There are many ways to countdown to the upcoming college football season, though none may be more popular than naming the best player in school history by jersey number.
We've decided to do something a little different, though, and will be counting the days until Ohio State's season opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 3 by the number of points the Buckeyes scored in some of their greatest victories.
For example, Ohio State scored 48 points in its win over Utah in the Rose Bowl back in January. That game could very well be highlighted when there are 48 days remaining in the offseason.
We understand that this approach won't allow us to do a daily countdown, especially with higher point totals, but we're hopeful that looking back at some of the more notable games in school history will build anticipation for the upcoming season.
With that said, let's continue the countdown...
Ohio State 70, Rice 7 - Sept. 7, 1996
Stanley Jackson and Joe Germaine combined for 315 yards and five passing touchdowns while Pepe Pearson and Michael Wiley scored three times apiece as 10th-ranked Ohio State destroyed Rice, 70-7, in the 1996 season opener.
“I’m totally shocked that the game got this out of hand,” head coach John Cooper said afterward. “We didn’t expect that to happen.”
Pearson rushed for 119 yards on 17 carries in his first start following the departure of Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, while Wiley scored on a 49-yard reverse and catches of 51 and 60 yards.
“We probably haven’t had that many home runs in a long time,” Cooper said.
The Buckeyes finished the game with 632 yards of total offense and scored on 10 of its first 11 possessions, seven of which lasted less than two minutes. It was the most points Ohio State had scored in a season opener since a 75-0 win over Virginia in 1933.
Afterward, Cooper was confronted at midfield by Owls head coach Ken Hatfield, who was upset that the Buckeyes threw a deep touchdown pass with a 56-7 lead late in the third quarter.
“It was personal between John and me. Ask him what I said,” Hatfield said. “Everyone wants to go for the golden game. Everyone thinks you need to score 100 to get recognition. I think the end is greater than the means.”
Rice – which also lost to Ohio State, 34-7, in 1993 – has not returned to Columbus since.
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