#11 Ohio State v #10 Iowa
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
I have rarely been so happy to be so wrong. The Buckeyes proved to everybody that they are still relevant and will not roll over to die. The coaches, the offensive line, the quarterback, running backs and defense came out to prove a point and reestablish their hold on the top spot in the Big Ten. With the win over Penn State there is but one more step to go, one more test to pass and the Buckeyes will win their fifth consecutive Big Ten title and first trip to the Rose Bowl since 1996. Iowa will arrive in Columbus this week tied for the lead in the Big Ten with Ohio State. The Hawkeye / Buckeye match-up will decide the season for both teams as the winner will be Big Ten champs and get an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl.
Two weeks in a row a sleepy Buckeye offense decided to show up in the second quarter. Good blocking by the offensive line and fullback Zach Boren helped spring Boom Heron and Brandon Saine for steady yardage while quarterback Terrell Pryor had time to set his feet and deliver solid balls. The vaunted Penn State defense was unable to stop a well scripted afternoon of Tressel-Ball and there should be no let down this week. The Iowa defense is a beast when it comes to turnovers and with total of 26 turnovers, 19 of them interceptions, the Buckeyes need to lock down the ball and make smart plays. Defensive back Tyler Sash leads the team with 6 interceptions and will be keying on Buckeye wide receiver Devir Posey. Linebacker Pat Angerer leads the Hawkeyes with 106 tackles on the season and will certainly be hunting for a shot at Pryor.
This unit continues to amaze Buckeye Nation as they held an effective Penn State to less than half of their offensive average. There is no reason to think that for their final home game of the year will be any different. Iowa has been hit with two devastating injuries and will be starting redshirt freshman James Vandenberg at quarterback and true freshman Brandon Wegher at running back. Wegher has done well this season splitting time with fellow Adam Robinson and recorded 118 yards rushing in his first start versus Indiana. On the flip side, after Iowa quarterback Ricki Stanzi went down with an injury last week, Vandenberg completed only 9 of 27 passing attempts for 82 yards and looked out of place. This week Vandenberg will have to rely on All-Big Ten tight end Tony Moeaki for support when the Buckeyes blitz. The Buckeyes might just sit back, defend the run and dare Vandenberg to throw.
This one’s for all the marbles and the best thing about the game is that it’s at home. The stakes are so high for this game that it should rival the intensity of the USC game. Iowa has an outstanding defense that will test the Buckeye offense however with two first time starters at key positions on offense the Hawkeye’s won’t be able to put many points on the board. The win last week thrust the Buckeyes back into the spotlight and breathed new life back into the 2009 season. California here we come!
Prediction: OSU 21 – Iowa 6
Why OSU will win:
-Stifling defense and controlled effective offensive production will win the game for the Bucks.
-Iowa is starting freshman at both quarterback and running back positions. The Silver Bullets are frothing at the mouth.
Why OSU will lose:
-If Pryor get’s too excited and tries to do everything, he’s likely to make costly mistakes. -Turnovers and getting behind early will be OSU’s downfall.
Bold prediction for the game:
-Ohio State will lock up their fifth consecutive Big Ten title and their first trip to the Rose Bowl in 13 years.
Crazy stat of the game:
-No Big Ten team has ever won five consecutive conference titles.
-Jim Tressel’s resume at Ohio State: Three trips to the National Championship game, One National Championship, 5-3 in BCS bowl games, four (going on five) Big Ten Conference Titles, One Heisman Trophy winner and ZERO trips to the Rose Bowl.
-The last time Iowa beat Ohio State in Columbus was 1991, 18 years ago.
Last time they met…
Sept. 30, 2006: 38-17 Ohio State over Iowa in Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa players to watch:
Freshman QB #16 James Vandenberg
Freshman RB #3 Brandon Wegher
Sophomore SS #9 Tyler Sash
Senior #43 MLB Pat Angerer
Senior #81 Tony Moeaki