Drive-Thru: Louisville at Ohio State (1991)

By Vico on July 20, 2014 at 12:09a

Ohio State fans may remember I used to upload Ohio State games to YouTube in a format I called a "Drive-Thru". These would recap Ohio State wins in about 10 minutes for a YouTube video. Along the way, I lost the time and energy to do these as I focused on other things.

I'm pleased to announce they will be returning as a semi-regular feature at Eleven Warriors. The first Drive-Thru is Louisville's visit to Ohio State in 1991. Younger fans may not remember how Louisville, now in the ACC to fill Maryland's vacant slot, was on its death bed as a program. Howard Schnellenberger, the man who created the Miami dynasty in the 1980s, also gets credit for saving a program from being abandoned altogether. The Cardinals program is thriving twenty years after he took the Louisville job.

Erik Watts
Erik Watts' letterman jacket became pro wrestling attire.

The season after Schnellenberger achieved one of his greatest victories by thrashing Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl, the Cardinals visited Ohio Stadium for the first of a two-game series. Louisville was always going to struggle in 1991. It lost Browning Nagle and Ted Washington to the NFL. However, a difficult situation became almost impossible when starting quarterback Jeff Brohm was injured in the season-opening loss to Tennessee. Schnellenberger announced his replacement would be Erik Watts, a redshirt senior who spent time at tight end in his unproductive career. Pro wrestling fans may remember that Watts later broke into the professional wrestling business as one of the worst cases of nepotism in the decade.

All else equal, Ohio State should win this one easy. That's the way it started. Watts was sacked twice in Louisville's opening possession before Ohio State sacked the punter on a punt rush. It jumped to a quick 7-0 lead thereafter.

However, John Cooper's first few teams at Ohio State were anything but great. Ohio State routinely shot itself in the foot to the point of 15 penalties for 118 yards. Louisville also had success using defensive coordinator Bill Young's aggression against him. Screens and swing passes were a staple of Louisville's offense this game. They picked up large chunks of yards when the standard drop-back sets were being defeated by an Ohio State pass rush that featured Alonzo Spellman, Steve Tovar, and Judah Herman.

What was going to be a 17-0 4th quarter lead became a 16-2 score when a PAT was blocked and returned for two points. Louisville's offense came alive in a furious fourth quarter rally. With less than a minute left down six in Ohio State's red zone, a fourth-down pass from Watts fell to the turf and allowed Ohio State to kneel to a 23-15 win.

As an aside, I have watched a fair bit of Ohio State football games in my life and can say with some conviction that, of all the games I have seen, Erik Watts is the worst quarterback to whom Ohio State conceded over 300 passing yards. Watts finished 22/43 for 303 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.


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Kevbo714's picture

Thank you so much for doing these. I have been watching the drive-thrus for years to make me reminisce the games past.

Tom Crean listens to Nickelback...

+2 HS
703Buckeye's picture

Louisville would be a fun home-and-home for the Buckeyes to schedule.

"Attack the Strong, Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead!"
-Former OSU S&C Coach Lichter

SilverBullet-98's picture

I remember this game, I miss football like it was played in this game.

"The Past Builds the Future"

Michael Citro's picture

Bryan Cook killed a guy at the 7:30 mark. Holy cow.



whiskeyjuice's picture

LOL, yeah he did ....the announcer was like "Brian Cook came from the corner bltz and just broke him in half!", lol

"Championships are not won on Saturdays in November. Championships are won on Tuesdays in August." -- Kerry Combs

Seattle Linga's picture

Talk about the stable being full of horses. By'note, Snow and Harris were all beasts. Hearing names like Tovar, Stablein and Spellman really made me smile..

I loved it when Steve Physioc said they almost broke Watts in half

+3 HS
97Buckeye's picture

Looks like our pass defense was about 22 years ahead of its time! They looked just like last year's pass defense against *ichigan. Come oooon Coach Ash.

OSUStu's picture

Fantastic. Thank you for doing this. I have been hoping for new Drive-Thru games since you guys joined the site.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

+1 HS
bucksfan92's picture

I have enjoyed your Drive-Thrus on youbtube for quite a while.  I am glad you posted this here so I can say "THANK YOU!" for all the time and effort you put into that.  It is great to see obscure games like this one, which was my junior year at OSU.  I still remember this game very well.  It was 100 degrees and very humid, for the first time ever the band was allowed to take off their wool coats when sitting in the stands.  Schnellenberger was trying to create an OSU-UL rivalry (which of course never got past those first 2 games) as they were still an independent then.  His dream was to have a series with OSU where 1 of every 3 games was played at Louisville.  I also remember how he tried to stir up controversy - they brought sideline fans that didn't fit the electrical system on the field, he whined about that and expected OSU to install a new system for them by the next season.  He is a crazy old man, but a heluva coach, and I am very glad I got to see him live in Ohio Stadium.

