The roller coaster of emotion from last week’s thrilling comeback win to this week’s crushing defeat is only surpassed in my mind by the 2006 win over “TTUN” followed by the National Championship blowout loss to Florida a little over a month later. The Iowa Hawkeyes stomped out the Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Playoff hopes with a 55-24 victory.
Buckeye Nation knew it was going to be difficult. The warnings of a “trap game” were everywhere around Columbus. Iowa had Penn State on the ropes until the final seconds earlier this season. The Hawkeyes have completed a handful of historical upsets over Top 5 Associated Press ranked teams at Kinnick stadium since 2008. So when J.T. Barrett threw his second interception of the season for a 30-yard touchdown return eight seconds into the game, Buckeye Nation sensed they were in for a long uneasy day.
Here are my takeaways from a game Ohio State will love to forget.
* SILVER BLANKS?
The vaunted Silver Bullets defense got punked up and down the field by the Hawkeyes giving up 487 total yards (244 passing, 243 rushing) and 48 points. That’s the most points Iowa has EVER scored on an Ohio State team. On the season Iowa averaged only 28 points per game and 345.9 yards per game coming into Saturday’s game. Both of those stats rank 10th out of the 14 teams in the Big Ten.
The linebackers have shown no ability to effectively cover opposing team tight ends. The combo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant caught 9 passes for 135 yards and 4 touchdowns receptions. The ability to come up with a scheme to cover tight ends has been a problem for this team all season. Mike Gesicki made key plays for Penn State to move the chains last week. And that’s where I start to point the finger at the coaching staff.
Iowa ran a pro style offense that defensive coordinator Greg Schiano clearly wasn’t prepared for. During the ESPN broadcast, color analyst Brian Griese said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz went back to Schiano’s days as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach for film to prepare for this game. His last season there was 2013. 2013! That’s how you out coach someone, by looking for any and every edge you can get. All Schiano had to do was watch Iowa’s loss to Penn State.
* DOES URBAN STILL HAVE IT?
This has been itching at me for some time. At some point we need to question Urban Meyer’s ability to get his team’s ready for big games. I don’t care what Iowa’s record was coming into Saturday this was a big game (It was 5-3). Especially when you look at what was at stake for the Buckeyes in the College Football Playoffs. From Clemson in last season’s CFP, Oklahoma this season, Michigan State in 2015, the 2013 B1G championship game loss to the Spartans and the Orange Bowl loss to Clemson after the 2013 season, Coach Meyer has lost his luster in the games that Buckeye Nation has come accustomed to watching him win. That belief in him goes back to his 2006 National Championship victory over the Buckeyes with Florida. Did he lose it? We’ll find out in the next coming weeks.
* J.T. IS WHO WE THOUGHT HE WAS
All season I’ve been in his corner when Buckeye fans were calling for anyone to be under center but him. Then he goes out there last week and plays the best game of his career in a scarlet and gray jersey and tossed his name in the Heisman race only to come up with this 4-interception dud. His first interception in 190 passing on the first play from scrimmage of the game definitely set a bad tone and continued throughout the game. He looked like a true freshman playing his first Big Ten road game, not a 5th-year senior. Barrett was rattled and making terrible reads when his first receiver wasn’t open. He finished 18 of 34 for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns to go along with those 4 picks.
* B1G CHAMPS IS STILL A POSSIBILITY
Even with all the negatives, there is still something to play for. The Big Ten East division is still up for grabs with Michigan State’s win over Penn State. Next week’s showdown between the Spartans and the Buckeyes at the ‘Shoe all but decide who heads to Indianapolis to play for the conference championship and a New Year’s Six Bowl game. Hopefully they can bounce back. Kickoff is set for Noon.