Ohio State (7-0) held a mere 10-7 lead after the Spartans scored their lone touchdown of the game with 9:48 left in the second quarter. From there, the Buckeyes dominated. They scored 17 points in both the second and third quarters to race out to an insurmountable lead.
"They hit us hard in the first half and made some plays, but our defense kept coming," OSU head coach Jim Tressel said in the Oct. 19, 2002, edition of Buckeye Sports Bulletin. "They were relentless. I think we wore them down a little. But we had a lot of respect for San Jose State. Our players had watched the film and saw how good San Jose State was, but we were able to make some plays and create some turnovers."
The Buckeyes, in fact, created four SJSU turnovers. That helped the Buckeyes outgain the Spartans, 567-265, in front of a homecoming crowd of 104,892 – the then-largest attendance at Ohio Stadium.
"We played well today but we did make some mistakes, so it's going to provide a good opportunity for us to go watch the film and correct our mistakes," OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel said. "At the same time, we did play a good football game today, which is kind of what we needed rolling into a big game next week against Wisconsin."
Freshman standout Maurice Clarett had another solid game. He rushed for 123 yards on 18 carries, allowing him to tie the OSU record for 100-yard games by a freshman (five). Clarett added two rushing touchdowns and one receiving. Krenzel completed 11 of 14 passes for 241 yards and three TDs. Two of his three incompletions were drops, while the third was a throw out of bounds.
Clarett opened the scoring with a first-quarter 1-yard TD run. Ohio State led 24-7 at halftime thanks to a 36-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, a 37-yard TD reception by Chris Vance and a Clarett 5-yard scoring run.
The Buckeyes dominated the second half. Nugent added a 29-yard field goal, while Clarett (7 yards) and Michael Jenkins (40 yards) added TD receptions in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Lydell Ross rushed for a 2-yard score, and Nugent added a 28-yard field goal.
Jenkins caught seven passes for 136 yards. Defensively, Dustin Fox had nine tackles, while Cie Grant recorded a sack.
1996 – No. 2 Ohio State 17, Wisconsin 14: Ohio State needed a fourth-quarter rally to get past the visiting and upset-minded Badgers.
"When the season is over and they turn it around and look at it, all they will see is it was a ‘W,' " OSU head coach John Cooper said in the Oct. 19, 1996, edition of BSB.
The Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten), off back-to-back wins against No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 4 Penn State, faced a Wisconsin team that had two weeks to prepare. That resulted in a back-and-forth battle. The Badgers led 7-3 at halftime and 14-10 in the fourth quarter because the Buckeyes rallied for the win.
"We prepared for a war and that's exactly what Wisconsin gave us," OSU safety Rob Kelly said.
A second-quarter 39-yard field goal by Josh Jackson in the second quarter was the only points the Buckeyes could manage. Ohio State rallied to take a 10-7 lead in the third quarter thanks to a 1-yard touchdown run by Pepe Pearson. However, Wisconsin was not going to go quietly. UW defensive back Kevin Huntley recovered an OSU fumble and returned it 36 yards to put the Badgers ahead 14-10 with 13:09 remaining.
"We got shocked this week," Ohio State receiver Buster Tillman said. "Wisconsin came in here as a big underdog, but they played us tough."
Ohio State got the last laugh. Dimitrious Stanley caught a short pass from Joe Germaine and turned it into a 48-yard touchdowns with 8:51 remaining. A pair of OSU defensive interceptions helped keep the Badgers at bay.
The game was an even one. OSU outgained UW 391-361. The Buckeyes were led by quarterback Stanley Jackson, who completed 18 of 25 passes for 265 yards and an interception. Germaine completed 1 of 2 passes, but the completion went for Stanley's score. The Buckeyes were held to 78 yards rushing, led by Pearson's 56 yards on 24 carries.
On defense, Damon Moore (19 tackles), Rob Kelly (14) and Greg Bellisari (11) led the Buckeyes. Ohio State also got interceptions by Antonio Winfield and Moore.
