Oct. 13, 1973

Each week, Gameday+ takes a look at an Ohio State game played on this date:

Ohio State 24, Wisconsin 0

Setup: Forty-five years ago, college football mathematics was a different animal in these parts. Back then, the forward pass could be classified into three groups, two of which were bad. Ohio State coach Woody Hayes would have taken one look at Dwayne Haskins Jr. and told him to go work with the defensive ends. Oh, but could the Buckeyes run the ball in 1973, with a line led by guard John Hicks opening massive craters for the likes of tailback Archie Griffin, quarterback Cornelius Greene and even a converted linebacker at fullback — Bruce Elia, who took over when Champ Henson suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second game. Even better for Hayes’ penchant for total control, Ohio State in ’73 had a defense that was as stingy as its offense was prolific. Fun times.

Stars: Griffin rambled for 169 yards, Greene had 81 and a touchdown and Elia added 74 yards and two scores in OSU’s 423-yard ground assault. On defense, Randy Gradishar and Pete Cusick had 12 tackles apiece and Rick Middleton 11 as the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes limited Wisconsin to 202 yards and never let the Badgers past the OSU 34-yard line.

Turning point: Playing on the road for the first time after three home-game waltzes, Ohio State led only 7-0 at halftime despite having the better of play. The Buckeyes then scored on their first two drives of the second half on Greene’s 2-yard run and Blair Conway’s 36-yard field goal.

Impact: How good was Ohio State in 1973? After eight games, OSU had outscored opponents by an aggregate of 306-20, with no one scoring more seven against it. Iowa scored 13 in week 9 but still lost by 42. Michigan scored 10 in the regular-season finale, but the Buckeyes could only match that total, denying them a chance at a national championship.

Quotable: “One of my big problems (is) finding a movie for Friday night. It’s all sex and murder.” — Hayes, bemoaning the lack of family-friendly choices available in the theaters for his team to watch the night before games

Ray Stein

rstein@dispatch.com