Photo taken by me of Herky the Hawkeye holding a Tigerhawk flag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hawkeyes Facing a Tall Order at Buckeye Homecoming
written by: Danielle Zee
If the Iowa Hawkeyes want to prevail on the road this Saturday, they better bring their "A" game against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ranked 4th overall in the NCAA, the Bucks have won 11 of the last 12 meetings against Iowa. Fully energized after a bye week, The Bucks will host Iowa at for their 92nd homecoming game at Ohio Stadium. Ohio has won 73% of their homecoming games, and if that isn't intimidating enough, the Bucks are in the midst of an 18 game winning streak, the longer than any other team in college ball this year.
fFor the Hawkeyes to contend they will need to slow down Ohio's stellar offense and isolate Ohio's starting quarterback Braxton Miller. Ohio has a first quarter routine so well rehearsed it is basically scripted. New head coach Urban Meyer has even hinted at running some of the script at other points of the game. Says Meyer: "It's a notion you toy with as you look to develop consistency."
Iowa does bring some consistency of their own however. Quarterback Jake Rudock and running back Mark Weisman are working well together and with a solid offensive line. Hawkeye defense is also strong, allowing zero rushing touchdowns in their first six games. Having already won as many games this year as they did all of last season, Iowa football is clearly on the move. Even if the Hawkeyes lose this weekend, hanging tough against the Buckeyes would be a powerful message not just to Iowa fans but to the players themselves. In 2009 Iowa nearly beat Ohio for a Rose Bowl berth in a 27-24 loss that went into overtime. If the Hawkeyes continue to improve they could be back knocking on the door of the Big Ten elites.
Ohio will need to focus and keep their win streak in perspective. Four more victories will match the school record of a 22-game win streak that ended in 1969. Although the Bucks have yet to lose under their new head coach, Meyer hasn't flinched from openly commenting on concerns about the Ohio defense. Although ranked 6th nationally giving up 86.2 rushing yards per game, Buckeye D ranks 77th when it comes to passing yards, giving up an average of 240 yards per game through the air. Even so, Ohio's best defense right now might be their offense. The Bucks are bringing down an average of 492 passing yards per game and have a total of 36 touchdowns so far this year.
Coming off of a bye week themselves, the Hawkeyes are thankful for the extra rest. They will be needing that, and a little luck won't hurt either.