On this date in Ohio State football: Nov. 21, 1925
Taking a look back at a game Ohio State played on this date:
Illinois 14, Ohio State 9
Setup: When Ohio Stadium was christened as a 66,210-seat structure in 1922, it was known as the House That Harley Built — a nod to the immense popularity enjoyed by Ohio State All-America halfback Chic Harley. Three years after its opening, however, the stadium bulged at the seams to witness an even bigger star — Illinois halfback Harold "Red" Grange — play his final college football game. Even though neither Illinois nor OSU were factors in the 1925 Big Ten race, the paid attendance for the game was 84,295 — at the time the largest ever to see a sporting event.
Stars: Grange did not disappoint, even though the Buckeyes did the nigh impossible by keeping him out of the end zone on a dry field in perfect conditions. Still, he led all players with 102 yards rushing on 20 attempts, added 48 yards in punt and kickoff returns and threw a touchdown pass to Charles Kassel to give the Illini a 14-2 lead in the second quarter.
Turning point: With Grange sitting out much of the third quarter, Ohio State mounted a comeback, closing to 14-9 late in the quarter when Harold "Windy" Wendler threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Elmer Marek, who eluded two defenders near the goal line. OSU had four more possessions in the fourth quarter, but two ended with punts and the final two with interceptions by Grange. The first he returned 41 yards; the second was the game's final play.
Impact: Within minutes after finishing the game, Grange took a seat in the southwest tower of Ohio Stadium and told reporters of his plans to leave school and begin a barnstorming tour as a member of George Halas' Chicago Bears. The resulting 19-game, 67-day coast-to-coast tour was the biggest sports story of the time, and helped to legitimize the foundering National Football League.
Quotable: "Grange is his own business agent so far as I am concerned. I am not his keeper, and whatever he does, I hope will meet with success." — Illinois coach Robert Zuppke, who knew that after the Ohio State game that he had coached Grange for the final time