On the bright side, Thanksgiving dinner won’t be ruined this year with conversations about Ohio State’s playoff worthiness. Actually, the Buckeyes’ performance in Iowa calls into question whether they’re good enough for the Outback Bowl. Leaves are awarded on a zero-to-five basis. — Ray Stein
When your first play is a pick-six, that should be an omen that your day will get worse before it gets better. OSU hung with the Hawkeyes for exactly three drives; after that it was Springsteen’s old Ford: “Hit the engine but she ain’t turnin’.” Four picks are a four-letter word spelling D-O-O-M, but nothing worked, really.
Seriously, this is the same unit that bottled up Saquon Barkley last week? Against Iowa, the defense simply had no fizz. Going in, the idea was to turn the Hawkeyes’ first-year starting QB into a Flat Stanley, but he torched the Buckeyes for five TDs. Losing Nick Bosa didn’t help, but it's not like he was going to be covering the tight ends, anyway.
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Special teams (3)
The kickoff coverage was pretty good, or was that what Mrs. Lincoln said about the play? Truth is, Iowa’s longest kickoff return was 20 yards, so that got cleaned up. The only real blemish against the OSU specialists was allowing a complete pass to the long snapper, but that’s on the coaches for not calling time.
Well, the players got to the stadium safely, so transportation was on point. Once the game began, however, Urban Meyer wore the exasperated face of Sisyphus, helpless to stop the boulder from rolling back down the mountain. Except that you couldn’t see the sweat stains under the arms of Sisyphus’s coaching jacket.
Rumor had it, Iowa had wanted this to be a night game until the Buckeyes successfully lobbied against the idea. So Hawkeyes fans decided to start the party a few hours early, and doubtless they were still going late into the night. The hospital wave is truly cool, but OSU didn’t much love the field rush this week.
Nothing about Iowa’s 2017 performance suggested it would throw a pie in Ohio State’s face and then keep firing. Iowa had scored fewer than 20 points in four of its past five games but ran that stop sign in the second quarter. It’s hard to know what film the Hawkeyes watched to prepare, but clearly they saw something.
The targeting call against Nick Bosa looked like nothing more than a football play at first, but replay brought a variation of an old adage into play: If you leave your feet, you’re going to take a seat. Otherwise, the only issue seemed to be on a spot after an OSU punt sailed well out of bounds.