On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 4, 1993

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State quarterback Bobby Hoying

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

Ohio State 34, Rice 7

Setup: This is somewhat hard to believe, but most young people about to enter their senior year of high school weren’t alive when John Cooper was football coach at Ohio State. Here’s a Cliff’s Notes version: He coached a lot of great players and had a few really great teams that, um, didn’t always finish their seasons the way he and his players (and maybe some fans) wanted. But at the other end of the football calendar, Cooper could rightly be called Mr. September. The Buckeyes from 1991 to 2000 went 29-2 in National Piano Month or Children’s Good Manners Month or whatever you care to celebrate in the ninth month of the calendar year. In the 1993 season-opener against Rice, Cooper fielded what was called the best team of his six seasons to date.

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Stars: First-time starting quarterback Bob Hoying passed for 144 yards and a touchdown, and backup Bret Powers, a transfer from Arizona State, added 102 yards and a score. On the ground the Buckeyes employed tailback-by-committee, with Raymont Harris (76 yards), Butler By’not’e (46) and Eddie George (42) leading the way.

Turning point: Ohio State piled up yards but not points in a dominating first half, stifled at one juncture when Powers’ first pass as a Buckeye turned into an easy interception for the Owls. But Cooper went back to Powers the next series and the payoff was a 48-yard touchdown pass to flanker Joey Galloway, who had missed much of the previous season because of a knee injury. That TD gave OSU a 17-0 lead, and Rice was cooked.

Impact: The Buckeyes opened No. 18 in the national polls and climbed into the top 10 after their three nonconference wins — over Rice, No. 12 Washington and Pittsburgh. They got as high as No. 3 after a spirited Halloween win over Big Ten newbie Penn State, but a Nov. 6 tie against Wisconsin and a 28-0 shellacking at the hands of Michigan two weeks later made it a November to forget.

Quotable: “Keep this victory in perspective. We’re going to play a lot of football teams, as you know, better than Rice. They were outmanned from the git-go.” — Cooper