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Grading the Game: Ohio State 20 - Iowa 17

Offense:  B

A hectic scoring drive near the end of the game raised the Buckeye offensive grade. Terrelle Pryor led a 12 play, 76 yard drive that allowed the Buckeyes to take the lead on one yard Boom Herron's touchdown run. Pryor's clutch 14 yard run on a 4th and ten extended the game after DeVier Posey dropped a sure touchdown pass.

The Buckeye offense scraped out 353 yards on 69 plays (5.12 yards per play), with Pryor accounting for 77% of it.  Boom Herron was not especially effective on the ground, for the first time in a few games. He had 69 yards on 20 carries (3.5 yards per carry) with a touchdown, and he added five receptions for 30 yards.

Ohio State's offense was Pryor-centered, a departure from the I-formation, Herron-heavy gameplans of past weeks. The first half was not successful with this style because of poor throws by Pryor and a number of drops by the receiving corp. The second half, however, was a vast improvement, with the coaches adjusting by calling more run/pass option plays (roll and sprint out passing) to involve Pryor's athleticism as a factor.

Iowa's defense is excellent, which makes the first half struggles understandable but still not excusable. For the past two games the Buckeye offense has been slow to start the game, and that must improve against Michigan.

Defense: A

It looked dicey for a little bit in the first quarter, when Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi tossed a 19 yard touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt, but the Buckeyes defense buckled down and held the Hawkeyes to 276 yards on 56 plays (4.9 yards per play).  The defense's true value was revealed, though, in situational defense late in the game. When Ohio State absolutely needed a stop, the defense three-and-outed Iowa to get the ball back. When the defense needed to end the game, they four-and-outed Iowa on the very next drive.

Linebackers Brian Rolle and Ross Homan both had fantastic games, with Rolle earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Special Teams: A

Ohio State's coverage units blanketed the Hawkeyes, and punt returner Jordan Hall provided solid field position throughout the day, although none were individually notable. Ultimately, though, special teams did provide the difference between Ohio State and Iowa. Each team had exactly ten possessions in the game, with the difference in possession efficiency separating the team. Placekicker Devin Barclay's two field goals bested Iowa kicker Mike Meyer, whose missed 40 field goal attempt in the second quarter ended up as the final point differential. Barclay's career long 48 yard field goal in the fourth quarter kept the Buckeyes within one score of victory, an opportunity they took advantage of on their next possession.

Players of the Game: Brian Rolle and Devin Barclay. Rolle was everywhere and led the team in tackles, while Barclay's two field goals has created a tradition of Ohio State kickers crushing the hopes and dreams of Iowa Hawkeye fans on an annual basis. Both players have participated in their last road game as Buckeyes, and we wish them the best in their last home game against Michigan on Saturday.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.