On this date in Ohio State football: Oct. 29, 2011

Ray Stein
rstein@dispatch.com
Ohio State's Devin Smith celebrates the winning catch against Wisconsin in 2011 [File photo]

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

Ohio State 33, Wisconsin 29

Setup: It has been called the Lost Season, the Ohio State campaign of 2011. Some details have faded, but the high points are rote: Memorabilia was traded for tattoos, coach Jim Tressel lost his job, Luke Fickell stepped in and the OSU season vacillated between days of breezy kite-flying fun and root canals without anesthesia. Wisconsin at night in the Horseshoe: cotton candy for everyone!

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Stars: A star was born in freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, who ran for two touchdowns and passed for another — a 40-yard fling to an inexplicably open Devin Smith with 20 seconds remaining. For the Badgers, Russell Wilson threw three TD passes and engineered a comeback that came up short.

Turning points: Miller’s 44-yard run had given OSU a 26-14 lead with 4:39 remaining before Wilson took the Badgers on consecutive four-play scoring drives, each ending with throws to Jared Abbrederis, to give UW a 29-26 lead with 1:18 left. But Jordan Hall’s 42-yard kickoff gave Ohio State a chance and Miller delivered a dazzling play, scrambling near the line of scrimmage before hitting Smith in the end zone. Wisconsin had one more shot, but Andrew Sweat tattooed (so to speak) Wilson to prevent a final Hail Mary pass.

Impact: A 3-1 start (hooray!) was followed by back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Nebraska (harumph) and then consecutive wins over ranked Illinois and Wisconsin (yippee!). Suddenly the Buckeyes were back in the Big Ten Leaders (boo!) race. After beating hapless Indiana the next week, though, OSU unraveled like a cheap suit and lost four straight to end the season. Hello, is Urban there?

Quotable: “It was like, ‘We got it. Don’t worry about it.’ I had to put confidence in his heart and also in mind and my team.” — Miller, who winked to Fickell before the winning drive

rstein@dispatch.com