The Buckeyes will look to follow up their performance last week against Penn State this Saturday at Iowa. The Hawkeyes are always good at home, so Ohio State will face a tough test. Here’s a preview of the game:
Saturday, November 4 at 3:30 PM ET on ESPN at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa
What to Watch For
Iowa needs to control the line of scrimmage.
On both sides of the ball, the Hawkeyes need to control the battle in the trenches. Offensively, they’ll look to control the clock, move the ball efficiently, and keep the Buckeye offense on the sidelines. On the defensive side, their D-line will look to rush J.T. Barrett to make poor decisions and harness the Ohio State running game. If they can do that they’ll have a shot at pulling off the upset on Saturday afternoon.
J.T. Barrett looks to continue building on his Heisman-worthy campaign.
The performance of Ohio State’s senior quarterback last week is well documented. If you missed it, he did pretty well. Many Heisman Trophy winners have a particular moment during the season when they either cemented themselves in the conversation or flat out won it. For J.T. Barrett, that “moment” was more of a quarter. If the Buckeyes keep winning and Barrett keeps putting up the kinds of numbers he has the last several weeks, he’ll almost certainly get an invitation to New York City in early December.
Ohio State’s special teams unit needs to do better.
The Buckeye kickoff coverage was almost one of the key contributors in what could have been a loss to Penn State last week, but they were bailed out by J.T. Barrett. Urban Meyer’s teams typically thrive on special teams, which makes these recent struggles even harder to comprehend. If they don’t improve, they will cost the Buckeyes at some point this year.
Player Who is an X-Factor
After battling injuries earlier in the season, Buckeye fans haven’t seen much of Mike Weber this year. There’s certainly no reason for the coaches to take carries away from J.K. Dobbins, who’s put up sensational numbers for a freshman. Weber though, is built for Big Ten football. I thought he’d have a bigger role in the offense last week against Penn State, but on the road at Iowa, Ohio State might keep it simple with the power run to move the ball and put points on the board. Watch for Mike Weber to see a bump in carries this weekend.
Ohio State by 17.5
On paper, Iowa’s offensive line against the Buckeye defensive line is a mismatch. The Hawkeyes average 3.57 yards per carry, which is 12th in the Big Ten. Ohio State’s defensive line has been stingy this year, allowing only 2.89 yards per attempt, good for 2nd in the conference behind Michigan State. The special teams can’t be as bad as they were a week ago and the defense looks to be in good shape, so as long as J.T. Barrett doesn’t have a letdown game, the Bucks will be in business.
Ohio State wins 35-16.