COLUMBUS, Ohio – One play told the whole story.
Ohio State bent, twisted and broke Iowa’s bend-but-don’t-break defense Saturday and pulled away for a 34-24 victory before 105,000 at the Horseshoe in Columbus.
Iowa hung tough for three quarters but fell apart defensively to start the fourth quarter on a play that was indicative of the whole game. Facing a 3rd-and-7 on the Iowa 28, OSU quarterback Braxton Miller scrambled forward, broke to the right, was trapped but reversed field all the way to left sideline to pick up the first down. One play later, Carlos Hyde broke through a winded Iowa defense for an easy 19-yard touchdown run to make it 31-24.
The Buckeyes (7-0, 2-0) scored minutes later after converting another third down to put the game away. Drew Basil nailed a 25-yard field goal for the final margin.
Iowa had a chance in the fourth quarter down by 10, but quarterback Jake Rudock was picked off by Tyvis Powell with 4:14 remaining.
The Buckeyes’ offense was so efficient it converted 9-of-13 third downs behind the passing and scrambling of Miller. The Hawkeyes’ vaunted defense failed to force a punt in the game.
Iowa had its chances on offenses but couldn’t overcome the defense’s inability to force a punt. The Hawks (4-3, 1-2) tied it at 24 at 2:30 left in the third on an 85-yard touchdown from Rudock to Jake Duzey. Duzey beat double coverage down the right sideline and outraced two defenders. The play was the longest from scrimmage this season for the Hawks.
Ohio Sate took the lead, 24-17, with 3:15 left in the third quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Devin Smith.
Hyde scored on a 1-yard run on the Buckeyes’ first possession of the second half to tie the score at 17.
Iowa took advantage of some misdirection, some mismatches at tight end and balanced play calling to take a 17-10 lead at halftime. The Hawkeyes came out and scored on their opening two possessions of the game behind seven straight completions from Rudock.
The Hawkeyes went 80 yards on 12 plays after taking the opening kickoff. Rudock hit tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz for 2 yards and the score. On the next possession, the Hawks followed with a 10-play drive that resulted in a 27-yard field goal from Mike Meyer.
Ohio State tied it at 10 when Iowa’s secondary was burned on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Corey Brown.
Iowa hasn’t won in Columbus since 1999.
Tied at 10, the Hawks put together another long drive of 15 plays and 68 yards. Rudock capped it off with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley to give Iowa a 17-10 lead. The Hawks converted 7 of 9 third downs in the half.
Ohio State’s first drive ended with a 27-yard field goal by Basil.
The Hawks defense stiffened near the end of the half. The Buckeyes drove into scoring position but back-to-back sacks by James Morris and Carl Davis forced a turnover on downs.
Rudock’s first 10 completions of the game were to either tight ends or fullbacks.
Ohio State’s Bradley Roby was ejected from the game in the first quarter for targeting Fiedorowicz on a hit to the head.