Second Half Comeback Fuels Buckeye Win over Hawkeyes
By Rob Ogden
For the majority of the first half of Saturday's game, the Ohio State defense made their black and yellow opponents look more like the Pittsburgh Steelers than the 4-2 Iowa Hawkeyes. But that's a problem for a different day, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. Today, he just wanted to enjoy the win.
Led by a rejuvenated Braxton Miller, Ohio State (7-0) came from behind to defeat Iowa 34-24 and collect its 19th-consecutive win under Meyer.
Fresh off a bye week, Miller turned in possibly his best performance of the year, completing 22-of-27 passing attempts for 222 yards and two touchdowns. The 22 completions marked the most of his career, and he could've had more if not for a couple drops and a pass batted down at the line of scrimmage.
The junior added 102 yards on the ground and looked like his old self for the first time since spraining his knee on Sept. 7.
"I felt pretty good out there," Miller said. "The knee injury set me back, but it felt pretty good today. I had a good week of preparation, and the o-line did a helluva job and it showed on the field."
Trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, Miller found Corey Brown wide-open across the middle of the field for a 58-yard touchdown connection - the longest of Brown's career.
But while Miller appeared to take a step forward, the defense did the opposite.
"Defensively, very disappointed in the first half," Meyer said. "Felt we were getting pushed around."
The Buckeye defense surrendered points on each of Iowa's first three possessions as the Hawkeye offense marched down the field with relative ease.
Ohio State played the majority of the game without starting cornerback Bradley Roby, who in the first quarter was flagged for targeting a defenseless receiver, and was ejected from the game.
Because the penalty occurred in the first half, Roby will not be forced to sit out again after this week.
Senior safety C.J. Barnett said he thought it was a great hit, but added that player safety is the most important thing.
knocks the mouth piece out of the mouth of C. J. Fiedorowicz. Roby was called for targetting on the play and ejected from the game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Already without safety Christian Bryant, who's lost for the year with a broken ankle, the Buckeye secondary was down to two of its regular starters.
"Not having them is tough, but you've got to have players step up," Barnett said. "We've been there. Roby missed the first game. We missed him, but it was the heat of the moment and there was no time for mourning."
Barnett added that the hit might have provided the defense with the energy it was lacking.
"I think that hit kind of fueled us," he said. "They were driving on us. It was kind of lackluster. That hit, unfortunately it got him thrown out of the game, but I think it provided a spark for the defense."
With two of its best playmakers out of service, the Buckeyes - usually sound on third down - struggled to get off the field.
In first half, Iowa completed seven of nine third down attempts and led 17-10 at the half.
But Miller and company quickly came to the rescue.
Coming out of the half, Miller completed his first nine passing attempts and led the Buckeyes on four-consecutive scoring drives.
Facing a third-and-long deep in Iowa territory with the game tied at 24, Miller reversed his field and scrambled for a first down.
After the game, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said the play was reminiscent to a first-down run by another Ohio State quarterback.
"That one play there to the right in front of our bench was kind of deja vu all over again of 2010," Ferentz said, referencing a fourth-down run Terrelle Pryor had against the Hawkeyes the last time the teams met. "It came at a real critical situation with a little different field position, but there aren't a lot of players that can make that kind of play and credit to him, he did a great job."
Photo by Jim Davidson
Receiver Devin Smith said it was just Braxton being Braxton.
"Today all the scrambling he did reminded me of our freshman year," Smith said. "He did a great job of keeping drives alive for us. The way he played today, I think he looked good."
On the next play, running back Carlos Hyde took the handoff from Miller and scampered towards the end zone before being knocked backwards by a defender. After falling back about four yards, Hyde regained his balance, picked up a block and dove towards the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
Photo by Dan Harker
He said it was a run unlike anything he's ever had.
“It was a basic sweep play. Braxton read it right, gave it to me and I followed my blocks," he said. "I thought the safety had me, but I managed to stay up. When I saw Philly Brown with the block, I got excited and knew I had it.”
Hyde rushed for 149 yards and two scores. His first touchdown, a one-yard plunge, was the first rushing score the Hawkeyes had allowed all year.
Hyde also became the first player to rush for 100 yards against Iowa this season.
"It was definitely some motivation," Hyde said. "We tried to feed off that, knowing they hadn't allowed a rushing touchdown or a 100-yard rusher.
"Our offensive line coach, he told the receivers that if they catch the ball and fall on the one, be ready to run. They got us messed up if they didn't think we were gonna get a rushing touchdown."
Game stats and box score
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