Ranking the Top Ohio State Football Comeback Wins

By Michael Citro on July 27, 2014 at 8:15a
Greg Frey went owned the Metrodome.
71 Comments

As I mentioned last week, it still seems too far away to look ahead to the 2014 college football season, so why not look backward? Last week we took a look at some of the greatest Ohio State-Michigan games since 1970.

For this week, I’m thinking about comebacks.

There have been many great ones. Some have been late. Some have been from large deficits. You can immediately think back to recent games and remember this Stone Cold Stunner in 2011 against Wisconsin. Or overcoming an early 10-point deficit against Nebraska to win going away in 2012. 

In an ideal world, the Buckeyes would lead all the time and never need to come back. But this is not  any rally for a win is a good one. Here are three of my personal favorites.

10/28/89 – Ohio State 41, Minnesota 37 (Minneapolis)

Ohio State was 4-2 (2-1) when it traveled to Minneapolis to face the 4-2 (2-1) Golden Gophers in the Metrodome. The Buckeyes had been spanked 42-3 at USC and 34-14 at Illinois in their only previous road games, but surely Minnesota would be the road tonic they needed, right? Uh…not so much.

The Gophers came out blazing on offense and Ohio State made a grocery list of errors as Minnesota put a 31-0 beatdown on the Buckeyes by the second quarter. Somewhere in Columbus, a younger version of me was anger drinking with his buddies on a frigid day.

Late in the first half, the Buckeyes lined up to punt. This time Minnesota made the mistake, putting 12 men on the field. Ohio State got a fresh set of downs and made it pay off, driving down the field and getting a three-yard Carlos Snow touchdown run and a Greg Frey-to-Jeff Graham two-point conversion. It was 31-8 at the halftime and that younger version of me and his friends turned to bargaining.

“If Ohio State wins this game, I’m jumping in the pool,” my buddy Mike said. “I’ll join you,” I responded.

It must have worked. Ohio State was a different team after the break. The Buckeyes opened with a long drive for a field goal. They added another Snow scoring run to make it 31-18 by the end of the third quarter. There was still a long way to go.

The Gophers added a field goal to make it 34-18, looking to put the game out of reach. But the Buckeyes responded with another Snow run and two-point conversion to cut the lead to 34-26.

Not the face of a happy Gopher.
What blowing a 31-point lead looks like.

Ohio State came up with a turnover, but gave it right back on an intercepted halfback pass. The Gophers seemingly ended it with another field goal. It was 37-26 with five minutes remaining. Ohio State drove to the goal line and faced a fourth down. Ohio State dialed up the option and Frey kept for the score. The two-point conversion pulled the good guys to within 37-34.

After forcing a Minnesota punt, Frey took over on his own 27 with two minutes to play. He quickly marched the Buckeyes toward paydirt with strikes to Snow, Brian Stablein and tight end Jim Palmer. Frey then hit Graham for the go-ahead score with 51 seconds to play, capping the greatest comeback in OSU history.

If you don’t think this comeback was emotional, check out Frey’s reaction after the game-winning pass.

And yes, despite the chill, we jumped in the pool, because a deal is a deal. It was cold.

11/19/05 - Ohio State 25, Michigan 21 (Ann Arbor)

The 8-2 (6-1) Buckeyes were in danger of missing out on a BCS bowl game and a share of the Big Ten title. Ohio State, which had lost 17-10 at Penn State earlier in the season, found itself trailing on the road at Michigan, 21-12. It was midway through the fourth quarter, and the Buckeyes had done just about everything wrong you can do on the football field—turnovers, shanked punts, muffed punt returns, pass interference penalties in the end zone, and a missed extra point and field goal.

But Ohio State had Troy Smith and Smith had weapons.

Smith used his receivers and his own legs to move the Buckeyes down the field, hitting Santonio Holmes from 26 yards out. Holmes dove into the end zone with 6:41 to play and the extra point made it 21-19. The comeback looked like it might come up short with Michigan driving to the OSU 34. But Wolverine fans looked on in horror as Lloyd Carr turned down a long field goal into the wind and instead had Garrett Rivas pooch punt to pin the Buckeyes deep.

