Saturday, November 14, 2009
Instant analysis: Ohio State 27, Iowa 24
By ESPN.com staff
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Quick thoughts from Ohio State's 27-24 overtime win against Iowa.
How the game was won: Ohio State's defense clamped down in overtime, pushing Iowa out of field goal range with a Doug Worthington sack and a tackle for loss. The offense didn't need to do much and really didn't, but backup kicker Devin Barclay drilled a 39-yard field goal to win it.
What it means: Ohio State will almost certainly be going to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1997. The Buckeyes also clinched at least a share of their fifth consecutive Big Ten championship. Iowa might have played its way into a BCS at-large berth with an impressive performance under very tough circumstances.
Player of the game: Ohio State junior running back Brandon Saine stepped up big with his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season. Saine's 49-yard scoring burst gave the Buckeyes a 14-point, fourth-quarter cushion.
Second guessing: Both head coaches played it extremely conservative in the closing minutes, and it cost Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. Iowa had possession at its own 33-yard line with 52 seconds left in regulation and one timeout. Quarterback James Vandenberg had thrown the ball well, but Iowa didn't attempt one pass and ran out the clock. Ferentz played not to lose, and he lost.
What Iowa learned: Its backup quarterback is pretty darn good. Vandenberg made only one major mistake in his first career start and showed tremendous poise. He didn't get a ton of help from the wide receivers until the second half. Iowa also learned that when you have a chance to win on the road, you have to play it bold.
What Ohio State learned: When the game is on the line, the defense will step up. The Silver Bullets did just that in overtime and allowed the offense to play conservatively. The Buckeyes also learned that the offensive line can have a dominant performance and Saine and Dan Herron aren't too shabby.