1991 – No. 20 Illinois 10, No. 11 Ohio State 7: For the fourth consecutive time, the Buckeyes lost to the Fighting Illini. This loss in Champaign might have been the toughest to take after Chris Richardson hooked in a 41-yard field goal to put the hosts ahead for good with 36 seconds remaining.
"We wanted to win bad," said OSU safety Roger Harris, who recovered two interceptions and forced a fumble. "We wanted to go to 5-0, move up into the top 10. A loss like this hurts, man. You don't know how bad we wanted to win this game."
Frustration was the key word from the Buckeyes after the game.
"It's getting really frustrating to lose to them every year," linebacker Jason Simmons said in the Oct. 19, 1991, edition of BSB. "It seems every time we come out and play Illinois, we shoot ourselves in the foot. Not to take anything away from them, but we played a horrible game.
"We did so many things wrong – we missed tackles, we didn't execute, we messed up assignments, and it just seemed like they came out and did everything right and we came out and did everything wrong."
There were several key miscues committed by Ohio State. Kicker Tim Williams missed a 24-yard field goal in the second quarter. Quarterback Kent Graham fumbled to end a promising drive in the third quarter. Backup QB Kirk Herbstreit and rusher Butler By'not'e botched an option pitch on a second-and-goal at the Illini 3 early in the fourth quarter.
"I'm very disappointed in the way we played," OSU head coach John Cooper said. "I told our football team after the game, though, I think there's a lot of football left to be played in this league. We have to bounce back now, regroup and win the rest of our games. It's that simple."
Ohio State (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) trailed 7-0 until finally getting on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. Joey Galloway caught a 44-yard TD pass from Graham with 3:10 remaining to knot the score. Unfortunately for OSU, that left Illinois enough time to drive for Richardson's winning boot.
Graham completed 7 of 10 passes for 130 yards, while Herbstreit completed 3 of 5 attempts for 19 yards. Raymont Harris rushed for 73 yards on 15 carries. By'not'e combined for 96 yards rushing and receiving. Steve Tovar led the defense with 10 tackles.
1985 – No. 15 Ohio State 48, Indiana 7: The OSU defense entered the game against visiting Indiana with something to prove and did just that in a rout of the Hoosiers.
A week earlier, the Buckeyes lost 31-28 to Illinois in a game Ohio State had led by 14 points at one time. The Illini rallied for the win, putting a chip on Eric Kumerow's shoulder.
"(The Illinois loss) hurt our pride," the sophomore said in the Oct. 19, 1985, edition of BSB. "Being up 14 points and then having them come back and score 17 points, that's not Ohio State defense.
"We talked about that this morning before the game; that we've got to work extra hard to show that tradition that Ohio State has, both offensively and defensively."
Kumerow led the charge by recording a pair of sacks and three tackles for loss totaling 18 yards. The Hoosiers entered the game 4-0 but left with their first loss thanks to a dominating OSU performance. John Wooldridge led the offensive attack with 104 yards rushing and three touchdowns to go with 35 receiving yards and another score. He led an attack that finished with 283 yards rushing, a season best.
"We've had opportunities to have more, but things happened – a breakdown here or a breakdown there. We'd miss a big play or something. But I feel like our backs are doing a good job. … We've really come a long way and we're getting better."
A 7-yard touchdown pass from Jim Karastos to Doug Smith with 11:16 left in the second quarter proved to be the winning score. The Buckeyes led 35-7 at halftime and cruised from there.
Karsatos completed 8 of 14 passes for 156 yards and a pair of TDs. George Cooper and Vince Workman combined to rush for 128 yards on 13 carries to aid Wooldridge, who was also OSU's leading receiver. Defensively, Chris Spielman led the way with 10 tackles. Sonny Gordon and Terry White intercepted IU passes.
1974 – No. 1 Ohio State 52, No. 13 Wisconsin 7: The visiting Badgers scored on the first offensive possession of the game, but the Buckeyes rallied from there by scoring a field goal and seven unanswered touchdowns.
