Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:
Ohio State 14, Wisconsin 13
Nov. 4, 1916
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Setup: One hundred one years ago, in its 27th year of football, Ohio State boasted a decent winning percentage (.642) largely built on the backs of Ohio schools; the Buckeyes were a mere 12-28-5 (32.2 percent) against out-of-state opponents. But OSU in 1913 joined Western Conference (you know it as the Big Ten) and thus began its march toward national prominence. The 1916 season was a significant first step. Having beaten Ohio Wesleyan 12-0 and Oberlin 128-0 — not a misprint — the Buckeyes edged Illinois before hosting unbeaten Wisconsin, which had won its first three meetings against OSU.
Stars: Only the biggest ever to wear an Ohio State uniform — and that’s not a misprint, either. Chic Harley scored both OSU touchdowns on spectacular runs — a weaving 27-yard scoring run to forge a 7-7 tie in the second quarter and an 80-yard punt return midway through the fourth quarter to break the tie. Harley also kicked both extra points, which proved key. Statistics then weren’t kept as they are today, but newspaper reports said Harley accounted for 185 of OSU’s 330 yards.
Turning point: Trailing 14-7, Wisconsin drove 52 yards in the final minutes, aided by an interference penalty on the Buckeyes’ Fred Norton. Eight plays later, Louis Kreuz scored on a 1-yard plunge to pull the Badgers to 14-13. But Glenn Taylor’s point-after attempt was missed and Ohio State needed to run only two plays before being swarmed by fans rushing onto the Ohio Field turf.
Impact: Beating Wisconsin cleared the largest remaining obstacle from Ohio State’s path to its first league championship. Successive wins over Indiana, Case and Northwestern by a combined score of 97-10 earned the Buckeyes the title as well as their first undefeated, untied season.
Quotable: “The memorable defeat of Wisconsin … was not only a great victory for Ohio State University. It was a significant civic triumph. When fingers are pointed at the football map Columbus will stand out now with a new meaning.” — game account in The Dispatch
— Ray Stein / email@example.com