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Thanksgiving Comes Early as the Buckeyes Carve up the Birds 54-10


Photo: OKE LAVALLEY, BROOKE LAVALLEY/COLUMBUS DISPATCH


Ohio State met the Iowa Hawkeyes for the first time since 2017 when the Buckeyes were upset on the road in Kinnick Stadium. Iowa came in searching for their first win in Columbus since 1991. Jaxon Smith-Njigba also returned for Ohio State after playing under 40 snaps through the first six games of the season. The Hawkeyes entered the shoe with a top five defense and bottom five offense in college football. They were going up against a top five offense and top 10 defense in the Buckeyes.


The game started with the Hawkeyes on offense. Their first possession ended with just a singular play being run as Buckeyes defensive back Tanner McCalister intercepted the ball from Spencer Petras on the Iowa 29-yard line. Iowa's defense held strong off the turnover, forcing the Buckeyes into an early third down. The Buckeyes were unsuccessful, as Stroud failed to find Egbuka. Noah Ruggles came in for a 46-yard field goal and nailed it right between the uprights to get the scoring started in Columbus.


The second drive for the Hawkeyes was a three and out, as the Buckeyes showed up to play on the defensive side of the ball. In the first two minutes of the game, the only person to catch the football on either side of the ball was on defense for the Scarlet and Gray. The Bucks took over at their own 24-yard line, and Stroud fumbled the pigskin on the first play, allowing for a scoop-and-score for the Hawkeyes defense to take a 7-3 lead.


Ohio State forced another three and out. Iowa tried a fake on fourth down when punter Tory Taylor ran the ball, but the Buckeyes forced a turnover on downs and would take over at the 34-yard line.


The first offensive touchdown of the game would not come until the third drive when the Buckeyes drove down the field on the ground, and Miyan Williams finished it off, continuing the Buckeyes perfect streak of scores in the red zone this season to give OSU a 10-7 lead. This drive also saw the first completions of the game for C.J. Stroud, as he found Marvin Harrison Jr. and Julian Fleming through the air.


On the ensuing drive, the Buckeyes defense forced their second turnover, as Zach Harrison got a strip sack, and it was recovered by Lathan Ransom in the same spot on the field the interception from Petras occurred earlier. The Buckeyes were forced into yet another field goal off the turnover, as Ruggles put it through the uprights from 40-plus for the second time.


Once more, the defense held Iowa to a punt. Ohio State would send the ground attack back to the trenches on their next offensive drive. On third down in the red zone, the Buckeyes would launch a ball for Smith-Njigba in the endzone, but a missed pass interfernce call on a ball intended for Smith-Njigba forced Ruggles to drill another field goal, this time from 35-yards out, to end the first quarter with the Buckeyes leading 16-7. Smith-Njigba would leave the game and not return after tweaking his previously injured hamstring on the missed PI play.


Iowa would find their first pass completion and first down to start the second quarter, as they were held to just 12 total yards in the first. The Hawkeyes would drive down on to the Ohio State side of the field, and they would be forced into kicking a 49-yard field goal to cut the deficit to one possession.


After going three and out on the next drive, Jesse Mirco would place the ball inside the five for Ohio State and back up the Iowa offense deep in its own territory. The Buckeyes defense forced a three and out and allowed just one yard on the drive, and Egbuka would return the punt for nearly 20 yards up to the Iowa 30, setting up Ohio State with great field position. Ruggles would come out for a 26-yard field goal, which he drilled to make it 19-10 OSU.


Tommy Eichenberg on the first play of the next Hawkeyes drive would force another turnover as he snagged an interception and ran it back for a pick-six. While Ohio State's offense had certainly struggled to this point, the game was dominated by the silver bullets defense. On the ensuing drive, Iowa's offense would move down the field on short yardage plays, but they were forced into a third and long, and the Buckeye defense would pressure Iowa into a punt with 47 seconds left in the half. The Buckeyes would take a knee and send this game to halftime leading 26-10.


