The Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0) remain undefeated, adding a 34-24 victory over the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday even though cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected for targeting.
The win did not come easy for OSU head coach Urban Meyer. Iowa played a physical Big Ten brand of football and controlled the line of scrimmage on defense and offense in the first half.
The Hawkeyes' offense dominated the Buckeye defense early and Iowa took a 17-10 lead into intermission.
Quarterback Jake Rudock threw two touchdown passes in the first half and routinely completed short passes under the Buckeye defense. He finished the day 19-of-34 for 245 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Rudock and the Hawkeyes were shut down in the second half by a much tighter Buckeye defense and were limited to only one touchdown in the third quarter.
The Buckeye offense was sluggish in the first 30 minutes but got rolling in the second half. Braxton Miller finished 22-of-27 for 222 yards passing and rushed for another 102 yards on 18 carries. He routinely out-danced the Iowa defense to pick up key third-down conversions.
If he continues to perform at this high of a level, he will quickly re-enter Heisman conversations.
There was a controversial call made in the first half as star cornerback Bradley Roby was ejected by the officials for targeting.
During the first quarter, on the Hawkeyes' second possession, Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz caught a pass and was hit by Roby as he was turning up field with the ball.
The referees felt Roby unfairly launched himself at Fiedorowicz and assessed a 15-yard personal foul targeting penalty, which carries a mandatory expulsion from the game.
The play was reviewed in the booth and replay officials upheld the call made on the field. Roby was subsequently escorted from the field.
OSU made adjustments at halftime and played a much more aggressive style of defense in the second stanza. They allowed Iowa only one touchdown in the third quarter and completely shut them down in the fourth quarter.
The Ohio State offense, behind the passing of Miller and the strong running of Carlos Hyde, took over the heavy lifting for the Buckeyes.
Hyde ran for two touchdowns in the second half and finished the day with 149 yards rushing on 24 carries. Miller found Devin Smith for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Drew Basil completed the scoring for the Buckeyes with a 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes were content to run out the clock at the end of the game and scored on every possession in the second half except for the last one.
It was a tale of two halves for the Buckeyes. Meyer and his coaching staff will be looking to eliminate the defensive miscues and create a more urgent atmosphere for the offense as they prepare to host the surprising Nittany Lions from Penn State.
PSU (4-2, 1-1) is coming off a win over Michigan last week and a bye this week.
The PSU/OSU game will be nationally televised Saturday, October 26, on ABC at 8:00 pm ET.