Buckeye Flashback: Ohio State upsets Northwestern 38-20

Ohio State heads to Evanston, Ill., this weekend to take on No. 16 Northwestern. It will be the renewal of a series that has not been very competitive over the years, but that does not mean it hasn’t produced its share of memorable games and notable moments.

As part of a series earlier this year, BuckeyeSports.com took a look at the best games from Ohio State’s series with every team in the Big Ten* and let readers vote for their favorite.

In this case, the top choice out of the Buckeyes’ 59 wins over Northwestern came from Jim Tressel’s first season as head coach at Ohio State.

Like the game this Saturday, it was a night game and the visitors were the favorites, but it was in Columbus.

2001

Ohio State 38

No. 14 Northwestern 20

On the night Les Horvath’s No. 22 was retired, a then-record crowd of 104,042 watched another Ohio State halfback star in the Horseshoe. On the second play of the game, senior Jonathan Wells carried 71 yards for a touchdown and the unranked Buckeyes never looked back, knocking off the No. 14 Wildcats 38-20 under the lights. Wells’ run set the tone for the night, though the Wildcats came back quickly to tie the score at 7-all later in the first quarter. With time winding down in the opening stanza, Ohio State strong safety Mike Doss returned a fumble 30 yards for a touchdown. The defensive score set off a 31-point explosion that covered the next two quarters. Wells scored two more touchdowns and Lydell Ross found the end zone, too. Late in the third quarter, Mike Nugent booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes their largest lead at 38-7.

Wells finished with 179 yards on 22 carries and three touchdowns. Doss led the team with 13 total tackles in addition to his fumble recovery for a touchdown he had a sack and a pass defensed. His efforts helped the Buckeye defense hold Northwestern, which entered the game averaging 490.3 yards per game, to 306 total yards for the game.

If you enjoyed that flashback, you’ll want to check out the rest of our recaps from the OSU-Northwestern series. They can be found here.

*We left out Nebraska because the Buckeyes and Cornhuskers have only played four times.