Oh, so close

Stats | Boxscore

Nov. 20, 2010

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IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa and Ohio State added another chapter to their exciting and crushing Big Ten Conference football series Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. For the second year in a row, three points separated the league heavyweights; for the second year in a row, the favored Buckeyes escaped with victory.

Ohio State running back Daniel Herron scored on a 1-yard run with 1-minute, 47-seconds left to turn a 17-13 deficit into a 20-17 final.

“Both teams competed hard and the credit goes to Ohio State,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We came up short to a good team. Losing is frustrating and losing close games is frustrating.”

No. 20 Iowa (7-4 overall, 4-3 Big Ten) made No. 7 Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) earn every inch of its 353 total yards, but in the end the Hawkeyes dropped their third Big Ten game by a combined eight points. Iowa turned an interception by Shaun Prater into a touchdown run by Marcus Coker and a17-10 lead with 11:53 left in the game. Ohio State answered with a 48-yard field goal by Devin Barclay and some magic by Pryor.

With 4:02 left in the game, Buckeye receiver DeVier Posey dropped a third-down pass in the end zone, but Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor made amends on the next snap. Pryor was flushed out of the pocket at midfield and scrambled 14 yards for a first down to the Hawkeye 36. Five plays later, Herron scored the game-winner.

“When you have an athlete like Terelle Pryor, you have to get after him,” Iowa defensive tackle Christian Ballard said. “He’s a playmaker and he made some plays when they counted.”

“There aren’t many guys in the country that could make that play,” Ferentz said. “They’re a tough team to defend.”

Iowa gained 276 yards with 195 coming through the air. Stanzi completed 20 of 31 attempts and connected with Marvin McNutt seven times for 92 yards and a touchdown. Another offensive bright spot for the Hawkeyes was the play of Coker, a true freshman, who rushed nine times for 70 yards and a score.

“We have some good things going on and Marcus is certainly one of them,” Ferentz said. “He made a great showing of himself.”

The tackle leader for Iowa was linebacker Jeremiha Hunter with a game-high 11. Prater had two pass breakups to go with his eight-yard interception return.

“This was a heck of a football game,” Ferentz said. “Both teams competed and I’m sorry we came up short.”

Iowa took a 7-0 lead after the teams traded punts in the first quarter. McNutt got behind Ohio State defensive backs Chimdi Chekwa and Jermale Hines and Stanzi hit him in stride from 19 yards. That play capped an eight-play, 87-yard drive. Stanzi completed all four pass attempts for 48 yards in the series; Coker, who received his second start, rushed three times for 30 yards. It was the 20th straight game in which Stanzi threw a touchdown pass.

The Hawkeyes held the one-touchdown edge into the second quarter and they also had a five-minute advantage in possession time. Ohio State was penalized four times for 35 yards; Iowa had no penalties.

A great defensive stand by Iowa forced the Buckeyes to attempt an 18-yard field goal, which Barclay put through from the right hash. Ohio State had first-and-goal from the 9, but could not get into the end zone. The biggest play came on third down from the 1. Pryor rolled to his right, where he was tripped by Iowa linebacker Ross Petersen. Pryor was forced into a desperation underhand toss to running back Zach Boren, but Boren was stopped in his tracks for no gain by James Morris and Hunter. After an intentional delay penalty by Ohio State, Barclay made the field goal with 11:34 left before halftime.

The score remained 7-3 when Iowa kicker Mike Meyer was wide left on a 40-yard attempt with 3 ½ minutes left in the first half. Ohio State took over from its 22. The Buckeyes advanced to Iowa’s 43 before Iowa’s secondary forced the game’s first turnover. Pryor threw toward Taurian Washington, who was momentarily open near the Hawkeye end zone. Iowa strong safety Tyler Sash and Prater converged with Prater tipping the ball into the hands of Micah Hyde for an interception.

Iowa led the yardage battle at the break, 155 to 145, and held the ball 18:04 of the first 30 minutes.

Ohio State opened the second half with a 12-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to tight end Reid Fagel with 8:36 left in the third quarter.

The Hawkeyes answered with an impressive drive that ended with a 31-yard field goal by Meyer to tie the game, 10-10. Iowa drove 65 yards on 10 plays with Stanzi completing four consecutive passes to four different receivers. The big gains were to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (22 yards) and to McNutt (18). An unnecessary roughness penalty by Buckeye Hines on McNutt on third-and-6 took the ball to Ohio State’s 12.

Pryor’s second interception was much more costly than his first. On third-and-10 from the Buckeye 20, Pryor stepped up in the pocket and tried to thread a pass to Dane Sanzenbacher, but Morris batted it away and Prater picked off the pass and returned it to Ohio State’s 28. Coker ran for 27 yards on first down and then a yard for the go-ahead touchdown, 17-10, with 11:53 left.

The Buckeyes used a 33-yard kickoff return to set up a 38-yard field goal by Barclay, cutting Iowa’s lead to 17-13 with 7:38 remaining. The Hawkeye defense limited Ohio State to 30 yards on the 11-play drive; Christian Ballard and Mike Daniels sacked Pryor for a 4-yard loss that forced a third-down incomplete pass.

Iowa couldn’t move the chains on three downs, but a 52-yard punt by Ryan Donahue forced Ohio State to start its next drive from their own 24 with 6:05 remaining. Still, the Buckeyes answered, converting the now notorious fourth-and 10 from midfield with Pryor running 14 yards after being flushed out of the pocket. Pryor then completed a 24-yard pass to Sanzenbacher that took the ball to Iowa’s 2. Herron scored on second-and-goal from a yard out.

That set the stage for the Hawkeyes who had all three timeouts when the Buckeyes kicked off with 1:47 left. Paul Chaney, Jr., returned the kick 26 yards to the Hawkeye 36, where Iowa started its final drive. Stanzi threw incomplete to Robinson on first down, ran away from pressure and threw the ball away on second down and was sacked for an 11-yard loss on third. He found McNutt for 19 yards on fourth down, but that was two yards short of a first down with 1:10 left. Ohio State used up the remainder of clock with four rushing plays.

Iowa completes the regular season Saturday, Nov. 27, against Minnesota (2-9, 1-6) in Minneapolis. Game time has not been determined.

“The biggest positive for us will be having a chance to come out with eight wins,” Ferentz said. “It will take a little while; this one stings.”

Ohio State at Iowa 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Ohio State Buckeyes 0 3 7 10 20
Iowa Hawkeyes 7 0 3 7 17
Iowa Statistical Leaders
Passing: Ricky Stanzi 20-31-0 195 1 TD
Rushing: Marcus Coker 9-70-1
Receiving: Marvin McNutt 7-92-1
Tackles: Jeremiha Hunter 11, Micah Hyde 9, James Morris 9