COLUMBUS, Ohio - Not every game has been a thing of beauty for Ohio State during its 19-game winning streak and Saturday had some tense moments against Iowa (4-3, 1-2) as the Buckeyes needed to come back from a halftime deficit with the legs of Carlos Hyde and arm of Braxton Miller as Ohio State (7-0, 3-0) scored 24 second half points to win 34-24 and remain the lone unbeaten in the Big Ten.
Hyde ran for 149 yards on 24 carries and had two touchdowns, including one that should be up for play of the day where he regained his balance and kept churning before diving for the pylon. Miller was very efficient in going 22-27 in the air for 222 yards and two touchdowns and had 102 yards on the ground as well. Miller admitted that this was the best he had felt for some time on the field after an injury cost him part of his season.
"(I felt) pretty good out there," Miller said after the game. "(Had a) good week of preparation and the O-Line did a hell of a job and coaching and it showed on the field."
The game was not without controversy as Bradley Roby was ejected in the first half for a targeting penalty against Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. The Buckeyes had to go the rest of the way without Roby (who will be back for Penn State) and Armani Reeves had to fill his role.
"I got fined 30-thousand for going after an official," Meyer said. "So I'm not going to do that. But I'm curious to find out the rule and the replay official. That's supposed to be all replayed. If that's not true, then I need an answer. Not I… we need an answer for that."
The Hawkeyes gave the Buckeyes all they could handle in the first half behind quarterback Jake Rudock who went 14-22 for 121 yards and two touchdowns and a surprising run game that didn't get into the end zone but kept Ohio State off balance with 101 yards in the first half. The Hawkeyes also took care of business in time of possession by holding onto the ball for six more minutes and had a staggering 7-9 success rate on third down conversions.
"Defensively, very disappointed in the first half," Meyer added. "Felt we were getting pushed around. And I thought in the second half they did a much better job. But once again you've got to give (Iowa) credit, that's a good outfit we beat and a tough physical game."
Ohio State went to the halftime locker room down 17-10 to Iowa and the homecoming crowd, who braved the rain and cool weather, was concerned about the defense and some missed opportunities on offense as the Buckeyes looked to run their streak to 19 in a row.
"That's not the type of defense we wanted to play," linebacker Ryan Shazier said. "That's not the type of defense we're known for. We're a defense that shuts down the run and makes people adjust to what we're doing. At the half, some players and coaches just basically said, 'we need to get it together.'"
And the Buckeye did, only allowing Iowa on the board one more time as the Buckeyes took control of the offense and held the ball for close to 23 of the final 30 minutes of time.
Ohio State took their first drive of the second half to the end zone behind Hyde and Ohio State snapped Iowa's streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown with a one-yard run to cap off a 13 play, 75-yard drive that took close to five minutes.
The Buckeyes would get on the board again in the quarter, this time Miller found Devin Smith from 14-yards out and that capped off an 11 play, 84-yard drive that also took close to five minutes. The Smith touchdown gave Ohio State its first lead at 24-17 but that lead was short lived.
Rudock hooked up with Jake Duzey on an 85-yard touchdown strike on the very next offensive play as the big Hawkeye pulled away from the Ohio State defense. The score was knotted up at 24-all and there was concern that Ohio State may not have an answer to stopping the Hawkeyes.
Even with all the troubles the Buckeyes would not break again and Hyde punched in a second touchdown on the ground, a 19-yard run where he went right, nearly went down, staggered and regained his balance and then dove for the end zone to a thunderous cheer.
"It was a basic sweep play," Hyde said after the game. "Braxton read it right, gave it to me and I followed my blocks. I thought the safety had me, but I managed to stay up. When I saw Corey Brown with the block, I got excited and knew I had it."
The Hawkeyes have had limited success in Columbus through the years and came up short once again.
"You don't get prizes for playing a good first half," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "You have to play the full 60 minutes. I think we realize it's a matter of what do we have to do to be in a better situation the next time we get this chance."
Ohio State is back at home as it tries to take its nation longest active win streak to 20 as Penn State comes to town for an 8:00 pm (EDT) kick off on ABC in front of a national television audience.