Iowa Offense vs. Ohio State Defense
|Category||Iowa Offense||Ohio State Defense||Advantage|
|3rd Down Conversion||41.50||47||31.54||12||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
|Category||Iowa Defense||Ohio State Offense||Advantage|
|3rd Down Conversion||36.67||43||41.43||50||-|
|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
|Category||Iowa Special Teams||Ohio State Special Teams||Advantage|
|Field Goal %||71.4||57||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