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Ohio State takes on Iowa in a battle for
the Big Ten!
Ohio State was able to get past their first obstacle standing in their way
for another Big 10 title beating Penn State 24-7. Now they have one more test to
pass against Iowa this Saturday in The Horseshoe. After being upset by Purdue
that made the Penn State game a must win if they were going to have a chance at
a Big 10 title, and the Buckeyes came out and played inspired football and took
it to the Nittany Lions from start to finish. The biggest positive that came out
of that victory was that Terrelle Pryor didn't let all the negative press
surrounding him affect his play and he led his team to victory.
His stats weren't overly impressive, but he did what a QB is supposed to do and he was a leader for his teammates. Pryor went 8/17 125 yards and 2 TD and carried the ball 5 times for 50 yards and 1 TD. If this Ohio State team is going to finish this year up with a Rose Bowl appearance they must have that same kind of production and leadership out of Terrelle Pryor, but he will be challenged by a very good Iowa defense this Saturday. Iowa suffered their first loss of the season 17-10 to Northwestern last week. In that game the Hawkeyes lost their starting QB Ricky Stanzi, so backup QB James Vandenburg is going to have to have a big day if he is going to finish what Stanzi started and win the Big 10 title.
THE PRIMETIME MATCHUP
The strengths of both of these teams all year has been their defense. Ohio State is ranked 2nd in the Big 10 in scoring defense allowing 11 points per game and Iowa is ranked 3rd allowing just 16 points per game. In total defense Ohio State is ranked 1st in the Big 10 allowing 254 yards per game and Iowa is ranked 3rd allowing just 292 yards per game. In a game like this where it looks like the two team's defenses are evenly matched it is going to come down to which team has the most playmakers offensively.
With Ohio State they are led by their QB Terrelle Pryor who is coming off one of his best games as a Buckeye last week against Penn State. Pryor did a little bit of everything throwing for 2 TD's and running for another one, and that was against Penn State who arguably has the best defense in the Big 10. Pryor has been doing a little bit of everything all season for this Ohio State team, and he also leads the team in rushing on the year with 600 yards and 7 TD.
On the opposite sideline with Iowa missing their starting QB Ricky Stanzi this Hawkeye team is going to have to lean heavily on their backup QB James Vandenburg. Vandenburg did not have a good first game under center going 9/27 for 82 yards and 1 INT in their loss to Northwestern. That was not what Iowa fans were wanting to see in Vandenburg's first real action of the year. Expect Iowa to try to establish the run with RB's Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher to help take as much pressure as possible off their inexperienced QB. That might be a lot to ask of this Iowa rushing attack because Iowa is ranked 9th in the Big 10 in rush offense averaging just 119 yards per game on the ground. If they are able to have a big day on the ground, and limit the amount of attempts Vandenburg has they have the defense to keep this game close in the 4th quarter and then it will come down to who can make the big plays late, but if they struggle on the ground against this Ohio State defense then its going to be a long game for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
THE FINAL VERDICT
When comparing these two teams and how they stack up it is pretty obvious that its going to come down to each team's offenses which is kind of ironic since both teams relied heavily on their defenses this year. If Iowa had QB Ricky Stanzi we would give Iowa a much better chance to keep this game close, but this is not the game you want to have to start your backup QB. Not only are they going up against one of the best defenses in the country, but this game is also the deciding game for the Big 10 title. We believe Ohio State's QB Terrelle Pryor is going to be the difference maker in this game.
This game is going to come down to playmakers and Pryor will be the biggest playmaker on the field Saturday. We expect him to do a little bit of everything like he did against Penn State, and if Iowa QB James Vandenburg had problems against the Northwestern defense its only going to get tougher this weekend against the Buckeyes. Iowa's defense might be able to keep it close in the first half, but in the 2nd half we expect Pryor and the Ohio State offense to pull away and win easily.