Ohio State entered 1982 with depth at running back, receiver and the offensive line. A question mark remained at quarterback.
Despite the loss of four-year starter Art Schlichter, Ohio State's coaching staff felt confident Mike Tomczak and the offense could be a strength. The defense had eight returning starters but needed improvement from a unit that allowed a program all-time high 253 points a year earlier.
|The 1982 Buckeyes
|Earle Bruce (4th year, 38–10)
Glen Cobb, Jerome Foster,
Joe Luken, Marcus Marek,
Tim Spencer, Gary Williams
Games of Note
September 11th • Baylor • Ohio Stadium
In the third game of the 1978 season, Baylor played the Buckeyes surprisingly close in a 34-28 final. The second game in the series proved to be much like the first.
Ohio State scored first on this hazy 81-degree day when Vaughn Broadnax bullied his way in from the 3-yard line. The big fullback bludgeoned his way across the goal line again early in the second quarter with a 4-yard score.
At this point, it appeared the Buckeyes planned to use Broadnax and Tim Spencer to batter the Bears into submission, but Baylor responded with a touchdown before halftime and another late in the third to tie the game at 14.
A 40-yard punt by Karl Edwards pinned the Bears at their own 9. The Ohio State defense stiffened and forced Baylor to punt from its own 5. Garcia Lane returned the punt 18 yards and the Buckeyes had the ball on the visitor's 37. Tomczak finished the game-winning, 10-play drive with a 1-yard sneak to give Ohio State a 21-14 lead.
With just over four minutes remaining, the Bears made things interesting when they blocked Edwards' punt and recovered at the Buckeyes' 46. However, two plays later, Glen Cobb intercepted Mike Brennan and Ohio State secured its first victory of 1982.
An interesting note on this game is that the Buckeyes did not throw the ball after Tomczak's interception on the third play of the third quarter. That enabled Spencer to finish with a game-high 147 rushing yards and Broadnax added 101 of his own.
|NO. 15 ILLINOIS
|NO. 13 MICHIGAN
September 25th • Stanford • Ohio Stadium
On an overcast, 67-degree day, Stanford visited Columbus for the first time in 26 years after the Buckeyes defeated Michigan State 31-10 a week earlier.
The first half was all Ohio State. Stanford's first drive ended when Mark Harmon missed a 25-yard field goal.
On its next possession, Marcus Marek intercepted John Elway at Ohio State's 39-yard line near the middle of the first quarter. The Buckeyes picked up three points off of the turnover when Rich Spangler made a 31-yard field goal.
At the start of the second quarter, Broadnax capped a six-play, 53-yard drive with a center plunge to put the Scarlet and Gray up 10-0.
With 51 seconds remaining in the half, Elway threw a pass on first down from his own 23 yard-line. Glen Cobb the ball and it fell into Jerome Foster's arms at the 26. Tomczak completed a 13-yard pass and Spencer ran for six, but the Buckeyes had to settle for a 19-yard Spangler field goal and led 13-0 at the half.
Ohio State's defense intercepted Elway twice, held him to 132 yards and kept the Cardinal scoreless in the first half. There was still a second half to play, however.
Harmon made up for his two missed field goals by connecting twice in the third and Elway threw a screen pass to the left to Mike Dotterer who scampered in from the 11. That tied the game at 13 ahead of the final stanza.
Stanford's kicking woes struck again when it fumbled a snap on a 37-yard attempt. Marek cleaned up the mess and the Buckeyes took over on the 30. Two plays later, Bruce went into his bag of tricks. Gary Williams took a long lateral from Tomczak then threw it deep down the sideline to Cedric Anderson for a 63-yard gain. Spencer finished the 4-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. Ohio State led 20-13 with 8:47 remaining.
After a Cardinal field goal, both offenses struggled to hold onto the ball. Tomczak made the first mistake, having an attempt to Anderson over the middle tipped and intercepted.
On the first play following the interception, Elway threw the ball over the middle for Dotterer, except it landed in the hands Roland Tatum. The linebacker returned the ball 29 yards to give Tomczak and the offense the ball on the Stanford 25 with 2:23 remaining.
Ohio State led 20-16 and was in field goal range. Many believed Bruce would run the ball to kill the clock and possibly pick up a first down, especially when Stanford only had one timeout remaining. Bruce did the expected on first down, but Spencer lost two yards on the carry. On second down, Bruce gambled and called for a roll-out pass. Tomczak went to his left and threw for Williams in the end zone. The ball was tipped and intercepted by the Cardinal.
Stanford had 1:38, one timeout and 80 yards to go for a game-winning touchdown. Elway's first "drive" in the state of Ohio as described by The Columbus Dispatch:
Elway completed his first two passes for 28 yards and then missed 2. On third and 10 from the Cardinal 48, Elway, given time, found Emile Harry free over the middle. Harry was not chased down until reaching the OSU 17.
A pass to tailback Mike Dotterer, subbing for injured Vincent White, lost a yard. Back in the huddle , Elway called Dotterer's number again. The plan was for him to take off up the right sideline. Elway would roll left and throw back, across the field to Dotterer in the corner of the end zone.
Tomczak's four interceptions did not help Ohio State's cause in the crushing 23-20 loss, especially the two late in the fourth quarter. Elway finished the game with 35 completions, 407 yards, two touchdowns and three picks.
Ohio State then lost to Florida State and Wisconsin in the following weeks for its first three-game losing streak since 1971.
November 20th • #13 Michigan • Ohio Stadium
An Ohio Stadium record 90,252 fans attended the 79th meeting between the Buckeyes and No. 13 Michigan (8–2). The Wolverines already had a Rose Bowl berth locked up because they played one more conference game than Ohio State.
