A Night (Game) to Remember: NU vs. OSU in ’04

Nine years ago today, something extraordinary happened at Ryan Field. A Northwestern football team that was off to a rocky 1-3 start faced the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes under the lights at Ryan Field.

And we won.

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Wildcats that day. Evanston was overrun with visiting fans in scarlet and gray, and the “Cardiac ‘Cats” let the Buckeyes rally for 10 points in the last nine minutes of the game to force overtime. But when OSU kicker Mike Nugent’s field goal attempt sailed wide right, the Wildcats pounced on their second chance.

Quarterback Brett Basanez and running back Noah Herron keyed a thrilling drive that ended with Herron running the ball into the end zone, sealing NU’s first victory over OSU since 1971. Ryan Field went up for grabs as students rushed the field in a Purple Pride-fueled fit of ecstasy.

NU has not defeated OSU since that fateful game, but the Buckeyes return to Ryan Field Saturday night. The highly anticipated Homecoming weekend match-up between two undefeated teams will be televised on ABC and features a pregame visit from ESPN College GameDay. Will history repeat? You don’t want to miss this.

Read a post-game report of the 2004 game that was then the most-watched college football game ever broadcast on ESPN2 and deemed an “ESPN Instant Classic.” Relive the excitement of the upset with the video below.

Hear the heart-racing call of the winning touchdown from student radio station WNUR.

Watch Herron share his recollections from the game, and share your memories in the comments below!

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