Iowa coach Hayden Fry knew it was a gamble.
The Hawkeyes were clinging to a 13-7, fourth-quarter lead in this top-10 duel at Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 24, 1983. Iowa was ranked seventh. No. 3 Ohio State had won nine straight in the series.
Iowa had a third-and-six situation from its own 27. Fry could have played it close to the vest, run the ball, punted it and hoped his defense remained stubborn.
But Fry called for a pass play. Quarterback Chuck Long threw to wide receiver Dave Moritz, who had beaten Shaun Gayle, made the catch at the Ohio State 37 and zigged and zagged his way to the end zone for a 20-7 lead.
“I think everybody would have been ready to string me up if that long pass hadn’t worked, or if it had been intercepted,” Fry said. “But I’m sure Ohio State didn’t think we’d do it. They probably thought we’d have to run the ball and then have to punt, so they’d get the ball back. Instead, I gambled and it worked.”
Long entered the game third nationally in pass efficiency. Ohio State’s Mike Tomczak was No. 1. And after Long’s scoring toss to Moritz, Tomczak marched Ohio State down the field for a touchdown to narrow the deficit to 20-14 with 2:21 to play.
The Buckeyes were unsuccessful with an on-side kick, but got the ball back on downs with less than a minute remaining. Ohio State’s fate was sealed when Tomczak got picked off for a third time, by Devon Mitchell.
View the entire series at DesMoinesRegister.com/Hawkeyes25in50.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football