ANALYSIS: 5 takeaways from Ohio State’s 54-10 win over Iowa

COLUMBUS -- Iowa slowed Ohio State’s high-powered offense for about three quarters Saturday.

That wasn’t enough as the Buckeyes returned from their off week with a 54-10 decision over the Hawkeyes on Saturday.

“This is a very good team coming in here,” Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said. “We had a lot of respect for this team coming in and they played well, especially on defense. So for us to win like this, it’s good, but there’s still a lot to improve on and a lot to grow from.”

ExplorePHOTOS: Ohio State routs Iowa

Here are five things to know about the game:

1. The score could have been a lot more lopsided if Ohio State had not settled for field goals.

Ohio State got the ball in Iowa territory four times in the first half but settled for Noah Ruggles field goals each time.

In the second half, the Buckeyes did turn an interception and a turnover on downs into touchdowns.

Ohio State remained perfect in the red zone with scores on all 36 red zone trips this season.

“When you’re playing against a really good defense, a top 10 defense, it’s not going to happen all at once,” Day said. “There aren’t going to be fireworks. I give Noah credit. We were able to put points on the board and keep going.”

2. The Iowa offense was as bad as expected.

The Hawkeyes entered with rankings of 120th or worse in most major offensive statistical categories, and Ohio State was happy to make a bad offense look bad most of the afternoon.

Spencer Petras threw an interception to Tanner McCalister on the first play of the game, and it did not get much better for him before he was benched for Alex Padilla.

McCalister picked off Padilla on a bobbled ball, too, and the Iowa quarterbacks finished 11 for 24 for 81 yards.

Leshon Williams ran for 31 yards on nine carries while Hamilton High School graduate Kaleb Johnson ran for 28 yards on 11 carries.

“Our goal is always zero points, so that’s too many,” said Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg.

3. The Iowa defense was as good as expected… for a while.

Ohio State slogged to 26 points in the first half then found its footing in the second.

The Buckeyes never got the running game going, but Stroud finished 20 for 30 for 294 yards and four touchdowns with an interception.

All of his TD passes came in the second half, including a back-breaking 13-yarder to Emeka Egbuka in the third quarter and a 79-yarder to Julian Fleming in the fourth.

Ohio State finished with a season-low 360 yards, the fewest for the Buckeyes since Alabama held them to 341 in the 2020 National Championship Game.

4. Some Ohio State stars returned to the lineup.

Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and running back Miyan Williams both returned after missing the Buckeyes’ last game at Michigan State, though neither had much impact.

Smith-Njigba caught one pass — a wide receiver screen — for seven yards after missing three games with a hamstring injury. He appeared to limp off the field after going for an over-thrown pass in the second quarter and did not return, but Day said he was only going to play a certain number of snaps and had already reached his limit on the day.

Williams ran for 19 yards on 10 carries.

5. Iowa contained the Ohio State running game.

The Buckeyes finished with 66 yards on the ground, their fewest of the season by a large margin (168 against Arkansas State), though that included13 yards lost on sacks.

Williams averaged 1.9 yards per carry while Henderson ran for 38 yards on 11 carries (3.5).

GAME BALL

Ohio State linebacker Tommy Eichenberg found the end zone when the offense was struggling to do so. His 15-yard interception return for a touchdown stretched Ohio State’s lead to 26-10 late in the second quarter, and he finished with seven tackles.

STAT OF THE GAME

Ohio State nearly matched the total points Iowa had allowed in its first six games combined (59).

SATURDAY’S GAME

Ohio State at Penn State, Noon, Fox, 1410

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