Iowa vs. Ohio State: 10 Things We Learned in Buckeyes' Win

David Regimbal@davidreg412Featured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Iowa vs. Ohio State: 10 Things We Learned in Buckeyes' Win

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    Iowa tested No. 4 Ohio State early, outscoring the Buckeyes 17-10 through two quarters. Then Braxton Miller and Ohio State's offense flexed its muscle, blasting the Hawkeyes 24-7 in the second half on the way to a 34-24 victory.

    The Buckeyes (7-0) cemented their status as the Big Ten's best team and pushed the nation's longest winning streak to 19.

    What else can we gather from the game? Here are 10 things we learned from Ohio State's 10-point victory over Iowa.

There Is No Quarterback Controversy in Columbus

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    Ohio State's quarterback controversy was reignited after Braxton Miller's subpar performance against Northwestern, when he turned the ball over three times and accounted for zero touchdowns.

    After a week off and needing a big performance, Miller delivered.

    Ohio State's star quarterback piled up 324 total yards of offense and two touchdowns against a good Iowa defense. Miller completed 81 percent of his passes, showing good zip on the perimeter throws and nice touch on the deeper stuff.

    Kenny Guiton is an outstanding player, something that's rare in a backup role, but when Miller is performing like the way he did against Iowa, it makes the Buckeyes an elite team.

Braxton Miller Has His Legs Back

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    Not only did Miller end any talk of a quarterback controversy—he also showed that he has his running ability back after suffering a Week 2 knee injury.

    Miller was effective in his first two games back from that injury, running for 151 yards on 37 carries (3.9 yards per carry) against Wisconsin and Northwestern. But he lacked the explosiveness and evasiveness that makes him one of the most dangerous weapons in the country.

    Against Iowa, he looked like his old self.

    Miller ran for 102 yards on 18 carries (5.7 yards per carry), but more importantly, he had his wiggle back. Miller busted off a number of runs where he made multiple Iowa defenders miss.

    That's the version of Miller that Urban Meyer needs, and on Saturday, that's what he got.

Ohio State's Front 7 Isn't Bulletproof

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    Coming into the game, Ohio State's rush defense ranked No. 5 in the country, allowing just 86 yards per game on the ground.

    In the first half, Iowa's offensive line pushed the Buckeyes' front seven around. The Hawkeyes rushed for 101 yards through two quarters, and it was largely because Iowa was the more physical team up front.

    The Hawkeyes were a week removed from being shut down by Michigan State. The Spartans limited Iowa to just 23 rushing yards on 16 attempts.

    Damon Bullock and Mark Weisman had much more success against the Buckeyes. Both running backs averaged more than five yards per carry and helped Iowa control the game in the first half.

    The Buckeyes will be facing another pro-style offense in Penn State next week, so they'll need to make some adjustments before next Saturday.

Iowa's Tight Ends Almost Ruined Perfection

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    Iowa has a pair of outstanding tight ends in Jake Duzey and C.J. Fiedorowicz, and they gave Ohio State all it could handle on Saturday.

    The two combined for 10 of Iowa's 19 receptions and 167 of its 245 receiving yards. Both also caught a touchdown.

    Duzey did most of the damage, hauling in six catches for 138 yards. He absolutely torched Ohio State's defense in the third quarter. Ohio State cornerback Armani Reeves gambled on a pass deflection, lost and Duzey raced 85 yards untouched to the end zone.

    That score tied the game, and Ohio State's offense had to put the Hawkeyes away in the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes Desperately Need Bradley Roby

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    Ohio State's star cornerback was ejected in the first quarter after he was flagged for targeting, and the Buckeyes missed him once he left the game.

    On two occasions, Roby's replacement—Reeves—blew a coverage that resulted in Iowa touchdowns.

    The first came in the second quarter, when Reeves misread Kevonte Martin-Manley's route and let him go free to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

    The second came on the (previously mentioned) Duzey touchdown, when Reeves committed too much to a pass breakup. 

