On this date in Ohio State football: Oct. 3, 1998

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Cordell Mitchell of Penn State is wrapped up by Na'il Diggs of Ohio State on Oct. 3, 1998. [File photo]

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

Ohio State 28, Penn State 9

Setup: Back in the days when Penn State was making the transition from Eastern independent football power to Big Ten player, the Nittany Lions under coach Joe Paterno and Ohio State under John Cooper engaged in some serious wrestling matches. Every year from 1993, when Penn State entered the Big Ten, through 1999, OSU and the Lions were ranked when the teams met. In each case, the higher-ranked team emerged victorious, including in the 1998 conference opener.

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Stars: The wet grass of Ohio Stadium was no place for the phalanx of Buckeyes offensive stars to strut their stuff. Quarterback Joe Germaine managed 213 passing yards but completed only 16 of 30 passes and threw a pick. David Boston had only two receptions, though fellow wideout Dee Miller (six catches, 108 yards) had a strong game. Michael Wiley was held to 62 yards rushing — more than 100 below his season average. The OSU defense, though, dominated.

Turning point: Three key moments stood out. First, blitzing linebacker Jerry Rudzinski forced a fumble by Penn State quarterback Kevin Thompson and fell on it in the end zone to give OSU a 7-3 lead with 3:55 left in the second quarter. Next, Germaine directed a scoring drive, capped by his 20-yard pass to Wiley with 23 seconds left in the half, to make it 14-3. And last, Penn State was forced to punt on its first possession of the third quarter but Ohio State's Percy King blocked Pat Pidgeon's punt and Joe Cooper recovered in the end zone. Lights out.

Impact: The Buckeyes' third win over a ranked team in a 4-0 start made it seem as if they had done all of their heavy lifting until the regular-season finale against Michigan in the Horseshoe. Five weeks after the Penn State game, though, unranked Michigan State dashed OSU's dream of going wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team.

Quotable: "The statement today was made by the defense and the special teams. The secondary today was amazing." — OSU tackle Tyson Walter, praising the defenders who allowed only 181 yards.