Buckeyes Dominate On Defense In Big Ten Opener
Ohio State avenged last season's lopsided loss to Iowa
Sept. 25, 2005
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------------ Top 25 Game Recaps ------------ -------- SATURDAY -------- No. 1 USC 45, Oregon 13 No. 4 Va. Tech 51, No. 15 Ga. Tech 7 No. 5 Florida 49, Kentucky 28 No. 7 Georgia 23 Mississippi State 10 No. 8 OSU 31, No. 21 Iowa 6 South Florida 45 No. 9 Louisville 14 Minn. 42, No. 11 Purdue 35 (2 OT) No. 12 Miami 23, Colorado 3 Wisconsin 23, No. 14 Michigan 20 No. 16 Notre Dame 36, Washington 17 No. 17 MSU 61, Illinois 14 No. 18 Arizona St. 42, Oregon St. 24 No. 19 Texas Tech 63 Indiana State 7 No. 20 Alabama 24, Arkansas 13 No. 23 Virginia 38, Duke 7 --------- FRIDAY ----------- No. 13 Cal 41, New Mexico State 13 No. 22 Iowa State 28, Army 21 ----------
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A lopsided 33-7 loss to Iowa had weighed on the minds of Ohio State's players for a full year.
It didn't take long for the No. 8 Buckeyes to erase that ugly memory on Saturday.
A.J. Hawk and the defense stuffed Iowa's attack, while Troy Smith threw two touchdown passes to Anthony Gonzalez and ran for two more scores to lead the eighth-ranked Buckeyes to a 31-6 victory over No. 23 Iowa.
"It's a good feeling to come out and beat a good team like we did," Hawk said after totaling 11 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks for 15 yards in losses. "It was pretty similar to last year, in reverse."
This time it was the Hawkeyes who felt the embarrassment of watching the score mount.
"This was a tough one," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "We took it right on the chin."
Iowa (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten) finished with 18 rushes for minus-9 yards as linebacker Hawk and end Mike Kudla led the charge. The Buckeyes constantly harassed Drew Tate, sacking him five times for minus-43 yards.
"I couldn't get outside," Tate said. "I couldn't do anything."
The Hawkeyes, averaging 428 yards per game, mustered just 70 through the first three quarters and ended up with 137. They were forced to punt on their first seven possessions, running one play in Ohio State territory. By that time the Buckeyes were in control 24-0.
"We wanted to come out and jump on them early - and I think we did," Hawk said.
Kudla added, "A big part of our defense was to pressure the passer and make him have to change things. The defensive backs were unbelievable today. They were so good that they gave us a little more time to get to Tate. All 11 guys played great."
Ohio State came in with huge questions about its running game, an absence of big gainers and an inability to score touchdowns rather than settle for field goals.
"Any concerns they may have had offensively coming in, it looks like they cured them today," Ferentz said.
Antonio Pittman rushed for 171 yards on 28 carries for the Buckeyes (3-1, 1-0), with Smith adding 127 yards on 18 carries and TDs of 16 and 4 yards. They became the first Ohio State quarterback-tailback tandem to top 100 yards in the same game since 1976, when Jeff Logan had 112 yards rushing and quarterback Rod Gerald added 104 in a 49-21 over Michigan State.
"Last year was an embarrassment for us," guard Rob Sims said. "We wanted to come out and make a statement. It was kind of a coming-out party for us."
Smith also completed 13 of 19 passes for 191 yards without an interception, although he did fumble three times and had another erased by a penalty.
"We were in the groove. Everything clicked," Smith said. "Maybe last year's game was a motivating point."
Gonzalez, considered Ohio State's No. 3 target behind Ted Ginn Jr. and Santonio Holmes, had a career-high six receptions for 90 yards. His TD catches covered 8 and 29 yards, opening and closing the scoring.
Iowa's only points came on a pair of field goals by Kyle Schlicher.
"They looked like a legitimate top 10 team today," Ferentz said. "I don't see a lot of weaknesses on their football team."
The Buckeyes get to enjoy the win now, with a bye week before their first road trip of the year at Penn State a week from Saturday.
Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said his team needed a strong game to carry it through the weeks ahead.
"We'll be able to go to the film and find a lot that wasn't perfect, but I thought we played the best we've played thus far," he said. "That's what you hope to do each week, get a little bit better."