Gold Helmets Hand It Over On Silver Platter as Ohio State Rolls to a 45-26 Win

Sports Editor
The Observer

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Judging by the final score, it would seem hard to believe that Notre Dame dominated the first 30 minutes of play against Ohio State on Saturday. They even led 17-14 at halftime, much to the dismay of most of the record 95,537 fans in attendance at Ohio Stadium.

But Notre Dame’s gold helmets turned into silver platters in the second half, as they handed Ohio State a 45-26 victory by way of three turnovers.

Two fumbles and an interception led to 21 Buckeye points in the third and fourth quarters, giving them a lead they would never relinquish.

“We shouldn’t have lost the game the way we did,” quarterback Ron Powlus said. “If they were going to beat us, they should have beaten us on a last-second field goal or a last touchdown drive.

“We beat ourselves today, there’s no question.”

He’ll get no argument from the other side.

“The name of the game was turnovers,” Ohio State head coach John Cooper said. “We got some good breaks today.”

The first of which came with 6:33 to play in third quarter. Notre Dame’s Kevin Kopka had just kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the Irish in front 20-14, and they stopped Ohio State after five plays in the following series. Momentum was clearly in favor of the Irish.

But a Brent Bartholomew punt sailed a bit on Emmett Mosley, who muffed it. Ohio State back-up center Dean Kruezer was there to jump on the loose ball.

“Somehow I misjudged it,” Mosley said. “When I went to catch it, I felt my man right there, and I figured it would hit him if I didn’t catch it. But it turned out it was one of their men, right near me.”

Holtz tried to argue for an interference call, but to no avail.

“It looked like he was interfered with, but that was a big play,” Irish head coach Lou Holtz said. “Because instead of us having the ball with a 20-14 lead, they had it at our 19-yard line.”

The Buckeyes scored three plays later. Quarterback Bobby Hoying hit tight end Rickey Dudley over the middle, and Dudley carried Irish tacklers into the end zone. A Josh Jackson extra point gave the Buckeyes the lead for good at 21-20.

Notre Dame answered with a 56-yard bomb from Powlus to Derrick Mayes. But the two had their signals crossed later in the drive, with disastrous consequences. Ohio State’s Shawn Springs made a diving interception of a Powlus fade pass to erase a scoring chance.

“We had a busted pattern,” Holtz said. “Instead of having a chance to take the lead with a field goal, the kid makes a great play to intercept the pass.”

The Buckeyes struck quick once again, but this time with a little more flair. A simple Hoying pass to Terry Glenn on a curl route turned into an 82-yard touchdown. The receiver beat Irish cornerback Allen Rossum on the play, and then left the nationally-ranked sprinter in the dust in the race to the end zone.

The completion helped to pad Hoying’s stats a bit, but the Buckeye quarterback still had a very effective day. He completed 14-of-22 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns.

“The whole community got involved with this game so much,” he said. “We’re so happy to win it for us and the community, the city of Columbus and the Ohio State fans. It’s something we can look back on and say we beat Notre Dame.”

Powlus was just 13-of-26 for 243 yards and the one fateful pick for the Irish. To make matters worse, he fumbled a Rick Kaczenski snap on the following series. Matt Bonhaus recovered to give the Buckeyes the ball at the Irish 15. Three Eddie George runs later, and Ohio State held a 28-20 lead.

George finished with 207 yards on 32 carries and a pair of touchdowns. His 61-yard jaunt in the fourth quarter was the demoralizing factor in the game.

“The big runs were disastrous,” Holtz said. “All year long we have really given up the big plays. Those and our mistakes beat us.”

Notre Dame started out with picture-perfect execution, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. A Kopka field goal at the start of the second quarter was followed shortly by a Randy Kinder three-yard plunge before Ohio State could even blink.

“We had never been in that position before this year,” Hoying said. “We realized we had to get things going pretty quick.”

They did midway through the second quarter, when Hoying hit Glenn on a slant over the middle to close to 10-7.

The Irish answered on their next drive with an eight-play, 65-yard drive culminating in a Kinder 7-yard run through a hole that could have fit a truck.

Probably the key score of the game came with under a minute left in the first half, when Hoying hit Demetrius Stanley in the corner of the end zone with a 17-yard pass. Stanley made a terrific adjustment on the play by turning completely around to both fake out Shawn Wooden and get to the pass. The score narrowed Notre Dame’s lead to just three at halftime.

“The touchdown just before the half was big for them, I’m sure.”

Notre Dame kept up with Ohio State’s pinpoint execution with play-calling that kept the Buckeye defense off-balance throughout the first half, but it got a bit stale on the opening drive of the third quarter.

With a first down at the Buckeyes’ 10, Holtz elected to give to Edwards three straight times. He got down to the two, but no farther. Notre Dame had to settle for a field goal instead of retaking a 10-point advantage.

“Credit their defense,” Edwards said. “They held when they needed to.”

Game Statistics

At Ohio StadiumSeptember 30, 1995Attendance: 95,537                          Notre Dame (15)        0 17  3  6 - 26    Ohio St (7)            0 14 14 17 - 45      ND--FG Kopka 20 ND--Kinder 3 run (Kopka kick) OSU--Glenn 10 pass from B Hoying (Jo Jackson kick) ND--Kinder 7 run (Kopka kick) OSU--Stanley 17 pass from B Hoying (Jo Jackson kick) ND--FG Kopka 22 OSU--Dudley 15 pass from B Hoying (Jo Jackson kick) OSU--Glenn 82 pass from B Hoying (Jo Jackson kick) OSU--George 5 run (Jo Jackson kick) ND--Kinder 13 run (two-point conversion failed) OSU--George 3 run (Jo Jackson kick) OSU--FG Jo Jackson 35                           ND         OSU    First downs               21          24   Rushes-yards          47-204      48-261   Passing yards            243         272   Sacked-yards lost        0-0         0-0   Return yards               0           4   Comp.-Att.-Int.      13-26-1     14-22-0   Punts                 3-39.3      3-35.3   Fumbles-lost             5-2         0-0   Penalties-yards          1-5        2-14   Time of possession     28:23       31:37            RUSHING:Notre Dame-Kinder 28-143, Edwards 12-49, Powlus 4-6, C. Stokes 1-4, Mosley 1-3, A. Denson 1-minus 1.Ohio St-George 32-207, Pearson 7-29, B. Hoying 4-14, Je. Jackson 3-8, Sualua 2-3. PASSING:Notre Dame-Powlus 13-26-1-243.Ohio St-B Hoying 14-22-0-272. RECEIVING:Notre Dame-Mayes 5-125, Mosley 3-21, Edwards 2-48, Chryplewicz 2-41, A. Denson 1-8.Ohio St-Glenn 4-128, George 3-22, Tillman 2-61, Dudley 2-35, Sualua 2-9, Stanley 1-17.