On this date in Ohio State football: Nov. 2, 1985
Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:
Ohio State 22, Iowa 13
Setup: There was a time in college football — back when the sport’s power brokers were based in the East and Midwest instead of the South — that it wasn’t unusual for the nation’s top-ranked team to visit Ohio Stadium. No. 1 came calling four times in Woody Hayes’ first 18 seasons, for instance, but in the past 51 years Ohio State has hosted the top-ranked team only once. That was 34 years ago today, when on a rainy afternoon Hayden Fry’s unanimously No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes brought a 7-0 record and quarterback Chuck Long to the Horseshoe for a game against eighth-ranked Ohio State, which was trying to climb back into the Big Ten top spot after an upset loss at Illinois four weeks earlier. Led by Long, a Heisman Trophy hopeful who entered the game as the nation’s top passer with 1,984 passing yards and 21 touchdowns, the Hawkeyes averaged 40.3 points per game, best in the country. The Buckeyes carried a 19-game home winning streak into the game, but they would be without their own Heisman candidate, senior tailback Keith Byars, who was slowed by a sore right foot.
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Stars: Fullback George Cooper (104 yards) and tailback John Wooldridge (89 yards, including a 57-yard, second-quarter touchdown) picked up the slack for Byars, but OSU’s maligned defense carried the day. Linebackers Chris Spielman and Thomas “Pepper” Johnson were credited with 19 tackles apiece, and Spielman added two interceptions. In all, Long was picked off four times, and Iowa also lost a fumble and had a punt blocked out of the end zone for a safety.
Turning point: Ohio State had taken a 15-0 lead midway through the second quarter, but Iowa’s Ronnie Harmon scored just before halftime to make it 15-7. The Hawkeyes appeared to seize momentum in the third quarter when they intercepted Jim Karsatos for a first down at the OSU 19-yard line. But Spielman stuffed Harmon on a fourth-and-1 run at the 10, and the Buckeyes later forced a fumble to set up a Vince Workman TD with 11:39 remaining to make it 22-13.
Impact: Ohio Stadium was a wet and wild place that day, so loud at times that Long pleaded with the officials for quiet, to no avail. When Spielman sealed the win with his second pick, the place nearly erupted. At the final gun, fans stormed the field and destroyed the goalposts. It was, um, far less quiet two weeks later when lowly Wisconsin upended the Buckeyes 12-7 to end their Rose Bowl hopes. Iowa went to Pasadena instead but got whipped by UCLA.
Quotable: “The motivational factor was we were the underdogs in Ohio Stadium. If somebody wants to fight me in my own back yard, he had better bring an army with him.” — Spielman