Smith and company took over at their own 12, but now only needed a field goal to win, with 4:18 to play. With the skill of a surgeon, Smith started throwing darts to Ted Ginn Jr. and Holmes, working the Buckeyes down the field. With 40 seconds left, Smith escaped a sack, rolled right and heaved one downfield for Anthony Gonzalez, who made a leaping catch over senior cornerback Grant Mason at the Michigan 4. Antonio Pittman bulled his way in from there, putting Ohio State ahead 25-21 and leaving just 25 seconds for Michigan to answer. They didn’t.

It was a tremendous rally, overcoming a double digit deficit in the last seven minutes on the road in The Game and saving a BCS bowl season. The Buckeyes went on to maul Brady Quinn and Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 (7-1).

Enjoy it again:

1/1/97 Ohio State 20, Arizona State 17 (Pasadena)

The 10-1 (7-1) Buckeyes of the 1996 season were one idiotic 13-9 home loss to Michigan from playing for a national championship when they entered the Rose Bowl on the first day of 1997. In the day of split polls, the Buckeyes still nominally had an outside shot at a title with a win over the No. 2 Arizona State Sun Devils and a slim Florida win over No. 1 Florida State in the Nokia Sugar Bowl the next day. The Gators would destroy the Seminoles, thus locking Ohio State out of the championship, but nevertheless, the Buckeyes had their own work to take care of.

The Buckeyes actually struck first in this one, taking the lead midway through the first quarter. Stanley Jackson made the most of his inexplicable platoon with Joe Germaine by hitting David Boston for the game’s first score. Arizona State answered before halftime with a pass from Jake Plummer to Ricky Boyer that he appeared to trap in the end zone. The play counted as a touchdown and it was 7-7 at the break.

The Sun Devils grabbed a 10-7 lead in the third but Ohio State countered right away with Germaine hitting Demetrious Stanley for a 72-yard score, going back in front, 14-10.

So why is this game a comeback?

Dagger.
Boston was clutch as a freshman.

Arizona State blocked Josh Jackson’s field goal attempt, with the Buckeyes trying to go up by seven. The Sun Devils ran it back for a score, but it was nullified by a forward lateral to Derrick Rodgers on the return. But Arizona State had the ball and Plummer had a national championship on his mind. He drove his team down the field and dove into the end zone with just over a minute and a half remaining to put the Sun Devils ahead, 17-14.

Germaine wasn’t finished though. With 1:33 left, Germaine started on his 34-yard line. After a couple misses, he found Stanley for a first down. A couple more misfires and he hit Stanley again to move the chains and cross midfield. Another Stanley catch took it inside the 30 and stopped the clock. Next came a pass interference penalty on Jason Simmons for another first down.

In fact, that became Arizona State’s strategy. They got away with the next one on Stanley, but the follow-up was called (on Marcus Soward this time) and Ohio State had a first down and goal at the 5-yard line. From there, Germaine found Boston for the game-winning touchdown.

It wasn’t the largest deficit, but the time remaining and the size of the game—the Rose Bowl against the No 2 team in the country—make it a comeback to remember. Finally, John Cooper brought us the Rose Bowl victory we’d been waiting for him to deliver.

Here’s the Drive-Thru version of the game.


Those have my vote for top rallies. Which would you pick?

71 Comments

Comments

jalge2's picture

Holy Buckeye has to be in there somewhere. 

Alg

+13 HS
JTownBuckeye's picture

I pick the Minnesota game. I was watching that game on tv with my Mom and quit watching when they went down 31-0. I was 16 and aside from the beatdown it was already painful to watch a game in Johnstown before cable with the poor signal quality. I just couldn't keep watching. So, I left to go play basketball with friends. Came back later and my Mom, who never watched games except for the Michigan game every year, had faithfully kept the game on while sewing and excitedly tells me the game was awesome and we won! Don't regret missing the comeback and was just glad we came back.  

