Well, I bet you weren’t expecting that.
The Iowa Hawkeyes dismantled the Ohio State Buckeyes 55-24 on a gloomy, gray Saturday afternoon at Kinnick. The beatdown began on the first play from scrimmage, when Amani Hooker picked off the first of four interceptions J.T. Barrett would throw, taking it 30 yards to the house.
Early on, the Hawkeyes had trouble moving the ball consistently on offense and stopping Ohio State’s read-option on defense. As the game wore on, however, both of those issues seemingly disappeared.
The tide began to really turn when Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was ejected for targeting after leaving his feet and hitting Nathan Stanley in the facemask with the crown of his helmet. From that point on, the Buckeyes had a tough time getting any pressure on the quarterback. That opened up everything for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, and he took full advantage.
Utilizing a heavy-dose of plays that featured tight ends, Nathan Stanley had a career day, moving Iowa’s offense up and down the field with ease. He finished the game by completing 20 of 31 passes for 226 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Akrum Wadley turned in some big plays as well, as he gave the Buckeye defense fits to the tune of 118 yards on 20 carries and hauling in 3 passes for 40 yards. Tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson did most of the damage for Iowa. The duo combined for 9 catches for 125 yards and four touchdowns.
As the game progressed, the Iowa defense figured out how to contain Barrett in the run and keep him in the pocket on pass plays. From there, an opportunistic secondary took over — knocking away and picking off passes left and right.
The biggest play for Iowa — and one that really gave the Hawkeyes momentum — was the fake field goal near the end of the third quarter that set up Stanley’s third touchdown pass of the day.
The Buckeyes added a late score after Iowa gave them good field position following an unsuccessful fake punt, but it was all over by then. Iowa punched in another score for good measure on a six-yard run by Toren Young to push the Hawkeyes past 50 on the scoreboard.
At the end of the day, this was about as close to as perfect of a performance you could have wished for from Iowa against the No. 6 team in the nation. You saw the potential this team has, which also makes some of the losses earlier in the year tougher to swallow.
For now, Iowa City and Hawkeye Nation can celebrate arguably the biggest upset of the 2017 college football season, not to mention putting a nail in the coffin of Ohio State’s College Football Playoff hopes.
Oh, and by the way, this win makes the Hawkeyes bowl-eligible.
Iowa is now 6-3. Up next: a trip to Madison to face the Badgers.