FOURTH QUARTER SCORING SUMMARY
UI: TD Kulick 2 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 14:56. Drive: Four plays, 60 yards, 1:37. Key plays: Butler 53 run. Iowa 45, Ohio State 17.
UI: FG Recinos 30. Drive: Four plays, nine yards, 1:15. Key plays: Jackson interception starts drive at OSU 22; Stanley 0 run on third-and-1. Iowa 48, Ohio State 17.
OSU: TD Dixon 22 pass from Barrett, 4:37. Drive: One play, 22 yards, 0:05. Key plays: Rastettler 7 run on fake punt on fourth-and-9 set up OSU at Iowa’s 22. Iowa 48, Ohio State 24.
UI: TD Young 6 run (Recinos kick), 1:43. Drive: Five plays, 47 yards, 2:54. Key plays: Young 34 run. Iowa 55, Ohio State 24.
Analysis: When it rains in Iowa City, it pours.
After an invigorating and exhilarating win against Penn State at Ohio Stadium last week, the Buckeyes assembled a flat and uninspiring performance on Saturday against the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. After James Butler’s 53-yard run on the second-to-last play of the third quarter, fullback Drake Kulick got in on the action with his 2-yard touchdown catch on the first play of the final quarter.
Then, Josh Jackson nabbed his second interception of the game, ripping the ball away from Austin Mack on second down pass over the middle. Iowa took over on Ohio State’s 22-yard line, then tacked on a field goal. The Buckeyes showed life on their ensuing possession, driving from their own 25-yard line to Iowa’s 25, until Jackson made a play that will certainly put him as the front-runner for National Defensive Player of the Week, rising up and plucking Barrett’s pass intended for Binjimin Victor near the endzone for his third interception of the week.
Saturday was certainly one of the worst OSU performances since Urban Meyer took over in 2012, competing with the Buckeyes’ 31-0 loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal. Ohio State finds itself needing all sorts of help to return to the playoff this season with two losses, and after Michigan State’s 27-24 win over Penn State, the Spartans control their own destiny to win the Big Ten East and play in the Big Ten Championship game.
Ohio State and Michigan State play next week at the Horseshoe. Defense will undoubtedly be an emphasis in the next week as Ohio State prepares for the Spartans, after the Buckeyes allowed 55 against Iowa, the most an Urban Meyer coached team has given up during his tenure at Ohio State.
THIRD QUARTER SCORING SUMMARY
UI: Hockenson 2 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 2:30. Drive: Nine plays, 78 yards, 3:48. Key plays: Easley 11 pass from Stanley; Wadley 22 run. Kluver 18 pass from Rastetter on fourth-and-3. Iowa 38, Ohio State 17.
Analysis: Tricky, tricky.
Leave it to Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz to unleash a trick play in a big game. Iowa continued to pile it on Ohio State in the third quarter, with the Hawkeyes dialing up a pass from punter Colten Rastetter to long snapper Tyler Kluver. Yes, you read that right.
The Hawkeyes lined up in swinging gate play, with one snapper at midfield and the rest of the Hawkeyes line outside the left hashmarks. The OSU defense was utterly befuddled by the gimmick formation, and Iowa capitalized on the confusion. Kluver’s improbable reception set up the Hawkeyes on OSU’s 2-yard line, and tight end T.J Hockenson capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown catch, his second of the day. Both defenses appeared to settle down, making key stops on third down.
OSU’s Jalyn Holmes and Dre’Mont Jones stopped Iowa running back Akrum Wadley on third-and-1 on Iowa’s first drive of the second half. A.J. Epenesa and Matt Nelson each notched tipped passes on third down plays, preventing JT Barrett from continuing drives. But it’s that fourth down pickup, an improbable hookup from punter to long snapper, that looms large for Ohio State and appear on highlight shows on Saturday night.
SECOND QUARTER SCORING SUMMARY
UI: TD Hockenson 10 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 13:41. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards, 5:51. Key plays: Wadley 9 pass from Stanley on third-and-2; Fant 20 pass from Stanley. Iowa 17, Ohio State 10.
OSU: TD Dixon 44 pass from Barrett (Nuernberger kick), 10:22. Drive: Seven plays, 77 yards, 3:19. Ohio State 17, Iowa 17.
UI: TD Fant 25 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 3:06. Drive: 8 plays, 89 yards, 3:32. Key plays: Hockenson 22 pass from Stanley; Hockenson 24 pass from Stanley; Bosa roughing passer penalty and ejected for targeting on third-and-8 on OSU’s 40. Iowa 24, Ohio State 17.
