Game 7 Recap: Ohio State 54 – Iowa 10


It was not a pretty game, but that is what Iowa does to its opponents, by making them play off balance to try and leverage opportunities with their stout defense, and solid special teams. The problem was though that they did not have an offense that could keep them in the game, and the Buckeyes let their offensive bye week rust shake off after the half, while there defense made a statement as one of the best in the country by forcing 5 turnovers, 5 sacks, and holding the Hawkeyes to 158 total yards. This game also marked the return of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but he was on a snap count, had 1 catch for 7 yards, and did not play the second half. 

For the Buckeye offense, they need to write their defense a thank you note, or treat them to some dinner with their NIL money. They were held to 133 total yards in the first half, but then bounced back with 227 in the second thanks to 188 yards passing in the last two quarters by CJ Stroud. The run game could not get momentum at all, as they were held to 66 total rushing yards. This was the first time this season we saw the offensive line not get the push we were used to and control the line of scrimmage at times. 

The Hawkeyes started with the ball and Spencer Petras completed his first pass to the wrong player, Tanner McCallister. Ohio State started with the ball in excellent field position thanks to the turnover, but had to settle for a field goal. On Iowa’s next possession, they were held to a three and out, but on defense forced Stroud to fumble, and returned it for a touchdown for a 7-3 lead. The Buckeyes responded with a 10 play, 75 yard drive that was capped off with a Miyan Williams touchdown run, and Ohio State reclaimed the lead. 

The teams exchanged field goals. and the Buckeyes got 2 more field goals in the first half before the defense picked off Spencer Petras for a second time, as Tommy Eichenberg rumbled to a touchdown which was the final scoring play before halftime. 

On their first drive, Stroud threw his 4th interception of the year, but made up for it by throwing for 4 touchdowns, 1 each to Marvin Harrison Jr, Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming, and Mitch Rossi. After his last touchdown pass in the middle of the 4th quarter, the Buckeyes called off the dogs, and the second team closed out the game.

I know, they won 54-10, and I still believe they are one of, if not best, teams in the county, and at this point we need to nitpick because in reality, the expectation is National Championship. Ryan Day and his staff and players are all preaching one game at a time, but as a fan, it is looking ahead on the horizon. We couldn’t run the ball well against Iowa, what will that look like against Michigan? Our offense was not as sharp in the first half, what implications will that show against a team like Tennessee in a playoff game against their speedy offense? For the first time this year, Noah Ruggles had to kick 4 field goals in a game, but we are still perfect in scoring drives in the red zone for the season. I think fans would have felt a little better about the game if 1 or 2 of those redzone field goals converted into touchdowns instead. 

If you looked at this game disappointed, it’s because you are wanting perfection, and thats ok, but I also want to spin it to state we need to appreciate what we are seeing this season up to this point. Team all across the country have had a game where they struggled. We are the only team in the country that has won every single game by double digits. We expect more from our offense, but do the yards really matter if as a team they score 54 points? The game was never in question, and it was an ugly game, but at the end of the day this team is 7-0, and looking to go 8-0 next week with a win against potentially ranked Penn State.

CJ Stroud was not perfect, but still finished the day 20 of 30 passing with 286 yards and 4 touchdowns to 1 interception. He now holds the Ohio State record for 4 touchdown games. Kyle McCord threw 2 passes as well for 8 yards in wrap up time.

The running backs were slowed down for the first time this year, but still split carries. TreVeyon Henderson lead the team with 38 yards on 11 carries. Miyan Williams returned back after missing the Michigan State game, and had 19 yards with a touchdown on 10 carries.

Julian Fleming led the team in yards receiving with 105 on 2 catches, and a touchdown. He has scored a touchdown in all 4 games his has played in this season. Emeka Egbuka was solid once more with 6 catches for 80 yards and touchdown. Marvin Harrison Jr did Marvin Harrison Jr things with 7 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Cade Stover only had 2 catches for the game, but his 4th quarter hurdle was easily one of the highlights of the game.

Turning Point

The  difference of the skill between the Iowa offense and defense was on full display, and it was why they were able to slow down the Ohio State offense in the first half. There was never really a question if Ohio State would win it, leading 26-10 going into half time, but the offense did not look like their normal explosive self. It was CJ Strouds third touchdown, which was a 79 yard passing touchdown to Julian Fleming that showed the world that this Buckeye team was going to be just fine. 

Star of the Game

Ohio State defense. The defense stepped up and forced 5 sacks, 5 turnovers, including a pick six by Tommy Eichenberg, and held Iowa to 158 total yards and 3 points. The only Hawkeye touchdown came from a fumble return for a touchdown. The offense took a half to shake off their rust, and Jim Knowles unit proved why they are one of the best in the country. 

Playoff Picture

It took Ohio State a half to figure out their offensive adjustments to help CJ Stroud, but the Buckeyes rolled with a 54-10 on a “bad” day. I am sure teams across the country would love to have that problem, and shows just how skilled this years Buckeye team is. Tennessee, who were the media darlings, took care of FCS UT-Martin, with Hooker only needing 1 half to play, and Clemson had to pull DJ out to change their offense to come back and beat Syracuse. Ole Miss, and UCLA also lost on the day, and this leaves 6 unbeaten teams left in the college football landscape. For the Buckeyes, they have a road trip next week to Happy Valley to make another statement before the first playoff poll comes out on November 1st. What we also had was a comparison game finally for Ohio State and Michigan with a common opponent in Iowa, which Ohio State out performed. 

Looking Ahead

Ohio State (7-0) will head to Happy Valley to face Penn State (5-1*) at 12pm on FOX.

Iowa (3-4) hosts Northwestern (1-6) at 3:30pm on ESPN2. 

Photo Credit: Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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