COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State has played 101 schools in football. On Saturday, that number will change to 102.
The Buckeyes will add Arkansas State of the Sun Belt Conference to the long list of opponents as they kick off at noon from Ohio Stadium.
While the Buckeyes have not played against many teams from the Sun Belt or the Natural State, the four games involving schools under those categories include two vacated wins, the last game for a title-winning coach, and a historic moment in officiating history:
Jan. 4, 2011
Ohio State 31, Arkansas 26 (Sugar Bowl, New Orleans)
The Buckeyes’ lone game against a team from Arkansas was the 2011 Sugar Bowl versus the Razorbacks at the Superdome.
Ohio State had a great first-half, taking a 28-10 lead with receiver Dane Sanzenbacher catching a touchdown pass and recovering a goal-line fumble by quarterback Terrelle Pryor in the end zone.
Despite a late charge from the Razorbacks, OSU held on for its first bowl win over a school from the Southeastern Conference to finish a 12-1 season.
Six months later, Ohio State vacated the bowl win and all 11 regular season wins from the 2010 season after multiple players were accused of NCAA violations involving trading signed memorabilia for tattoos and cash.
The 2011 Sugar Bowl was also the final Buckeye game coached by Jim Tressel, who resigned later in 2011 amidst the NCAA investigation.
Sept. 2, 2010
Ohio State 45, Marshall 7 (Ohio Stadium)
The first game of the new decade pitted the Buckeyes against the Thundering Herd — then of Conference USA but now in its first season in the Sun Belt — in the first nighttime opener at the Horseshoe since 2003.
After two OSU touchdowns early in the first quarter, Marshall had a momentum-shifting play as Ahmed Shakoor returned a blocked field goal 61 yards to make it 14-7.
That was the Herd’s lone score as the Buckeyes scored four more touchdowns in the 38-point win. Pryor threw three touchdown passes, and running back Brandon Saine and receiver Devier Posey each scored twice.
This win was also vacated by the university due to the NCAA investigations done on the program in 2011.
Sept. 20, 2008
Ohio State 28, Troy 10 (Ohio Stadium)
The only time the Scarlet & Grey have played a team while they were a member of the Sun Belt came in 2008.
One week after losing to No. 1 Southern California in Los Angeles, the Buckeyes faced the Trojans.
Pryor started at quarterback as a true freshman, the first time that had happened since 1978. He threw four touchdowns passes, including two to current Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline, in front of 102,000 fans.
Sept. 11, 2004
Ohio State 24, Marshall 21 (Ohio Stadium)
The second game of the 2004 season was a nail-biting game against Marshall while the Herd was part of the Mid-American Conference.
The first quarter was the Justin Zwick-Santonio Holmes show as the quarterback-receiver duo combined for two touchdowns of over 45 yards each.
In the second quarter, Buckeyes history was made after running back Lydell Ross supposedly fumbled and Marshall defensive end Jonathan Goddard returned it for a touchdown. Ohio State coaches thought Ross was down before the ball came out.
For the first time at Ohio Stadium, a play was reviewed by officials using the Big Ten’s new instant replay system. The call stood, and Marshall kept the touchdown.
With the score tied at 21, a poor punt from Marshall with 25 seconds left put the Buckeyes at their 45-yard line with a chance to win. After gaining some good yards through the passing game, kicker Mike Nugent stepped up and nailed a 55-yard field goal as time expired.