Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:

Northwestern 33, Ohio State 27

Setup: Ohio State had a week off after an ugly road win at North Carolina State, so it supposedly was fresh and healed when it took its No. 7 ranking to Northwestern, which had served as the Buckeyes' personal straight man for more than a generation. OSU hadn't lost to the Wildcats since 1971 and had last lost in Evanston, Illinois, in 1958. But this joke was on the Buckeyes.

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Stars: Quarterback Brett Basanez passed for 278 yards and two touchdowns, and Noah Herron had 113 yards rushing and two scores, including the overtime winner. Local escapees Mark Philmore and Jeff Backes also played big roles for the Wildcats. Santonio Holmes had 10 catches for OSU.

Turning point: Ohio State forced overtime when Holmes caught a TD pass from Justin Zwick with 1:54 remaining, but the momentum balloon popped when sure-footed kicker Mike Nugent missed from 40 yards. Basanez's 21-yard run on Northwestern's second play in OT set the stage for Herron's TD.

Impact: Can you say overrated? OSU lost the next week at home against Wisconsin before the wheels came off in a 33-7 loss to Iowa — a stretch that marks the only time Jim Tressel has lost consecutive games at Ohio State. The bright spot was Troy Smith's emergence as quarterback — until the Alamo Bowl, anyway.

Quotable: "In some ways, you might say I can't believe we got a chance to win in overtime, because I don't think we played that well in total." — Tressel

rstein@dispatch.com