On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 10, 1988

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach John Cooper is lifted on the shoulders of players after the win Syracuse. [File photo]

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

Ohio State 26, Syracuse 9

Setup: The run-up to John Cooper's debut as coach included a mention of fashion — nothing about a vest, but the new ballcap he would wear in his first game since replacing Earle Bruce. On the field, Cooper was thought to be operating with a mostly empty cupboard, and he faced a difficult opening assignment against a Syracuse team with a 14-game unbeaten streak.

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Stars: In his first start, sophomore quarterback Greg Frey engineered an efficient offense, completing 12 of 17 passed for 141 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Pat O'Morrow kicked four field goals, three in the second half. The Buckeyes gave Cooper a reason to tip his cap: no turnovers, no penalties.

Turning point: OSU scored both of its touchdowns in a three-minute span in the second quarter with the help of two Syracuse mistakes — a 7-yard punt on a third-down quick kick by fullback Daryl Johnston, and David Brown's interception of a Todd Philcox pass. Carlos Snow and Jeff Ellis had the TDs.

Impact: Well, it was a nice first game as OSU coach, anyway. Cooper was carried off the field by his players while the Ohio Stadium crowd chanted "Coop." A week later, those chants sounded more like boos as the Buckeyes were trounced 42-10 at Pittsburgh.

Quotable: "We've got to get more involved in the game. Great fans stand up on kickoffs. Maybe we didn't have the students there today. But hey, let's get this thing going." — Cooper, who on a few occasions exhorted the Horseshoe fans to bring more noise.