The need to know
What: Iowa vs. Ohio State
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
When: 2:30 PM
BLACKOUT: It wasn't very well advertised, because it was kind of a last minute thing, but the athletic department is calling for a Blackout today. So if you haven't left for the game yet, throw on your black Iowa hoody or something.
Senior Day: It's the last home game of the season and thus Senior Day. This year's senior class is rather large with 26 players taking the field in Kinnick for the last time. This class has been through many ups and down. Many of them were around from the dismal 2006 and 2007 season, but also played large roles in the amazing streak to end 2008 and start 2009. This season has definitely been slightly disappointing, but these Hawkeyes deserve a huge ovation today. Here are all the seniors in alphabetical order: Christian Ballard, Paul Chaney, Jr., Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Donahue, Ben Evans, Brett Greenwood, Justin Greiner, Kyle Haganman, Jeremiha Hunter, Troy Johnson, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Karl Klug, Josh Koeppel, Nick Kuchel, Brett Morse, Daniel Murray, Don Nordmann, Paki O'Meara, Ross Petersen, Allen Reisner, Colin Sandeman, Andrew Schulze, Ricky Stanzi, Jeff Tarpinian, Lance Tillison, and Julian Vandervelde.
Keys to the game
Time of possession: Ohio State took notice to the fact that Iowa's defense got tired at the end of the game last week. Terrelle Pryor mentioned that this week's game plan was his all-time favorite. While I'm not exactly sure what that means, I think it has something to do with tiring Iowa's defense out...no huddle, quick passes, long drives. Whatever it is, Iowa is going to want to keep the Buckeye offense off the field and keep the defense as fresh as possible. This responsibility will fall on the offense. Iowa is going to have to sustain drive. This starts with a good running game and better 3rd down play.
The fourth quarter: Last year, Iowa lived on amazing play in the fourth quarter. This year, they are dying by it. The defense may need to come up with a big stop, or the offense may need to drive the length of the field for a game winning score. Either way, the execution in the 4th quarter needs to be a lot better. Ohio State has been killer in the second half. Last week, after falling behind 3-14 in the first half to Penn State, the Buckeyes came roaring back and scored 35 unanswered. This has been a trend all year...they have been starting slow and playing well later.
Stanzi vs. Pryor: Last year Ohio State ran all over Iowa. I think Iowa's defense will be ready for it this year and really bear down on the run. They are going to try to make Pryor beat them passing the ball. Both Stanzi and Pryor have thrown a couple of picks in the last few weeks. I don't think either QB can afford to be careless with the ball today. Whoever has a better day will likely lead their team to victory.
This game feels sort of like the 2008 Penn State game. Iowa has lost a couple of close games coming up short in the 4th quarter. I think Iowa will be able to hang around with the Buckeyes and will finally capitalize on a game winning drive for a Mike Meyer field goal to win.
Final Score: Iowa 23 - Ohio State 21