+1 HS
Pavs38's picture

Holy Buckeye for sure... but that 05 Michigan game will always stand out... and who can forget baby face Joe Germaine to DBoston for the win against Az St.  

Also in 2002.. we were behind to Illinois in the 3rd.. Krenzel to Jenkins to take the lead then FG's exchanged late and the win in OT... I was there and it was cold and miserable but it made it all worth in when we took down Miami

+1 HS
Keith Byars is the man's picture

My favorite comeback was in the late 80's at home vs LSU. A number of fans left early but the shoe was as loud as I can remember for the buckeye game in the 2nd half as OSU came from behind and won. I remember we ran into friends after the game who left early and were ticked off and didn't know about the win. Thought OSU lost and were even more ticked when they found out what happened the 4th quarter.

Nothing is Impossible!!!

+7 HS
Habu71's picture

I was at that game, 36-33 win on late Bobby Olive TD catch. (My apologies to those that notice I've frequently referenced it here). I was amazed by the number of fans that left. It may be burned into my memory because it was the first OSU game that my then fiancé, now wife of 26 years attended. She had recently moved here from of all places Baton Rouge, and gloated a fair amount until the final. For the record it didn't take long for her conversion. Just yesterday at a picnic she refused to hug a friend of ours due to the *ichigan shirt he was wearing. Never the less, I believe that game is a lasting memory also because it was just a great game. 

+7 HS
bukyze's picture

Yeah, I too was at that game during my junior year.  I would say at least 1/2 of the 20 or so friends I went with left early.  The stadium was almost 1/2 empty as well.  It was awesome running down onto the field after the game.  I remember thinking of the friends who left, what a bunch of dumbasses.  I only have one cardinal rule of sports (baseball and football).  Never leave until the clock hits zeros, or until the last out.  The couple minutes you save by leaving early doesn't compare to the potential memory of a lifetime.

+3 HS
Homey1970's picture

Yes, I was one of those dumbasses that left early (and watched the ending from Drackett).  However, I didn't regret leaving the scUM game later that year.  I hadn't yet met my wife before that game but she is from Louisiana.  On a side note, can you imagine how screwed up my son is...his favorite CFB teams are OSU and LSU??? 

+3 HS
brband64's picture

I was there too - from my seats in 10B, where many visiting fans sat, I could see large numbers of OSU fans leave early.  Most LSU fans did not....and in fact a number were still around several minutes after the game was over, sitting in disbelief through the band's postgame performance. Several dozen were among the last people to leave the stadium that day.

+3 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

Another Greg Frey masterpiece.

+1 HS
theopulas's picture

guys.....thank you .....it is good to hear from true fans and some of the first hand accounts of stories that make us great... and in a debate with others you give me ammo....lol...

Theopulas

+1 HS
OscarSierraUniform's picture

I was at that game.  I was with about 5 others.  They all left and headed back to Drackett.  I stayed with a group of hot chicks sitting in the row in front if us.  Not only did I see a great comeback, but I also got a bonus later that night from one of the chicks in the row in front of us.  Good times.

See ball, get ball.

+1 HS
svt_pony's picture

This was my first game in the Shoe.  

Received the tickets for free a few hours before the game.  A buddy and I left in the 3rd, went to eat and when we turned on the radio in the car we learned the lesson of never leaving a game early.

Well played Bucks....   :)

Go Buckeyes!

Habu71's picture

That game at Minnesota was incredible. I remember thinking Greg Frey would be an awesome pro QB. 

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I didn't see the game, but remember some of my elders talking about the Minny comeback when I went home the next summer. Cooper needed the win, he was around the .500 mark overall at that point of the '89 season, believe they finished 9-4 with losses to M...igan (oh but the '90's would be better) and the bowl loss to Auburn.

I don't see the Rose Bowl as so much a comeback, but Ohio State and Arizona State just trading blows...and the Buckeyes left standing at the end. Has to be the best game of the Cooper years.

