When something unusual happens, you often end up with some crazy “for the first time since…” stats.
Ohio State losing a football game definitely qualifies as unusual, which means there’s even more fodder for “10 Numbers and Notes” this week.
For the first time in Ohio State history, the Buckeyes had three receivers top 100 yards in a single game in the loss to Oregon. Jaxon Smith-Njigba (146), Chris Olave (126), and Garrett Wilson (117) all hit triple digits in the defeat.
As recently as 1978, Woody Hayes’ last season as head coach, the Buckeyes didn’t have three players top 100 yards of receiving in the entire season. That year, Doug Donley led the team with 510 yards, Rod Gerald was second with 314, and Ron Barwig was third with 98.
Tulsa was the first college football program to appear in five consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games. From 1942 to 1946, the Golden Hurricanes played in New Year’s Day bowls every year.
They won the 1942 Sun Bowl over Texas Tech, lost the 1943 Sugar Bowl to Tennessee, and lost the 1944 Sugar Bowl to Georgia Tech before getting their revenge on the Yellow Jackets with a win in the 1945 Orange Bowl. The streak concluded with a loss to Georgia in the 1946 Oil Bowl in Houston.
Like many Group of Five schools, Tulsa benefits from more returning production than typical this season because of the NCAA granting players an extra year of eligibility due to COVID. The Golden Hurricanes bring back 11 players who have previously earned all-conference honors; two first-teamers, five second-teamers, and four honorable mentions.
Ohio State is 31-3-1 against current members of the American Athletic Conference. The last loss came against SMU in 1950, the year before Woody Hayes took over in Columbus. The tie also came against SMU in 1978, in a game that finished with a score of 35-35.
That game was one of only two times in program history that the Buckeyes have scored 35+ points and failed to win. The other was the 2014 Orange Bowl, a 40-35 defeat against Clemson.
Future Ohio State head coach John Cooper piled up an impressive 56-32 record while serving as the head coach of Tulsa from 1977-1984. Cooper led the Golden Hurricanes to a 10-1 record in 1982, including a win over in-state rival Oklahoma State. It is still considered one of the best seasons in program history.
Cooper was inducted into the Tulsa Hall Of Fame in 2011, and the Ohio State Hall Of Fame in 2013.
The only previous meeting between these two teams came in 2016 and featured a 69-minute weather delay that started at halftime. The Buckeyes won that game, 48-3.
Despite last week’s loss, the Buckeyes are ranked No. 9 in this week’s AP poll. Ohio State has now been ranked in 146 consecutive AP polls for which it has been eligible. OSU has appeared in more AP polls all-time (934) than any other program.
CJ Stroud piled up 484 passing yards in the loss to Oregon, the second-most in Ohio State program history. Dwayne Haskins holds the school record with 499 yards in the 2018 Big Ten Championship Game win over Northwestern.
Stroud’s 484 against Oregon were more than the Buckeyes’ single-season leader had in 1976, when Jim Pacenta finished the year with 404.
Other notable seasons in which Ohio State’s leading passer threw for fewer than 484 yards all year including 1973 when Cornelius Greene threw for 343 in a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl-winning season.
Rex Kern threw for 470 in 1970 when the Buckeyes ran through an undefeated regular season before losing to Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
Tulsa’s undergraduate enrollment of 2,929 students (2020-2021 academic year) is the smallest of any FBS football school. For comparison, the Columbus campus of Ohio State reported 46,984 undergraduates enrolled in fall 2020.
It has been 3,583 days since Ohio State lost consecutive regular-season games, a streak that could theoretically come to an end this weekend. The last back-to-back losses came at the end of the 2011 season, when the Buckeyes actually lost three straight games against Purdue, Penn State, and Michigan, before also losing the Gator Bowl against Florida.