On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 11, 1971

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Woody Hayes in 1977 [File photo]

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

Ohio State 52, Iowa 21

Setup: There were few stars, Rex Kern and the other Super Sophs having moved on to the NFL or real life. There was no grass, the Ohio Stadium sod having been replaced by an AstroTurf field that was only slightly softer than a pool table. And there were fewer fans on hand — only 75,596, the fewest since the 1968 opener — to watch Ohio State make its earliest season debut of the 20th century.

Stars: Quarterback Don Lamka, who played defense for two years waiting for Kern to exhaust his eligibility, rushed for 100 yards and four touchdowns. Fullback John Bledsoe, who was on the field for only three minutes in 1970 behind John Brockington, grinded out 151 yards.

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Turning point: Iowa cashed in a fumble by OSU's Elmer Lippert on the second-half kickoff to pull to 24-14, but the 11th-ranked Buckeyes scored on their next two possessions to quickly restore order.

Impact: Not much. OSU lost its next time out, at home two weeks later against No. 10 Colorado, then ran off five straight wins before finishing with three straight losses. The four losses were two more than the Buckeyes had suffered in the previous three years.

Quotable: "That's our ‘new offense.' … Sure, we played it close to the vest. Why pass when it isn't necessary?" — coach Woody Hayes, beaming as he read the stat line that showed the Buckeyes rushing for 402 yards.