Hovenaut's picture

Appreciate the revival, Vico - and belated mulitple thank yous for the many times I caught these on You Tube.

Missed out on this game, I was in the Navy. Remember running up to our ship's CIC early Sunday morning at the end of a mid-watch to read the faxed scores of the previous day's college football games - and seeing the good guys eke out a one point (20-19) win over the Cardinals in 1992. 

Though they were far from the best teams Howard Schnellenberger coached, he had the Cardinal very competitive by the time he left the program (for Oklahoma) after the '94 season.

+1 HS
TobyMagic's picture

As a younger fan (only 4 when this game took place) this was a great watch. Love the way the game was played in the 90's and early 2000's. I noticed KH was the holder, next search is going to be his highlights, don't know a lot about his career..

+1 HS
RodVedder4's picture

Thanks for uploading this, first Buckeye game I ever attended with my dad!

Excellence and greatness will be remembered...there is no room for average. None. - Urban Meyer

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - Joey Bosa

buckIalum's picture

That was you? You beautiful, beautiful person.

I've been missing new ones.

Homey1970's picture

Memorable day for me as that Louisville game was during my senior year at OSU and I had the distinct pleasure of attending it with my grandfather (a 1941 OSU grad & WWII vet).  He died five short months later.  It was the last thing I did with him before he died.

+4 HS
Vico's picture

Comments like this are why I love searching for just random Ohio State football games for these features. The demand for games like the 2006 Fiesta Bowl or 2010 Rose Bowl are high (even though we all saw them not long ago and remember them), but I get the best feedback and the best stories from random games against Colorado in 1985, Stanford in 1981, or, here, Louisville in 1991.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

Michael Citro's picture

Kent Graham running the option (around the 5:30 mark) had me like: 

Seattle Linga's picture

Kent definitely took one for the team on that play. Looks like 54 from L-Ville had his number and probably thought he made the tackle of his career except KG didn't have the ball.

ScarletArrow's picture

First game I ever saw in the Shoe.  Thanks for uploading the memories!

+1 HS
Jabba1977's picture

I really enjoy the drive thrus,I barely remember this game,I was very young!!


cabanaboy925's picture

I was in the open end of the shoe for this game, I remember sweating out that final drive.   If I remember correctly, Herbie was in for Graham quite a bit in that final quarter when the Bucks couldn't even muster a first down to burn some clock.

The nose guard, Greg Smith was a walk -on....proving there is still hope for anyone with a dream.

it's Miller time....

anchorman's picture

Thanks Vico for doing this again! I used to watch religiously over on OHD when you had that site. What's next? Can you give us a preview?

Vico's picture

I'm still thumbing through my collection. If you know me, you can anticipate that it'll be a random-ass game only I would find interesting. :-P

Still, expect Bruce-era. I'm focusing on two games in particular.

I can't believe I ate the whole thing.

CincyBucks's picture

I love love these drive thur videos..never get old!


rosycheeks's picture

Was Beth Mowins running the camera?

+1 HS
512buckeye's picture

Whoever it was, they were awful.

Let's party, Columbus.

rosycheeks's picture

Love these things. Loved the Raymont Harris sighting. Keep 'em coming!

TheShookster's picture

Watts has an...ummm...interesting release. 

He ain't even stretch doe!!

Codeezy's picture

Just so no one is worried, a score update said Wisconsin was losing to Western Illinois 0-13 on the 2nd quarter but ended up coming back and winning 31-13. I looked it up. 

+1 HS
apack614's picture

Makes you miss the smashmouth football of the 90's

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

BuckAlum09's picture

Anyone else watching this and relieved that there wasn't instant replay back then for that touchback interception and a couple fumbles?? Haha just a purer game back then! Loved the defense.

"...and when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of booze. And we'll drink to old Ohio till we wobble in our shoes."

Buckeyeincleveburg's picture

My last football season as a student at OSU.   Spent football games in the O Block that year.  Admittedly I don't remember this game!