Ohio State Football: Ranking the Best OSU Comebacks Since 2002
The No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0) kept their undefeated season alive with an improbable come-from-behind victory over the Purdue Boilermakers Saturday afternoon.
The incredible comeback was just one of many Ohio State fans have witnessed over the years. Going back to the 2002 season that ended with a national championship victory over Miami, the Buckeyes have overcome some big deficits to escape defeat.
Where does Saturday's 29-22 overtime win over Purdue rank compared to some of Ohio State's other comeback victories over the last decade?
We're glad you asked. Here's Ohio State's top five comeback wins since the 2002 season.
5. Wisconsin 29, Ohio State 33 (2011)
Last year's Ohio State team came into the Wisconsin game reeling, having lost back-to-back conference games for the first time since 2004.
The 4-3 Buckeyes team were heavy home-underdogs to the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers, whose only loss of the season came seven days earlier when Michigan State connected on a last-second Hail Mary pass to end the game.
Ohio State didn't play like underdogs, dominating the action for much of the game. Fueled by the strong play of Braxton Miller and Dan "Boom" Herron, the Buckeyes built a 26-14 lead with just over four and a half minutes to go.
The game looked to be over, but Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson caught fire and put together back-to-back touchdown drives in less than three and a half minutes. A successful two-point conversion gave the Badgers a three-point lead with under a minute and a half to go.
Braxton Miller wasn't done yet.
After a 42-yard kickoff return from Jordan Hall set Ohio State up near midfield, Miller inched the Buckeyes closer and closer toward field-goal range. But on 1st-and-10 from Wisconsin's 40-yard line, Miller found Devin Smith wide-open in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
With just 20 seconds left on the clock, Wisconsin didn't have enough time to answer. The Buckeyes went on to win it 33-29.
4. Ohio State 25, Michigan 21 (2005)
The 2005 Ohio State team entered the season as one of a handful of national title contenders. A Week 2 loss to Texas hurt Ohio State's chances, and a loss to Penn State four weeks later completely eliminated the Buckeyes from contention.
Ohio State rallied, though, putting together five straight victories going into the Michigan game.
The Wolverines were also bouncing back from a rough start, winning four straight contests after starting the season 3-3.
The Buckeyes controlled the game early, building a 9-0 lead before Michigan cashed in on an Ohio State turnover with a 36-yard touchdown drive midway through the second quarter.
After an Ohio State field goal, momentum swung Michigan's way. The Wolverines tightened up defensively, shutting down Troy Smith and the Buckeyes offense for most of the second half. That helped Michigan build what seemed to be a comfortable 21-12 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Smith responded in a big way, putting together a five-play, 67-yard touchdown drive in 65 seconds. Michigan managed to burn two minutes off the clock on their next possession, but that didn't matter much.
Smith slowly moved the Buckeyes down the field before connecting on a 27-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez (video above), setting Ohio State up inside Michigan's 5-yard line. Antonio Pittman rushed for a touchdown two plays later, and the Buckeyes would go on to win 25-21.
3. Purdue 22, Ohio State 29 (2012)
Saturday's game against Purdue could have cost Ohio State a perfect season.
The Buckeyes were in a world of hurt down eight points to the Boilermakers, who came into the game heavy underdogs after consecutive blowout losses to Michigan and Wisconsin.
Ohio State couldn't move the ball against what looked like a suspect defense in recent weeks, and Purdue received big plays from its offense and special teams to build a 22-14 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
Without Braxton Miller, who had been the engine that made Ohio State's offense go through seven games, the Buckeyes looked lost.
A defensive stand gave Ohio State and backup quarterback Kenny Guiton one last, very improbable chance at tying the game. The Buckeyes needed to go 61 yards in under 47 seconds and convert a two-point conversion for a shot at overtime.
That's exactly what Guiton did, completing three of his five passes to lead Ohio State right down the field for a touchdown. Guiton also floated a nice pass to Jeff Heuerman for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 22 to force overtime.
From there, the Buckeyes struck first with a touchdown on their first possession, and Ohio State's defense shut Purdue down to claim a 29-22 victory.
2. Michigan 9, Ohio State 14 (2002)
It was the last game of the 2002 season, and all Ohio State needed was a victory over the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines to secure its place in the national championship game.
The Wolverines controlled play most of the game, leading 9-7 late in the fourth quarter. Ohio State faced that two-point deficit for the entirety of the second half, until Craig Krenzel took matters into his own hands.
With four minutes left in the game, Krenzel completed two key passes for 41 yards and rushed for 11 more to set the Buckeyes up inside Michigan's 10-yard line. Maurice Hall bounced right on a run and raced toward the corner of the end zone for a touchdown, giving the Buckeyes a 14-9 lead.
The silver bullets defense forced two turnovers on Michigan drives that went deep into Ohio State territory, sealing the game and the Buckeyes' spot in the title game.
1. Ohio State 10, Purdue 6 (2002)
What is your favorite Ohio State comeback?
Much like the game last Saturday, Ohio State's undefeated season was in serious jeopardy against a surprisingly competitive Purdue team.
The Boilermakers had stuffed Ohio State's rushing attack, limiting the Buckeyes to just 94 yards on the ground and 267 yards total. Ohio State's defense held up its end of the bargain, holding Purdue to just six points despite gaining 341 yards.
Trailing 6-3 with just over three minutes to play, Chris Gamble returned a Brent Slaton punt to the Purdue 46-yard line.
Quarterback Craig Krenzel overcame a four-yard loss on first down with a 13-yard completion on 3rd-and-14. Facing a 4th-and-1, then head coach Jim Tressel called for a play that was supposed to be a quick pass to the tight end. The play wasn't executed as planned because Krenzel stepped into a collapsing pocket and floated a pass toward the end zone. The result?
Krenzel connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins, and the Buckeyes went on to win the game 10-6.
- Ohio State 20, Iowa 17 (2010)
- Ohio State 21, Penn State 20 (2003)
- Michigan State 24, Ohio State 35 (2005)
- Ohio State 20, Wisconsin 17 (2008)
Where would you rank Ohio State's 29-22 victory over Purdue? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or continue the conversation with me on Twitter @davidreg412.
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