The Capital One Bowl Game of the Week is a preview of a pivotal matchup featuring teams from the Big Ten and/or SEC that could impact the bowl picture.
#9 Ohio State (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) at #20 Iowa (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Saturday, Nov. 20 ï¿½- 3:30 p.m.
Kinnick Stadium – Iowa City, Iowa (ABC)
Ohio State leads the series, 45-15-3
Last Meeting: Nov. 14, 2009 (Ohio State 27, Iowa 24)
Ohio State Outlook
The Buckeyes scored big with their running game against Penn State last weekend, racking up 229 yards in the second half to finish with 314 yards total (7.3 yards per carry). Quarterback Terrelle Pryor leads an offense that averages 41.6 points and 455.5 yards per game. He completes 67.2% of his passes and has thrown for 2,136 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and added 512 yards and four scores rushing. Wide receivers Dane Sanzenbacher and DeVier Posey are fourth and seventh in the league, respectively, combining for 1,380 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Buckeye defense has limited foes to only seven touchdowns on the ground and has allowed just 86.9 yards per game rushing (first in the Big Ten). Ohio Stateï¿½s passing defense is also number one in the conference allowing just six scores through the air and intercepting 17 passes, sixth in the NCAA.
The Buckeyes have struggled on the road, barely escaping Illinois with a win before losing to Wisconsin in the Badgersï¿½ marquee win of the season. In the last four conference games, Ohio State has given up big passing plays early, including two long touchdown drivers in the first 19 minutes against Penn State.
Iowa has one of the toughest front-four in the nation and its running defense is fifth in the NCAA allowing just 86.8 yards per game. Opponents are only scoring 15.0 points per game and totaling 307 yards per game. The Hawkeyes will need quarterback Ricky Stanzi to put pressure on Ohio Stateï¿½s secondary early in the game. Stanzi has totaled 2,482 yards and 22 touchdowns with only five interceptions. His top receivers, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt, have combined for 1,333 yards and 15 touchdowns. Balancing out the passing game will be running back Adam Robinson who has 914 yards and 10 scores despite missing time with a concussion.
Although Iowa has one of the top rushing defensive fronts in the country, its passing defense is 70th in the NCAA. It gives up an average 220 yards per game and in last weekendï¿½s loss against Northwestern, allowed 318 yards through the air, including 107 yards on consecutive scoring drives by the Wildcats.
Impact on Bowl Picture
Following the Northwestern defeat, Iowa is on the outside looking in on the conference race. A Hawkeye win would end Ohio Stateï¿½s five year run of holding at least part of the Big Ten championship. An Ohio State win would keep pace with Michigan State and Wisconsin atop the conference and put it in line for from its sixth-straight shared or outright conference title pending a win over rival Michigan. The Buckeyes can also remain in the hunt for a BCS at-large berth with a victory, whereas Iowaï¿½s BCS prospects are slim even with a victory.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has a losing record against only two Big Ten teams, Ohio State and Northwestern. This is the first time that Ohio State has traveled to play in Iowa City since 2006.
PICK: Ohio State
PICK: Ohio State