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Splish, Splash, Iowa Took A Bath
Hank Hersch
November 11, 1985
The Hawkeyes lost their grip on No. 1 as they fell to Ohio State, but Florida and Penn State remained undefeated—and so did Air Force
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November 11, 1985

Splish, Splash, Iowa Took A Bath

The Hawkeyes lost their grip on No. 1 as they fell to Ohio State, but Florida and Penn State remained undefeated—and so did Air Force

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Ohio State, meanwhile, zipped down-field smartly behind quarterback Jim Karsatos. His prime targets were Mike Lanese and Cris Carter; their five catches for 104 yards highlighted two first-quarter drives that produced a Rich Spangler field goal and a 3-0 lead.

When Sonny Gordon snuffed an Iowa punt in the end zone for a safety to make it 5-zip, Ohio State fattened the season's most amazing stat. In seven games, the Buckeyes had converted 18 turnovers into 83 points, while committing just four, which cost them nil. Then, two plays after Ohio State cornerback William White picked off a Long pass, tailback John Wooldridge bolted 57 yards for a touchdown. "Coach said, 'I want you to go in and run,' " said Wooldridge, pained by bruised ribs. "When I was crossing the goal line it felt like a good idea." A field goal raised the lead to 15-0 before Iowa went on an 88-yard march that ended with Harmon dashing three yards for a TD.

With 5:26 remaining in the third quarter, Hawkeye safety Jay Norvell intercepted a Karsatos pass, and suddenly the Hawkeyes were on the OSU 19. It was time for the Buckeye defense to reap its harvest. Harmon ran once for three yards. A second time for five. On third-and-two, he tried the middle again. Johnson slipped a block and darted into the hole. " Harmon had been cutting back on me all day," he said. "I wasn't going to get embarrassed again on national TV. I had people in Detroit watching. So I didn't watch his hips. I looked him straight in the eye and said no."

After Johnson's stop, Spielman applied the crusher. On fourth-and-one, with Fry passing up a 27-yard field-goal try, who should the Hawkeyes fail to block but.... "We didn't execute," Fry said. Spielman did. He pinned a diving Harmon to the turf for no gain. "I just popped him," offered the soph, who intercepted two passes and, like Johnson, had a shoulder in 19 tackles. At home, Woody Hayes was elated. "That Spielman, boy, he's a real football player," said the ex-coach, who's recovering from a heart attack. "And that Johnson, he hammers you, too. Boy, they can hit."

Iowa traded TDs with Ohio State, and midway through the fourth quarter was threatening again when 5'9" Terry White knocked the wind out of himself while jarring the ball from Hawkeye receiver Quinn Early near the goal line. On the next snap, Rob Houghtlin's 42-yard field-goal try sailed left in the swirling stadium winds, taking Iowa's No. 1 ranking along with it.

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