Grading the Buckeyes: Positives hard to find


A grade card on Ohio State’s stunning 55-24 loss to Iowa:

OFFENSE: D

After going 190 passes without an interception, J.T. Barrett threw four of them, including a pick six in the opening seconds of the game. Three of the picks were by the same player, Joshua Jackson.

Freshman J.K. Dobbins is a big-play runner but has spent much of the last two games on the sideline. Dobbins had a 35-yard run early in the game but got only five more carries. He and Mike Weber combined for just 11 carries. Other than Barrett, who had 63 yards on 14 rushes, no Ohio State player did much on the ground.

Left tackle Jamarco Jones and right guard Demetrius Knox were injured on back-to-back plays in the second quarter with the game tied at 17-17. They returned to the game but OSU’s offense didn’t. The Buckeyes scored seven points in the game’s final 40 minutes and that touchdown was aided greatly by Iowa’s punter being stopped at his own 22-yard line when he tried a fake punt on his own.

Looking for a bright spot? Johnny Dixon caught two touchdown passes. Looking for a second bright spot? There probably wasn’t one.

DEFENSE: F

Plain and simple, Ohio State’s defense was humiliated by Iowa, a team that ranked 88th nationally in scoring and tenth in the Big Ten before dropping 55 points on the Buckeyes. Ohio State couldn’t contain Iowa’s passing game or its running game. Iowa’s game plan worked as well in the fourth quarter as it did in the first.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley threw for five touchdowns and Akrum Wadley rushed for 118 yards. Ohio State covered Iowa’s tight ends, Ryan Fant and T.J. Hockenson, like playing pass defense against them was an NCAA violation. Fant and Hockenson each had two touchdown catches.

The linebackers weren’t much better if they were, in fact, better. And the highly publicized defensive line, which was dominant against Penn State, had its worst game of the season.

It had only one sack, which contributed to the coverage problems. And one of the few times it did get to Stanley, he threw a touchdown pass with Sam Hubbard hanging on to his leg.

The Hawkeyes’ 55 points were the most points anyone has scored against OSU in Urban Meyer’s six seasons in Columbus.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B

Remember those happier days a week ago when the biggest problem Ohio State had was less than stellar work by either of the kickers it has used on kickoffs?

Those problems appeared to have been fixed, at least for one night. And OSU’s streak of not having a punt returned continued.

OVERALL: F

The possibility that this year’s Ohio State team was highly overrated has to be part of the discussion. Maybe all its flaws can’t be fixed.

In the last few years, players like Darron Lee, Malik Hooker and Marshon Lattimore, who went from being back-ups to NFL caliber players in their first season as starters, created the idea that Ohio State’s roster was so deep there were always replacements of equal or greater talent waiting when the starters left. Maybe it wasn’t true this year.

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