By Rusty Miller
COLUMBUS: Carlos Hyde was staggered. So was No. 4 Ohio State.
Both bounced back.
Hyde ran for 149 yards, including 106 and two touchdowns in the second half, to lead the Buckeyes back from a halftime deficit to a 34-24 victory over Iowa on Saturday, extending their win streak to an FBS-best 19 in a row.
The game tilted on two athletic plays early in the fourth quarter.
Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller escaped the rush, ran right and then scooted all the way to the left sideline, running maybe 75 yards to gain 9 for a first down.
On the next play from the Iowa 19, Hyde took a handoff — the call is 13 dash — and bounced off right tackle. He rumbled to the 7-yard line, where he was hit hard by free safety Tanner Miller, the blow knocking him off balance. He had retreated all the way to the 11 by the time he regained his bearings and turned up the right sideline. Hyde ran to the 3 before vaulting just inside the corner post for the touchdown that put the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) ahead to stay.
“I’ve never had a run like that but that play was working all day,” the senior tailback said. “The safety came up and hit me. I came out of it and I was still up. I was like, ‘Let me try to catch my balance.’ Once I did I turned around. ... I was like, ‘Man, I haven’t even scored yet.’ When I saw [wide-out Corey Brown’s] block, I just went in for the touchdown.”
The game wasn’t the same after that.
“That run by Carlos, I don’t know, that’s God-given for him to make somebody miss a tackle like that and just keep moving forward,” said Miller, who completed 22-of-27 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns (58 yards to Brown and 14 yards to Devin Smith of Massillon) and ran for 102 yards. “And then to dive into the end zone like that, that’s sweet.”
The 19 consecutive wins ties the second-best streak in school history.
But it didn’t come easy.
The Hawkeyes (4-3, 1-2) dominated offensively in the first half and led 21-14 behind the strong play of quarterback Jake Rudock. He hit on 19-of-34 passes for 245 yards and three scores covering 2 yards to C.J. Fiedorowicz, 6 yards to Kevonte Martin-Manley and 85 yards to Jake Duzey.
But Hyde tied it with the first rushing touchdown against Iowa this season on Ohio State’s first drive of the third quarter, and the Buckeyes eventually took over.
“You don’t get a prize for playing a good first half,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You have to play a full 60 minutes.”
After watching Iowa’s offense control the opening half, the Buckeyes outgained the Hawkeyes 306-153 in the last two quarters. They piled up a 23:05-6:55 edge in time of possession in the half.
The Buckeyes haven’t lost in Urban Meyer’s two years as coach.
“I’ve learned a lesson in my life. I’m going to enjoy this win,” Meyer said. “I feel outstanding. I’m going to go hug my players and hug my family and go to work tomorrow. But, tonight? I’m not worried about any [problems on] defense. I’m going to enjoy this win.”
Teams had run 204 times this season against Iowa’s defense before the Buckeyes finally broke through for a score. Hyde barely got the nose of the ball across the goal line from a yard out to tie it at 17 on the first series of the second half.
The teams traded touchdowns, Miller hitting Smith before Iowa evened it on the next snap on Rudock’s perfect spiral in step to Duzey down the right sideline.
Then Hyde scored on the hit that at first staggered him to put Ohio State ahead for keeps. Ohio State’s defense finally held and forced a punt, with the Buckeyes adding Drew Basil’s field goal to make it a 10-point lead that they kept.
Ohio State’s All-Big Ten cornerback, Bradley Roby, was ejected from the game for a hit to the head of a receiver in the first quarter.
Rudock tossed a short pass over the middle to tight end Fiedorowicz with Roby hitting him high after an 11-yard gain.
Meyer questioned the call. Ferentz said it was correct.
The crowd of 105,264 booed loudly as the play was reviewed, and Roby was sent to the sideline. He then slowly walked to the locker room, all the while shaking his head.
As it turned out, the Buckeyes got by — barely — without him.