Moral victories always end up in the loss column so there was no joy among Iowa players and coaches after the 34-24 loss to No. 4. But the Hawkeyes showed poise, toughness and effort against the Big Ten’s best team in the league’s most intimidating environment.
“They certainly showed up ready to play,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said of his team. “I don’t think it was a matter of effort for us. Today we just didn’t play well enough. Our opponent obviously had something to do with that. The real key is what we do moving forward.”
Iowa might not have earned a win, but it picked up some added confidence.
“We were up 17-10 at halftime to the No. 4 team in the country,” tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz said. “Obviously we can play with anybody. We’ve got talent on this team; we’ve just got to make plays when the game’s on the line.”
C+ — That was a team leaking oil on the last lap.
– Marc Morehouse
B — Good ballgame.
– Mike Hlas
B — There’s no dishonor in losing by 10 in Columbus.
– Scott Dochterman
BY THE NUMBERS
19 — Consecutive wins by Ohio State, the second-longest streak in school history
7 — Consecutive losses by Iowa at Ohio Stadium, dating to 1991
2 — Rushing touchdowns by Ohio State, the first two surrendered by Iowa this season
18 — Offensive plays by Iowa in the second half
53 — Offensive plays by Ohio State in the second half
Ohio State QB Braxton Miller. He completed 22 of 27 passes for 222 yards and rushed for another 102. He produced an incredible second half, completing 11 of 12 passes in the third quarter alone and pacing the Buckeyes with eight third-down conversions in 10 second-half opportunities.
Iowa’s charge was to contain Miller but as Ferentz mentioned, “Easier said than done.”
“He’s a very dangerous player, throwing the ball, running it,” Ferentz added.
Early in the fourth quarter with the game tied and Ohio State facing third-and-7 from Iowa’s 28, Miller rolled to the right. He was chased by Iowa’s defensive linemen, then rolled to his left and outran Iowa’s defense for a nine-yard gain. It was reminiscent of former OSU quarterback Terrelle Pryor scrambling for 14 yards on fourth-and-10 in Iowa City on a game-winning drive.
“That one play to the right of our bench (Miller’s run) was kind deja vu all over again in 2010,” Ferentz said. “It came in a real critical situation. A little different field position, but there aren’t a lot of players who can make that play and credit goes to him. He did a great job.”
Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected for targeted after popping Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz late in the first quarter. Roby, an All-American candidate, strafed Fiedorowicz’s face with his helmet after the Hawkeye caught an 11-yard pass. The play was reviewed and the ejection was upheld.
“I thought it was below,” Ohio State Coach Urban Meyer said. “You guys could see — was it below the shoulder? That was my question. I guess I don’t know.”
Fiedorowicz said his jaw ached after the hit.
“That’s just playing football,” Fiedorowicz said. “I don’t really know if he did it on purpose or not. He did catch me right underneath the chin just a little bit. It didn’t feel good, obviously. If he stayed in the game, I would have been fine with it because it’s football. It’s physical. But I was going to go back in regardless.”
Iowa cornerback B.J. Lowery nearly gave the Hawkeyes possession of the ball inside the Ohio State 40 late in the third quarter. Lowery, a senior from Cincinnati, intercepted Braxton Miller’s pass at the Buckeyes’ 37. But Lowery was called for holding on Ohio State wide receiver Corey Brown to negate the interception.
“He released inside, I released with him,” Lowery said. “He gave me a little push, I gave him a little grab and they called it.”
The penalty gave the Buckeyes a first down at their 40. Ohio State scored eight plays later to take a 31-24 lead.
Senior defensive end Dominic Alvis left the game early and trainers worked on his back. Alvis, who also suffered a game-ending injury against Michigan State, did not return.
“I think that’s going to be week to week,” Ferentz said.
Iowa fullback Adam Cox also left the game and did not return. He appeared to have a head injury.
With Iowa and Ohio State moving into separate geographic divisions, this is the teams’ last scheduled game in Columbus through the 2019 season. Ohio State will play at Iowa in 2017.
The series is somewhat irregular anyway. Since 2000, the teams have played seven times while missing one another six seasons.
“This is one of the tougher environments in football,” Ferentz said.
Iowa (4-3, 1-2) plays host to rival Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) at 11 a.m. on BTN. The Wildcats have beaten Iowa six of the last eight, including three of the last four in Iowa City. Last year Northwestern overpowered Iowa 28-17.
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