Debriefing: Iowa

By Michael Citro on October 20, 2013 at 10:30a
Nation's longest winning streak continues.

The Buckeyes squared off against the Iowa Hawkeyes for the first time since 2010 in a game we’re supposed to pretend never happened.

Ohio State was looking to equal the second-longest winning streak in school history and extend the nation’s current longest string of consecutive wins. The Hawkeyes were looking to bounce back from a loss to Sparty.

Iowa was known for its running game and its ability to stop the run. The Hawkeyes were also known for being very stubborn in the red zone, having not allowed a rushing touchdown all season and very seldom allowing anything but field goals.

It would be a game of strength against strength, with the Ohio State running game against Iowa’s defensive line and the Buckeye defensive line against Iowa’s rushing attack.

Could Ohio State shut down Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock? Would Carlos Hyde be able to gash Iowa in the running game? Was this the day the Hawkeyes finally yielded a rushing touchdown? Most importantly, could the Buckeyes avoid the upset bug that had bitten so many teams the last two weeks?

Not really. Good lord, yes. Yes, twice. And yes.

Ohio State’s 19th straight win wasn’t an easy one. Here are your talking points:

Water Cooler prep (Everything you need to know…in one paragraph)

Ohio State erased a 17-10 halftime deficit mostly behind Hyde’s running (24/149) and pinpoint short passes from Braxton Miller (22/27 for 222 yards), to win 34-24. The Buckeyes tied the game on the first drive of the third quarter on El Guapo’s one-yard plunge and took their first lead with 3:15 to play in the third on a Devin Smith TD catch. A huge DERP by the defense gave Iowa an 85-yard TD pass from Jake Rudock to Jake Duzey, which was less than Jake. Hyde restored order with a 19-yard run (see below) and Drew Basil hit a late field goal. Miller also ran for 102 yards.

Talk before the game 

“Carlos Hyde may not get 100 yards today but he’ll probably score once or twice.”

“Should be an emotional game for Curtis Grant after his dad’s passing.”

And this:

Talk in the aftermath

“I'm ready to move on from Luke Fickell.”

“Not sure we’re an elite team, but I’m not sure there is one this year.”

“Is there anyone out there who still thinks Kenny Guiton should be starting?”

Give that man a buckeye leaf (Player of the game)

It was impossible to say one was better than the other, so this week we’re going with co-players of the game — Hyde and Miller. Hyde was dominant in the running game, just as he was at Northwestern, only against a much stouter run defense. He seemingly blasted for five yards or more every time he carried the rock, and in fact he averaged 6.2 yards per tote. His two scores were the first two rushing touchdowns Iowa has allowed in 2013 and the second one will be on every highlight reel this year (again, see below).

Miller shook off an uneven game in Evanston and hit his guys pretty much all night. There were a couple of drops, but only one or two poor throws. He made sure not to overthrow a wide open Philly Brown on the long touchdown, and threw a dart to Smith on the second. He used tight end Jeff Heuerman often (career high five receptions) and took the underneath stuff the Iowa defense gave him. Miller also excelled in the run game, both on designed runs and on scrambles, converting key third downs throughout the contest. Like El Guapo, XBrax was in beast mode. Oh, and his knee is fine.

Snot Knocker of the Game

Bradley Roby got thrown out for it, but that’s only because the targeting ejection is the worst rule in college football. C.J. Fiedorowicz caught a pass on Iowa’s second drive of the game and was immediately met by Roby’s shoulder to his chest. Fiedorowicz went down immediately, his mouthpiece went flying and he was slow to get up.

Twitter seemed to be split fairly evenly on the play. For me, the hit was pretty hard and perhaps you could argue a defenseless player, but in my opinion Roby hit Fiedorowicz squarely in the chest (not the head) with a shoulder (not his helmet) and his left foot was still on the ground, which would presumably take “launching” out of the equation.

If it appeared he was going low to high, it’s because he was trying to bring down a much larger player. Roby is eight inches shorter than the 6-foot-7 Fiedorowicz and weighs 73 fewer pounds. If he goes for the wrap-up, he’s getting trucked or simply bouncing off. Am I supposed to believe that the solution is to go for the knees there? Anyway, Roby gets the snot knocker of the game in limited action.

Did you see that?! (Play of the game)

Hyde’s second TD run was the stuff of legends. El Guapo took a handoff from Miller around right end, following blocks by Heuerman, Brown and Smith. Hyde shrugged off one tackler, then was grabbed by safety Tanner Miller. Hyde stumbled backwards and appeared to be falling, when he found his balance, turned back up-field, and dove over a block by Brown on James Morris to score Superman-style. El Guapo caught some serious air on the play, which put Ohio State ahead to stay.

