Once again, Ohio State reigns supreme atop the Big Ten after defeating the Iowa Hawkeyes in overtime, 27-24.
Buckeye Nation stormed the field at the Horseshoe early Saturday evening with roses in hand—and mouth—to join their team in celebration.
In the midst of Ohio State waving the "Best in the Big Ten" banner around the country, be careful not to forget or undermine the efforts of that other team that played in Columbus.
This is a message to the nation:
Don't forget the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Don't forget James Vandenberg's heroic effort, making the first start of his young—and promising—career. Vandenberg put up numbers a fifth-year senior would be hard-pressed to achieve in one of college footballl's toughest venues.
Perhaps the only apparent blemishes were Vandenberg's three interceptions. Well, forgive me if I pass the buck on two of those. One should have been caught and another was merely last-second desperation. It doesn't matter.
Don't forget the man-handling Iowa's offensive line put on Ohio State's offensive line throughout most of the game, allowing Vandenberg to pick out his targets with precision and Iowa running back Adam Robinson to run for 74 yards on 20 carries.
Most of all, don't ever let it pass from your minds the bearing down of an Iowa defense that was supposed to be picked apart, destroyed and left out to dry courtesy of the Ohio State University.
Yes, Ohio State ran for well over 229 yards. It doesn't matter. Iowa's defense held Buckeye leader Terrelle Pryor essentially ineffective and got off the field when it mattered most.
Please, remember the other team that worked hard, never gave up, and nearly blew many experts' predictions out of the water.
They were supposed to be too hurt, too overrated, not talented enough—not good enough.
Well, they proved everybody wrong.
They are our Iowa Hawkeyes and we believed they had a game like this in them all along.
Perhaps they came up short because of points left on the field or calls that—maybe—were a tad on the conservative side.
It still doesn't matter.
The Hawkeyes played valiantly and were in the game until the very end. For every bad play, they bounced back and answered with a better one.
As the country flipped through channels or saw the score on ESPN's bottom line, it stared in disbelief as our Iowa Hawkeyes stared the mountain of adversity in front of them and grinned.
We couldn't help but join.
As Buckeye fans lifted roses after Brandon Saine bolted 49 yards for a touchdown that put Ohio State up 24-10, we never gave up on our team.
Our loyalty was answered as Derrell Johnson-Koulianos returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards and Ohio State fans donned that look that says it all for the Hawkeyes this season—"Oh, no. Is this happening?"
It's a look we're used to this season. It appeared on the faces of Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Michigan State fans earlier in the year.
Even though this hard-fought battle's results didn't quite mirror the miracle comeback in East Lansing, we woke up Sunday morning with the loss's sting nearly faded.
We woke up with hopes of a BCS bowl berth remaining and ready for Iowa to fight for a trophy pig next weekend.
We will welcome our boys back with cheers so loud the entire world will know:
We are the Hawkeye faithful and we still love our Iowa Hawkeyes!
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