I like that '05 game very much. That was a comeback. Along with the '74 team, the '05 Buckeyes were one of the best two loss teams in program history.

One of my favorites (honorable mention, anyone?) would be 2012 Purdue - The Legend of Kenny  G.

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

+5 HS
Habu71's picture

UV on your Legend of Kenny G reference. Not the point deficit of the Minnesota game, or the importance of Holy Buckeye, but a legacy builder no doubt. Not sure we'll soon see another backup QB as respected, valued or loved as Kenny G. 

+3 HS
Crumb's picture

I agree with you Hove about the 05 Buckeyes, had there been a four team playoff that year we would have one it all, I think at the very end we were playing better than PSU, Texas, and USC and could've taken either of the first two in a rematch. Alas though that's why they played in the regular season and that's what I point to when I say every game is a playoff because in December/January of 05/06 the Buckeyes were the best team in college football.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+1 HS
RCRoy45's picture

In my mind - the 1984 Illinois game would rank as #1 with no comparison... It's just a special game ...

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

+10 HS
Homey1970's picture

1.  2003 NC game

2.  1984 Illinois game (first game I ever attended in the Shoe...set me up for a lifetime of unrealistic expectations!)

3. 1997 Rose Bowl (come'on...it was the ROSE BOWL!)

4.  2005 scUM game

5.  1989 Gopher game

lamplighter's picture

higlighted by Byars shoeless TD run

+2 HS
741's picture

In a minute someone will say they wish OSU would bring back the giant numbers on the jersey... No.

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

I'm your huckleberry.

GIANT NUMBERS FTW!

741's picture
+1 HS
Floyd Stahl's picture

Not only the giant numbers, but bring back the gray on the sleeves.

RevJameson's picture

The '97 Rose Bowl! I was only 12, but still remember watching the game.

+1 HS
bakerjon's picture

How is the 2002 NC game not on the list?

"It's all ball bearings these days guys"

+1 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

The only time the Buckeyes trailed in regulation was 7-0. And while they fell behind in OT because Miami got the ball first, you can't compare a comeback when the game is no longer being timed to one in the fourth quarter.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Man, how I wish OSU would bring back those giant...

Aww, forget it.

+5 HS
Stinson's picture

The '88 LSU game and '05 Michigan are high on my list. 

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+3 HS
ShawneeBuck74's picture

These are good.  It's going to be hard to come up with a list that doesn't leave something out.

My own criteria is that the comeback had to be in a high-stakes game.  

For this reason alone I would put these games ahead of the Minnesota game:

1) Holy Buckeye: I can't think of a more clutch, gutsy play than a bomb in OT on 4th down. That was insane...kept us on the NC path. That play defined that 14-0 season & team.

2) The NC Game vs. Miami - 3 amazing plays: 4 & 14 conversion, Mo Clarrett strips the ball, Cie Grant sack. 

3)  Purdue w/ Kenny G sealing the win...preserve the 12-0 season. Great team win/story. 

4)  Tie vs. Wisconsin in Camp Randall. Joey Galloway streaking down sideline late in game to make it 14-14. I believe it was 1991 & both teams entered the game undefeated. Night game with lots of hype. Not a win, but a high stakes game. 

You win with people. 

 

HandsOfSweed's picture

The Wisconsin game was in 1993. That was the year we were 9-0-1 going into The Game. 10-1-1 after a bowl win. Still pissed about that one loss.

MichiganBuckeye222's picture

can't believe you left off the LSU comeback.

Representing the Buckeyes in the Mitten State since 1987.

www.septemberheisman.com

 

+2 HS
Habu71's picture

3 scores in under 5 minutes, I think worthy of mention.

+2 HS
Knarcisi's picture

1) 2005 Michigan

2) 1984 Illinois 

3) 1989 Minnesota

Comeback to me, is down big, or down more than 1 score late.  

