On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 3, 2011

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Luke Fickell vs. University of Akron Zips at Ohio Stadium, September 3, 2011. (Columbus Dispatch photo by Fred Squillante)

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

Ohio State 42, Akron 0

Setup: In the long history of Ohio State football, there hasn’t been a more anxiety-inducing season opener than the 2011 kick-starter. In the 242 days since the Buckeyes had last played, in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, they had lost: their coach, Jim Tressel, who resigned under pressure in May for violating NCAA rules; their quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, who bolted for the NFL rather than face the NCAA attack dogs; and nine other players, including starters Daniel Herron, DeVier Posey and Mike Adams, who were suspended for their role in the memorabilia-for-tattoos scandal or other misdeeds. Go get ‘em, first-time head coach Luke Fickell.

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Stars: Former baseball pitcher Joe Bauserman, 25, made his first start a memorable one, passing for 163 yards and three touchdowns, all to tight end Jake Stoneburner. Fill-in running backs Carlos Hyde and Rod Smith combined for 167 yards as the OSU offense rolled up 517 yards. The Ohio State defense, meanwhile, limited Akron to 90 yards.

Turning point: The question wasn’t really whether the Buckeyes could beat Akron, which had finished 1-11 the year before. It was whether the teams and 105,000 fans would melt in the 93-degree hothouse. Bauserman led four scoring drives on the first six possessions he directed to take care of the former question.

Impact: In terms of the 2011 season, next to nothing. Plus-42 in scoring margin after one game, the Buckeyes finished the season plus-45. They struggled a week later against Toledo, were humbled in Miami the following week, and weebled and wobbled all the way down the stretch in Fickell’s only season as head coach. Interesting, though, who was on hand that day to provide analysis on the ESPN telecast: Urban Meyer.

Quotable: “I’d rather be hot than cold. Maybe this is the wrestler mentality I grew up with.” — Fickell, explaining why he wore three layers of shirts on a sweltering day