Camp Randall Stadium, site of this weekend’s clash between sixth-ranked Ohio State and Wisconsin, has long been a House of Horrors for the Buckeyes.
Dating back to World War II, many a championship-contending team has journeyed to Madison only to come away with their hopes dashed.
With the Buckeyes sporting an unblemished 10-0 record as they travel to Madison, we thought it fitting to relive five of the most maddening defeats ever suffered by Ohio State on Wisconsin’s home turf.
Earle Bruce’s Buckeyes were 6-1 and ranked seventh in the nation when visiting the 4-3 Badgers on a rainy day in Madison.
The Buckeyes were averaging more than 31 points per game, so the Badgers elected to run a ball-control offense designed to keep the prolific OSU offense on the sideline.
The plan worked perfectly as Wisconsin ran 20 more plays than Ohio State, earned 25 first downs to OSU’s 14 and rolled up 461 yards of offense on its way to a 16-14 win.
Ironically 203 of those yards came from Columbus Eastmoor running back Marck Harrison, who was making his first start of the season.
Wisconsin led 10-0 at the half, but the Buckeyes closed to 16-14 with 3:04 left before falling.
Quite possibly the defeat that greased the skids for Earle Bruce’s departure came in 1987's trip to Madison.
The 5-2-1 Buckeyes were 18-point favorites over the Badgers, who had lost five consecutive games including a 49-14 shellacking at the hands of a very mediocre Purdue team the week before.
Ohio State led 24-13 at the half but turned the ball over an amazing six times in the second half, allowing Wisconsin to take a 26-24 lead.
But even with the turnovers, Ohio State had a chance to win the game as kicker Matt Frantz, who had won an earlier game with a 50-yard boot, missed from 22 yards with 6:57 to play.
All-American linebacker Chris Spielman was quoted in the Associated Press story after the game that the loss was the “lowest point of my career”.
Before the year was up, Coach Bruce was told that he would not be coming back the lead the Buckeyes in 1988.
Legendary coach Paul Brown had his 5-0 Buckeyes at the top of the college football rankings as Ohio State visited sixth-ranked Wisconsin in a game that was quite likely affected more by the restriction of WWII as much as it was by the Badgers.
The war effort meant that all of the first-class rail cars were needed elsewhere, so the Buckeye gridders traveled to Madison on an antiquated train.
Problem was, the operators failed to drain the old water from the tanks of the unused train before putting in fresh water for the journey, and most of the team arrived in Wisconsin with terrible cases of dysentery.
Wisconsin went up 10-0 in the first half before Ohio State went on a 96-yard fourth-quarter drive that ended in a Paul Sarringhaus touchdown to close the gap to 10-7.
But the Badgers had a legend of their own that day as NFL Hall of Famer Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ Hirsch threw a 14-yard scoring pass to Dave Schreiner to seal a 17-7 victory.
The defending national champion Buckeyes carried a 19-game winning streak into Madison, and were ranked third in the country as they looked to win consecutive titles for the first time in school history.
But Wisconsin had the game plan to run the ball on Ohio State, which is something that no one had been able to do during the year-long win streak.
Anthony Davis in 2002 and Booker Stanley in 2003 were the only backs during the streak to top the 100-yard rushing mark against the Bucks, and Stanley needed every single one of them to seal the win.
The game gained notoriety around the country when Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds stuck his fingers in the throat of Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi, leaving him unable to speak and call plays.
The Badgers led 10-3 at the time, but OSU stormed back as Craig Krenzel hit Michael Jenkins from six yards out to tie the game with 6:09 left.
Backup quarterback Matt Schabert took the ball after the ensuing kickoff and looked to wide receiver Lee Evans, who had been so well-covered by Chris Gamble that Wisconsin hadn’t even thrown his way all night.
But Gamble got caught looking into the backfield and Evans beat him for a 79-yard score that told the tale in a 17-10 Badger win.
Ohio State got to midfield on their next possession but a holding call on second and four from the OSU 49 were followed by two incompletions and a punt.
Wisconsin got the ball back with 3:27 to play and used a key third-down run by Schabert and a 24-yard jaunt by Stanley to clinch the win.
2010 finally looked to be the year that Terrelle Pryor would fulfill his potential in leading the Buckeyes back to the national title game.
Ohio State carried the nation’s #1 ranking to Madison but saw it begin to slip away just seconds into the game.
David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and the Badgers followed with two John Clay scoring runs as Wisconsin ran out to a 21-3 lead, while Pryor struggled to get the Ohio State offense on track through the first half.
But Ohio State dominated the next 20 minutes, capping two scoring drives with touchdown runs from Daniel Herron, while Wisconsin ran just six offensive plays in the third quarter.
Pryor hit Reid Fragel with a two-point conversion on the second of the two Herron scores to close the gap to 21-18, but Wisconsin answered with a 10-play, 73-yard scoring March in which the Badgers needed to convert just one third down.
Trailing 28-18 with 6:50 to play, Pryor answered the Badger touchdown by throwing three consecutive incompletions, giving the ball back to Wisconsin, who then converted a 41-yard field goal for the final 31-18 margin.
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