There is not really much to say about how Iowa lost. It was exactly the same fashion that they lost against Arizona, Wisconsin, and Northwestern. The defense gave up a touchdown long touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and Iowa's two minute offense was ineffective in responding. Also throw in the sloppy special teams with a missed field goal, a kickoff out of bounds, and all around bad kickoff coverage. I thought this would be the game that Iowa would overcome at least one of those issues. It was not.
This season has been disappointing and frustrating. Iowa is tantalizing close to greatness, but instead is a middle of the pack 8-4 team (maybe I shouldn't assume a win over Minnesota, but I am) likely headed to a middle of the pack bowl game. This was definitely not the way the seniors wanted to go out.
Anyway, enough with the gloom. I don't think I need to go over how Iowa lost to Ohio State. It's the same as the other 3 losses. Instead, I'm going to try focus on the positives...at least a little bit.
Players of the game
Marcus Coker: Adam Robinson didn't start and sat out the whole first quarter due to what Ferentz called "academic indigestion" and then went out at the end of the game with what looked like a helmet to helmet hit that arrived before the ball. Coker played in his place and had his best game of the season. He rushed for 70 yards on 9 carries and scored his first touchdown of his career. He added a catch for 11 yards. I was impressed with a play he made in the first quarter when he picked up a blitzing linebacker and gave time for Stanzi to find DJK for a first down. Coker will likely carry the load next week as Robinson's injury looked like a possible second concussion.
Adrian Clayborn: I think this was probably Clayborn's best game this season. He was consistently beating the tackle or tight end, whoever was blocking him, and making plays. He had a QB hurry that resulted in an interception and was good defending the run. His 7 tackles were the most he's had since his 10 against Penn State almost 2 months ago.
Keys to the game revisited
I don't know why I haven't ever done this yet...I write keys to the game pretty much every week, but never reflect back on them. Well, that ends today.
Time of possession: This didn't turn out to be as big of a factor as I thought. Ohio State didn't really do a whole lot to try to make Iowa's defense overly tired and didn't have many long sustained drives. Time of possession was actually almost exactly tied as OSU had the ball for 30:29 and Iowa 29:31.
The fourth quarter: I don't think I need to say anything about this one. The game was tied going into the fourth quarter, so however won the quarter would win the game. And that was Ohio State.
Stanzi vs. Pryor: For the most of the game I thought Stanzi was playing slightly better than Pryor. On a whole though, they were pretty similar. Both quarterbacks threw for 195 yards. Stanzi had the edge in complete going 20 of 31, while Pryor was 18 of 33. Stanzi also protected the ball better with no interceptions to Pryor's two. In crunch time, however, Pryor delivered converting a crucial 4th down with his feet.
There are two more game left now. At Minnesota should be a win and depending on the bowl Iowa should be playing in a very winnable situation. A 9-4 season isn't bad...just ask the 2008 Hawkeyes. Disappoint, yes, but not bad. The next time that Iowa takes the field in Kinnick Stadium it will be a new team in a new year that will have new opportunities (like playing for a berth in the new Big Ten Championship game) and another chance at greatness.