There was so much about the game that swung the momentum one way or another--Trey Stross single-handedly (or two-handedly, whatever) killing two Iowa touchdowns, a missed field goal on each side of the ball, big plays by James Vandenberg and Brandon Saine, whatever. It was a 12-round fight, and all the usual suspects of a titanic fight were there.
But when it comes to what the game hinged on, it was both coaches' decisions not to press to get into field goal range at the end of the game. Tressel's was, well, vintage Tressel: ball at the 18, under 3 minutes to go, and it was just dink dink dink until 4th down and a punt.
Ferentz's decision, however, was a little more curious. Iowa had the ball at their own 32 with about 50 seconds left and one timeout remaining. Seeing roughly 15 defensive backs in the game, Ferentz called a run to try to sneak a decent gain in on the soft OSU defense; it failed, no gain, and Iowa took no more snaps before overtime.
The thinking, we assume, is that the only way Iowa would lose in regulation is by getting aggressive with the pass, and Ferentz avoided that. He probably did not foresee, however, that Iowa's offense would travel backwards 16 yards in overtime before a doomed heave-ho on 4th and 26.
Indeed, the worst series of the game by far could not have come at a worse point in the game; after that, Tressel was as likely to call a pass as he was a backwards punt.
And thus, Iowa's shot at the Rose Bowl ended not with a bang, but a whimper. That, above all else, will likely be Kirk Ferentz's lament tonight.
Here's your open thread for the night. Play fair, no slurs, and don't fight with your own. This loss feels like a kick square to the dick, and nobody's happy about that. Let's start from that premise and keep it cool from there.