No. 1 Buckeyes toss aside No. 13 Hawkeyes to finish tough stretch. The road looks clear to a matchup with Michigan in the season finale.
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 1, 2006
IOWA CITY, Iowa - The toughest part of Ohio State's schedule is behind the Buckeyes.
And quarterback Troy Smith and company handled it with ease.
Smith threw for 186 yards and four touchdowns and No. 1 Ohio State picked up its second road win over a ranked opponent by manhandling No. 13 Iowa 38-17 Saturday night.
The Buckeyes faced three ranked teams in September - Texas, Penn State and Iowa - and beat them all by at least 17 points.
"That's something we talked about, how brutal that September schedule is," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "We've played against some tough teams who brought all they could bring us."
Ohio State, which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 12 games, won't face another team currently ranked until their season finale against Michigan on Nov. 18.
Iowa fell to 0-10-1 against No. 1 teams and couldn't put up much of a fight in the most anticipated game at Kinnick Stadium in more than 20 years.
The Buckeyes were just the fifth top-ranked team to visit Kinnick, the last being Miami, who beat Iowa 24-7 in 1992. And the last game to generate this much buzz in Iowa also came in 1985, when the top-ranked Hawkeyes beat No. 2 Michigan 12-10.
All the buzz, and a loud sellout crowd, wasn't enough to stop the Buckeyes.
"By my vantage point, this is the best they've played all year," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said of the Buckeyes. "This wasn't an easy one to walk into as a visitor."
Ohio State broke open a 21-10 game with long scoring drives on its first two possessions of the second half. Anthony Gonzalez, who caught two touchdown passes, took the air out of the Kinnick crowd with a spectacular 30-yard TD catch that put the Buckeyes ahead 28-10.
Gonzalez caught the ball on the left hashmark, cut back toward the right sideline - using his hand to keep from falling down - and fought through a tackle to reach the pylon.
Ohio State's next drive only netted an Aaron Pettrey field goal. But it ate almost eight minutes off the clock and gave the Buckeyes a 21-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.