OSU shuts down Hawks: Buckeyes bring Iowa back to earth
COLUMBUS, OHIO -
The Iowa Hawkeyes left Columbus Saturday night with their statistics, egos and bodies severely deflated.
Thanks a lot, Buckeyes.
All-world linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer and the seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes stuffed Tavian Banks and dumped the 11th-ranked Hawkeyes, 23-7, before 92,536 noisy fans in an early Big Ten showdown at Ohio Stadium.
Banks and the Hawkeyes began the day as the best offensive machine in college football, but all those glittering stats went down the toilet as OSU played relentless defense.
Katzenmoyer, an All-American last year as a freshman, wore Banks like an ornament, swallowing Iowa's Heisman Trophy candidate from start to finish.
"I think he probably won the Butkus Award today," said Banks, anointing Katzenmoyer as the top linebacker in the country. "He was all over the field. I think he was in the backfield more than I was."
Banks arrived in Columbus as the nation's most prolific runner, averaging 208.8 yards per game, but he had 11 yards at halftime and 84 for the game. There was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
"THEY DID A SUPER job on defense," said Iowa Coach Hayden
"Took Tavian out of the game early, pressured our passer. Just a great defensive game."
The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1) built some impressive statistics against UNI, Tulsa, Iowa State and Illinois, leading the nation at 55.3 points and 567.8 yards per game, but the Buckeyes were relentless and omnipresent.
Iowa had only three first downs and 94 yards in the first half. The Hawks trailed, 16-0, early in the third quarter before firing a shot, and from there it was a futile uphill battle as the Buckeyes used quarterback Matt Sherman as a pinball bumper.
"Our effort on defense was the best we have seen in a long time and we got after them pretty good," said Ohio State Coach John Cooper. "We got after Banks and Sherman and slowed down their games."
Cooper was being generous. The Hawkeyes were not slowed down, they were stopped in their tracks much of the day.
"It's frustrating," said Sherman. "We tried everything we could out there. They just shut us down today. They did a great job."
Sherman finished 18 of 37 for 189 yards and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Austin Wheatley, but missed several chances to make big plays that might have made a difference. He overshot Banks on a deep bomb in the first quarter and entirely missed Wheatley for a big gain in
the third. They were open on both plays.
Sherman had an excuse on the ill-timed pass to Banks. He released the ball a nano-second before an Ohio State defender ripped his helmet off and sent the headgear rolling toward the goal line.
"That's something that's never happened to me before," said Sherman, forcing a smile. "I took some good shots today. I was on the ground a lot."
Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) designed its defense to stop Banks, as expected, by crowding the line of scrimmage and freeing Katzenmoyer to wreak as much damage as possible. The Hawkeyes never found a consistent answer.
Katzenmoyer finished with 11 tackles and an interception. It looked like he did more.
"They had everybody and the kitchen sink up there and we just couldn't block everybody," said Fry. "From sideline
to sideline, he (Katzenmoyer) has got as good range as any
linebacker I've ever seen."
Iowa's defense spent too much time on the field on a hot,
sticky day, springing leaks at inopportune times as tailbacks Pepe Pearson (106 yards) and Michael Wiley (85) wore them down.
"We played hard, maybe not hard enough," said defensive
end Jeff Kramer. "It's very tiring."
The Hawkeyes made some big plays on defense, but not enough.
"We might have faded a little bit," said linebacker Matt
Hughes. "We were out there quite a bit and it tends to wear on you."
Iowa got past midfield only once in the first half, reaching the OSU 25, but Zach Bromert's 42-yard field goal attempt was cleanly blocked by Percy King, who waltzed into the backfield untouched. Fry chewed on his offensive linemen after that miscue.
The Hawkeyes, trailing 16-7, reached midfield in the fourth quarter, but OSU defensive back Ahmed Plummer blitzed Sherman and knocked the ball loose for a turnover. The Hawkeyes later advanced into Buckeye territory at the 45, but Sherman's pass to Dwight was deflected and intercepted by Katzenmoyer after Dwight slipped and fell.
"We had a chance and we just couldn't execute," said
Fry. "I truly believe Ohio State has another outstanding
Iowa takes a week off before visiting Michigan Oct. 18.
"It's probably good," said Banks. "We've got a lot of things to iron out on offense."