For the first time in 13 years, Ohio State is going to Pasadena to compete in the Rose Bowl. In a thrilling afternoon game in the 'Shoe, the Buckeyes came away with a sensational overtime victory against the Iowa Hawkeyes. Not only will the win send the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl, but it also clinches the Big Ten title for the fifth straight season. Make no mistake, Iowa battled hard and had their fair share of chances to earn a victory, but the Buckeyes ultimately came out on top thanks to a 39-yard field goal by kicker Devin Barclay.
The fans erupted in passionate excitement after the game as they stormed the field to congratulate their Buckeyes on Senior Day in Columbus. In the first start of his collegiate career, Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg played his heart out as he very nearly led his injury-battled Hawkeyes to a victory in front of more than 105,000 screaming fans. The 2009 season has not been marked by very many 'nail-biting' games (aside from Southern Cal) for the Buckeyes, which made tonight's victory even sweeter. Here are my thoughts on this afternoon's hard fought victory:
Stuffing the Run
The Ohio State defense held Iowa to a mere 67 yards rushing on the game. It is no secret that the staple of our 2009 defense is our defensive line. They have made big plays all year long and seem to improve each week in defending the run. It should be noted that Iowa was utilizing their fourth string (freshman) halfback due to injuries, but holding any team, especially one with an offensive line as talented as Iowa's, to under 70 yards on the ground is quite an achievement. I know I'm not exactly 'going out on a limb' here, but judging by the way this season has gone so far, we are in store for a couple more big plays from this defense that will have a large impact on our next two games.