When you sank into your chair (The moment Buckeye football disgraced your family)

Ohio State took its first lead of the game on Miller’s 14-pass to Smith late in the third quarter. After the ensuing kickoff, Iowa took a holding penalty and lined up for a first-and-20 play at its own 15. The Buckeyes rushed only three men and Rudock had plenty of time to drop a perfect pass over Armani Reeves — replacing the ejected Roby — to Duzey, who out-raced the defense for an 85-yard score. There was no deep safety to help, and no defender could catch the 245-pound tight end from behind.

Jim Tressel's Least Favorite Moment of the game

After a long morning of apple picking, Tressel returned home just in time to catch the opening kickoff of his beloved former football team. He was enjoying a tall glass of cider and a crisp Ohio McIntosh late in the second quarter, when the Ohio State offense lined up on fourth-and-10 at the Iowa 29. “Are you kiddin’ me?” Tressel asked Ellen when Evan Spencer couldn’t hang onto the ball after hitting the ground in the end zone. “That’s only a 47-yarder there, Coach. Drew Basil could hit that in his sleep.”  Then Tressel caught a whiff of apple pie wafting in from the kitchen and relaxed. This would be a good day.

What you texted your friend at the end of each quarter

First: What’s wrong with the D-line today?

Second: Ohio State is stopping Ohio State but not Iowa.

Third: What? First and 20 and the safety’s up in the box? Big play for Iowa.

Fourth: Far from pretty. Survive and advance.

It was over when

Iowa was down 10 points and faced a third-and-four situation at its own 43. Jake Rudock got a little antsy and threw a pass straight at freshman defensive back Tyvis Powell, who made the pick. The interception came shortly after Doran Grant had one go off his hands, and was the only turnover of the game. The Buckeyes took possession at their own 49 with just 4:15 to play. From there, Hyde and Miller strangled the clock with the running game.

The Buckeyes host the Nittany Lions of Penn State (4-2, 1-1) next Saturday night at 8. The Nitts will be coming off a bye week after last week’s ridiculous 4-OT win over Michigan. Be ready, Buckeyes, they’re bringing about a hundred tight ends with them.


Comments Show All Comments

O-H I-O's picture

Hopefully, Ohio State will step it up with their passing defense against Penn State's arsenal of tight ends.  They will just need to run the ball more often.  The offensive line looks fantastic and Hyde is Hyde.  Braxton will make the big passes when the time is right.

"I don't motivate the players. I get them to motivate themselves. That's the only kind of motivation that's worth a damn." - Woody Hayes

bigbill992001's picture

That was the best running Brax has done this yr.   And, wow, his passing is much improved.

Jonnferrell's picture

As usual for the next few years, WE ARE PENN STATE's BOWL GAME.  They will bring everything they have, cleaning out the refrigerator and scraping up whatever walk ons they can find, and BOB will use his young quarterback to try to slice and dice our wounded secondary.  It will be a fun game, but thankfully, even in our current defensive condition we are better than TTUN.  We should be fine as long as Roby doesn't hurt those big, defenseless tight ends.

"I miss Brady Hoke."

Hovenaut's picture

Get out of Carlos' way. Man, am I glad he is on.
Don't ever change Brax, but sure appreciated his best Troy Smith impersonations yesterday. He passed efficiently, often and kept plays (drives) alive. Best effort yet. 
Besides the baffling block in the back penalty he took on one of Brax's scrambles, Philly Brown had another solid game. 
Thought Drew Basil set the tone with his tackle on the opening kickoff, but guess not. 
Still a Roby fan, he will come up huge before the year is over. 

Basso Profondo's picture

I have to say that for the first time this season our D-Line looked to be thoroughly dominated.  A great effort on offense along with surviving on defense for the second half won us the game.

Bradyhokescholesterol's picture

Anybody know the deal with the targeting penalty carrying into the first half of the next game? Is it only if the penalty originated from the second half of the game?

stevebelliseeya's picture

He will be eligible next game...had it happened in the 2nd half he would be required to sit for the first half of the Penn State game.

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

45OH4IO's picture

Braxton looked complete for the first time this season. Loved how calm and in control he looked running and throwing compared to the northwestern game.
Hope dontre is alright.

