IOWA CITY — You saw that scrum. It was a lot like the one last year when the quarterback lost his helmet and it ended up being passed around in downtown Iowa City bars.
Nate Stanley’s helmet is safe.
“I kept my helmet on and strapped it up super tight,” Stanley said.
You saw that scrum. Somehow, linebacker Josey Jewell found his family. Somehow, he found them on the 10-yard line near the south end zone.
If you’ve followed the senior linebacker’s career even just a little bit, you know that wasn’t luck.
“They might’ve said before the game if this does happen, 10-yard line,” Jewell said. “Interesting, huh?”
Paula and Bobby Jewell knew. The Jewells knew. See you after you beat No. 6 Ohio State, son. Does the 10-yard line sound good? It might be kind of crowded, so let’s make it the 10-yard line.
That’s how the Jewells do it.
Stanley threw five touchdown passes, two apiece for tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, and the Hawkeyes (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten) crushed No. 6 Ohio State (7-2, 5-1) like a Buick backing over a buckeye.
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This was Iowa’s first victory over Ohio State since 2004. Of course, the 55 points were the most scored by Iowa in series history. It was the most for the Hawkeyes against a ranked opponent since a 55-17 victory over Texas in the 1984 Freedom Bowl.
And, yes, the 31-point margin of victory is the highest for Iowa in the 65 meetings between the schools.
There’s going to be a common theme and it’s what was the funnest part?
“Just dominating and consistently scoring,” said running back Akrum Wadley, who rushed for 118 yards and caught three passes for 40 more. “We talk about consisently scoring and starting strong. We had to stay on the gas, keep the foot on the gas.”
Snap one was a 30-yard pick six for Iowa safety Amani Hooker. Long snapper Tyler Kluver caught a fake field goal from punter Colten Rastetter on a classic “polecat” play. It was basically a center eligible because of the way Iowa lined up.
“When I popped my head up and saw that there was nobody there,” Kluver said, “I got real excited. I don’t remember the last time I got that excited in my life.”
That Iowa a first down at Ohio State’s 2. With defensive end Sam Hubbard pulling frantically on his left ankle, Stanley stayed patient, hopped a little and fired a laser to Hockenson for a 2-yard TD that made the score 38-17 with 2:30 left in the third quarter. It was a Ben Roethlisberger-esque play from Stanley, who completed 20 of 31 for 226 yards five TDs and no interceptions.
“I think probably my favorite play is the one where he’s got the guy bringing him down and he finds a way to get the ball in the end zone there for a touchdown,” Ferentz said. “A lot of big throws by him, and he had five touchdown passes, so that’s pretty good, too. Just the way he’s playing right now, really proud of the way he’s grown and developed.”
Ferentz was asked which of Josh Jackson’s three interceptions he liked the best. There was the sweet one-handed pick as Ohio State was going into Iowa’s end zone. Ferentz being a coach who appreciates the struggle picked Jackson’s second interception. The junior cornerback broke on the ball and ripped it out of an Ohio State player’s hands.
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A week after leading the Buckeyes to an incredible comeback victory against Penn State, quarterback J.T. Barrett saw his Heisman campaign and the Buckeyes’ College Football Playoff hopes go splat. Three of his four interceptions ended up as Iowa touchdowns.
“Everybody pushed each other this week in practice,” said Jackson, who came into the game as the nation’s leader in passes defended and passes broken up. “We just wanted to come in and really just enjoy the moment.”
Favorite pick? Jackson seemed to like the one-hander, probably because it squelched a scoring opportunity.
“I saw him throw it and I just wanted to make a play,” said Jackson, who now has five interceptions this season.
The Buckeyes made a bucket of crucial mistakes on the front end, with Hooker’s pick six being first and foremost. When the game was 17-17 in the second quarter, Ohio State had Iowa on a third-and-8 from its 40 and it looked like a hold for OSU and a punt for Iowa. A flag flew late. Star defensive end Nick Bosa was called for a roughing the passer and targeting.
The play was reviewed and Bosa was ejected and the Hawkeyes scored 31 unanswered points.
“Obviously, this is a terrible feeling,” Ohio State center Billy Price said. “Coming off an emotional win last week, walking into a hostile environment here, it’s got (the) Kinnick curse or whatever you want to call it.”
Iowa’s defense was magnificent. The Buckeyes’ 371 yards is their second-worst output this season. The 163 yards rushing is their worst of the year. The Hawkeyes held OSU to 22 points below its season scoring average. Iowa has held eight of nine opponents below their scoring average this season.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s news conference lasted three minutes and 33 seconds.
Did you see this coming at all? Were there signs of this in practice?
“No,” Meyer said.
The Jewells, on the other hand, met at the 10 and took it all in.
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