With Halloween on Sunday, the spookiest time of the year is upon us. Ohio State fans are hoping for more treat than trick on Saturday night against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have given the Buckeyes plenty of scares over the last few years. It also doesn’t help the eerie feeling that this game will be played under the lights on Saturday night.
Ohio State fans have been pretty lucky over the last couple decades since they have been on the winning side of most of the games that they have played. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some big scares. Some games might have been one player that struck fear into Buckeye Nation every time he touched the ball. Other frights might have been because of predictable awful play-calling and coaching. There have definitely been a variety of houses of horrors.
As terrifying as it might be to recall some of these horror games, we have to so we can exercise the demons. What better time to do so than the time of the year when we lean in to being scared? Hopefully facing our fears can give Ohio State a little positive mojo right before Halloween.
Today’s question: What is the scariest Ohio State game you’ve ever watched?
We’d love to hear your choices. Either respond to us on Twitter at @Landgrant33 or leave your choice in the comments.
Brett’s answer: 2011 Sugar Bowl against Arkansas
While I first thought about the College Football Playoff semifinal against Alabama, the destruction by Iowa in 2017, and the calamity against Purdue the following year, the 2011 Sugar Bowl was definitely the weirdest type of scary in an Ohio State game that I’ve ever watched. What made everything even more hilarious about this game was it ended up betting vacated because of “Tatgate”.
We should have known that this was going to be unlike any game we’ve ever seen when just a few days before Christmas, college football was rocked by allegations that Terrelle Pryor, Dan Herron, DeVier Posey, and a couple other Buckeyes traded autographs and other memorabilia for tattoos. Even though there was evidence of NCAA violations, those accused were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl, but were going to be suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season.
As if the allegations weren’t enough to deal with heading into the Sugar Bowl, Ohio State had to face an SEC in New Orleans. The Buckeyes had a historically bad record coming into the Sugar Bowl, as they were 0-9 all-time against the SEC in bowl games. The winless record included losses to Florida and LSU recently in national title games. The last time Ohio State had beaten a team from the SEC came all the way back in 1988.
The icing on the cake when it came to the spooky factor of this game was former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett was now the quarterback for Arkansas. Even though Mallett only spent a year in Michigan, it would have been extremely embarrassing if the Buckeyes not only lost to another SEC team, but they also lost to an SEC team with a former Michigan Man at quarterback.
Early on, things were looking great for the Buckeyes. Ohio State went into halftime with a 28-10 lead over the Razorbacks, which led to plenty of Buckeye fans already celebrating finally slaying the SEC dragon. The victory wouldn’t be that easy though, as Arkansas staged a run, scoring 13 points within about an eight-minute span to cut the lead to 31-26 with just under nine minutes to go in the game.
Thankfully Ohio State wouldn’t give up any points the rest of the game. Words can’t begin to describe just how scared I was that they were going to find a way to lose the game, and the narrative that the Buckeyes couldn’t beat the SEC was going to continue. Even though the record books technically might say the win never happened, they’ll never be able to make me forget about it.
Meredith’s answer: 2016 at Penn State
Well first of all, happy spooky season! The reality is there haven’t been too many terrifying turns for Ohio State in recent memory, but one that rings particularly horrific in my mind is the 2016 Penn State game.
The No. 2 Buckeyes had just escaped eighth-ranked Wisconsin with an overtime victory on the road at Madison and, in some twisted, sick scheduling anomaly, had another away venture at Penn State before they could return home.
Ohio State was sitting at 6-0 when the team entered Happy Valley, just like a good scary story, almost five years ago exactly (well, Oct. 22). It was a ghostly, whiteout crowd, but things tentatively looked to be heading in Ohio State’s direction after a slow start by both teams. In fact, after the Buckeyes went up 21-7 at the end of the third quarter, it felt like things were well-in-hand, like Gryffindor cruising against Hufflepuff. After all, Ohio State hadn’t lost to Penn State since 2011, and even though things had been too close for comfort in 2014, it still seemed like Urban Meyer fully had Penn State’s number.
But the Nittany Lions started to make moves. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley found the endzone on a two-yard touchdown run. Tyler Davis hit a field goal. But just like every teenager in every horror movie ever filmed, it seemed like no tragedy would befall the Buckeyes.
However, the ending was the Sum of All Fears: A rare, blocked field goal. A 60-yard return for a touchdown. Two sacks on JT Barrett in the final push to come back. Game over.
Of course, for Penn State, this game is the “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” to Ohio State fan’s “It.” That win over Ohio State was head coach James Franklin’s first over a ranked team, and the Nittany Lions’ first signature win in the post-Paterno era.
The good news is that the sequel was much better, and Harry beat Voldemo— I mean Ohio State beat No. 2 Penn State.