Iowa vs. Ohio State: Numbers

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This week is pretty straight forward. Two of the best defense will meet to battle for a trip to Pasadena. Points will be hard to come by as both offensive are mediocre. This game could come down to special team play, which could actually be a good thing.

Iowa Offense vs. Ohio State Defense

CategoryIowa OffenseOhio State DefenseAdvantage
StatRankStatRank
Rushing Yards119.20
94
85.403
BBBB
Passing Yards230.6047
168.7011
BB
Passing Efficiency
123.5779
94.646
BBB
Sacks2.2074
2.7023
BBB
Total Yards349.8082
254.106
BBB
Scoring24.1086
11.204
BBBB
Turnovers21
97
255
BBBB
3rd Down Conversion41.504731.5412
BB
Red Zone %86
29
81
52
H

Ugh. To say the Buckeye Defense has an enormous advantage over the Hawkeye Offense is quite the understatement. Looking at the numbers, Iowa's offense was struggling before Stanzi went down. And now with Vandenberg (nothing against him) at the helm, it really does look hopeless, but I'll try to stay optimistic.

Ohio State doesn't give up yards, points, first downs, or really anything easily. The run defense is one of the best in the country and even though Robinson may see some time, it is unrealistic that Iowa will be able to run the ball consistently. The key will be to run the ball well enough to get the linebackers to bite on play action, hopefully freeing up Moeaki or maybe even a receiver down the field.

Like, Iowa though, the Buckeye secondary has been very good against the pass and is very opportunistic taking advantage of turnovers. Vandenberg will have a very tough time against this defense and will need to be decisive and interception free.

Overall Advantage: um...Ohio State

Iowa Defense vs. Ohio State Offense

CategoryIowa DefenseOhio State OffenseAdvantage
StatRankStatRank
Rushing Yards118.7038
190.7023
B
Passing Yards173.0016
183.1098
HHHH
Passing Efficiency
94.304
129.8057
HHH
Sacks2.1052
1.5044
-
Total Yards291.7014
373.8062
HH
Scoring15.901330.3035
H
Turnovers262
1656
HHH
3rd Down Conversion36.6743
41.4350
-
Red Zone %88
98
74
102
-

It is pretty clear what Iowa needs to do here...force Terrell Pryor to throw the ball. Besides the stat for rushing yards, you see a lot of Hs up there as Ohio State's offense has been quite average while Iowa's defense has been very good.

Ohio State does have a decent run game, though a lot of those yards have come off of Pryor scrambling on pass plays.
None of the running backs pose a huge threat and the line isn't spectacular, so Clayborn and Co. will have their opportunity to make plays. The key will just be to contain Pryor (the leading rusher).

If Iowa can force the Buckeyes into passing situation, then good things could happen. Really OSU's only successful passing play this year has been to go deep to Posey (or Sanzenbacher). Iowa will need to get pressure on Pryor and limit the big plays. If they do that, then there's a good chance of keeping the game close. A defensive touchdown would be huge.

Overall Advantage: Iowa

Iowa Special Teams vs. Ohio State Special Teams

CategoryIowa Special TeamsOhio State Special TeamsAdvantage
StatRankStatRank
Kick Returns20.628424.1426
BBB
Punt Returns 7.7779
8.6067
B
Net Punting 38.3619
36.8737
H
Field Goal %71.457
50.0*
100+**
HH

*OSU's starting kicker was hurt, these are just the backup's numbers.
**The backup only has 4 kicks, which isn't enough to show up on the official NCAA stat rankings.

Considering that both defenses look like they have a big advantage over the offenses, the special teams will be a major factor. Ohio State has broken a couple of long returns, so Iowa will need to cover well. Hopefully Sandeman will be back to alleviate some of the trouble Iowa has had on punt returns the past couple of weeks. If not, Sash did okay.

Also, big advantage that Iowa has an experienced kicker in Murray. Ohio State is using its backup kicker who is just 2/4 on the year on field goals. With OSU's poor red zone efficiency, hopefully Iowa can keep them off the board by forcing field goals (that have a good chance of being missed).

Overall Advantage: Iowa (return game would go to Ohio State, but the kicker issue could be really big in a close game)

Prediction: I haven't picked Iowa to lose a game all year, but I have a hard time finding a win this week. I think the defense will keep the game close, but Pryor will make a play with his feet on a scramble late in the game that puts the game away. The offense will likely struggle against Ohio State's great defense, so I'd be surprised to see more than 10 points.

Realistic: Iowa 10 - Ohio State 17
Optimistic: Iowa 16 - Ohio State 14
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