David Boston and Joe Germaine saw to it that Ohio State did not stumble again.
Boston caught two of Germaine's three touchdown passes and Joe Montgomery scored on an 80-yard run as the No. 7-ranked Buckeyes bounced back from their stinging loss to Michigan State to beat Iowa 45-14 Saturday.
Ohio State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) was far from perfect as Germaine threw two interceptions, Michael Wiley lost a fumble and Brent Bartholomew shanked a punt deep in his own territory.
But the Buckeyes amassed a season-high 627 total yards and the defense held Iowa (3-7, 2-5) to 180 while recording 11 sacks against the struggling Hawkeyes, who've lost four straight and need to beat Minnesota next Saturday to avoid their worst record in Hayden Fry's 20 seasons as coach.
"It was a chance for us to get back and redeem ourselves," Germaine said. "It was a good win. We were mentally down. We wanted to get back to our winning ways and we took the initiative this afternoon."
Ohio State, which lost its No. 1 ranking because of the loss to Michigan State, showed an ability to strike quickly. Its three offensive touchdowns in the first half came on possessions that lasted 16, 22 and 36 seconds.
"I still think Ohio State is no worse than a tie for the best team in the nation," Fry said. "I don't know who the other one is. They have the greatest conglomeration of talent that I've ever seen."
Iowa did stun Ohio State by taking a 7-0 lead 6½ minutes into the game. Freshman D.J. Johnson intercepted Germaine in the right flat and returned the ball 73 yards to the Ohio State 11. Quarterback Scott Mullen, who later sustained a broken collarbone, scored on an option keeper on the next play.
The lead lasted just 16 seconds. Montgomery broke through th line on the next play, cut to his right and went 80 yards for a touchdown, the fifth-longest scoring run in Ohio State history. The Buckeyes never trailed again.
"There was never a point in this ball game when I thought we'd lose the game," Ohio State coach John Cooper said. "Anytime you can come over here and hang 45 points and over 600 yards on the Hawks, you've got to be happy."
| Ohio State's Dee Miller tries to break away from Iowa's Tarig Holman during the Buckeyes' 45-14 victory Saturday. (AP) |
Boston caught touchdown passes of 54 and 17 yards and finished with five catches for 163 yards. That raised his career total to 170, breaking the school record of 168 held by Cris Carter.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound junior joined Carter and Terry Glenn as the only Ohio State players with more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He has 1,113 this year on 64 catches.
Johnson, a true freshman, said covering Boston was a chore.
"He's a grown man. I'm only 18," Johnson said. "But it's great competing with those types of receivers. It will only make me better."
Germaine also threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Matt Keller, who caught the ball with defensive end Jeff Kramer draped all over him, and finished 18-of-30 for 319 yards with two interceptions. Several times he completed passes after nimbly avoiding the rush.
"Their defensive line did a good job getting in a few times. We broke down a little bit and had to scramble around a little bit," Germaine said. "Matt Keller made a good play on the touchdown, taking it away from the guy and then scores. Big players make big plays."
Mullen broke his collarbone when he was pushed to the ground by defensive tackle Joe Brown after throwing a pass early in the second quarter and was replaced by Kyle McCann, who had been sidelined earlier by a sprained ankle.
"I heard it snap when I fell," Mullen said. "I knew it was broken."
The injury happened one play after Mullen had unwisely thrown the ball while being tackled. It went right to defensive tackle Mike Collins and the 290-pound freshman rumbled 22 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-7.
Iowa drew to 21-14 when McCann scrambled 13 yards for a touchdown with 2:24 left in the first half. But Ohio State got the ball at its own 41 with 1:03 left in the half and four plays and 36 seconds later, the Buckeyes scored.
Boston ran past Johnson and no one came over to help so Boston was standing wide open in the end zone when he caught Germaine's 17-yard pass.
Ohio State pulled away in the second half on Germaine's touchdown pass to Keller, a 27-yard field goal by Dan Stultz and Jamar Martin's 10-yar scoring run.
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