+1 HS
mr.green's picture

I like your list. They were the first three that came to my mind. My two to add would be Byars against Illinois in 84 (we were down 24-0) and Kenny G against Purdue.  

+3 HS
KCAlum's picture

1984 vs Illinois was the last time the goalposts came down at Ohio Stadium, That's how much the crowd was fired up about that comeback!

Bags5150's picture

That was my freshman year and that was the game Byars lost his shoe.  Goalposts came down and went to High Street.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth~Mike Tyson

+1 HS
Michael Citro's picture

Lots of good and worthy picks in these comments. Sometimes it's like trying to pick which of your children is your favorite.

For those mentioning the LSU game, Bobby Olive also completed a dramatic comeback win over Iowa on the road in 1990 (Greg Frey again at the helm). This one nearly made my list because I got so excited I ran out my front door into King Avenue and my neighbors independently did the same thing. And we stood in the middle of the street high fiving.

airbuckeye's picture

Greg Frey always scared the hell out of me in games because you never knewn which Greg Frey  was going to show up. He could come out and light it up in the first half then come second half be nowhere to be found or vise verse's.

But the Minn game was one i will always remember because of that fan shot at the end of the game with that guy setting there with his head in hands. He was like WTF did i just see my hero Peter Pan dancing on the field in Tinker Bells tutu getting gang banged by Captian Hook and crew.

That pic is to this day is just priceless and evertime i see it i have to laugh.

bucksfan92's picture

I was a teenager during the 1989 season and for some reason was at home by myself watching the first half of that Minnesota game.  I remember the comedy of errors, like a 95+ yard return fumble right as we were about to score...  Anyway when it got to 31-0 I got beyond pissed, decided to change the channel for a minute to get away, and of course the game I switched to showed the score and said "no folks that is not backwards Minnesota really is leading 31-0"  Fuck.  I then decided to rip down the block O flag we had hanging and tossed it on the floor.  When my parents came home they asked why the flag was on the floor. I said, we are not gong to lose to Minne-fucking-sota so that flag is gonna stay there until we are ahead in this game.  Of course with just under a minute my dad and I hung the flag back up.

I think the Illinois game in 1984 when we came back from 24-0 down has to be in there.  Along with the 1990 game @ Iowa when we won with :01 left against one of Hayden Fry's best-ever teams.

jmoore3309's picture

The Wiscinsin tie was 93 and don't forget we had to block a FG to preserve the result.  Thought for sure I was headed for the Rose Bowl that year.   I was a student during those early Cooper years and the Minnesota and LSU game would top my list.  There are too many to have a short list.

FYI, the goalposts last came down after 85 Iowa.  I believe one of the posts ended up hanging behind the bar at Papa Joe's.  Good times!

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

Those shoulder numbers.... awesome. I miss those. Frey looks about 45 years old as well.  What a great game.

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

Deadly Nuts's picture

I liked the Penn State game a few years back where we were down 14-3 at half and we ended up winning 38-14.

LEBRON

+2 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

The LSU and 1984 Illinois games obviously need to be on this list. The 1997 Rose Bowl, while certainly more significant, wasn't all that amazing as comebacks go -- driving 66 yards in a minute and a half isn't especially difficult, particularly in the college game when you get the clock stoppages on first down.

It's not on the list because it ended up as a loss, but the comeback from 0-28 to 28-28 in the 2002 Outback Bowl was a total shock, considering it was the worst long-term starting QB in Buckeye history who engineered it. Of course, he turned back into a pumpkin at the worst possible time.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

-2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Nice call on the '02 Outback. Even with the late int that cost OSU the game, I actually thought that was a good effort on Bellisari's part.

Or maybe I was drunk, and should've gone home.

In any case, Tress got a pretty good bowl win the next year...

"Success...it's what you do with what you got" - Woody Hayes

rkylet83's picture

2012 Purdue game.  Amazing last second touchdown with a two-point conversion to go to OT.  

+2 HS
whiskeyjuice's picture

My dad and I were texting back n forth during that game as we were watching it, My dad had turned the channel thinking the game was over and he didn't want to watch OSU lose. When Kenny and the Bucks won in OT, I sent a text to my dad saying how crazy that game was. My dad was bummed that he missed it but that game is what made my dad a TRUE believer of Urban Meyer.

