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COLUMBUS — Ohio State was forced to play more than three quarters Saturday without standout cornerback Bradley Roby, who was ejected from the game after being flagged for a targeting penalty.
The Big Ten officiating crew headed by Bill LeMonnier penalized Roby for leading with his helmet and coming into contact with Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz in the head and neck area with about two minutes left in the first quarter. LeMonnier then announced that Roby was “disqualified” from the game.
OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the game that he “thought the hit was below… was it below the shoulder? That’s my question. I guess I don’t know. But I’m curious to find out the rule and [hear from] the replay official.”
The Buckeyes paid a price, perhaps, for Roby’s absence. The junior’s replacement, sophomore Armani Reeves, twice was burned on Iowa touchdown passes. Reeves, however, did have a career-high six tackles in OSU’s 34-24 victory.
NEW LEADER: Meyer said he had been searching for an emotional leader since starting safety Christian Bryant suffered a season-ending ankle injury during a recent game against Wisconsin.
“I found him, I think,” he said. “It’s No. 10, Philly Brown. The emotional guy in that locker room and [subbing for Roby] on the kickoff team. He was outstanding. I can’t believe I’m saying Philly Brown. I wouldn’t walk across the street for him last year. Now he’s a guy who is an incredible leader.”
OSU has two players named Corey Brown and they are nicknamed based on hometowns. There is Philly at wide receiver and Pittsburgh Brown in the defensive backfield.
Philly had the longest catch of his career on Saturday, pulling in a 58-yard touchdown reception. In all, he had three catches for 72 yards.
BRAXTON’S BACK: Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller had a very efficient day and may have sent notice that he is close to fully recovered from a knee injury that sidelined him for a couple games earlier in the season.
He completed 22 of 27 passes for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The junior also netted 102 yards on 18 rushing attempts, making some impressive open-field cuts and reversals.
“The knee injury set me back a little, but I felt pretty good out there,” he said. “I had a good week of preparation. And the ‘O’ line did a [heck] of a job. It just came together.”
Added Meyer: “He looks better; he looks like he feels great.”
IOWA/TOLEDO: Rogers High product Damond Powell saw his average yards-per-catch take a hit Saturday, but he nonetheless turned both of his receptons into Iowa first downs.
Entering the game against OSU, the transfer from Snow Community College in Utah had six catches for 225 yards, a whopping 37.5-yard average. Against the Buckeyes, he had two catches for 16 yards.
Another Toledo-area product, Andrew Donnal from Anthony Wayne High, also had a good day for the Hawkeyes. The 6-7, 305-pound right guard saw considerable action and helped Iowa produce 130 rushing yards and 375 yards of total offense.
Both Powell and Donnal are listed as juniors for the Hawkeyes.
ODDS’N ENDS: Ohio State did not punt, marking the first time the Buckeyes did not attempt a punt since a game on Aug. 30, 2008 against Youngstown State. ... The Buckeyes’ 19-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation, is tied for second longest in school history. The record is 22 straight from 1967-69. ... OSU’s win bumped Meyer’s career head coaching record to 123-23, exactly 100 games above .500. ... Meyer was not pleased with OSU’s defensive effort, especially in the first half, but the Buckeyes did manage to keep their streak alive of not allowing a 100-yard rusher this season. ... Ryan Shazier led the OSU defense with nine total tackles. Curtis Grant, playing despite the recent death of his father, added eight stops. Freshman nickel back Tyvis Powell had a late interception for the Buckeyes. It was the only turnover of the game.
Contact Blade sports columnist Dave Hackenberg at: email@example.com or 419-724-6398.