By Brendan Stiles
To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and No. 4 Ohio State, I put together a list of things you ought to know before these two face off at Ohio Stadium.
At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.
Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1) at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0)
Ohio Stadium; Columbus, Ohio
Oct. 19, 2013
2:30 p.m. Central
TV: ABC/ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)
Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:
1. Keep contain
This is going to be an enormous challenge for the defense here, especially if defensive end Dominic Alvis is limited by the injury that caused him to leave Iowa’s last game against Michigan State. But this is something the Hawkeyes have to be able to do defensively because no matter who’s on the field, Ohio State will look to attack the edges and make Iowa play sideline-to-sideline. If the Buckeyes have success doing this, that’s going to open the middle of the field for them to go vertical with play-action or with Braxton Miller just chucking the ball deep to his playmakers.
This is the most potent offense Iowa will face this season, so the defense has to stay disciplined here and at least limit the number of times Ohio State breaks contain, if not prevent the Buckeyes from breaking contain altogether.
2. Push the pace offensively
If Iowa is going to have any chance of keeping this game even remotely close, the Hawkeyes have to find a way to get into that 75-80 range with offensive snaps. Iowa only ran 62 plays from scrimmage against Michigan State, and it threw the ball more than three times the amount it managed to run the ball. Even if playing more up-tempo early on doesn’t work, the best thing Iowa can do is stick with it and not start slowing the tempo down because that’s just going to play into Ohio State’s hands.
If the Hawkeyes stick with playing up-tempo offensively, there are going to be opportunities late in the game to make plays and if the defense manages to bring its A-game, then maybe this makes the Buckeyes tighten up a little bit. There’s no harm in trying this if you’re Iowa.
3. Find something to build off of
To be blunt here, the odds of Iowa coming out of The Horseshoe with a win on Saturday are extremely slim. Not impossible, but extremely slim. Better Iowa teams have gotten destroyed in Columbus. With that in mind, the Hawkeyes have to find something from this game to build off of going forward because they have a pair of games at Kinnick Stadium coming up that are going to play a major role in whether Iowa makes a bowl game or not this season.