Smith Enjoys Big Day As Buckeyes Stop Iowa

Some compared Troy Smith's performance against Iowa Saturday to his showing in last year's upset of Big Ten co-champion Michigan. Between rushing and passing, Smith accounted for 318 yards and four touchdowns in Ohio State's 31-6 win over Iowa in the conference opener for both teams. Click here for more.

One week after a lackluster showing against San Diego State, Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith was back on the firing line against Iowa.

OSU leaned heavily on Smith and he delivered with a performance that he has probably only exceeded one time before -- that coming in last year's stellar showing in the upset of Michigan.

Smith accounted for 318 of OSU's 530 yards total offense and all four touchdowns in a 31-6 rout of visiting Iowa in the Big Ten opener for both teams Saturday at Ohio Stadium. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing 18 times for 127 yards and two scores.

Smith's total offense mark ranks 11th all-time for a single game at Ohio State. Smith is just the fifth player to have two games of 300-plus yards of total offense in his career. Smith had 386 yards of total offense against Michigan in 2004, which ranks third all-time at Ohio State.

"I just had to keep coming," said Smith, who improved to 6-1 as a starter. "It was an all-around good day today. The offensive line gave me time to go through my reads. They did a tremendous job today. All of those guys were good today. Today was a great confidence boost. I can't express enough how much I appreciate those guys.

"Hats off to the offensive line today. They came out with the emphasis and the understanding that we needed to dominate. They were the bread and butter today. Without them, this wouldn't have happened. They don't get as much pub as they should. I just try to get my guys out there because I think we have the best offensive line in the nation."

Smith scored his third and fourth rushing touchdowns of the season and now has six for his career. The first was on a 16-yard run in the second quarter to cap a 79-yard, 6-play drive. Later in the second quarter, Smith scrambled for 28 yards, marking a season-long for Smith and the Buckeyes.

Smith added his second rushing touchdown in the third quarter on a 4-yard run, marking his second career game with two touchdowns rushing. He had two touchdowns via the run last Saturday against San Diego State.

He took advantage of cutback lanes on the option.

"The offensive line just did a great job of moving guys," he said. "On some of the plays, the linebackers were just overpursuing. When they overpursue, they leave other sections of the field open. I just tried to use my vision and make some plays."

Smith was asked if he could compare this game to his showing against Michigan last year.

"I just go out there with the plays are called," he said. "I don't feel any pressure about how I have performed in the past or try to match a game from the past."

He did admit, though, that last year's lopsided 33-7 loss at Iowa spurred he and his teammates more than just a little bit.

"Everything clicked today," Smith said. "There was extra emphasis about the game last year. That motivated us more. I guess we were just in the groove today."

Coming off the SDSU game -- where Smith misfired on several passes, had one intercepted and saw another interception go through the DB's hands -- getting back on track was important, Smith said.

"That goes back to Coach Tressel and his emphasis this week," he said. "He said we had to put it on the numbers. Obviously, that paid off for us."

Smith threw touchdown passes of 8 and 29 yards to Anthony Gonzalez, giving him three TD passes on the year and 11 for his career.

But his favorite play of the day was a third-down slant to Santonio Holmes that kept an OSU drive alive.

"It was third-and-short," Smith said. "They were coming on a blitz and I threw a slant to Santonio. That was key. We needed to keep that drive going. Santonio made a great move off the line to get open and the offensive line picked the guys up that we needed to and I just tried to deliver the ball."

One play later, he threw the game-clinching 29-yard TD to Gonzalez to give the Buckeyes their 31-6 lead with 6:36 left in the game.

Perhaps the only black mark for Smith was a second-quarter fumble at the Iowa 4-yard line. OSU led 14-0 and was ready to deliver the knockout blow. Smith had already gained a first down on the play, but Mitch King knocked the ball out and Jovon Johnson recovered it. Smith also had two other fumbles, but the Buckeyes recovered those.

"Those are just ballhandling drills," Smith said. "That's not a good thing on my part. I should have held on to the ball a couple of times. It got poked out of there once or twice. That's something I've got to work on."

Only three receivers -- Holmes, Gonzalez and Ted Ginn Jr. -- caught passes. But with a comfortable double-digit lead from the start of the second quarter on, there was no reason to put the ball in the air.

"There's only one ball on the field," Smith said. "We need to find a way to get them all touches."

More Viewpoints

Here is what Smith's teammates had to say about him after this performance:

* Offensive tackle Kirk Barton -- "He's going to have to lead us. He's doing a good job. He's tough. He ran the option a little bit. You have to be a tough quarterback if you're going to get hit like that on every play. He works hard."

* Center Nick Mangold -- "Not too shabby. He was working really hard this week. He was focused on getting the job done he had to do and it showed in the game."

* Offensive guard Rob Sims -- "You'd be surprised what a week of practice can do. He spent more and more time with the ones. He just went out there and executed like he can."

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