COLUMBUS, Ohio - Iowa's staff and players prepared for two weeks to shock No. 4 Ohio State.
They did - for a half.
Behind tailback Carlos Hyde's 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns and Braxton Miller's wizardry both throwing and running, the Buckeyes overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Hawkeyes 34-24 on Saturday.
"It wasn't like anybody on our part thought it was going to be an easy second half," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "You play 60 minutes. There's no prizes for leading at halftime."
Iowa (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) got plenty of big performances and was tied heading into the fourth quarter before the Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0) scored the final 10 points to run their FBS-best winning streak to 19 straight.
"We've just got to play better," said Jake Rudock, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns with one interception for the Hawkeyes. "We've got to play enough to win, believe that we're going to win. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done today."
Rudock threw scoring passes of 2 yards to C.J. Fiedorowicz and 6 yards to Kevonte Martin-Manley as the Hawkeyes, 17-point underdogs, took a 17-10 halftime lead.
Carlos Hyde, who rushed for 149 yards including 106 and two touchdowns in the second half to lead a power surge, got Ohio State rolling on the first possession of the third quarter. He barely got the nose of the football over the goal line to score the first touchdown after 204 rushing attempts against Iowa this season.
Miller, who completed 22 of 27 passes for 222 yards and two scores without an interception and ran for 102 yards, then hit Devin Smith on a 14-yard scoring pass for Ohio State's first lead of the game.
But the Hawkeyes didn't wilt.
On the next official play from scrimmage, Rudock flipped a perfect spiral just over the outstretched hands of a defender and to the fingertips of Jake Duzey, who caught it in stride and raced 85 yards down the Iowa sideline to tie it again at 24 through three quarters.
"I didn't have any idea where anybody was so I just kept running," he said. "I wasn't going to look back."
Rudock marveled at how a brawny 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore could not only make the catch over his shoulder but also outrun three Ohio State defenders the final 50 yards.
"Duzey's fast. He ran right past (the cornerback)," Rudock said. "The offensive line gave me plenty of time to get the ball out to him."
But the game tilted on two athletic plays by the Buckeyes early in the fourth quarter.
Miller escaped the rush, ran right and then scooted all the way to the left sideline, running maybe 75 yards to gain nine for a first down.
On the next play from the Iowa 19, Hyde took a handoff - the call is 13 dash - and bounced off right tackle. He rumbled to the 7-yard line, where he was hit hard by free safety Tanner Miller, the blow knocking him off balance. He had retreated all the way to the 11 by the time he regained his bearings and turned up the right sideline. Hyde ran to the 3 before vaulting just inside the corner post for the touchdown that put the Buckeyes ahead to stay.
"I've never had a run like that but that play was working all day," the senior tailback said. "The safety came up and hit me. I came out of it and I was still up. I was like, 'Let me try to catch my balance.' Once I did I turned around. ... I was like, 'Man, I haven't even scored yet.' When I saw (wide-out Corey Brown's) block, I just went in for the touchdown."
The game wasn't the same after that.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said his team's problems stemmed mostly from the play of the Hawkeyes.
"I felt we were getting pushed around (in the first half)," he said. "That's a good outfit we beat."
The Hawkeyes, however, couldn't come up with a big play when needed down the stretch.
"The second half was just a matter of stopping their drives," Ferentz said. "We couldn't get them out of rhythm."