Ohio State (5-0) intercepted five UW passes, including three by safety Bruce Ruhl. Ruhl got the start in place of Rich Parsons, who suffered a broken arm the week before. Cornelius Greene had a stellar day leading the OSU offense. He rushed for 146 yards and threw for 81 more. The Badgers set their sights on neutralizing Archie Griffin, but the OSU legend still finished with 112 yards for his 16th consecutive 100-yard performance.
1968 – No. 4 Ohio State 13, No. 1 Purdue 0: Fittingly on Columbus Day, the Buckeyes upset top-ranked and defending Big Ten champion Purdue at Ohio Stadium.
After a scoreless first half, Ohio State (3-0) avenged a 41-6 loss to PU in 1967 by scoring twice after halftime. On the fourth play of the third quarter, OSU's Ted Provost intercepted a Mike Phipps pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. Later in the same quarter, Bill Long – under center for the first time all game because of a minor injury suffered by Rex Kern – scrambled for a 14-yard touchdown run.
1963 – No. 8 Ohio State 20, Illinois 20: In a game that featured several controversial coaching decisions, the host Buckeyes (2-0-1) and Illini ended in a tie. The first call came with 22 seconds left in the second quarter. Ohio State had the ball at the Illinois 17-yard line facing a fourth-and-3 trailing 7-3. Instead of kicking a field goal, OSU head coach Woody Hayes chose to have his team throw a fourth-down pass that was knocked down in the end zone.
The second call came when Illinois attempted a two-point conversion trailing 17-13 in the fourth quarter, which failed. If the Illini had simply kicked the extra point, they likely would have emerged with a 21-20 victory.
1957 – Ohio State 21, Illinois 7: The Buckeyes opened Big Ten play with a home win. Don Clark led all rushers with 133 yards on 33 carries, and Ohio State (2-1) took the lead for good at 14-7 on a Frank Kremblas 1-yard touchdown – one of two he scored on the afternoon.
1946 – Wisconsin 20, Ohio State 7: Ohio State (1-1-1) lost in Madison, but the defeat could be traced to events that happened before that fall afternoon. The Buckeyes won at USC the week before and had difficulty getting back to Columbus. They ended up using three smaller planes that required multiple stops on the way back. The team did not return to Ohio until late Monday evening, limiting Ohio State's time to prepare for the Badgers.
1940 – Northwestern 6, Ohio State 3: The Buckeyes (2-1) lost the first of three in a row – their first three-game losing streak since 1934 – by dropping a game in Evanston.
1935 – Ohio State 85 Drake 7: All 46 players at head coach Francis Schmidt's disposal played in a shellacking of the visiting Bulldogs. Ohio State rushed for 434 yards and threw for 236 more. The Buckeyes (2-0) also combined for 241 yards on punt and kickoff returns. The 85 points remains an Ohio Stadium single-game high.
1929 – Ohio State 7, Iowa 6: Future Ohio State athletics director Dick Larkins recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, and center Fred Barratt made a crucial extra-point kick to give OSU (2-0) a win over the Hawkeyes at Ohio Stadium.
1918 – Ohio State 34, Denison 0: The Buckeyes moved to 2-0 with a second-straight blanking of an in-state foe. Ohio State would not play again until Nov. 9 thanks to scheduling issues because of the United State's efforts in World War I.
1912 – Ohio State 34 Denison 0: A week after opening the season with a road win at Otterbein, Ohio State opened its home slate with a shutout win.
1907 – Ohio State 28, Denison 0: In the team's first game since Sept. 5, the Buckeyes upped their record to 3-0 with a rout of Denison.
1901 – Ohio State 17, Ohio 0: Ohio State improved to 2-0-1 with a blanking of the visiting Bobcats.
1895 – Otterbein 14, Ohio State 6: The Buckeyes fell to 1-1 thanks to a contentious road defeat. Ohio State accused the referee, a former Otterbein student, of being unfair.