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
CGroverL's picture

2012 vs. Purdue

Kenny G. comes in and throws an interception...But then, faster than a speeding bullet, he found a telephone booth to change into his Buckeye/Superman uniform, throws a TD pass, backs it up with a throw for a 2 point conversion completion, and then promptly marches the Buckeyes 25 yards in OT as the last play was handing the ball to El Guapo for what ended up being the game winning score.

Not bad for a backup QB in a late inning relief appearance, right? I have a ton of confidence in Braxton Miller and I think he is the most dangerous player in the game, but it took Kenny G. to win that game. I'm sure that Miller could have done it, but he couldn't have done it smoother than Kenny G.

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

+1 HS
Replace_the_o's picture

I'd have to say Holy Buckeye is probably the most important come from behind win. It probably didn't make the cut because it wasn't really a "comeback rally." We were only down by 3. So there are obviously "bigger" comebacks in terms of points.  But Holy Buckeye was the most important...at least in my lifetime.

CGroverL's picture

Holy Buckeye was surely the most important. Imagine the Bucks losing a game without giving up a touchdown and it ultimately takes them out of a shot at the National Championship. That is bad. Since it really was just a one play comeback though, I wouldn't think of it as much of a comeback at all. Certainly though, it was the most important play since 1970. I still watch "Holy Buckeye" at least once a week and I actually thank the city of Utica, M*ch*gan for giving us Craig Krenzel...a kid that kept his cool long enough to loft a pass where only the receiver could grab it to win the game.

TSUN is funny. They give us a clutch National Championship winning QB while they are smart enough to look outside of their state for Heisman winners. Harmon was from Indiana, and of course, Howard and Woodson were both Buckeyes. They were always so smart up there. Ever since around 2000, they have done nothing but show how dumb they can be....rapists as KICKERS?...and the MICHELIN MAN from Dayton, Ohio as their current coach, who they hired with a career win/loss record that was 2 games under .500 and firing a proven winner to get the "Stay Puft Marshmallow Man" to keep the team on this downhill trend that may have ended when RichRod finally had his players and a system ready for those players. Tight work there M*ch*gan!

Okay...rant over. Go Buckeyes!

"I hope they're last in everything"

Thanks, Urb!

Replace_the_o's picture

I watch it often too.  Not quite once a week, but pretty often.  Such an amazing, gutsy play.

Fuzzbuck's picture

Good ones but you have to put the Keith Byars vs Illinois and losing a shoe game in their somewhere. Maybe I was just real wasted but it was my favorite!!

+1 HS
Keith Byars is the man's picture

Love these type of discussions reliving great times as a kid at the shoe. Funny story from the LSU comeback. My family friend got 4 season tickets every year as a big wig for a local company and we went every game. We were sitting by this Japanese guy who was in the ohio state athletics box seats and was the president of some  japanese car company. My friend high fived  this man after the winning TD and he went tumplining down the steps just rolling about 5 rows. Hopped up and kept high fiving the crowd. The Illinois game was priceless also with the performance of the man Keith Byars. "Holy Buckeye" win vs Purdue was special. Comeback win vs Minnesota was cool. 

Nothing is Impossible!!!

original buckeye's picture

Good call on the 2005 game at Michigan.  Best game I've ever attended. 

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The Minnesota games sticks out in my mind!  I was working with a friend of mine on a home construction site.  We had a TV hooked up to a generator and watching the it until we had to call it a day.  On the drive home, I was listening to it on the radio and during that comeback - I swear I almost wrecked my car about 12 times due to screaming and fist pumping!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

MikeTheBuckeye's picture

The 2011 Ohio State - Wisconsin game deserves to be in the mix. One of the best Buckeye comebacks in recent memory.

