On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 6, 2008

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State's Ray Small heads upfield for a touchdown on a punt return against the Ohio defense during the fourth quarter of their game at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 6, 2008. [Kyle Robertson]

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

Ohio State 26, Ohio 14

Setup: Coming off consecutive seasons in which they qualified for the national championship game only to serve as a Southeastern Conference pinata, Ohio State started the season No. 2 in the polls but slipped to No. 3 after an opening-week shutout of Youngstown State. A week out was a trip to Los Angeles and No. 1 Southern California, so a home game against its kid brother from Athens was considered something of a trap game. Snap!

Stars: Good luck finding one based on Ohio State's weak 272-yard offensive effort, explained in part by the absence of star tailback Chris "Beanie" Wells, who was out because of an injured foot. As the rumor goes, the only player who received buckeye leaves from the coaches after the game was Ohio reserve quarterback Boo Jackson, who came on after Theo Scott was injured in the first quarter and made life hectic for the Buckeyes. Still, Jackson was intercepted three times, including once by Anderson Russell with 2:46 remaining to clinch the win for the Buckeyes.

Turning point: The Bobcats held the lead for nearly 23 minutes — and had their fans adding a "U" to the "O-H-I-O" chant circulating the Horseshoe — until Mark Parson muffed an OSU punt late in the third quarter, Shaun Lane pounced on it, and the Buckeyes turned the short field into Brandon Saine's go-ahead touchdown run. Ray Small provided the final margin with a 69-yard punt return.

Impact: Seven days and 2,000 miles later, top-ranked USC showed that the Buckeyes' early-season stumbles were not a mirage. The Buckeyes never climbed above No. 10 in the polls after the 35-3 whipping by the Trojans, but the season had its moments. Freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor, inserted into the lineup in week 4, giveth (the win at Wisconsin) and taketh away (the home loss to Penn State). The Buckeyes also rolled Michigan, winning for the fifth straight season, and lost a Fiesta Bowl hootenanny to Texas.

Quotable: "I guess everybody, like the fans, was expecting us to blow them out. But I don't think, just because we didn't, that USC is going to get lackadaisical about the game (next) week." — Russell, who properly predicted the Trojans' focused approach

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