Ohio State On This Date: The Buckeyes Win Close Games in 2006 and 1944 to Keep Undefeated Seasons Alive 62 Years Apart on Nov. 4

By Matt Gutridge on November 4, 2023 at 8:05 am
Ohio State vs. Iowa in 2017
Jeffrey Becker – USA TODAY Sports

Before each Ohio State game, we’re taking a look back at the Buckeyes’ history of playing on that date.

Trivia Time

On Nov. 4, 2017, Ohio State lost to Iowa, 55-24. Can you name the only other team to defeat an Urban Meyer-coached Buckeye team by 31 points?

Scroll down to item #1 in Five Fun Facts for the answer.

The first game Ohio State played on Nov. 4 was in 1893. The Buckeyes hosted Western Reserve and lost 30-16 in their third game against the Pioneers.

Like the first game played on this date, Ohio State lost its last competition on Nov. 4 by double digits. In 2017, Urban Meyers' Buckeyes were dismantled by the Iowa Hawkeyes 55-24 in Iowa City. The 31-point loss equaled the largest margin of defeat during the Meyer era. It was Iowa's first win over Ohio State since 2004 and only the third victory for the Hawkeyes in the series since 1989. 

In 2006, Ohio State traveled to Champaign to take on an Illinois team on a five-game losing streak. With Jim Tressel's team-leading 17-0 at halftime, it appeared the Buckeyes were on their way to winning by at least 17 points for the 10th consecutive game.  

Following a scoreless third quarter, Ohio State still led 17-0 at the midpoint of the final stanza. The Illini used a flea-flicker and the ensuing defensive pass interference call to set up a 27-yard Jason Reda field goal. Illinois' next scoring drive went 80 yards on 10 plays and culminated with a 3-yard Rashard Mendenhall touchdown run.

The Buckeyes recovered Reda's onside kick, and the No. 1 team in the country escaped Champaign with a 17-10 victory. 

Ohio State Games Played on Nov. 4
2023 #3 Ohio State at Rutgers Piscataway, NJ TBD
2017 #3 Ohio State at Iowa Iowa City, Iowa 24–55
2006 #1 Ohio State at Illinois Champaign, Illinois 17–10
2000 #16 Ohio State vs. Michigan State Columbus, Ohio 27–13
1995 #4 Ohio State at Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota 49–21
1989 Ohio State at Northwestern Evanston, Illinois 52–27
1978 #14 Ohio State at Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin 49–14
1972 #5 Ohio State vs. Minnesota Columbus, Ohio 27–19
1967 Ohio State at Michigan State East Lansing, Michigan 21–7
1961 #5 Ohio State vs. #9 Iowa Columbus, Ohio 13–16
1950 #4 Ohio State at Northwestern Evanston, Illinois 32–0
1944 #3 Ohio State vs. #15 Indiana Columbus, Ohio 21–7
1939 #14 Ohio State vs. Indiana Columbus, Ohio 24–0
1933 Ohio State vs. Indiana Columbus, Ohio 21–0
1916 Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Columbus, Ohio 14–13
1911 Ohio State vs. Case Columbus, Ohio 0–9
1905 Ohio State vs. Kenyon Columbus, Ohio 23–0
1899 Ohio State vs. Western Reserve Columbus, Ohio 6–0
1893 Ohio State vs. Western Reserve Columbus, Ohio 16–30
Overall Record on Oct. 21: 14-4

Games to remember

Parma pals push Ohio State past Indiana

For the third time in six games, the third-ranked 1944 Buckeyes were facing a ranked opponent. 56,380 supporters were in Ohio Stadium and became somewhat stunned when No. 15 Indiana scored in the first quarter. For the first time all season, Ohio State trailed in a game. 

The Buckeyes dominated the final three quarters and remained undefeated with a 21-7 victory. 

Les Horvath and Bob Brugge, both from Parma, were key contributors to the Buckeyes' comeback. Horvath rushed for 115 yards and completed five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. 

