If you were holding onto any stock in the Iowa offense entering this weekend, it’s time to get rid of it while you still can.
The Ohio State defense proved a turnaround ain’t coming anytime soon for the Hawkeye offense, which was stymied every which way by Jim Knowles and company in Saturday’s 54-10 Buckeye win. On the flip side, several scarlet and gray defenders raised their profile with outstanding efforts during the victory, even if the offense had an off day – yes, even with 54 points.
We give you the latest Eleven Warriors stock report after eight weeks of college football action, looking at Ohio State’s seventh straight win, developments around the Big Ten and other significant storylines across the country.
For the second time in the past three games, Zach Harrison has been at the forefront of dominant performances by the Buckeye defense. After helping create two turnovers against Rutgers, the senior defensive end had another monster day versus Iowa, recording his first sack of the season and forcing a fumble on the same play, deflecting a third-down pass at the line of scrimmage and finishing with two tackles for loss.
Harrison made four drive-ending plays early in the game to set the tone for the Ohio State defense, which forced six total turnovers and held the Hawkeyes to just 158 yards of total offense. After the game, Ryan Day said Harrison is “playing his best football” in year four, and it’s hard to argue with the results.
Zach Harrison is built different. pic.twitter.com/cBeFJ186ES
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 22, 2022
Ohio State’s starting nickel safety put the Iowa offense behind the eight-ball on its very first snap of the game. Spencer Petras threw a pass straight to Tanner McCalister deep in Hawkeye territory just eight seconds into the contest. Although the Buckeye offense only came up with three points on the ensuing possession, McCalister’s pick rattled the Hawkeye passer right off the bat, and he wasn’t done there. Once Petras was benched in the second half, McCalister also intercepted the first pass of the day by backup QB Alex Padilla, and his two-pick day gives the Oklahoma State transfer a team-high three INTs on the season.
Tanner McCalister’s second interception of the season courtesy of Spencer Petras.pic.twitter.com/kycCL5G7Z4
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 22, 2022
Of all the turnovers Ohio State created on Saturday, only one directly put points on the board for the Buckeyes, and it came at a crucial moment. With the Buckeyes only up nine points amid offensive struggles in the first half, Tommy Eichenberg picked off a Petras pass at the Iowa 15 and ran it back to the end zone. It was the first interception of Eichenberg’s college career, the first defensive touchdown of the season for Ohio State and the big play gave the Buckeyes much-needed separation from an Iowa team that was hanging tough early with solid defense.
Pick-6 for Tommy Eichenberg. Put this clip on repeat.pic.twitter.com/9lVlRwAxMo
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) October 22, 2022
Sacks for OSU defensive ends
Ohio State’s defensive ends had four sacks coming off the bye week. The position group combined for 3.5 Saturday alone as the Buckeyes had a season-high five sacks in total against Iowa. Harrison had the first of his season, as previously mentioned, and Javontae Jean-Baptiste made his third sack of the year as his productivity continues to be a pleasant surprise for Larry Johnson’s unit. JT Tuimoloau finally tallied the first sack of his sophomore season in scarlet and gray, and true freshman Caden Curry was credited with a half-sack of his own.
As for non-DEs, Cody Simon and Jerron Cage both had at least a half-sack as well, but the increased sack production from Ohio State’s edge rushers was perhaps the most promising sign of all.
Just when it looked like the Drew Allar era might begin at Penn State, Sean Clifford turned in a season-best effort under center in a blowout win over Minnesota this past weekend. A poor performance and fourth-quarter injury against Michigan made it seem as though Allar, a five-star freshman might get his first start against the Gophers. Instead, the sixth-year veteran and longtime Nittany Lion starter tossed four touchdowns and 295 yards and turned in his highest passer rating of the year. With that showcase, Clifford looks like he’ll get a fourth crack to beat the Buckeyes this weekend.
It was easy to write Oregon off after the 49-3 spanking it received in the season opener against Georgia, but the Ducks have done nothing but win games since then. The latest victory in Oregon’s six-game tear was its most impressive of the year, a 45-30 win over a UCLA team that hadn’t lost a game yet en route to the No. 9 ranking in the country. Given USC’s recent stumble, Oregon is now the top-ranked Pac-12 team in the AP Top 25, and the Utes are the only remaining ranked opponent on the Ducks’ regular-season slate.
buckeye run game
The Buckeyes never got it going on the ground against Iowa. But that doesn’t quite describe just how bad Ohio State’s rush attack was relative to recent program history. With 66 yards on 30 carries, the Buckeyes’ had not only their worst day of the season in the run game, but the second-fewest yards and second-lowest yard-per-carry in any single game since 2011.
The only worse performance in that time span was Ohio State’s 2021 loss to Michigan, in which the Buckeyes ran for just 64 yards on 30 carries. Both TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams had the lowest YPC average of any game in their careers, and aside from a game-long 13-yard carry, Williams ran for just six yards on his nine other carries.
JSN health status
Jaxon’s back! For a quarter-and-a-half, anyway. The star wideout returned to action for the first time since Week 3 on Saturday, but he wasn’t on the field long before appearing to tweak his ongoing hamstring injury once again. Smith-Njigba left the game in the second quarter following a downfield route on which he seemed to favor his leg, finishing with just one catch for seven yards. Ryan Day afterward that Smith-Njigba only left the game because he’d exhausted his 20-play “pitch count” for the afternoon, but that wo n’t do much to slow suspicion said that the junior receiver may have reagravated his issue over the weekend.
Jaxon Smith-Njigbas final play Saturday. Pretty clear somethings not right. pic.twitter.com/A9C2h0KN5v
— Bill Rabinowitz (@brdispatch) October 24, 2022
You may recall the Longhorn gunslinger being prominently featured on the other side of this stock report just a couple short weeks ago due to a breakout performance in his first-ever Red River Rivalry game. This past weekend proved those types of games won’t be the norm for the former Buckeye just yet. Ewers completed just 19 of 49 pass attempts in a loss to Oklahoma State, and his three interceptions were crucial to the end result.
Consistent greatness as a first-year starter is probably too high an expectation for anyone, but the hype surrounding Ewers ensures that both his peaks and valleys will get plenty of exposure on a national scale.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 23, 2022
Unbeaten no longer, Lane Kiffin and company surrendered a 17-3 lead to unranked LSU to lose 45-20 in Baton Rouge. Even after taking a 20-17 lead into halftime, Ole Miss was outscored 28-0 in the final 30 minutes to cough up both the contest and its unblemished record. Tiger quarterback Jayden Daniels racked up 369 yards of offense and five total touchdowns, giving him 11 scores in the past two weeks alone, as LSU knocked off the No. 7 team in the nation and rocketed back into the AP poll at No. 18.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they’ll have to pull off an even bigger upset to keep their momentum going after a bye next weekend, as LSU runs into Alabama on Nov. 5.
Plenty of offenses have had bad days against Jim Knowles’ Ohio State defense this season, but Saturday’s Hawkeye performance was no anomaly. Iowa showed almost no signs of life offensively amid a six-turnover day, save a 10-play, 44-yard drive that resulted in a field goal. Both the Ohio State and Iowa defense scored more points than Brian Ferentz’s Hawkeye offense over the weekend, and the head coach’s son is on a scorching hot seat as offensive coordinator in Iowa City.