The Buckeyes head to Iowa City this weekend to face the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After a huge victory last week over Penn State, Ohio State can’t afford a let-down game against Iowa. Here are six players who will make an impact on this game:
Akrum Wadley, Running Back
Wadley is the kind of back who gets better and better as the game goes on.
Looking at his numbers so far this year, Akrum Wadley’s 3.99 average yards per carry doesn’t look all that impressive. Considering he averaged 6.43 YPC a year ago and totaled over 1,000 yards, he’s clearly got the ability to make a difference. Another reason the junior running back can’t be counted out is his average yardage per carry by quarter:
First Quarter: 3.58
Second Quarter: 4.00
Third Quarter: 3.50
Fourth Quarter: 5.06
As Iowa attempts to keep the potent Buckeye offense off the field, look for Wadley, who leads the conference in attempts per game, to get his name called often on Saturday.
J.T. Barrett, Quarterback
Coming off arguably the best game of his career, Barrett faces another tough defense this weekend.
There’s no way J.T. Barrett has a better game than he did last week, right? After completing 33 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns against Penn State, Barrett leads his team to Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. The senior now has two straight games with 325+ yards, 4+ TDs, no interceptions, and a 80%+ completion percentage. He’s entered his name into the Heisman conversation and will look to keep it going this weekend.
Josey Jewell, Linebacker
Iowa’s senior linebacker Josey Jewell will have a busy day on Saturday.
Jewell leads the Big Ten in tackles with 81, which is six higher than the next player. His 11.57 tackles per game is over two more than second place in the conference and good for fourth in the country. Not surprisingly, he gets his fair share of tackles for loss as well, with 9.5 TFL, which is fourth in the Big Ten. He’s all over the field making plays on defense, and against Ohio State’s offense he’ll get plenty of action once again.
Johnnie Dixon, Receiver
Although J.T. Barrett tends to distribute the ball evenly, Johnnie Dixon has emerged as big-play threat any time he touches the ball.
Ohio State’s junior receiver ranks third on the team in receiving yards, but he’s first in both touchdowns (6) and yards per catch (25.54). He’s hauled in two receptions of 50+ yards, which is tied with teammate Parris Campbell for second in the Big Ten. His numbers have been even better on the road, where his average yards per catch increases to over 32. Expect big things from Dixon against Iowa.
Nate Stanley, Quarterback
Nate Stanley is at the helm of the Iowa offense this year and has led the Hawkeyes to a 5-3 record. He’s ranked second in the conference in touchdown passes, behind only J.T. Barrett. He’s careful with the ball as he’s only thrown four interceptions this season (although he’s thrown one in each of his last three games). Watch for Stanley to try to keep the Hawkeyes within striking distance on Saturday afternoon.
J.K. Dobbins, Running Back
After flexing their muscle against Penn State last week, look for Ohio State to keep playing to their strengths against Iowa this week.
Although J.T. Barrett put up incredible numbers in crunch time a week ago, the strength of this football team is running the football. Alongside Mike Weber is freshman J.K. Dobbins, who’s gathered the majority of touches so far this year and is second in the Big Ten in rushing with 863 yards. Dobbins also has put up the top rushing average in the conference with 7.64 yards per carry. Iowa ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to rushing defense, so look for Dobbins to get a bunch of touches this weekend.