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

Minnesota 35, Ohio State 31

Setup: Before the college football landscape became littered with offenses like the run-and-shoot and the spread and all its variations, 400-yard passing games were rare birds, especially in the Midwestern environs of Big Ten country. In fact, when Mike Hohensee totaled 444 yards through the air against Ohio State 34 years ago, it was the third-highest single-game total in Big Ten history. Not surprisingly, the first two also came against Earle Bruce's beleaguered Buckeyes secondary — 621 to Illinois' David Wilson the previous November and 516 to Purdue's Scott Campbell the previous week. Big games against OSU were no passing fancy.

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Stars: Hohensee completed 37 of 67 passes and a school-record five touchdowns, Chester Cooper had 12 receptions for 182 yards, and Jay Carroll caught three TD passes. For the Buckeyes, Tim Spencer ran for 135 yards and two scores, and Art Schlichter passed for one touchdown and ran for another.

Turning point: The Buckeyes led 14-0 after the first quarter and 31-21 midway through the fourth before the Golden Gophers rallied for two late touchdowns, the second set up by a poor Ohio State punt that gave Minnesota possession at the OSU 40-yard line. On the winning 28-yard play, Hohensee's pass was tipped by Kelvin Bell but right into Carroll's hands. Ohio State's final drive ended with a Schlichter interception.

Impact: The Buckeyes walloped Northwestern the next week, before a 14-9 victory over Michigan gave them a Big Ten co-championship with Iowa, which went to the Rose Bowl. Ohio State landed in the Liberty Bowl and edged Navy 31-28. The '81 season ended with OSU having allowed 3,278 passing yards in 12 games, a record that stood until the 14-game season of 2002.

Quotable: "They're very predictable and easy to read. Even before they call the play, you can tell what kind of coverage the guys are going into. They haven't changed much all year." — Hohensee, on what the Gophers learned of Ohio State's defense through film study

rstein@dispatch.com