A record crowd at Ohio Stadium and a national television audience on ESPN saw the Buckeyes blast visiting Purdue.
Ohio State began its second conference winning streak of the season with a 26-point victory in front of 104,189 in Columbus. The win gave the Buckeyes (6-3, 4-2) control of their own destiny with two games remaining in the regular season against the top two teams in the conference standings – Illinois and Michigan.
"There's definitely a drive now," OSU tight end Ben Hartsock said. "We've got everything in our hands right now. We can fulfill our own destiny. We've got a big game next week with Illinois and, of course, the big one up north. If we can win out, great things are going to happen."
Eddie George helped Ohio State cruise to the win after the Buckeyes took only a 12-9 lead into the halftime break. While the 1995 Heisman Trophy winner obviously did not play, his jersey retirement ceremony during halftime seemed to inspire the Buckeyes. He told Ohio State to "win the game convincingly" in a speech to the team at the break and the Buckeyes did just that. Ohio State scored 23 unanswered points in the final two quarters to pull away.
Receiver Chris Vance had a career game with seven catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. Vance's touchdown, a 7-yard grab from quarterback Steve Bellisari, capped an impressive second half. Michael Jenkins started the second-half scoring surge with a 53-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, and the Buckeye defense added a safety – its second of the game – late in the quarter. Ben Hartsock caught a 13-yard pass early in the fourth, and Vance closed the scoring with a one-armed grab.
"It was good to come out and get a decisive victory," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said. "We came out of the gate and got up by 12. We had a little setback there and allowed them to get us to 12-9. But we came up with big plays."
Jonathan Wells led the OSU rushing attack with 101 yards on 21 carries. Bellisari fumbled three times but still completed 14 of 20 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns.
1990 – Ohio State 27, No. 6 Iowa 26
Senior wide receiver Bobby Olive and quarterback Greg Frey had a flare for the dramatic in an upset win over conference-leading Iowa.
Olive hauled in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Frey with just one second remaining on the Kinnick Stadium scoreboard clock to give the Buckeyes a one-point victory. Frey rolled to his right with three seconds left and found Olive in the middle of the end zone. Frey's pass eluded Iowa defensive back Merton Hanks and fell into the waiting arms of Olive.
The win kept OSU in the chase for a Rose Bowl berth, one-half game behind Iowa with a road game at Wisconsin and a road clash at Michigan remaining.
"I didn't want to go into the Michigan game looking forward to some smaller bowl game," said Olive when asked if the Rose Bowl was on his mind as he made the game-winning catch. "I want to be able to go out in style. I still want to beat Michigan and hope that Minnesota can beat Iowa so we can go to the Rose Bowl."
Frey and OSU's often-maligned defense starred in a fourth-quarter rally. Trailing 26-21, Ohio State had a drive stall when a Frey pass was intercepted by Iowa's Jason Olejniczak with 2:31 remaining. All the Hawkeyes needed was a first down to ice the game, but the defense held and forced Iowa to punt. Frey then drove the Buckeyes 48 yards for the game-winning score.
"We practice the two-minute offense every day, but Greg did a great job with it today," OSU head coach John Cooper said. "What else can I say? He came through in the clutch when he had to."
Frey only completed 14 of 37 pass attempts for 223 yards. However, his two fourth quarter touchdown throws were enough. Frey put the Buckeyes in a position to rally with a 21-yard scoring toss to Olive midway through the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to five points.
Iowa built a 17-7 first-half lead before Frey foreshadowed his late-game heroics by throwing a touchdown pass on the final play of the second quarter. He connected with Jeff Graham on a 48-yard score to send OSU to halftime down only 17-14. The Buckeyes did have some luck on the play, however, as an Iowa defender had Frey's pass bounce out of his hands and into Graham's.
"I was looking for something like that to happen," Graham said. "I was in the play, but when I saw the pass was going deep, I decided to wait and see if I could get a tip or something. Fortunately for me, the ball came right to me and I just ran for the end zone."
Olive finished with six catches for 99 yards. Graham added 105 yards on five grabs.
Steve Tovar led the defense with 14 tackles.
1984 – No. 13 Ohio State 52, Northwestern 3
The Buckeyes took care of business vs. the Wildcats as a showdown with rival Michigan loomed.
Despite two conference losses, Ohio State moved back on top in the Big Ten with the rout in Evanston, Ill., combined with losses by Iowa and Purdue. Only a loss to Michigan could stop the Buckeyes from playing Southern California in the Rose Bowl.
"This is the first time for me that a Michigan game has had a significant meaning on the Big Ten race," said OSU rusher Keith Byars, who ran for 151 yards on 27 carries in the win over Northwestern. "I always dreamed for it to come down to something like this. I'm just thankful to get the opportunity. I'll be even more thankful next week if we come out of it with a victory."
The Wildcats struck first with a 46-yard field goal by John Duvic late in the first quarter, but that would be the lone highlight for the Wildcats. The Buckeyes scored 21 points in the second quarter and cruised from there. Byars scored twice on touchdown runs of 7 and 5 yards, and Cris Carter added touchdown catches of 31 and 29 yards from quarterback Mike Tomczak. John Wooldridge scored on a 2-yard run, and Dino Dawson hauled in two second-half touchdown passes from second-string quarterback Jim Karsatos of 57 and 36 yards.
