(Saturday, November 20th)
Final Score: (8) Ohio State 20, (21) Iowa 17
Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - Buckeyes quarterback Terrelle Pryor rallied his team from behind, and Dan Herron scored the game-winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining as No. 8 Ohio State emerged with a 20-17 win over No. 21 Iowa.
Pryor passed for 195 yards and rushed for 78 more, including a key 14-yard scramble for first down on the go-ahead drive. But it was Herron's bruising one-yard touchdown run with 1:47 on the clock that gave the Buckeyes their fourth straight win and kept them in a tie for the conference lead.
Ohio State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) remained knotted with Wisconsin and Michigan State atop the standings with rival Michigan coming to town next week to close out the regular season.
Iowa (7-4, 4-3) suffered its second straight loss and fell two games back in the Big Ten.
A frustrated Pryor pulled his helmet off and stared at the ground after DeVier Posey dropped a 50-yard pass in the right side of the end zone, letting a sure TD slip through his hands.
But his bitterness quickly turned to jubilation during a go-ahead 76-yard drive that was saved for the Buckeyes by their slippery quarterback.
Pryor's scrambling first down came the play after Posey's drop. He carried the ball right, then came back around to the left side and surged ahead for 14 yards.
His 24-yard pass to Dane Sanzenbacher picked up the bulk of the remaining 36 yards before Herron punched it in, but it was Pryor's first-down run that may have saved Ohio State's chances for a conference crown.
"I don't know how many guys in the conference, in the country could have made that play," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa failed to convert a 4th-and-21 on the ensuing possession, all but ending the game.
Ricky Stanzi was 20-of-31 passing for 195 yards and a touchdown for the hard- luck Hawkeyes, whose four losses this season have come by a combined 15 points.
"Losing is frustrating and losing close games is frustrating," said Ferentz, whose team found itself in another tight battle.
The Hawkeyes held a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter after Marcus Coker scored on a one-yard run with 11:53 remaining in the game. The touchdown was set up by Iowa defensive back Shaun Prater's interception of Pryor deep in Ohio State territory, and Coker's ensuing 26-yard run.
Coker, a freshman, had 70 yards on nine carries while starting in place of Adam Robinson, who was held out of the first quarter by Ferentz. Robinson was less effective on his nine rushes, picking up just 27 yards.
Ohio State responded to Coker's TD on the next possession, pulling within 17-13 on Devin Barclay's 48-yard field goal with 7:38 left.
Iowa punted, and Pryor led his team downfield for the winning score.
The 37 points scored by both teams stood in contrast to a first half that was dominated by the defenses.
Iowa got on the board first, taking a 7-0 lead when Stanzi found Marvin McNutt for a 19-yard touchdown pass with about a minute left in the first quarter. McNutt caught the ball in double coverage in the middle of the end zone.
Ohio State didn't get on the board until Barclay's 18-yard field goal at 11:34 of the second quarter, ending an eight-play drive to make it 7-3. Iowa botched a chance to get the points back when Mike Meyer missed a 40-yard try about eight minutes later.
The Buckeyes took a couple of shots downfield at the end of the half -- and both of Pryor's passes failed.
Corey Brown bobbled a deep throw that should have been caught clean and Prater made sure he dropped it, tackling the Ohio State wideout with a wrapped forearm around the helmet.
Pryor was then picked off by Iowa's Micah Hyde on a 43-yard pass attempt into the end zone near the end of the first half. Two of Hyde's teammates tipped the ball before the cornerback corralled it while falling to the ground.
Ohio State took its first lead with an impressive 12-play drive to open the second half, getting its first touchdown of the game when Pryor found tight end Reid Fragel in the front of the end zone from five yards.
But Iowa tied the game after a Buckeyes defenseless receiver penalty set up Meyer's 31-yard field goal to make it 10-10.
Pryor finished the game 18-of-33 passing with two interceptions and his 78 yards rushing came on 15 carries. He hooked up with Sanzenbacher six times for 102 yards. Herron ended with 69 yards rushing on 20 tries.
McNutt caught seven balls for 92 yards...Fragel scored his first career touchdown for Ohio State...Wisconsin and Michigan State both won on Saturday...Ohio State improved its all-time record over Iowa to 46-14-3...Iowa finishes its regular season next week at Minnesota.
11/20 21:30:05 ET