Hawkeyes' points come on second-half field goals
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- A.J. Hawk and the Ohio State defense stuffed Iowa's running game and kept Hawkeyes quarterback Drew Tate on the run all day.
Troy Smith threw two touchdown passes to Anthony Gonzalez and ran for two scores to support a dominant defensive performance by the eighth-ranked Buckeyes in a 31-6 victory over No. 21 Iowa on Saturday.
"The key was when they started out trying to run the ball and we were able to stop them," Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock said. "Once that happened, that gave us some flexibility to turn those guys loose.
"We put our ears back. We've got some guys who can go," he said.
Iowa (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) finished with 18 rushes for minus-9 yards as Hawk and Mike Kudla each were credited with 1½ sacks for 15 yards in losses. The Buckeyes constantly harassed Tate, sacking him five times for minus-43 yards.
"I couldn't get outside," Tate said. "I couldn't do anything."
The Hawkeyes, averaging 428 yards per game, mustered just 70 through the first three quarters and ended up with 137. They were forced to punt on their first seven possessions, running one play in Ohio State territory -- and by that time the Buckeyes were in control 24-0.
"It was pretty much a one-sided football game both ways," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Ohio State came in with huge questions about its own running game, a shortage of big plays and inability to score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
"Any concerns they may have had offensively coming in, it looks like they cured them today," Ferentz said.
Antonio Pittman rushed for 171 yards on 28 carries for the Buckeyes (3-1, 1-0), with Smith adding 127 yards on 18 carries and TDs of 16 and 4 yards. They became the first Ohio State quarterback-tailback tandem to top 100 yards in the same game since 1976 when Jeff Logan had 112 yards rushing and quarterback Rod Gerald added 104 in a 49-21 over Michigan State.
Smith also completed 13-of-19 passes for 191 yards without an interception, although he did fumble three times and had another erased by a penalty.
Gonzalez, considered Ohio State's No. 3 target behind Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, had a career-high six receptions for 90 yards. His TD catches covered 8 and 29 yards, opening and closing the scoring.
"Ted and Santonio get all the talk, but now it's time to talk about Gonzalez too," Smith said.
Tate came in second in the conference in pass efficiency but managed just 146 yards on 22-of-39 passing with one interception.
Ohio State outgained the Hawkeyes 331-13 in the opening half, driving at will while Iowa struggled with the ball. Still, the Buckeyes could have led by far more than 17-0.
On their first possession of the game, they drove 81 yards in 12 plays, capped by Smith's 8-yard scoring pass to Gonzalez. Pittman, who gained only 58 yards a week earlier in a win over San Diego State, had 46 yards on seven carries in the drive.
"Hats off to the offensive line," Smith said. "They came out today and took control. They were our bread and butter."
The Buckeyes made it 14-0 on the second play of the second quarter, Smith skirting right end and cutting inside while his blockers were stringing out the line on a 16-yard run. The score was set up by Holmes' 46-yard run-and-catch with a short pass.
The Buckeyes stopped themselves more than Iowa did.
Smith lost one of his three fumbles at the Iowa 4, and Brandon Schnittker coughed up the ball at the Iowa 2. The Buckeyes wasted lots of time in the final minute of the half before settling for Josh Huston's 47-yard field goal.
When Smith called timeout with four seconds on the clock after waiting behind center for several seconds, boos cascaded down onto the field from a crowd of 105,225.
Iowa's points came on second-half field goals of 52 and 37 yards by Kyle Schlicher.
On those two possessions, the Hawkeyes drove to first downs at the Ohio State 23 and 8 but each time Tate was sacked. After he was tackled by Buckeyes linebacker Bobby Carpenter, Tate spiked the ball in frustration and was assessed a penalty.
Asked what his biggest concern was, Ferentz cracked: "Getting home safely."
The Hawkeyes embarrassed the Buckeyes 33-7 last year in Iowa City. Maybe the similarity in scores wasn't just a coincidence.
"It'd be crazy to think that score from last year wasn't in everybody's brain," Heacock said.
Or as Ohio State center Nick Mangold put it: "I hope Iowa left here today feeling the saw=me way we did a year ago."
2022 Big Ten Conference Standings