-3 HS
NashBuckeye's picture

Everybody named all of my favorites so I will go to one that I still remember because it was as improbable a win as I can remember.  1990 @ Iowa.  Iowa was ranked 6th.  Ohio State hit a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half to keep it close, but was still trailing by 2 scores in the 4th Quarter.  We scored the last TD to win the game 27-26 with less than 10 seconds left.  Cooper actually kneeled down on the extra point just to avoid a crazy 2-pointer the other way, and that was about as quick-thinking of a call as I ever saw him make.

Anyone else remember that one? I cheated by looking up the Final Score but that was one win by an OSU team that was clearly the 2nd best team on the field that day.

OscarSierraUniform's picture

The 1984 Illinois game was another classic comeback.  Byars loses his shoe.  Come on now....that is a definite classic.  He also ran for 274 yds, breaking the single game rushing record Archie held.

See ball, get ball.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Good picks. 

I'd also throw in the 1988 game vs LSU and the 1990 last-second winner vs Iowa (I was too young to remember those games but saw the clips on YouTube).  Also, 2012 vs Purdue cause SMOOTH JAZZ.

Class of 2010.

Byaaaahhh's picture

Kinda weird seeing *ichigan as a team to be scared of, tbh.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

It almost seems like it takes mediocre teams like the 1988 Buckeyes (v LSU) and 1989 Buckeyes (v Minn) to get crazy big comebacks. Think about . . . The team has to be bad enough to fall 20 or more points behind another bad team. If the other teams (e.g., LSU 88 or Minn 89) had been any good, they wouldn't give up huge leads. And the Buckeyes had been good, they wouldn't been getting pasted by crap teams. Sorry. 

whiskeyjuice's picture

The Buckeye teams then seemed to be very inconsistent.

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Run_Fido_Run's picture

True, but mediocre teams tend to be inconsistent. The 2011 team played great in the first half at Nebraska, but terrible in the 2H (obviously, Braxton's injury had a lot to do with that). They beat a very good Wisconsin team, but were very bad down the stretch that year. until playing pretty well against Michigan.

Statistically, with mediocre teams, you expect some wild fluctuations because they're not good enough to play subpar football and still grind out wins.

ScarletArrow's picture

I like these trips down memory lane... I remember leaving the TV at halftime for the Minny game.

I think it would be interesting to come up with a list of heartbreaking comebacks that fell short.  

You would probably need to put up some qualifiers, for instance... OSU needed to be trailing the entire game or down 10 points entering the 4th... whatever.

I would put the 1988 Michigan up there.

Seattle Linga's picture

On the Iowa video post --- I loved the fact that after we scored - Hayden Frye just shook his head and walked the other way!

Crumb's picture

One of my favorites had to be 2010 Penn State. I was in the south stands surrounded mostly by students or at least people under 30 and that game started off awfully. Pryor had Posey open down the sideline and underthrew him early and it was big gain but then inside the 15 Shugarts false started (surprising I know) and Tress was Tress and settled for a FG. Then Penn State picked apart the defense on two very long time consuming drives, and they picked on Devon Torrence especially. The offense couldn't get out of their own way and when the team trotted into the tunnel at half it was 14-3 and they were getting booed (Some people said on TV later that Buckeye fans were spoiled, Boom Herron said something along the lines of 'I'd have booed us too'.) Then the offense came out and finally got some traction and Boom scored and it was 14-10. Penn State's offense gets the ball and is going down the field and Matt McGloin throws it toward Devon Torrence again this time Torrence was waiting for it and got a pick six. Penn State didn't score again and Pryor tossed 3 TDs to go with Herron's career day of 175 yards and a TD. As I drove back to Cincy I was happy Torrence got some immediate redemption and was wondering what on earth Tressel and or the staff or the players had said to each other in that locker room at half time. It was a great experience.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

Fatpants's picture

05 michigan for sure. The offense had been so putrid then they suddenly rip off two quick touchdowns. Buckeye nation feasted heavily on wolverine years that evening. 

