Ohio State football is back after a two-week break to play the best defense in the nation, Iowa, at home in Columbus at Ohio Stadium.
The eyes of the Big Ten, and those loyal “Fox Big Noon Kickoff” watchers, are on Columbus to see if the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes (6-0), nearly a 30-point favorite, can handle the challenge that is Iowa’s defense. The matchup is one that features the nation’s best offense against the nation’s best defense, Iowa (3-3).
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The game is also one that sees the return of running back Miyan Williams, who against Rutgers had a historic day running the football, and the possible return of star junior receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. While coach Ryan Day confirmed that Williams will be back for the Buckeyes, he was less sure on Smith-Njigba.
The Buckeyes haven’t missed a beat without their preseason All-American wideout, but after crashing through several porous defenses, they might have an actual challenge in Iowa.
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Meanwhile, the matchup that could actually decide the game will be between one of the worst offenses in college football and an improved Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes’ secondary had been plagued by injuries for much of the season, meaning the bye week came at the right time.
Who will win this classic matchup? Follow The Columbus Dispatch staff below with OSU vs. Iowa scores, news and other updates.
The Buckeyes improve to 7-0. OSU’s next game is noon Saturday at Penn State.
For the first time since the Buckeyes 2016 game against Tulsa, OSU has forced six turnovers. That day, it was four interceptions, two fumble recoveries. As it stands now, Ohio State has three picks, three fumble recoveries. Their most recent takeaway was Kye Stokes forcing a fumble that Palaie Gaoteote IV was able to grab.
OSU’s C.J. Stroud managed to create extra time on a couple of different passes and hit a fourth different receiver for a touchdown pass on the Buckeyes most recent possession. He made Mitch Rossi the target of a three-yard rainbow as both drifted toward the sideline. Stroud is 20-for-30 for 286 yards, and he’s posting those numbers against a defense that entered the game giving up an average of 9.8 points per contest.
Also of note, Ohio State remains perfect on fourth downs, now 9 of 9 on the season.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud again finds a small window into which to deposit a pass. He floated it over a defender to Julian Fleming who sprinted the rest of the way for a 79-yard touchdown.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud made a couple of pinpoint passes to get OSU in the end zone again. The final radar-guided toss landed in the arms of Emeka Egbuka. Stroud is now 16 for 24 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Ohio State has only 33 rushing yards today.
BUCKEYE TOUCHDOWN ‼️ 🌰 @CJ7STROUD to @emeka_egbuka for @OhioStateFB ! pic.twitter.com/qFt2YKtMtf
Ohio State’s average starting position today is its own 49-yard line. They most recently took advantage of that when quarterback C.J. Stroud found Marvin Harrison Jr. in the front corner of the end zone to extend OSU’s lead.
He’s not new to this 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/CyjJRQZU8w
Iowa has five first downs today and five turnovers. On the Hawkeyes’ first two drives of the second half, Taron Vincent recovered a fumble, and then Tanner McCalister gave OSU its third pick of the game.
Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud has thrown his second pick of the day. It’s the first time he’s had two interceptions in one game since Nov. 6, 2021 against Nebraska, a game OSU won 26-17. Jack Campbell recorded the theft.
The following NFL teams were listed as saving a spot for their scouts in the press box of the Ohio State, Iowa game: Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Carlina Panthers and Chicago Bears.
Wide receiver Jayden Ballard, who has a special teams touchdown today for OSU, left the field shortly before halftime. Since coming off slowly following an overthrown pass by C.J. Stroud, receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba moved up and down the sideline and spoke with team trainers, but didn’t return to the field.
Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg picked off Spencer Petras and ran it in 15 yards for a score. The Buckeyes defense has forced three Iowa turnovers and made a stop on fourth down today. In addition to that pick, Eichenberg leads OSU with 4 tackles; he has one tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
No. 2 @OhioStateFB extends its lead before the half. pic.twitter.com/eS7kSFEtEx
The Buckeyes are 7 for 7 on fourth downs this season, including a conversion on 4th-and-two in OSU’s most recent drive. However, they still had to settle for a field goal. Noah Ruggles connected from 26 yards.
Iowa had its first three first downs on a drive that ended with Drew Stevens’ 49-yard field goal. Earlier we mentioned OSU’s discipline (ranked No. 35 nationally in penalty yards given up per game), but today they have been flagged four times for 40 yards, and a key play on the Iowa scoring drive was a Tanner McCalister pass interference all on 3rd and nine.
The Iowa Hawkeyes already had two turnovers when they again gave Ohio State the ball in a good position, this time as the result of Iowa punter Tory Taylor running on fourth down needing six yards and only picking up four. Caden Curry did a nice job for the Buckeyes to stop the play short. OSU took over at the Iowa 34 and settled again for a Noah Ruggles’ field goal, his third of the game. It was a 35-yard kick this time.
Zach Harrison’s sack fumble gave OSU possession after Lathan Ransom picked up the ball that Spener Petras had dropped. Four plays later, that would result in a Noah Ruggles’ 41-yard field goal.
After stalling (or worse) on its first two drives, Ohio State pieced together 10 plays for 75 yards and a score. Running back Miyan Williams capped things off on a two-yard rush.
.@Miyannnn3 is first on the board for @OhioStateFB 🔥 pic.twitter.com/CwL0xWYYE4
After only registering one yard on their opening offensive drive, Ohio State saw their second drive end in a touchdown … an Iowa touchdown. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Joe Evans easily shed his block, trucked over Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud forcing him to lose the ball, and he ran the resulting fumble in for a score.
