 9 Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 0 – Homecoming was a good time in Columbus thanks to a win against the Badgers. Don Clark had a big game, rushing for 151 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown for OSU’s first score. Frank Ellwood added the other two trips to the end zone on a pair of 1-yard runs. The Buckeyes improved to 4-1 (2-0).
1951: Ohio State 47, Iowa 21 – First-year head coach Woody Hayes earned his biggest win of his early tenure with a beatdown of the visiting Hawkeyes at Ohio Stadium. Quarterback Tony Curcillo threw four touchdown passes and for 292 yards. Doug Goodsell, Bob Grimes, Ralph Armstrong and Bob Joslin each caught TD passes. Curcillo also added two touchdown runs. Ohio State improved to 2-2-1 (1-2-1), winning for the first time since its season opener Sept. 29 against SMU.
1945: No. 12 Ohio State 20, No. 5 Minnesota 7 – A week after falling from the ranks of the unbeaten with a loss to Purdue, Ohio State (4-1, 3-1) rebounded by knocking off previously-unbeaten Minnesota in Minneapolis. Ollie Cline, Dick Fisher and Bud Kessler each scored touchdowns. Max Schnittker made two of his three extra-point attempts.
The win is also notable as it was Ohio State’s 300th football triumph.
1934: Ohio State 28, Northwestern 6 – On a cold and windy day in Evanston, the Buckeyes (3-1, 2-1) cruised to a win. The start was bad for Ohio State, as George Potter returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for Northwestern’s lone touchdown. After that, however, the Buckeyes dominated – outgaining the Wildcats 317-59.
1928: Ohio State 13, Indiana 0 – The Buckeyes picked off four Indiana passes and did not lose the momentum they gained by beating Michigan a week earlier. Ohio State moved to 3-0 in the Big Ten (4-0 overall), first in the league.
1923: Iowa 20, Ohio State 0 – Ohio State lost its second straight game and was held scoreless like it had a week earlier at Michigan. The Ohio Stadium crowd watched the Buckeyes fall to1-2-1 on the season.
1917: Ohio State 67, Denison 0 – The Buckeyes posted their fourth straight shutout in as many games, besting the Big Red in the first matchup between the schools in five years.
1900: Ohio State 17, Oberlin 0 – Ohio State blanked its in-state foe to move to 5-0 on the season. In those five wins, the Buckeyes had outscored their opponents 133-0.
1894: Western Reserve 24, Ohio State 4 – The Buckeyes fell to 2-4 with the loss, which happened to coincide with the period of time that OSU head coach M.C. Lilley resigned. Former Ohio State coach Jack Ryder returned to the team and lead it to a more respectable finish.