On this date in Ohio State football: Oct. 26, 1957

Ray Stein
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State running back Don Clark, shown during the 1958 Rose Bowl, had 118 yards and a 40-yard reception earlier the same season against Wisconsin. [File photo]

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

Ohio State 16, Wisconsin 13

Setup: In 122 seasons of Ohio State football, there have been plenty of times that a late-season loss ruined a perfect campaign. The first was 100 years ago, in 1919. Your age may determine other, more recent examples: 1969, ’75, ’96, 2013 — you get the idea. But only once have the Buckeyes lost their first game and then run the table with victories (sort of like 2014, if Virginia Tech had been the opener instead of game two). In 1957, Woody Hayes’ seventh season, OSU debuted by laying an egg against two-touchdown underdog Texas Christian in an 18-14 defeat at home, then ripped off eight wins in a row to claim the Big Ten title. Not all of the triumphs were breezes, starting with a late-October trip to Madison. The Buckeyes entered that game having gone 8-0-1 in the previous nine games against Wisconsin, including victories when the Badgers were No. 1 in the country (23-14 in 1952) and No. 2 (31-14 in ’54). “I don’t look at it as a case of Ohio having a jinx over Wisconsin,” Hayes said in the run-up to the 1957 game. “There is nothing more ridiculous as saying one team has a hoodoo over another.”

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Stars: Don Clark rushed for a game-high 118 yards and added a 40-yard reception for Ohio State. His 71-yard scoring run helped Ohio State rebound from a 13-0 first-quarter deficit. Galen Cisco added 92 yards on the ground and the tying touchdown. Don Sutherlin broke the tie with a 14-yard field goal in the third quarter. For Wisconsin, Danny Lewis rushed for 103 yards and both Badgers TDs.

Turning point: Wisconsin had its chances after Sutherlin’s field goal with 2:20 left in the third quarter. First, the Badgers were held on downs at the OSU 21-yard line with 7:53 remaining. Wisconsin then drove for a first down at the Ohio State 5 in the final two minutes, only to see Lewis fumble and OSU’s Bob White recover. The Buckeyes then ran out the clock for the win.

Impact: The escape from Camp Randall kept Ohio State unbeaten in conference play, and gutty comeback wins against No. 5 Iowa (17-13 on Nov. 16) and Michigan (31-14 on Nov. 23) elevated the Buckeyes to No. 2 in the polls and earned them a spot in the Rose Bowl against Oregon. In that game, Sutherlin again broke a tie — a 34-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter for a 10-7 win. OSU split the national championship with unbeaten Auburn.

Quotable: “Sutherlin … was over on the sidelines crying with his head down because of the fumble he had (lost). I gave him the devil and said, ‘Quit that. You may have to get back in there and win this game for us.’ And by gosh, he did.” — Hayes

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