Posted: 3:13 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
By Jeanna Thomas
The Buckeyes will welcome the Iowa Hawkeyes to Ohio Stadium on Saturday. Ohio State will look to remain undefeated, while Iowa will be seeking to break the Buckeyes' streak and improve upon their current 4-2 record. It will be Homecoming in Columbus, and Saturday will mark the third Homecoming game Iowa has played in so far this season. The Hawkeyes beat Minnesota in Minnesota's Homecoming game, and lost to Michigan State in their own Homecoming game.
These teams have met 63 times over the course of their respective histories, and Ohio State has been dominant in the series, with 45 wins, 14 losses, and three ties. Ohio State's 2010 win over the Hawkeyes, which was the last time these two teams met, would have been the 46th win had it not been vacated.
Both Iowa and Ohio State are coming off of bye weeks. During Kirk Ferentz's tenure, Iowa is 4-6 after a bye week, but Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer is 21-2 in his career after a bye. The advantage there goes to the Buckeyes.
Speaking of Kirk Ferentz and Urban Meyer, this will be just the second time these two coaches have coached against each other. The first time was 2006, when Meyer capped off his first season at the University of Florida by coaching his Gators to a win over the Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl. The win was somewhat controversial, as an offsides penalty called against Iowa on an onside kick toward the end of the game was later acknowledged by Conference USA officiating representatives as an error.
Ohio State's co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers has a strong connection to Iowa's offensive coordinator, Greg Davis. Davis gave Withers his very first NCAA coaching job, at Tulane. Withers says Davis' offense has not evolved much since those days, so the Buckeyes should be well-prepared to stop the run and limit big passing plays from the Hawkeyes.
Ohio State has been very successful this season on the ground, and their rushing offense is ranked third in the Big Ten, with an average of 280.7 yards per game, and 17 rushing touchdowns this season. It's an interesting matchup with Iowa, as the Hawkeyes have been pretty successful defending the run. Iowa's run defense is ranked third in the Big Ten, allowing just 88.5 yards per game, and the Hawkeyes are the only Big Ten team that has not allowed a single rushing touchdown yet this season.
Iowa's passing attack is ranked 10th in the Big Ten, with eight passing touchdowns and an average of 209.3 passing yards per game this season, but five of those touchdown passes came on plays of 20 or more yards, which is exactly the type of play Ohio State's defense has been susceptible to of late. In addition, Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock is one of just three quarterbacks in the FBS since 2008 to rush for four or more touchdowns in their first four games as a starter. The other two are Robert Griffin, III and Johnny Manziel.
The Hawkeyes are 3-0 in games where their opponent receives the kick to start the game. For the Buckeyes, it hasn't seemed to matter whether they take possession first, or to start the second half. Ohio State is outscoring opponents 126-28 in first quarters this season, and 63-24 in third quarters, regardless of who wins the toss and takes possession first.
Ohio State, ranked fourth in the nation, should have little difficulty in handling business against the Hawkeyes, but Iowa has a history of knocking off highly-ranked opponents. The Hawkeyes defeated Penn State in 2008 and 2009, and Michigan State in 2010, when both opponents were ranked in the top five on the AP Poll.