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Buckeye firepower too much for Hawkeyes

Posted on 19. Oct, 2013 by in Iowa Football

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For 30 minutes, the stars appeared to have aligned. The Iowa Hawkeyes scored on each of their first three offensive possessions and took a 17-10 lead with them into halftime, on the road against the No. 4 team in the country.

But as promising a first half as the Hawkeyes played Saturday, reality settled in during the second half and the fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes extended their current winning streak to 19 games after defeating Iowa 34-24 at Ohio Stadium. The Hawkeyes now sit at 1-2 in Big Ten play following this loss and at 4-3 overall.

It began as perfectly as it could have for Iowa as it executed a 15-play touchdown drive on its opening series to go up 7-0. Four of those 15 plays involved the “13” package, consisting of three tight ends — senior C.J. Fiedorowicz, junior Ray Hamilton and sophomore Jake Duzey.

Iowa’s tight end group was responsible for all five of sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock’s five completions on that opening drive, the last of which being a 2-yard touchdown pass to Fiedorowicz.

“It was a package that we implemented a little bit. Part of the idea was to obviously possess the football and score points,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “For the most part, we got what we wanted to accomplish out of that.”

The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes would then exchange field goals to make the score 10-3 in Iowa’s favor through one quarter. A controversial play factored into the Hawkeyes’ second offensive series, as Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected following a 15-yard personal foul was called targeting as he hit Fiedorowicz high following an 11-yard catch by the 6-7 tight end.

“Jake threw it and the corner sat,” Fiedorowicz said. “Right when I turned my head, he kind of jumped up into my face mask. That’s just football though.

“He did get me with his helmet, but I’ll leave that to the refs to call that. I was going to keep playing either way, so it didn’t really affect me.”

Ohio State would tie the game when quarterback Braxton Miller hit a wide open Corey “Philly” Brown over the middle for a 58-yard touchdown strike. The Buckeyes ran play-action and Iowa’s secondary bit on the pump-fake, allowing Brown to get open.

Iowa then executed another picturesque touchdown drive that covered 69 yards on 15 plays. The Hawkeyes converted seven of their nine third downs in the first half, including four on this series. The last third-down conversion was a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rudock to junior wideout Kevonte Martin-Manley.

The Buckeyes’ lone empty possession of the first half ensued when they faced 4th-and-10 from Iowa’s 29. Miller appeared to have thrown a touchdown pass to Evan Spencer, but the ball was knocked away at the last moment by junior strong safety John Lowdermilk.

Iowa led 17-10. Then Ohio State played like that No. 4 team it entered Saturday’s game as. The Buckeyes marched right down the field to tie the game at 17-17 when Carlos Hyde scored from one yard out, forced a 3-and-out defensively, then went ahead 24-17 when Miller threw his second touchdown pass of the game to Devin Smith.

Miller completed 22-of-27 pass attempts for 222 yards to go along with his 102 yards rushing on 18 carries.

“It was pretty basic, to be honest. But they executed,” senior cornerback B.J. Lowery said about Ohio State’s offense. “It’s all about leverage. It’s one thing we worked on, but it’s one thing we didn’t really emphasize in the second half.”

That Buckeye lead would be brief though. On the Hawkeyes’ ensuing drive, Rudock connected with Duzey on the first play from scrimmage for an 85-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to tie the game at 24-24 entering the fourth quarter. Duzey would go on to finish with team-highs of six catches and 138 yards receiving.

“We practiced it during the week,” Duzey said. “You never know who the ball is going to, but it happened to come to me. I just caught it and kept running.”

In these final 15 minutes, Ohio State continued flexing its muscles on offense and a pair of plays at the beginning of the final stanza couldn’t illustrate it better. Facing 3rd-and-7 from Iowa’s 28-yard line, Miller bought time in the pocket, eluded multiple Iowa defenders as he scrambled across the field, and ultimately picked up nine yards for a first down once he finally found an opening.

Ferentz compared the play to one former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor made on a 4th-and-10 against the Hawkeyes back in 2010.

“There aren’t a lot of players that can make that kind of play. Credit goes to him,” Ferentz said.

The very next play, Hyde scored from 19 yards out and made a ridiculously tough run look easy. As he bounced to the outside, senior free safety Tanner Miller looked to have had him wrapped up at the Iowa 6-yard line. But Hyde managed to break away and proceeded to then dive for the end zone to put Ohio State up 31-24.

Hyde finished with 149 yards rushing on 24 carries to go along with those two touchdowns.

“I thought I hit him well enough to get him down, or at least slow him down enough to where we’d have more guys coming,” Miller said. “I had to get up off the ground and I saw that he was still going and was still on his feet. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough guys around the ball to get him down the rest of the way.”

After another Hawkeye 3-and-out, the Buckeyes extended the lead to two possessions at 34-24 and then sealed the victory when Tyvis Powell intercepted a Rudock pass with 4:15 remaining.

Ohio State outscored Iowa 24-7 in the second half and held the Hawkeyes to 18 total plays from scrimmage after Iowa ran 43 offensive plays in the first half.

“We have to finish,” Rudock said. “We had a pretty decent first half. In the second half, we didn’t get it done. It’s just as simple as that.”

Iowa now returns to Kinnick Stadium for its next two games, starting with Northwestern on Oct. 26. The Wildcats are currently on a three-game losing streak after falling 20-17 at home to Minnesota on Saturday. The Hawkeyes’ game against Northwestern is set to kick off at 11 a.m. CT and it will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.

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