USMC11917's picture

D-Line got mauled by their power running game. Take notes if we face Alabama.
Roby call may be correct but I sure as heck don't like it and think that Roby did an excellent job. I didn't know that players were expected to up two yards after a catch and forbidden to attempt to jar the ball lose with impact.
I rode Reaves the entire game and am really disappointed with his play.
Excellent job by Miller and Hyde and our Offensive Line.
One thing I haven't seen mentioned, hardly anywhere, is that we utilized our TE tonight more than any time in recent memory. I think this really improved Braxton's numbers and assisted the unpredictability of our offense. (Sans the Heuerman drop)

cplunk's picture

I'm not sure I totally agree.
The d-line did get mauled, but it wasn't because they were beat (most of the time). It was because our defense was simply out coached and we were outnumbered at the line of scrimmage. For most the first half, and some of the second, Iowa ran two or three TEs. That put 7-8 guys on the line of scrimmage. Against that we had our two linebacker set. This means we had four DLs and two LBs. in other words, our 6 versus their seven or eight. 
Basically what Iowa did was realize that we often play with only two LBs and five DBs because we don't have much depth at LB. They sold out their entire offensive scheme to attacking that fact. Our defensive coaches weren't ready and really didn't have an option that involved an effective three LB set. We lost the numbers game, and therefore the war at the point of attack.
Add to that the fact that we play ( and this maddens me more than anything) a zone that has our DBs way off the receivers and effectively our DBs are out of the run stopping business. When they try to react from those positions, it leaves them very open to play action- as you saw.
We eventually compensated by keeping the hybrid DB position (usually Powell) up at the line, but that left a gap in our zone and put Powell in a spot where an LB would be better suited.
our players did reasonably well. Our defensive coaching sucked. The coaches put the players in spots where they couldn't possibly win.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Good points, but maybe you exaggerate the importance of the scheming. If it was strictly a scheming flaw, the coaches could have inserted 3-4 LBs against Iowa's 3 TE attack, with those 3-4 LBs being reasonable adept at recognizing and reacting against play action passes. But the Buckeyes don't seem to have a 3rd and 4th LB that fit that bill. Heck, the 2nd LB, Curtis Grant struggles a bit with responding to play action, etc.
Now, the coaches are ultimately responsible for recruiting and developing LBs, but I don't think that was what you were emphasizing.

cplunk's picture

There is more to it than just inserting a third or fourth linebacker. Taking out the hybrid position changes the secondary and eliminates our ability to play all of the zones we play. Effectively we lose all the secondary coverages we've practiced except or straight up man. No team has time to practice everything, and our defensive choices in the secondary have been made to be almost all zone.
The only real way to insert another LB is to shift to man coverages that we don't practice much. Iowa was looking for this to happen eventually, which would give their weak WRs a decent chance. They had to be salivating when tossed into that was Roby's ejection. 
Certainly a lack of depth at LB is one of the things that has led to the selection of the schemes we play, but my point was more that our coaching staff should have foreseen that some team along the way might do this and inserted more options into our coverage schemes.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Again, I hear you, and your analysis is quite good, but I think you're kind of making my point that personnel limitations are limiting the scheme options to some (large?) extent. And Iowa seemed to be doing damage on early downs simply running the football. How would it have helped keep Iowa to 0, 2, -2 yard rushes, etc., if the staff had anticipated Iowa's 3 TE approach and prepared better/more options into the coverage schemes? No question, that would have helped on the play action passes and 3rd down defense - I'm not disagreeing with you - but the Buckeyes were also getting manhandled a bit at the l-o-s, without many personnel alternatives to deal with that.
[for example, remember Austin Spitler? He used to be a liability when he had to run sideline-to-sideline and in pass coverage, but someone like him might have helped yesterday.]

cplunk's picture

I get your point.
coverage schemes, though, are integral in stopping the run, and vice versa with the pass. Your coverage scheme has a lot to with what you can and can't do with your linebackers and safeties. Since our coverage schemes mostly necessitate 5 DBs, and further necessitate that those DBs be in certain areas of the field, that limits our options against the run. It's actually even worse-as LBs have spots in the zone too. 
Stopping the run is about numbers, positioning, and roles. Our particular coverage schemes put us at a disadvantage in those areas. We've been getting by on the DL being much, much better than the teams we're playing. It often doesn't show the waT people think it should because the DL is effectively making up for our coverage leaving them on an island.
Clearly our coaches feel our secondary should be in zone, and way off the line, and that choice combines with our weakness at LB to put a lot of stress on the DL. If our DL weren't filled with studs, we'd be losing some of these games.
To my mind, it's a coaching choice that doesn't fit with Urban's philosophy. It's a very passive scheme. I really think with the talent we do have we should risk the big plays and go for a more aggressive scheme. We'll get torched sometimes, but the play it safe philosophy is I think making us look worse than we are.
obviously I'm not a D-1 coach and I'm sure the coaches have their reasons, but I don't think we'll see this same coaching staff next year on defense. 


To my mind, it's a coaching choice that doesn't fit with Urban's philosophy. It's a very passive scheme. I really think with the talent we do have we should risk the big plays and go for a more aggressive scheme. We'll get torched sometimes, but the play it safe philosophy is I think making us look worse than we are.

