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Plays that mattered: Ohio State vs. Iowa

Urban Meyer paces during a Buckeye offensive possession from the sideline in the third quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 55-24. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Ohio State’s 31-point loss to Iowa needs no introduction. It was about as bad as it could get.

There were a few moments when the Buckeyes had an opportunity to put the game back in their hands, but those were greatly outweighed by the number of big plays Iowa made and mistakes Ohio State had in crucial moments. These five moments were the plays that mattered in Ohio State’s 55-24 loss to Iowa.

Barrett’s second pick of the game

Trailing by seven, Ohio State had 3:07 remaining in the first half to tie the game before halftime. Even if the Buckeyes couldn’t score, a seven-point deficit at halftime was no reason to panic.

On the fifth play of the drive, quarterback J.T. Barrett threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson at the Ohio State 41-yard line and returned to the 22. That play led to an Iowa touchdown just three plays later and a 31-17 Hawkeyes lead into halftime.

From there, Ohio State was playing catch up and was forced to move the ball through the air instead of establishing a ground attack.

Iowa scored 17 points off three Ohio State turnovers.

Iowa 4th-down trick play conversion

Iowa embarrassed Ohio State’s defense from start to finish, but perhaps the play that took the wind out of the Buckeyes’ sails the most was a fourth-down conversion converted by a long snapper and thrown by a punter.

On fourth-and-2 at the Buckeyes’ 20 near the end of the third quarter, Iowa punter Colten Rastetter took the snap at quarterback in an unorthodox formation. Iowa long snapper Tyler Kluver sprang free from the line and caught the pass before tripping over his own feet down to the 2-yard line.

The next play, Iowa scored, extending its lead to 21 and delivering the final nail in the coffin in which Ohio State’s playoff chances lay.

Opening drive pick-six

This should’ve been a sign that Saturday would not turn out well for Ohio State.

The very first play of the game, Barrett threw over the middle to wide receiver Binjimen Victor, but was intercepted by Iowa safety Armani Hooker and returned for a touchdown.

Ohio State repeatedly shot itself in the foot against Penn State last week and that was no different against Iowa. This was Barrett’s first of four interceptions.

Nick Bosa ejection

Tied at 17, Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley threw an incomplete pass on third-and-8 at the Ohio State 40-yard line. However, with the pocket collapsing on Stanley, defensive end Nick Bosa jumped into Stanley and made helmet-to-helmet contact, resulting in a roughing the passer penalty and was called for targeting. After review, the call was confirmed and Bosa was ejected.

When looking back, this was the play that set the debacle in motion. The next play, Stanley threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Noah Fant over Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller.

From the moment Bosa was ejected, Iowa outscored the Buckeyes 38-7.

Wadley’s 21-yard reception

Ohio State struggled to tackle Iowa running back Akrum Wadley all game, but the most crucial missed tackle came from cornerback Damon Arnette in the second quarter.

On second-and-12, Wadley caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage and Arnette was squared up directly in front of the back. Wadley ran right around Arnette and gained 21 yards down to the Ohio State 3-yard line. Iowa scored a play later to take a two-touchdown lead into the half.

Iowa simply outplayed and outcoached the Buckeyes Saturday. Missed tackles and a gaping hole in the Buckeyes’ secondary were just two of many problems that plagued the Buckeyes. Now all they can play for is a conference title.

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