The Buckeyes, who entered this weekend losing an average of 47.0 yards per game to penalties (No. 35 nationally) were flagged on the opening kickoff, as Jayden Ballard was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct. But on Iowa’s first play from scrimmage, Tanner McCalister picked the ball off. It’s the fifth straight game that OSU has registered an interception. Given a short field to work with, OSU’s offense was only able to gain one yard, but that’s all it needed to set up a 46-yard Noah Ruggles field goal.
Harry Miller continued his mental health conversation Saturday morning.
“He wants to shed light on depression, break the stigma and continue the conversation,” FOX’s Tom Rinaldi said.
“He wants to shed light on depression, break the stigma and continue the conversation.”
Retired @OhioStateFB OL @h_miller76 shares the courageous story behind his mental health journey with Tom Rinaldi 🌰❤️ pic.twitter.com/84nxxaTOSA
Jaxon Smith-Njigba warmed up with the first-team offense in the slot prior to kickoff between Ohio State vs. Iowa.
Smith-Njigba warmed up with Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. on the outside.
With Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s return to the lineup against Iowa, he was the slot receiver with Ohio State’s starting offense in warmups. Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. were outside.
JK Johnson and Denzel Burke warmed up as Ohio State’s first-team cornerbacks during warmups, while Jyaire Brown and Jordan Hancock, who is set to make his season debut Saturday, warmed up with the second team. Cameron Brown is out against the Hawkeyes.
Jerron Cage lined up as the first-team defensive tackle with Taron Vincent instead of Mike Hall.
Prior to Ohio State’s matchup with Iowa, linebacker Chip Trayanum was seen warming up with the Buckeyes running backs, taking carries with the second-team offense.
Trayanum played running back at Arizona State before transferring to Ohio State, scoring 10 touchdowns and averaging 5.4 yards per carry in two seasons.
TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams are both expected to be available against Iowa, splitting first-team reps during warm ups.
Ohio State football has a significant win streak against Iowa inside Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes have won each of their last seven meetings with the Hawkeyes in Columbus, allowing more than 24 points once: a 56-35 win in 1995.
Ohio State last faced Iowa at home in 2013, beating the Hawkeyes 34-24, helped by a 149-yard and two-touchdown performance by running back Carlos Hyde, while quarterback Braxton Miller threw two touchdown passes and recorded 324 all-purpose yards.
Heading into kickoff, Ohio State football remains a distinct favorite in its first meeting with Iowa since 2017.
The Buckeyes are 29.5-point favorites against the Hawkeyes, the seventh time this season Ohio State is a double-digit favorite.
Against the spread, Ohio State is 3-2-1, while Iowa, which has won three of its first six games this season, is 3-3 against the spread
Up until Ohio State’s most recent matchup against Iowa in 2017, the Buckeyes historically dominated the Hawkeyes. Before the Buckeyes’ trip to Iowa City in 2017, they had won each of the past five meetings with Iowa, and 13 of the last 14 meetings dating back to 1992.
However, Ohio State’s most recent meeting with the Hawkeyes was one it would like to forget, losing to Iowa 55-24 on the road to keep the Buckeyes out of the hunt for the College Football Playoff.
In what head coach Ryan Day called a “scar that doesn’t go away,” Ohio State allowed 55 points and 487 yards of offense to the Hawkeyes, including 125 yards and four touchdowns by tight ends T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant, while Iowa’s defense stifled quarterback J.T. Barrett, throwing four interceptions for an offense that averaged over five yards per carry, but did not score a rushing touchdown.
Day, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, running backs coach Tony Alford and defensive line coach Larry Johnson were all members of head coach Urban Meyer’s staff during Ohio State’s last meeting with Iowa.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said his team is well rested after its off week. Now, he said, the Buckeyes are ready for Iowa.
“It feels like forever since we have played a game in The Shoe, and it certainly feels like forever since we have played a game,” Day said during the pregame Skull Session. “During the bye week, we got our rest, we identified the things we have to improve on. But now it’s time to start playing. It’s time to start playing again. These guys have had an unbelievable two weeks. It’s time to get back to work.”
Full back Mitch Rossi said the two weeks of preparation for Iowa have been all about toughness and fight.
“Imagine if someone came in your house and tried to take what you got. I would die before someone got to my family,” Rossi said. “These are my brothers and that is our house out there. It’s going to be a street fight for 60 minutes, and I’m taking them every day of the week.”
Coming off Ohio State’s off week, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is set to return for his first action since the Buckeyes’ win against Toledo.
The Ohio State wide receiver has been sidelined with a hamstring injury suffered during the season opener against Notre Dame and has caught four receptions for 36 yards through two games in 2022.
The Buckeyes are also set to have running back Miyan Williams return, who missed the Michigan State game with an undisclosed injury. Jordan Hancock is also expected to be available for the Buckeyes for the first time in 2022.
Defensive end Omari Abor, wide receiver Kamryn Babb, cornerback Cameron Brown, running back T.C. Caffey, wide receiver Corban Cleveland, defensive lineman Tyler Friday, cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar, linebacker Mitchell Melton, linebacker Teradja Mitchell, linebacker Jalen Pace, running back Evan Pryor, defensive lineman Bryce Prater, tight end Joe Royer and safety Kourt Williams will all be unavailable for the Buckeyes against Iowa Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State has no players listed as game-time decisions on its injury report.
Kickoff: Noon, Ohio Stadium
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Ohio State will play the Iowa Hawkeyes on Fox in the “Fox Big Noon Kickoff” game. It is the first of at least three games Ohio State will play at noon on Fox. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Penn State at noon on Oct. 29 and Michigan at noon on Fox on Nov. 26.
Yes. The game will stream on any platform that offers Fox, such as HULU Live and YouTube TV. The game will also be on the Fox Sports app.
The Ohio State game will broadcast in Columbus on 97.1 FM.
Here are the announcers:
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Ohio State by 29.5 (odds by Tipico).
Heading to the game? Here’s where to park: