IOWA CITY — Iowa knew "the norm" wasn’t going to cut it Saturday against third-ranked Ohio State, so it got a little ornery and brought a polecat to Kinnick Stadium.
The Hawkeyes executed a fake with its field goal unit called "polecat" to set up a third-quarter touchdown that gave Iowa a 21-point lead and gave the Buckeyes more of a problem than they were prepared to handle.
On a fourth-and-three play from the Ohio State 20-yard line that started with a swinging gate, senior long snapper Tyler Kluver turned receiver, getting the ball back from holder Colton Rastetter for an 18-yard gain on a pass play.
Kluver didn’t reach the end zone, stopped on the two, but did gain a first down that allowed Nate Stanley to throw his fourth touchdown pass of the game, hitting T.J. Hockenson for a two-yard score.
"I was as wide open as I’ve been in practice when we’ve run it," Kluver said. "I didn’t expect that, but it was there. I just had to catch it."
Kluver said the play had been part of Iowa’s arsenal for several weeks.
"We’ve been working on it. I thought we might use it last week (against Minnesota), but when I heard them say ‘polecat’ I was like, ‘We’re running it?’ I knew what I had to do. I’m just glad it worked."
Coach Kirk Ferentz had his own concerns.
"I was more worried about the throw than the catch," he said. "I felt pretty good about Kluver, he’s a senior."
Rastetter took off running on a fake punt later in the game, coming up two yards short of a first down on a fourth-and-nine-play with just under five minutes remaining.
Ferentz said that play was not part of the Hawkeye playbook.
Surprising result: Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said he didn’t see this coming.
The Buckeyes’ coach, losing for just the second time in 28 road games since arriving in Columbus in 2012, said he watched all last week for signs of a possible letdown after Ohio State’s emotion-filled fourth-quarter rally for a 39-38 win a week ago over Penn State.
He didn’t see a thing, calling it a good week of preparation.
"I thought we were ready," Meyer said.
Meyer credited the Hawkeyes for most of his team’s issues.
"Obviously turnovers, they controlled the line of scrimmage and we couldn’t stop them," Meyer said. "They played really well. They didn’t really do much differently than they’ve done in the past."
Topping 100: Akrum Wadley led Iowa’s rushing attack to its most productive game of the season.
Wadley rushed for 118 of the 243 yards the Hawkeyes gained on the ground and although he didn’t reach the end zone, he quickly rated this a favorite among the 13 100-yard rushing efforts he has had in his career.
"To come out and do what we did to Ohio State, that’s the best," Wadley said. "It’s awesome, to work all week and see a plan come together like that against a team like that, it’s big. I’m going to enjoy this one."
Lesson learned: Quarterback Nate Stanley has one thing up on his predecessor.
His helmet made it to the locker room attached to his head after fans stormed the field at the end of Satudray’s game, something C.J. Beathard couldn’t say following last season’s 14-13 win over Michigan that also ended with thousands of fans on the field and his helmet surfacing at an Iowa City nightspot later that night.
"I kept my helmet on. I had it snapped up super tight," Stanley said.
Early exit: One of Ohio State’s top defenders left the game with 3 minutes, 42 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Defensive end Nick Bosa, who entered the game tied for second in the Big Ten with 10 tackles for a loss and leading the Buckeyes with four sacks, was ejected for targeting after making contact with Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley.
The Hawkeyes scored on a 25-yard pass play to Noah Fant on the next snap.
The two ejections came after Ohio State lost two starting offensive linemen, left tackle Jamarco Jones and right guard Demetrius Knox, to injuries on consecutive plays earlier midway through the quarter.
On the rise: With a pair of catches in the third quarter, Matt VandeBerg moved into the 10th spot on Iowa’s career receiving list.
VandeBerg passed Marv Cook for the 10th spot and now has 127 career catches.
Sidelined: Ohio State played Saturday without its second-leading receiver.
Parris Campbell, a junior who covered a team-leading 410 yards on 29 receptions, missed the game because of an injury.
As expected, Iowa safety Brandon Snyder missed his third straight game and the eighth in the Hawkeyes’ nine games this season because of a knee injury.
Joining the wave: Fans, visiting teams and even game officials have taken part in the "Kinnick wave" this season, but Saturday was the first time Iowa players actually joined the rest of the crowd in waving to patients at the Stead Family Children’s Hospital at the end of the first quarter.
Hawkeye players are regular visitors of patients at the hospital but until this week had maintained their normal routine during the break between the first and second quarter while everyone else was waving to children watching from a top-story viewing area at the hospital located across the street from Kinnick Stadium.