"We just gave them the ball game," Michigan coach Bo Schembechler said following his team's 24-14 loss. "We handed it to them. I repeat...we did not lose, we gave it away."
Schembechler believed the Buckeyes played a part in the two fumbles Steve Smith had with the snap. He then turned his vitriol toward Marek.
"I am upset because Ohio State's linebacker (Marcus Marek) was permitted to jam our quarterback's count which upset our rhythm and timing," he said. "We knew about it before the game because we had seen it on film and mentioned it to the officials before the game and at halftime, but no action was taken. It is definitely a violation of the rules and the penalty should have been for unsportsmanlike conduct."
Marek responded: "Today was our Rose Bowl game. We proved to ourselves, in our minds, that we are the Big Ten champs. We lost one, they lost one."
This marked the second straight year the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines and did not receive the Rose Bowl bid.
Had Michigan defeated the Buckeyes, Schembechler more than likely would have focused on his team's second chance at playing UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Instead, it was the play of Rowland Tatum, Marek, Spencer and Tomczak that gave Ohio State a 10-point victory. The five turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions) committed by Michigan quarterback Smith also played a role.
Marek and Tatum's defense forced the Wolverines to commit six turnovers overall. Marek made a game-high 19 tackles and came down with one of Ohio State's three interceptions. Tatum also picked off a pass, secured nine tackles and two tackles for loss in the victory
Spencer wrapped up the Big Ten rushing title with 124 yards and two touchdowns. He finished conference play averaging 129.3 yards per game, a yard better than Michigan's Lawrence Rick. Tomczak was very effective on the wet, rainy day, connecting on 10-of-17 passes for 159 yards without an interception.
Even with Michigan's mistakes, the fourth quarter started with the score tied at 14 and the Wolverines had the ball in their own territory. The final points of the game as written in The Columbus Dispatch:
Anthony Carter hemmed in throughout by the Buckeyes' zone pass coverage, took an option pitch from Smith around the right end and was smacked by Tatum and rover Doug Hill. Tatum punched the ball loose and Hill fell on it at the 14 with 7:40 remaining. In three plays, Spencer had his second touchdown and Ohio State led, 21-14.
On the first play after the kickoff, Marek intercepted Smith at the Michigan 19. It gave Marek an interception in each of his four Michigan games. At 3:27 Rich Spangler kicked a 33-yard field goal.
Bruce now owned a 3–1 record against Michigan and the Buckeyes pushed their overall mark in the series to 31–43–5.
December 17th • BYU • Holiday Bowl
Ohio State (8–3) entered Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego as one of the hottest teams in college football. LaVell Edwards' BYU (8–3) squad lost its three games by a combined seven points. Many thought Steve Young and the Cougars' high-scoring passing offense would give the Buckeyes difficulty. Which style would win, Ohio State's run-heavy offense or BYU's high-flying aerial attack?
From the 2015 Ohio State Team Guide:
There were those who thought Ohio State was the best team in the country
during the last six weeks of the season. The Holiday Bowl did nothing to alter that line of thinking.
In winning their seventh-consecutive game and their second–consecutive bowl, the Buckeyes completely dominated the Cougars.
BYU led only once, 10-7, early in the second period. Tim Spencer’s 61-yard run took care of that. Spencer scored two of the Buckeyes’ TDs as did his backup, Jimmy Gayle.
Linebacker Marcus Marek had eight tackles to pass Tom Cousineau as OSU’s all-time leading tackler.
The Buckeyes led 17-10 at halftime, but an explosion of 17 points in the third quarter put the game away. Spencer finished with 167 yards to finish his career with seven straight 100-yard games. The St. Clairsville native ranked third all-time at Ohio State with 1,538 career rushing yards.
Marek tallied eight tackles and finished on top of the Buckeyes' career total tackles list with 572, besting Tom Cousineau by three.
Steve Young completed 27-of-45 passes for 341 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Including the bowl game performance, He finished the 1982 season with 3,441 yards and 20 touchdowns.
For consecutive years, Ohio State defeated Michigan and won a bowl game to conclude its season.
- No. 14 Ohio State defeated Baylor 21-14 after being tied at 14 entering the fourth.
- The Buckeyes beat Michigan State 31-10 in Muddy Waters' last season as head coach.
- John Elway drove 80 yards and threw the game-winning touchdown with 34 seconds left in the game to lead Stanford to a 23-20 win.
- Florida State defeated the Buckeyes for the second straight year.
- Ohio State lost to Wisconsin in consecutive years after beating the Badgers 21 straight times.
- After beating No. 15 Illinois 26-21 the Buckeyes scored at least 35 points in victories over Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota and Northwestern.
- Michigan committed six turnovers and Ohio State scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to win 24-14. The Buckeyes improved to 31–43–5 against their rival.
- Ohio State defeated Steve Young and BYU 47-17 in the Holiday Bowl, the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
- The Buckeyes started the season No. 14 and ended the 1982 season ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll.
- Marcus Marek earned All-American honors, ending a three-year Ohio State drought.
- Jerome Foster, Gary Williams, Joe Lukens and Tim Spencer were selected in the NFL Draft.
After starting the 1982 season 2–3 with the three losses being consecutive, Ohio State finished with seven straight wins. Following the 47-17 dismantling of BYU, many argued that the Buckeyes were one of the best teams at the end of the year.
For the second straight year, Ohio State concluded the season with a win over Michigan and a bowl victory. That would not happen again for another 16 seasons.
Gary Williams ended his career with 154 receptions, 2,792 yards and 16 touchdowns. All of which put him at the top of Ohio State's all-time record book.
Tim Spencer's 3,553 career rushing yards placed him as Ohio State's second leading rusher.