On this date in Ohio State football: Oct. 19, 1985

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Earle Bruce with running back Keith Byars in 1984 [File photo]

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

Ohio State 41, Purdue 27

Setup: Game six of the 1985 football season was much anticipated in Columbus, but not only because Ohio State was looking to avenge a 28-23 loss to Purdue the year before that knocked OSU out of the top five. Rather, OSU fans had to wait that long to see the debut of tailback Keith Byars, whose season and Heisman Trophy aspirations were derailed when he suffered a broken bone in his right foot 12 days before the opener.

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Stars: Byars was good, but not as good as his 293-yard offensive show against the Boilermakers the season before. He finished with 101 yards rushing on 22 carries and two touchdowns, including a 1-yard run with 4:41 remaining to break a 27-27 tie. Purdue quarterback Jim Everett had the fatter numbers — 497 yards passing while competing 35 of 55 passes. OSU QB Jim Karsatos had three scoring passes.

Turning point: Byars' run broke a tie that Everett had forged with a big comeback from a 17-0 Purdue deficit. Then the Buckeyes defense made a key stand. With Purdue at the Ohio State 49-yard line, Everett was pressured by Ray Holliman and his pass was tipped by Chris Spielman and intercepted by Byron Lee. Five plays later, Byars burst through the middle for a 9-yard scoring run to provide the final margin.

Impact: The win kept the Buckeyes a game behind two teams in the Big Ten race — No. 1 Iowa and No. 20 Minnesota. OSU took care of the Gophers the next week and shocked the top-ranked Hawkeyes the week after in the rain in Ohio Stadium, but then ran out of gas down the stretch with back-to-back losses to Wisconsin and Michigan to end the season. Iowa ended up in the Rose Bowl, Ohio State in the Citrus against Brigham Young.

Quotable: "Before the game, (coaches) told me all the different things we were doing, that I was the one who was going to be featured. They said I'd have to have a great game." — Lee, who outshone his fellow linebackers Spielman and Thomas "Pepper" Johnson with a monster effort that included two sacks and eight tackles, as well as his key interception.