Jack Park: Ohio State Buckeyes open 2018 season with high expectations

Jack Park For the Columbus Dispatch
Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. [Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch]

Ohio State will open its 129th season of football against Oregon State with a 12 noon kickoff at home on Saturday, September 1.

The Buckeyes own a very successful record of 112-12-4 over their first 128 season-openers. A 42-0 victory over Akron at home in 2011 has been Ohio State’s last shutout in a season-opening game. The last time the Buckeyes have been blanked in a season-opener was a 19-0 loss to Penn State at Ohio Stadium in 1978. This game was 15 years before the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993. It also was Woody Hayes’ last of 28 seasons as head coach of the Buckeyes. A 23-12 loss to Miami (Fla.) in the 1999 Kickoff Classic, played at the New Jersey Meadowlands, was the last time the Buckeyes lost a season-opener.

>> Get ready for the Buckeyes' first game by reading full coverage

Ohio State has twice previously faced Oregon State, winning 51-10 in 1974 and 22-14 in 1984. Both games were at Ohio Stadium. Junior tailback Archie Griffin was the game’s leading rusher in 1974 with 134 yards and a touchdown. Freshman tailback Ray Griffin, Archie’s younger brother, scored his team’s final two TDs on runs of nine and 12 yards in the final quarter. Ohio State was down 14-3 in the 1984 game, but outscored the Beavers 19-0 in the second half for the eight-point victory. Junior tailback Keith Byars rushed for 182 yards on 34 carries and scored two touchdowns.

In 1974, the Ohio State Athletic Department installed a new computerized system for managing its football ticket sales, with Oregon State as the first home game opponent. There was an unknown glitch in the new computer program, and tickets for 700 seats in section 9B were double-printed and double-sold. The error was not discovered until the day of the game, when 1,400 fans arrived holding tickets for the 700 seats in this section.

Some of the fans were seated on top of press box, others used folding chairs on the track surrounding the playing field, and some simply sat in the aisles. To say there was total confusion in section 9B would be an understatement.   

Oregon State has a new head coach this season, Jonathan Smith, who is in first head coaching position after serving the last four seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at the University of Washington. Smith was an outstanding four-year starter at quarterback for the Beavers from 1998-2001. He led Oregon State to a record of 11-1 in 2000, the finest record in school history.

Ohio State opened its 1995 season with a one-sided 38-6 triumph over Boston College in the now defunct Kick-off Classic, played at Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Tailback Eddie George was OSU’s leading rusher with 99 yards and two touchdowns. Ron Springs returned a kick-off 97 yards for a score early in the second period.

Right before halftime, quarterback Bobby Hoying passed 12 yards for a touchdown to tight end Ricky Dudley. Late in the final period, Bobby Hoying’s younger brother, Tommy, passed 12 yards to wide receiver Dimitrious Stanley for OSU’s final score. Brothers Bobby and Tommy Hoying are believed to be the only brothers who each passed for a touchdown in the same college game.

Enjoy the 2018 season!