On this date in Ohio State football: Sept. 26, 1959
Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:
Ohio State 14, Duke 13
Setup: The first clue that this game was played a long time ago is that Sept. 26 was the date of Ohio State's 1959 opener. The second clue was even more telling — Duke came to Ohio Stadium having never lost a football game to a Big Ten team. The Buckeyes, coming off a 6-1-2 season in which they had finished in the top 10 in the polls, were short on experience but hoped to make noise with a "jazzed-up" offense that coach Woody Hayes said would rely on more passing.
Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
Stars: Halfback-turned-quarterback Tom Matte was the man of the hour, passing for 52 yards and running for 42. Ohio State managed only 270 yards on a day when it started strong and ended strong and did little else in between. Bob Ferguson rushed for a team-high 46 yards, including a 15-yard TD to cap OSU's first drive.
Turning point: The Buckeyes fell into an offensive funk after taking an early lead, due to some degree to a shoulder injury to starting QB Jerry Fields late in the second quarter. Matte replaced backup Jack Wallace with 4:47 remaining and OSU trailing 13-7 and drove the Buckeyes 63 yards in nine plays for the win. Matte completed three passes on the drive, including a 22-yard strike to Chuck Bryant on fourth-and-5 to tie the score with 1:51 left. Dave Kilgore's extra point provided the winning margin.
Impact: Beating Duke might not have been the high point of Ohio State's 1959 season, but it was close. The No. 14 Buckeyes traveled to Southern California the following Friday and managed only 143 yards of offense in a shutout loss. Another shutout followed a week later against Illinois and OSU finished the season 3-5-1, one of two losing seasons Hayes had in his tenure.
Quotable: "The statistics actually cause you to do a retake: Ohio State, passes attempted, 13; completed, 6; yards, 100. You haven't seen that in some time." — from The Dispatch's game account, further proof that the times in college football have changed.