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


Ohio State 37, Michigan 21


Setup: Entering 6-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten, Ohio State faced the prospect of beating a 9-1 Michigan team or finishing with only its second losing record in the league since 1988. The Buckeyes had lost the previous week at Purdue but seemed on solid ground once they anointed Troy Smith as quarterback.


Stars: Solid, nothing — Smith was sensational. He accounted for 386 yards — the most ever by an OSU player against Michigan — and three touchdowns: two passes and a run. Ted Ginn Jr. had five catches for 87 yards and a key 82-yard punt return for a score.


Turning point: There were two, actually. The first was an attention-getting 99-yard scoring drive in the first half, capped by Smith's 2-yard run, to pull OSU into a 14-14 tie. Mike Nugent kicked two field goals for a 20-14 halftime lead before Ginn delivered the back-breaker with his dip-and-dodge punt return.


Impact: The loss didn't keep Michigan out of the Rose Bowl because Wisconsin lost to Iowa later that day — but the roses the Wolverines had packed stayed in the box. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, were off to the Alamo Bowl, though without Smith, who was suspended for taking money from booster Robert Q. Baker.


Quotable: "I had fans come up and head-butt me without a helmet. I mean, I've done that before, but these were fans." — Ohio State linebacker and free spirit Anthony Schlegel, who much enjoyed the postgame party on the Ohio Stadium turf.


rstein@dispatch.com