No. 9 Ohio State knew how important their matchup with No. 20 Iowa was on Saturday. A win would keep the Buckeyes hopes still alive for another trip to the Rose Bowl.
With 7:38 left to play, the Buckeyes were trailing 17-13 and their hopes seemed to be fading. But on their final drive of the game, they put the season in the hands of quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Pryor scrambled for 14 yards on a play they had to have to pick up a first down and just 5 plays later, Dan Herron scored from 1-yard out with 1:47 left to play to keep the Buckeyes (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes alive for a shot at the Rose Bowl.
The win also kept Ohio State’s chances alive for at least a share of the Big Ten title for the sixth year in a row. It also kept them tied with Wisconsin and Michigan State atop the Big Ten standings.
Iowa got the first points of the game late in the first quarter when Ricky Stanzi found Marvin McNutt on a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Hawkeyes up 7-0. The Buckeyes would respond when Devin Barclay hit a 18-yard field goal to cut their lead to 7-3 heading into halftime.
Ohio State would then take the lead midway through the third on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Pryor to Reid Fragel. But Michael Meyer would tie the game back up on a 31-yard field goal.
Iowa would then regain the lead when Marcus Coker scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Hawkeyes back ahead 17-10. But the Buckeyes would control the rest of the game and pulled out a come-from-behind win with Barclays second field goal and Herron’s touchdown run.
Ohio State’s defense was stout the entire game and limited Iowa to just 276 total yards. Stanzi accounted for 195 of them passing, but they could not get anything going on the ground and rushed for just 81 yards.
Pryor was just too much for the Iowa defense as he accounted for 273 of the Buckeyes 353 total yards. He passed for 195 and picked up 78 yards on the ground. But his most important play was converting the fourth down conversion that led to their go-ahead touchdown.
“It was huge and gave us that momentum,” head coach Jim Tressel said of Pryor’s critical fourth-down conversion. “I was afraid he was messing around and wasn’t going to get the first, but he made it.”
Ohio State will host Michigan next Saturday in their final regular season game. The Hawkeyes (8-4, 4-3 Big Ten) will play at Minnesota.