Ohio State started the second half with the football, and on their first drive, Stroud would throw an interception on the first play of the half to Jack Campbell, his second of the game. Right after OSU's turnover, Iowa, with new quarterback Alek Padilla in the game, would fumble the snap, and Ohio State would get the ball right back, but once again, the Hawkeyes defense would play tough, forcing Ohio State into their ninth third down conversion attempt around midfield where the Hawkeyes would grab a sack on Stroud. Mirco's punt dropped in around the six-yard line, and Iowa would take over.


McCalister would grab his second interception of the game and would give Ohio State's offense the ball inside the red zone yet again. Iowa would force Ohio State into a fourth down decision when they stopped Williams a yard shy of the line to gain. The Buckeyes would go for it, and Stroud would find Harrison Jr. in the end zone for the first passing touchdown of the game and Harrison's 10th on the year. With this touchdown, Ohio State would score more points than any other team against Iowa all season long in just three quarters of play Saturday.


Stroud would begin to find a rhythm after the passing touchdown on the last drive, as the Buckeyes starting pushing the ball downfield for the first time all day. He would finish off the drive with his second passing touchdowns of the day, flying one to the back shoulder of Egbuka in the endzone.


From this point, the Buckeyes turned on the jets, sending pressure at the Iowa backup signal caller, forcing another punt near midfield. The Buckeyes would start their next drive on the ground, as TreVeyon Henderson would pick up a first down after back-to-back hard runs. Stroud then found Flemings for a 79-yard touchdown reception. This touchdown marked the most points put up against Iowa since 2014 when Minnesota put up 55 in the regular season. Ohio State's offense found it's rhythm here in the fourth quarter to hit the over and cover the spread with nearly a full quarter to play, all while keeping Iowa to under 125 yards on offense.


The Buckeye defense forced Iowa to go for it on fourth and one on their own side of the field on their next drive, and they would throw an incomplete pass, ending their drive with -1 yads on the drive. Ohio State would take over on the Iowa 30. This was the sixth time Ohio State started on the Iowa side of the field in the game. The drive would push into the Iowa red zone, and Stroud would throw his second interception of the game, but it would get called back thanks to offsetting penalties, and he would get a second chance. Stroud would wind up short on third down on a QB sneak, but Henderson found the line to gain on the fourth down conversion in the red zone. Egbuka would go on an end around down to the Iowa three-yard line, where Stroud would find fullback Mitch Rossi for his fourth passing touchdown of the afternoon.


Following the touchdown, Ohio State would pull their starters. While the starters were in Iowa had just 120-yards in total, just one third-down conversion and five turnovers to the Silver Bullets defense, who also had a defensive touchdown. The Buckeyes offense totaled 338 yards and had two turnovers of their own. Their 54 points was the second most against Iowa in the last 20 years, falling one point shy of the 55 Minnesota put up in 2014.


The second unit of Ohio State forced the sixth turnover of the game on their first drive against Iowa. They gave the second team offense the ball around midfield. Kyle McCord would lead the Buckeyes second team onto the field with six minutes to go. The Buckeyes played it conservative off the turnover and punted the football after a fourth and short.


Ohio State continued their perfect streak in the redzone and remain the only team in the nation to win every game by double digits. They put up their second highest points total of the season against the No. 3 defense in the nation. Now they remain undefeated thanks to an epic defense performance.


Final Score: OSU Wins 54-10


Player of the Game: THE ENTIRE DEFENSE


This was a total defensive showcase for the Buckeyes, and every player on this side of the football could have been nominated. They repeatedly put pressure on the passing attack and didn't allow any big runs to Iowa and really saved the offense in the first half and repeatedly gave them opportunities on the Iowa side of the field.


Stats:


C.J. Stroud - 20/30, 286, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Julian Fleming - 2 rec, 105 yds, 1 TD

Noah Ruggles - 4/4, long of 51


Upcoming Schedule:


Oct. 29th - @ No. 16 Penn State (5-1), 12:00 ET, FOX

Nov. 5th - @ Northwestern (1-5), TBD

Nov. 12th - vs Indiana (3-4), TBD







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