Ohio State 24 – Oklahoma 14
September 17, 1983 ▪ at Norman ▪ Attendance 76,520
In the '83 pre-season rankings, Big Eight powers Nebraska and Oklahoma had been ranked first and second in the AP poll, and right behind them was Texas. The Sooners opened with a 27-14 win at Stanford, and in their home opener hosted sixth-ranked Ohio State (1-0), only the second meeting ever between the traditional powers.
Six years earlier, Barry Switzer had traveled to Columbus and beaten the legendary Woody Hayes in an epic game, 29-28. Now, walking the sidelines was fifth-year coach Earle Bruce, who after debuting with an 11-1 record and falling shy of a national championship by only one point had posted three consecutive 9-3 seasons. But in his six years at Iowa State from '73-'78 before moving north to Columbus, Bruce had never beaten Switzer, who came into the game with a career record of 99-17-3, and seeking his 100th victory.
The temperature on the Owen Field turf reached 135-degrees before the game, but from the start, it was the Ohio State line that dominated. In the opening quarter, Buckeyes' junior quarterback Mike Tomczak completed his first two throws to run his string to 12 completions in a row to tie a school record. He then passed 16 yards to senior All-Big Ten tight end John Frank, Jewish but still playing on Yom Kippur, for a touchdown, and then the pair hooked up again from 15 yards out just four minutes into the second period, and with Rich Spangler's two extra points, Ohio State jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
The Sooners lost start sophomore running back Marcus Dupree, who had gained only 30 yards on six carries and had a costly turnover, with about nine minutes left until halftime when he bruised his knee. A bit later, freshman back Spencer Tillman scored on a 37-yard run, and Tim Lashar's extra point cut the Ohio State lead in half, 14-7.
The Buckeyes opened the second half and drove 57 yards down the field, capped by senior fullback Vaughn Broadnax's two-yard run, which put the visitors ahead 21-7. It stayed that way until late in the period, when Oklahoma junior quarterback Danny Bradley connected with freshman split end Derrick Shepard on a 22-yard touchdown pass, and Lasher's kick pulled the Sooners back to within seven, 21-14.
However, that was as close as Oklahoma was to get, and Spangler kicked a 21-yard field goal to increase the lead to 24-14 with 9:15 to play. It also closed out the scoring, and the Buckeyes pulled the upset. It was their 17th straight win in a road opener, and it also denied Switzer his milestone 100th victory.
In the searing heat, Ohio State had racked up 412 total yards while holding Oklahoma to 347. Frank was easily the player of the game, and caught five passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
Source: Jeff Linkowski