On this date in Ohio State football: Oct. 16, 1954

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State 1954 football players, from left, Dave Leggett, Bobby Watkins, Hubert Bobo and Howard "Hopalong" Cassady [File photo]

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

Ohio State 20, Iowa 14

Setup: Coach Woody Hayes' fourth Ohio State team had been picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten in 1954 but had started 3-0 for the first time under Hayes and faced a key home game against unbeaten Iowa. Were these Buckeyes for real? You betcha, as Hayes might say.

Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter

Stars: Bobby Watkins churned out 105 yards and a touchdown, and quarterback Dave Leggett overcame an early interception (taken to the house by Iowa's sensational Earl Smith) to run for one score and pass for another, a 12-yarder to Dick Brubaker for the winning points.

Turning point: A missed PAT after Brubaker's TD gave Iowa a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but the Ohio State defense twice held inside its 15-yard line in the final 10 minutes, once on fourth-and-2 from the 11, and again on fourth-and-2 from the 6. OSU ran out the clock after the second stop.

Impact: The Buckeyes passed a big test — and there were more to follow. They used Hopalong Cassady's memorable interception return to beat No. 2 Wisconsin the following week, then won their final four games to win the national championship (Associated Press) — OSU's first since 1942 and Hayes' first of three.

Quotable: "That was a thriller, man! The spirit of our boys was wonderful. We made too many big mistakes, but when you come back like we did, well, that takes a good, fighting ballclub." — Hayes, whose players carried him off the field on their shoulders.