Indiana's head coach, Alvin McMillin, was impressed with Ohio State's eventual Heisman Trophy winner. 

“Horvath is a great football player, just great. I haven't seen a back this season anyway to compare with him,” McMillin said after the game.

The 21-7 victory over No. 15 Indiana moved the undefeated Buckeyes up to No. 2 in the country. They would go on to finish the season 9–0 and be named a national champion by the National Championship Foundation and Sagarin, though that national championship is not claimed by Ohio State.

Chic Harley puts on a show in front of a record crowd

The undefeated Buckeyes entered its 1916 contest with undefeated Wisconsin looking for the program's first victory over the Badgers. The battle of undefeated teams and the prospect of Ohio State ending its 0-3 record against Wisconsin brought 12,500 fans to Ohio Field, the largest crowd to ever witness a football game in the state of Ohio. 

The record-setting crowd was on edge as the visitors from the Dairy State took a seven-point lead in the second quarter. The anxiety and tension building in the stands was unleashed in a ground-shaking, furious roar when Chic Harley ran in from 27 yards on Ohio State's next possession. The East High alum booted the extra point to tie the game at seven apiece and gave the Buckeyes new life.

The game remained tied until the deciding fourth quarter. Harley received a 35-yard punt at his own 20-yard line, then zigged, zagged and zoomed his way for 80 yards and Ohio State's first lead of the day. He converted the extra point and the Buckeyes led 14-7.

With little time remaining on the clock, Wisconsin scored from five yards out and was an extra point away from tying the game. The try was not true, and Ohio State preserved its perfect season and beat the Badgers for the first time with a 14-13 victory.  

Not including Harley's 80-yard punt return – which was described as one of the most spectacular runs in Ohio Field’s history – the East alum finished the day with 183 of Ohio State's 330 total yards of offense.

Stat Superlatives

Team Bests on Nov. 4
Stat Number Game
Points Scored 48 Minnesota, 1950
Passing Yards 293 Minnesota, 1995
Completions 18 Iowa, 2017
Rushing Yards 456 Northwestern, 1989
Total Yards 583 Northwestern, 1989
Fewest Yards Allowed 69 Indiana, 1939
Fewest Points Allowed 0 Northwestern, 1950
Four other times
Individual Bests on Nov. 4
Stat Player Number Game
Passing Yards Bobby Hoying 287 Minnesota, 1995
Passing Touchdowns J.T. Barrett 3 Iowa, 2017
Rushing Yards Eddie George 178 Minnesota, 1995
Rushing Touchdowns Eddie George
Dante Lee
3 Minnesota, 1995
Northwestern, 1989
Receptions Eddie George 8 Minnesota, 1995
Receiving Yards Terry Glenn 103 Minnesota, 1995
Receiving Touchdowns Johnnie Dixon
Chuck Bryant
2 Iowa, 2017
Iowa, 1961
Total Touchdowns J.T. Barrett
Eddie George
Dante Lee
3 Iowa, 2017
Minnesota, 1995
Northwestern, 1989
Touchdowns Scored Eddie George
Dante Lee
2 Minnesota, 1995
Northwestern, 1989
Yards from Scrimmage Eddie George 264 Minnesota, 1995

Five Fun Facts

  1. Clemson, with its 31-0 win over Ohio State in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, joined Iowa as the other team to defeat Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes by 31 points.
  2. Western Reserve is the only team from the state of Ohio with a winning record (6-5-1) against Ohio State.
  3. Illinois was the only opponent that Troy Smith did not throw a touchdown pass against during the 2006 regular season.
  4. Against Minnesota in 1995, Eddie George became the fifth Ohio State running back to catch eight passes in a game, joining Ron Springs (1977), James Gayle (1981), Keith Byars (1984) and John Wooldridge (1985).
  5. Jim Tressel coached his 60th game with the Buckeyes on this date in 2006. Today marks Ryan Day's 60th game as Ohio State's head coach.
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