Fun fact: that's also the day I learned that Great Lakes Christmas Ale is not to be trifled with. 

bigtenspeed's picture

I'm still mad about that horrible taunting call on Santonio in 05.You know, the one where he was diving between two defenders for a TD.

Jpfbuck's picture

i guess a couple things come to mind here

1) if we are just talking about a great performance in coming back from a deficit it is hard to beat Minny and LSU by Greg Frey

both had big deficits and lasted till late in the game to come back

2) however my criteria would be a little different

first the game had to end up being meaningful or was very meaningful at the time, so sorry Minny, Iowa, LSU dont count as they were simply come from behind wins in otherwise meaningless game

second we had to trail for a large portion of the game not just have happened to find our selves behind late, especially if we had the lead earlier, so to me that eliminates the National Championship game as we led that game late on the 4th quarter and let that lead slip away for force OT, great win but not a great "comeback"

lastly you had be down by more than 3 points at some point, coming back from a 3 pt lead is not a great come back, it may be a great ending but not a great comeback

so to my mind this severely limits that list

Purdue in 02 and in 12 would both qualify, we were down most of the game, by more the 3 late and came back to win, and both games maintained undefeated seasons

Michigan in 05 would count, although we had the lead early, we fell behind midway thru the 3rd qtr and by mid 4th were down by 9 and of course the game is always big.

the 79 win over michigan is close as we trailed for large portions of the game and won on a blocked punt in the 4th qtr, but the final deficit overcome was only 3, but it did secure an undefeated season, was our first win in 4 years over them and led us to a Rose Bowl and potential national title shot

but as i said if you eliminate the need for the game to be of some importance, then Minny, LSU, Iowa, etc all come back into play

buckeyepastor's picture

These were three incredible comebacks - three of my favorites.   Another one right up there, though it was agonizing at times to watch, was last year's win at NW.   For most of the night, it looked like the pretty kitties had our number on the big stage.  And then Hyde and Co. turned things around.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Zimmy07's picture

Frey then hit Graham for the go-ahead score with 51 seconds to play,

I honestly think I could play safety better for one play than whoever that was for Minnesota right now & I'm over 40.  The game has changed a lot.

TURD_BUCKET's picture

I know this is way late after the article was written, but I had to post for my own sake ( I'm a new member and just signed up ).  I'm sure everyone remembers the 1975 michigan game!?! Ask your fathers.

OSU is undefeated and ranked #1 and goes the the big house. Stinky varmints are ranked #4, but have a loss and a couple ties, I believe.  Winner takes Big Ten crown.  OSU wins and plays for the National Championship.

OSU scores on their first possession and I figure the route is on. Then OSU started to  play really, really bad, offensively. Did not even get a first down  from the beginning of the 2nd quarter to halfway thru the fourth quarter. michigan not much better. Lots of turnovers by both teams. michigan did score right before the first half ended. 7-7 at half. Third quarter defense all the way. OSU still no more first downs since beginning of second quarter.

michigan goes up 14-7 halfway thru the 4th quarter. OSU comes right back on the next possession and scores to make it 14-14, with about 3 or 4 minutes to go.OSU wins the tiebreakers with a tie, but probably ruins NC title shot ( again ). But Bo decided to go for it and came out passing. A sack and an incomplete pass and its third down and about 20 yards. OSU looks like they might get another chance with about 2 minutes to go if they can hold. Then Ray Griffin intercepts the third down pass and goes about 30 yards to inside the five yard line. Pete Johnson scores on the first play to put Bucks on top 21 - 14, with about 2 minutes to go. From down 14-7 to on top in less than a minute. Craig Cassady intercepts a pass on the next series and the Bucks run out the clock.  That was also the game that ended Archie's 31 game 100 yard streak. He had less than 50 yards I think. The Buckeyes are still #1 and will play UCLA in the Rose Bowl for the national title.

GREAT comeback. I won't detail the title game in the Rose Bowl that year, but I cried over it.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”