With the rout behind them, the Buckeyes were prepared to have their annual showdown with the Wolverines.
"That's the game all the people from Ohio State come here for – to play in an Ohio State-Michigan game no matter what is at stake," Byars said. "This time, it happens to be a Big Ten championship at stake for us.
"If you're not ready to play in the Ohio State-Michigan game, something is wrong with you. It's the best rivalry in college football."
Added Tomczak: "It's a great feeling and the excitement will build throughout the week. Everything will explode on Saturday."
1979 – No. 3 Ohio State 34, Iowa 7
OSU's defense continued to dominate in a win over the Hawkeyes.
The Buckeyes recovered five Iowa fumbles and caught five interceptions. Half of Iowa's 10 turnovers were inside the Hawkeye 25-yard line.
While the Buckeyes took care of business against Iowa, Purdue knocked off conference unbeaten Michigan. With a win Nov. 17 in Ann Arbor, the Buckeyes could clinch the Big Ten.
1973 – No. 1 Ohio State 35, Michigan State 0
The Buckeyes posted their fourth shutout of the season against the visiting Spartans.
The OSU defense held MSU to 94 yards of total offense and only four first downs. Punt returner Neal Colzie helped take care of the rest with a historic performance. He returned eight kicks for 170 yards and a touchdown – a 43-yard return in the second quarter. Archie Griffin had 131 yards rushing and went over the 1,000 mark for the season.
Bruce Elia scored three touchdowns, and Pete Johnson added another score.
1962 – Ohio State 10, Indiana 7
The upset-minded Hoosiers fell just short on a rainy day at Ohio Stadium.
Paul Warfield gave OSU a 7-0 lead at halftime with a 75-yard touchdown run, but Indiana quarterback Woody Moore answered with a 1-yard sneak in the third quarter. It was not until late in the fourth quarter that Ohio State earned the win. Kicker Dick VanRaaphorst made a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds remaining to help the Buckeyes escape.
Indiana had lost 17 straight Big Ten games going into the contest and were 17-point underdogs.
1956 – No. 7 Ohio State 35, Indiana 14
The Buckeyes ran for 465 yards – both conference and school records – in winning their 17th straight league game.
Three rushers ran for more than 100 yards in the win. Fullback Galen Cisco rushed for 160 yards, and halfbacks Jim Roseboro (157) and Don Clark (112) each went over the century mark.
Ohio State completed only one pass, but it did go for a touchdown. Frank Ellwood found Leo Brown for a 5-yard score in the first quarter.
1951 – No. 20 Ohio State 16, Pittsburgh 14
As he did Nov. 3 vs. Northwestern, Vic Janowicz played the hero in a road non-conference win at Pittsburgh.
Janowicz spoiled Pitt's homecoming with a 20-yard field goal to win the game. It was the first road win for first-year head coach Woody Hayes.
1945 – No. 8 Ohio State 14, Pittsburgh 0
Ohio State needed two touchdowns in the final eight minutes to earn a non-conference win at Pittsburgh.
Parts of OSU's uniforms were stolen the night before, causing the Buckeyes' equipment managers to scramble to find replacements on game day.
The Ohio State Marching Band made its first trip to an away game since 1941.
1934 – Ohio State 33, Chicago 0
In the first meeting between the Buckeyes and Maroons since 1927, Ohio State cruised to a shutout win.
Chicago was without ace halfback Jay Berwanger and were in its first season without longtime head coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, who was forced to retire at age 70. Chicago was in the process of de-emphasizing football. The school disbanded its varsity football team after the fall of 1939.
1928 – Iowa 14, Ohio State 7
The Buckeyes lost for the first time in 1928 in a conference matchup.
Iowa earned the win with a Mayes McLain touchdown in the final minute of play. It was McLain's second touchdown.
1923 – Ohio State 32, Purdue 0
Ohio State earned its first winning streak of the season with a blanking of the host Boilermakers.
Hoge Workman starred for OSU, playing well on offense and intercepting a Purdue pass on defense.
1917 – Ohio State 16, Wisconsin 3
The Buckeyes won the second-ever game at Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin took an early 3-0 lead on a 43-yard field goal by Eber Simpson – the first time Ohio State had trailed all season – but it did not last. Charles "Shifty" Bolen scored a 1-yard touchdown after catching a long pass from Chic Harley on a fake kick earlier in the drive. Howard Yerges made it 13-3 on a 2-yard run, and Harley added a 40-yard field goal to make the final score 16-3.
1906 – Ohio State 6, Kenyon 0
For the second-straight week, OSU defeated an in-state team 6-0.
The Buckeyes had beaten Oberlin by the same score Nov. 3. Ohio State could win the "Big Six" championship (Case, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio State, Ohio Wesleyan and Western Reserve) with a win over Case Nov. 17.
1900 – Ohio State 24, Case 10
Ohio State moved to 7-0 with a win over Case.
Case, however, was the first team in 1900 to score against the Buckeyes. OSU had outscored its previous six foes 160-0.
1894 – Case 38, Ohio State 0
The visiting Buckeyes lost for the last time in 1894.
Ohio State fell to 3-5 with the loss but would finish the season strong with three straight victories.