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

Ohio State 24, Penn State 6

Setup: Ohio State had played Penn State many times before, but never when the Nittany Lions and coach Joe Paterno were members of the Big Ten. OSU was a team of upward mobility, having won its first seven games to jump to No. 3 in the national polls, but it faced a tough closing schedule, starting with the No. 12 Lions.

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Stars: Raymont Harris rushed for 151 yards to help the Buckeyes tame an Ohio Stadium field that was more mud pit than grass turf, thanks to an all-day wet snow. "It was reminiscent of a pig sty," Harris said. Safety Walter Taylor had two of OSU's four interceptions of Kerry Collins and also forced a fumble.

Turning point: None, really. The Buckeyes one-upped Penn State's opening field goal with an eight-play TD drive and then started imposing their will on the offensive and defensive lines. Nothing fancy, no secrets, and the stadium was a rocking party all day.

Quotable: "John Cooper outcoached Joe Paterno, and you can put that in the paper. John Cooper outcoached Joe Paterno, and I want to see that in print." — OSU President E. Gordon Gee, affirming his unconditional support for his occasionally embattled football coach

Impact: A week later, OSU was, uh, evenly coached by Barry Alvarez in a 14-14 tie at Wisconsin. The Buckeyes then beat Indiana to put themselves in position to make the Rose Bowl, but Michigan delivered a crushing 28-0 defeat. Holiday Bowl, anyone?

rstein@dispatch.com