The Ohio State Buckeyes (7-1) are coming off a huge win against Penn State and will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3) as huge favorites. The last time Ohio State went to Iowa City and barely edged out Iowa 20-17 in 2010. The Buckeyes were losing 17-10 in the fourth quarter and forced to come back, but few predict Ohio State to struggle with this team. This should be an easy victory for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State will take on another top notch backfield, which is led by outstanding running back Akrum Wadley. Like Penn State, Iowa has a workhorse back and Wadley is one of the slipperiest athletes in the country. Wadley already has 911 yards from scrimmage this season and he may see enough touches to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on Saturday. The All-Big Ten caliber performer has a penchant for putting on a show during big games and the Buckeye defense will have to step-up.
Nathan Stanley is the sophomore at quarterback for the Hawkeyes and although he has played reasonably well up to this point, he lacks play-making ability. Ohio State needs to focus on stopping the run and make Stanley try and win it with his arm, because it does not appear he has that capability. Stanley is a first year starter and this game may have the youngster shaking in his boots.
The Iowa defense has a great core of linebackers and Josey Jewell is the leader of this active group. Jewell has been so superb that he was one of the 15 players named as a semifinalist for the Butkus Award. The All-American candidate leads the Hawkeyes in tackles and will no doubt make his presence heard on Saturday. Jewell has made a name for himself as one of the hardest hitters in the country, so ball carriers need to beware.
The Hawkeye defense lacks key playmakers in the backfield and the Buckeyes should be able to carve up this somewhat inexperienced unit. The Ohio State passing game looks to have found its stride the past few weeks and this week should be another easy test. Look for the Buckeyes to go deep early and often, because the lack of speed and athleticism in the back end of the Iowa backfield.