COLUMBUS, Ohio —Jake Rudock played well enough at quarterback to give Iowa’s football team a puncher’s chance Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, Braxton Miller never flinched.
The Ohio State junior orchestrated touchdown drives on each of the Buckeyes’ first three second-half possession, delivering a 34-24 victory.
It was Ohio State’s 19th consecutive win — longest streak in the nation — and kept the Hawkeyes winless at the Horseshoe since 1991.
“It must be nice to run around like that,” Rudock said of Miller. “When you’ve got guys who can run, and with some good moves, it makes things tough for a defense.”
Iowa’s defense never did figure out a way to contain Miller.
He ended up 22-of-27 passing for 222 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Ohio native also ran the ball 18 times for 102 yards.
“We didn’t really change anything that we do, as far as just one guy spying him or following him around,” Hawkeye safety Tanner Miller said. “We knew he was capable of making those plays with his feet, and unfortunately we didn’t get to him enough.”
Rudock, meanwhile, kept the Buckeyes off balance through the first three quarters.
The sophomore from Weston, Fla., helped Iowa strike early, driving 80 yards in the game’s opening series and scoring on a 2-yard pass from Rudock to C.J. Fiedorowicz.
When Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) rallied in the second half and took a 24-17 lead, Rudock answered with a 85-yard toss and run to Jake Duzey.
“He’s a great quarterback,” Duzey said of Rudock. “We all feel comfortable with him and he spreads the ball out to everybody.”
Rudock finished 19-of-34 passing for 245 yards and three touchdowns.
“This is one of the tougher environments in football,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “And we put a lot of pressure on our quarterback.
“I thought he was very poised out there and continues to grow each week.”
Rudock’s lone interception came in the fourth quarter, with Iowa trying to rally from a 10-point deficit.
“We’ve just got to play better,” Rudock said. “We’ve got to play enough to win, and believe that we’re going to win.”
Miller had two things Rudock did not: An established running game, and a defense that eventually stiffened.
Carlos Hyde paced the Buckeyes with 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while the Hawkeyes netted a total of 130 yards on the ground.
“Defense wasn’t doing as good as it was,” Miller said. “And we just leaned on each other. That’s how it should be.”
Miller connected on eight straight passes while guiding Ohio State to two third-quarter touchdowns.
He also ran for 9 yards on a third-and-7 situation from the Hawkeyes’ 28, setting up Hyde’s 19-yard touchdown run for a 31-24 Buckeyes lead.
When Iowa (4-3, 1-2) forced a third-and-8 moments later at midfield, Miller ran for 12 yards, setting up the clinching field goal.
“When he’s running, I’m always expecting a big play,” Hyde said. “He can make something out of nothing. He’s a playmaker.”
Miller may have revived his status as a Heisman Trophy candidate Saturday.
Rudock gives the Hawkeyes hope moving forward.