#1 Ohio State at #13 Iowa Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern – ABC
#1 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) is the team to beat in both the Big Ten and the nation, outscoring their first Four opponents 124-32 and receiving 59 of 65 first-place votes in this week’s Top 25. The last time Ohio State went into Iowa City though, it suffered its most lopsided defeat under head coach Jim Tressel.
Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith looks to keep his Heisman run going. He has completed 66 percent of his passes for 884 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. His 159.9 passer rating leads the Big Ten.
Ohio State was able to get by on Saturday against Penn State winning 28-6. The win was the second over a ranked opponent for Ohio State, which defeated defending national champion and then-No. 2 Texas 24-7 on Sept. 9.
”They have had Four tests and they’ve passed them, some with better grades than others,” Tressel said about his team. ”They’ve incrementally gotten better. And (Saturday) they face a veteran quarterback and an outstanding running back and a good football team that will be the next test.”
The Hawkeyes come into the Game unbeaten as well. (4-0, 1-0).The Buckeyes won last season’s meeting with Iowa, 31-6 on Sept. 24, 2005, at Columbus. Smith passed for 191 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 127 yards and two more scores. Ohio State gained 314 yards on the ground, while holding the Hawkeyes to minus-9.
Ohio State is a 6.5 point favorite with a total of 43.5 at SBGGlobal.
The Hawkeyes have won 32 of their last 35 Games at Kinnick Stadium. ”We know we must be intense,” Ohio State guard T.J. Downing said. ”We also know that they’re one of the top couple of teams in the Big Ten and we’ll have to play a great Game if we want to walk out of Kinnick Stadium with a win.”
The Hawkeyes are 0-7-1 in their history against No. 1 schools, including a 49-0 loss at Ohio State on Oct. 11, 1975. The Hawkeyes also have yet to face a ranked opponent this season. Their victories have come over Division I-AA Montana, and three Division I-A teams – Syracuse, Iowa State, and Illinois – with a combined record of 5-7.
”As an athlete and competitor, this is what you live for,” Iowa safety Miguel Merrick said of the matchup with Ohio State. ”This is why you play the Games. Whenever you have the best, you want to step it up and have a good Game.”
”The good news is, I don’t think we’ve hit stride yet, or played Our best football – I hope we haven’t,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. ”We have to find a way to upgrade that quickly in the next seven days because we’re playing an outstanding (team). I can’t remember Ohio State ever having a bad team.”
Ohio State has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Iowa. The rivals will not meet again until 2009 at Columbus.
Look for that trend to continue and take Ohio State minus the points.