On this date in Ohio State football: Nov. 5, 1977
Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:
Ohio State 35, Illinois 0
Setup: Here’s a blast from the past, one that would be mathematically impossible today: It used to be that the Big Ten often was referred to as the Big Two and Little Eight, and it was truth in advertising. Ohio State and Michigan were such the class of the league that one or the other served as Rose Bowl representative for 13 straight years between 1968 and ’80. At least as far as OSU was concerned back then, the Buckeyes would wallop league competition all season, then grip the wheel for the annual encounter with Michigan and hope for the best.
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Stars: Ron Springs rushed for 132 yards to lead Ohio State’s 402-yard effort on the ground, most of them coming in methodical 6- and 7-yard chunks. On defense, Tom Cousineau was in on 17 tackles, Dave Adkins 12 and Paul Ross made two key stops to keep the game scoreless in the first quarter.
Turning point: Illinois had drives of 14 and 10 plays in the first quarter but ended up with missed two missed field goals thanks to a pass breakup and a sack by Ross. OSU led 7-0 at the half, drove for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half and then recovered an Illinois fumble on the ensuing kickoff. One play later, Springs raced in from 15 yards to make it 21-0. Deal sealed.
Impact: The Buckeyes would spank Indiana the next week, upping their conference mark to 7-0, the wins coming by an average score of 37-6. Then, with the league title down to the Big Two, OSU suddenly couldn’t punch through a stack of Dixie cups and was beaten by Michigan 14-6.
Quotable: “The doggone cheerleaders hadn’t arrived. You get that many rooters together and don’t have leadership, well, you got to get them started.” — OSU coach Woody Hayes, who whipped up Ohio State supporters by leading cheers before the game.