COLUMBUS, Ohio – Iowa walked out of Ohio Stadium on Saturday night a frustrated, angry football team.
“We didn’t come here to play them close, we came here to win,’’ quarterback Jake Rudock said following the Hawkeyes’ 34-24 loss to fourth-rated Ohio State.
That chance evaporated in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes broke a 24-24 tie and added Iowa to a collection of 19 straight opponents who have left the field muttering woulda, coulda, shoulda after being beaten by OSU.
“We believed we could beat them. Watching what we saw of them on tape, preparing the way we did, we believed we would leave here with a victory,’’ safety John Lowdermilk said. “To not get one is tough to take.’’
Iowa led Ohio State 17-10 when Lowdermilk swatted down a Braxton Miller pass intended for Evan Spencer with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the first half.
It would be the last time the Hawkeyes stopped the Buckeyes until Miller took a knee on three straight plays at the end of the game and Ohio State settled for 495 yards of total offense, three yards more than the Buckeyes had averaged during their first six games of the season.
“We couldn’t get them off the field,’’ cornerback B.J. Lowery said. “That is what decided it. We didn’t get the stops we needed after halftime and they did. That’s why their record is what it is.’’
For Iowa, the frustration comes from the inability to sustain what it accomplished over four quarters.
Both coach Kirk Ferentz and linebacker James Morris praised the team’s effort and toughness.
Morris said the Hawkeyes positioned themselves for an upset which would have changed the complexion of a 4-3 season.
“We played with great effort. Our hearts were in the right place, but there are some things we need to fine tune,’’ Morris said.
Defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat believes Iowa can learn from the experience as it prepares for Saturday’s 11 a.m. home game with Northwestern, which arrives at Kinnick Stadium nursing its own three-game losing streak.
“You never feel good after one like this, a game you felt like you should have had,’’ Trinca-Pasat said. “But, we’ll watch tape, correct our mistakes and go back to work. That’s all you can do, learn and move on.’’
Ferentz didn’t mind there being a little hurt in the Hawkeyes’ voices after Iowa was denied a chance to win at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 1991.
“They took control, we couldn’t get the stops we needed and that was about it,’’ Ferentz said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort. The key now is how do we as a team respond, what do we do tomorrow to get ready for the five tough games we have left.’’