    Roby has certainly had his struggles this year, but his absence makes Ohio State's already suspect pass defense even more of a liability. 

The Buckeyes Can Make Serious Adjustments in the Second Half

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    For the second consecutive game, Ohio State was outplayed in the first half.

    First it was against Northwestern, which took a 20-13 lead into halftime in Week 6. Iowa outplayed the Buckeyes on its way to a 17-10 halftime lead.

    In both games, Ohio State came out and changed the pace of the game to capture a victory.

    Against Northwestern, Meyer turned to Carlos Hyde and the run game. The Buckeyes' physical attack wore down the Wildcats in a 40-30 victory.

    Against Iowa, the Buckeyes went to more of a quick passing attack and an up-tempo pace to exhaust the Hawkeyes' talented defense.

    Without those adjustments, Ohio State would be coming off two consecutive losses.

Ohio State's Speed on the Perimeter Was the Difference

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    The Buckeyes had success offensively in the first half, gaining 189 yards, but Meyer wasn't getting the production he wanted.

    In the second half, he took the Buckeyes' attack to the perimeter, and Ohio State's athletes feasted.

    After scoring just 10 points in the first half, the Buckeyes scored touchdowns on their first three drives of the second half and added a field goal before closing out the game. Miller orchestrated an offense that produced 306 yards and 24 points in the second half.

    The Buckeyes had that success because Miller was accurate in the quick-strike passing game. Corey Brown, Devin Smith and even Jeff Heuerman hurt Iowa on the edge, and all three were ultimately the difference in the game.

The Buckeyes Really Want Dontre Wilson Involved in the Offense

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    Dontre Wilson, Ohio State's speedy freshman playmaker, was all anyone could talk about during fall camp.

    Wilson came out and had a number of impressive games to start the year, but Meyer wants him to be a more complete player, according Daniel Rogers of The Lantern:

    He’s got to become a football player. Right now, he’s a novelty. That’s why he didn’t play much Saturday. So we’re working really hard over the bye week to make him a football player, not just a hood ornament.

    After limited action in the Northwestern game, the Buckeyes made a concerted effort to get Wilson involved. His stat line won't blow anyone away—he had three carries for 16 yards and one reception for nine yards—but Meyer is showing a willingness to give Wilson some opportunities.

Carlos Hyde Will Be Ohio State's Workhorse Down the Stretch

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    Hyde had another dazzling performance, rushing for 149 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. No other non-quarterback ball-carrier got more than three carries.

    It's clear that the Buckeyes' running back spot belongs to Hyde.

    The 6'0", 235-pound running back was beastly in Week 6 against Northwestern, running for a career-high 168 yards and three touchdowns to save Ohio State's season. 

    Against Iowa, Hyde was the perfect counterpunch to Miller. Hyde's physical running style allows Ohio State to get the tough yards when it needs it, and Miller's big-play ability will continue to keep defenses off balance.

    With Hyde in the backfield, Ohio State has one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Because of that, Big Ten defenses will be seeing a lot of him down the stretch.

Winning Is All That Matters

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    The concern about whether an undefeated Ohio State team being left out of the national title game has been one of the most polarizing narratives in college football this year.

    After eight weeks of action, that talk should continue to fade.

    Of course, there is the possibility of the Buckeyes being left out. If Ohio State is the third undefeated team alongside any of the other contenders, the Buckeyes' resume doesn't match up.

    But in the past two weeks, No. 3 Clemson, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 Texas A&M, No. 8 Louisville, No. 9 UCLA and No. 11 South Carolina all fell.

    It's like everyone forgot that going undefeated in college football isn't one of sports' most difficult achievements. Upsets are more likely to happen as the season wages on, and because of that, Ohio State's main focus should be on winning. 

    Style points won't matter even if there are three undefeated teams remaining. The only thing the Buckeyes need to worry about is their next opponent.


    All stats per 

    David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
    Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.