UI: TD Fant 3 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 0:30. Drive: Three plays, 22 yards, 1:05. Key plays: Akrum 21 pass from Stanley. Iowa 31, Ohio State 17.
Analysis: Big trouble in Iowa City
If the Buckeyes end up losing to the Hawkeyes on Saturday, many will point at a sequence of events in the first half as a key reason why. On third-and-eight from Ohio State’s 40-yard line, Stanley threw an incomplete pass to Matt Vandeberg, but as he released the ball, Buckeyes’ defensive end Nick Bosa launched himself up toward Stanley’s head and made helmet-to-helmet contact. That resulted in a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty and an automatic first down after the Buckeyes appeared to stymy the Hawkeyes and force them to punt, as well as a targeting call that had Bosa, one of OSU’s signature defensive players, ejected.
Iowa immediately cashed in on the gift from the Buckeyes, as Noah Fant blew past OSU corner Jordan Fuller down the right sideline and Stanley floated the ball in perfectly in the corner of the endzone. The Buckeyes failed to turn around their fortunes, with Barrett throwing into double coverage and Bednarik award semifinalist Josh Jackson intercepting the OSU quarterback.
It was Barrett’s second interception of the game after not throwing one for six consecutive games. Fant then struck again, leaking out on a bootleg play near the goal line and catching a wide-open touchdown pass, his second of the afternoon. The play was set up by Akrum Wadley’s 21-yard reception on a screen play in which he sprung free from Damon Arnette’s weak tackle and glided all the way down to the Buckeyes’ 3-yard line.
A bright spot for OSU in the quarter was Johnnie Dixon’s 44-yard touchdown reception, in which Barrett exacted revenge on Hooker with the help of Dixon, who blew past the safety with a vicious cut on a seam route and Barrett found him wide open. Two starting offensive lineman, left tackle Jamarco Jones and right guard Demetrius Knox, exited the game with injuries. Both players eventually re-entered the game, but that’s something to monitor for moving forward. A reminder: the Buckeyes will kickoff to start the second half.
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FIRST QUARTER SCORING SUMMARY
UI: TD Hooker 30 interception return (Recinos kick), 14:52. Drive: Zero plays, 0 yards, 0:00. Key plays. Iowa 7, Ohio State 0.
OSU: TD McLaurin 29 pass from Barrett (Nuernberger kick), 12:42. Drive: Six plays, 80 yards, 2:10. Key plays: Barrett 6 run on third-and-one; Hill 29 pass from Barrett. Ohio State 7, Iowa 7.
UI: FG Recinos 30, 9:19. Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards, 3:23. Key plays: Wadley 30 run; Fant 6 pass from Stanley on third-and-five; Stanly pass incomplete to Vandeberg, Ward breakup. Iowa 10, Ohio State 7.
OSU: FG Nuernberger kick), 4:32. Drive: 11 plays, 74 yards, 4:47. Key plays: Barrett 3 run on third-and-one; Dobbins 35 run; Barrett 18 run on second-and-14; Barrett pass incomplete to Victor in endzone. Ohio State 10, Iowa 10.
Analysis: Slow start.
A hangover from last week’s emotional and dramatic win over Penn State, perhaps? After Nittany Lions star Saquon Barkley returned the opening kickoff to the house last week, Ohio State followed up this week with Barrett failing to see free safety Amani Hooker on a slant route ran by Johnnie Dixon, who scored on a 30-yard interception return. It was Barrett's first interception since Week 2 against Oklahoma.
OSU responded in a swift manner, with Barrett leading the Buckeyes on a quick six-play, 80-yard drive that took advantage of blown coverages for two 29-yard chunk pass plays. The Buckeyes defense wasn’t as stingy as it was in the second half against Penn State last week, but Denzel Ward stalled the Hawkeye’s first offensive drive in the red zone with a terrific pass breakup on Nate Stanley’s pass Matt Vandeberg.
On the Buckeyes ensuing drive, Barrett led OSU all the way down to Iowa’s 10, but Binjimin Victor fumbled Barrett’s touch pass in the back of the endzone. Credit the Buckeyes for responding well after the gut-punch that was Hooker’s interception return for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage, but that wasn’t the dominant performance OSU needs in order to convince the College Football Playoff committee its worthy of one of the four spots over some of the other teams that stand in its way.