The Buckeyes had to scratch and claw their way to a 34-24 win over the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday and they did so thanks to the superb play of quarterback Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde. Miller bounced back in dramatic fashion Saturday after a poor performance two weeks ago in Evanston. After turning the ball over three times against Northwestern, Miller did not turn it over against the Hawkeyes and threw for two scores in addition to 324 total yards of offense. Hyde showed no signs of letting up from his big day in Evanston as he added 149 yards and two scores on the ground in the victory over Iowa. Let’s take a look at how the Buckeyes big plays yet again propelled them to a victory.
The Buckeyes set this big play up from the first drive of the game, running the inverted veer on multiple occasions with both Hyde and dynamic freshman running back Dontre Wilson. On this particular play, Miller faked it to Wilson and dropped back to throw. The key on this play was not only the play action fake, but also the pulling guard (in this case Marcus Hall) that helped to sell the run. Every receiver on this play took off on a ‘go’ route while Corey ‘Philly’ Brown ran up the seam. The Iowa safety Tanner Miller, took the fake to Wilson which left Brown wide open in the middle of the field. Miller lofted a pass downfield for Brown who streaked into the end zone for the Buckeyes first score of the game.
14 Yard Touchdown Pass- Miller to Smith
This particular touchdown pass was set up by excellent blocking by the Ohio State receivers. After faking a run to Hyde, Miller quickly snapped off a wide receiver screen to Devin Smith who outran Iowa safety Tanner Miller into the end zone to give the Buckeyes their first lead of the day. This play is not a pre-determined screen to Smith however. Miller is told to read how many defenders are inside the tackle box and then decide whether to give the ball to Hyde on a dive play, or throw the screen to Smith. On the play, the Iowa defense only had six players inside the tackles, but showed blitz off the edge with an outside linebacker and left a corner to the short side of the field. This left three defensive backs on the three Buckeye receivers to the wide side of the field. Miller snapped the screen off to Smith who picked up superb blocks from both Brown and Chris Fields. Fields cracked down on the strong safety who was walked out over him and Brown took out the corner which left Smith in a footrace against the safety, which is always a good sign for the scarlet and gray.
While this play was a zone read by Miller, there was no doubt as to who should be carrying the ball for the Buckeyes inside the 20 yard line. Miller brought tight end Jeff Heuerman in motion from left to right then took the snap. He then shuffled right with Hyde making his read on the purposely unblocked defensive end. The end stayed, so Miller made the correct read and gave the ball to Hyde who picked up excellent blocks by Heuerman and both outside receivers. Hyde took a shot from safety Tanner Miller (who had an awful day) but regained his balance and did a Santonio Holmes-like dive into the end zone to give the Buckeyes the lead for good.