We'd get torched every opposing possession if we blitzed and played man every single down. I don't think Coach Meyer and his staff care about how they look nor care what people think of them. They just want to force punts, which they did in the 2nd half. First half, um no.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

cplunk's picture

There is a big difference between playing an aggressive scheme and blitzing and playing man every down.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

The Buckeye defense came out in the 2nd half and locked them down except for, of course, the 85 yard TD toss. 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Seattle Linga's picture

Brax had time most of the night to sit back and throw. Not a lot of deep threat passes other than just a couple. Hyde is the game changer. His strength and focus is unmatched.

Northbrook's picture

We never ever do nothing nice and easy.

bigbill992001's picture

Just keep rollin' on the Olentangy.


I'm willing to bet my next paycheck Penn State throws to its TEs Saturday.
I LOVE how they used Dontre vs. Iowa. Best proof defenses gameplan for him was on the TD pass to Philly. Let's hope they can keep doing that.
The young DL took its lumps but made adjustments. Iowa's OL had some muscle but the youngsters battled. Great learning experience for them.
A testament of how well our OL blocked was on Hyde's crazy run. Carlos got knocked 10 yards backward and STILL made it to the endzone. Thats because most of Iowa's defense was getting manhandled.
Did Ferentz blow off Meyer at the end of the game?

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

NH-IO's picture

Philly Brown had TWO great blocks on the crazy Hyde touchdown run.  He made an initial block on the outside that let Hyde make his cut up field.  When Hyde got swung back around Brown stayed alert, realized that Hyde had regained his balance, and took off, escorting Hyde toward the goal line.  Brown then trucked a big linebacker allowing Hyde to dive into the end zone for the score.  GREAT job by Brown on that play.

Seattle Linga's picture

Great Point NH-IO .......Coaches have a hard enough time convincing specialty players to block one man let alone two - Brown did a great job on this play. This will be a teaching tool used throughout the week.

gravey's picture

1.  I'm surprised nobody is commenting on Armani Reeves' game.  It was a hot mess.  The play where he was on a corner blitz was comical.  He was also faked out on the play action again on the long TD, plus the roughing call on the punter.
2.  Roby - wrap up and your problems go away...put your helmet on the ball if you must.  It's what you're supposed to do. Does nobody remember what going for the big hit cost the D last year against Denard and the fighting Hokes?

00Buck's picture

IF ?  Fickell and Vrabs continue this line of defense while the defense is personnel short, our defense will be suspect the rest of the season, It seems to me that the coaches are not utilizing the K.I.S.S. principle, IF a team is going to mix it up with our suspect defense..then dammit don't line them up in the dime, or even the nickel........  The did it right by bringing the box close to the line, but left the breadbasket open, and IOWA stole an 85 yarder by not keeping the safety back..... DB's being beaten by a rumblin, stumblin, FAT TE.....  unheard of in Buckeye lore....... I am with Coach....... I want to see those 4.3's  again..... Coach personally, I saw them quit on the play.......  They should have been like Roby.....  he got beat, last week but he caught his man, aniled his ass to the wall.......  Not sure but I think it was Pederson of Wisky.  I was more pissed at this game than any other because.......  SOMEONE IS NOT EATING THEIR WHEATIES !!!!! 

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

BuckeyeMark's picture

Hate the targeting rule (especially that the ejection can be overturned but the 15 yard penalty can't - which is ludicrous) but we all know the rule.  What happened to Robey is it looked like targeting.  He was leaning in (looks like a launch) and gets his head down (crown of the helmet).  The ref isn't seeing it in slow mo and he's been told "when it doubt, throw the flag."  
Translation: we need to stay away from anything that looks like targeting.  And yes, that does mean you may not make a great tackle on this play but you'll be there for the rest of the game!
Again, I hate the rule.  But until it's changed we gotta figure out how to play within the rule.

FROMTHE18's picture

Penn State game will be very tough IMO. Hackenberg could rip our coverage apart, even as a frosh.

Menexenus's picture

I agreed with Jim Tressel.  Not kicking the 47 yarder on 4th and 10 was pretty silly.  Especially on the *second* 4th and 10.

Real fans stay for Carmen.

harleymanjax's picture

Tressel's least favorite should have been the fact that there were ZERO punts!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Tim's picture

If player safety is the goal, maybe Fiedorowicz should have been removed from the play too.  Since Roby allegedly hit him so hard in the head (despite it being incidental contact that happens when two people wearing large things on there head make contact), it would be safest for him to not play in the game anymore since concussion symptoms don't always show up right away.
Obviously I'm saying this facetiously, but the rule is such a joke to begin with that taking the offensive player out wouldn't make it much worse.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

We'd better get our shit together because PSU is TE heavy offense and you know BO'B was licking his chops watching Iowa's TE not get covered the entire 1st half!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

GOOMBAY's picture

Fearless prediction for this week: Will watch the Hyde GIF 200 times tomorrow at the office.