Ohio St. Rolls Into Iowa
By Douglas Kroll
The last time No. 1 Ohio St. ventured to No. 13 Iowa in 2004, they suffered one of their worst losses in recent memory. In fact, it was the worst loss under head coach Jim Tressel, dropping the game 33-7 to the Hawkeyes. It was also the last time that Buckeyes QB Troy Smith was not the starting quarterback.
The Buckeyes take their 4-0 record, and two wins against ranked opponents, back to Iowa City Saturday afternoon, and this time they have a Heisman Trophy candidate under center. Smith has been a big reason why Ohio St. is the team to beat, having thrown eight TDs and two interceptions (both coming against Penn St. last week), and racking up 884 yards so far. Speedster wide receiver, Ted Ginn Jr., hasnt gained an astounding amount of yards, but has brought in five touchdown catches.
The Buckeyes running game has also been in tune thus far, with Antonio Pittman gaining 6.3 yards per carry and 112.5 yards per game. Pittman has also found the endzone four times.
Ohio States defense has been as solid as it usually is. The Buckeyes have yet to give up a rushing touchdown this season, and are allowing just eight points a game. The defense has also picked off eight passes, and returned two of them for touchdowns (each last week in the fourth quarter against Penn St.).
Ohio St. wont be looking for revenge, they got that last year when Iowa went to Columbus and took a lopsided loss 31-6.
Iowa, meanwhile, looks to also improve on a 4-0 record, but it has come in a much different fashion than the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes have yet to face a ranked opponent, and have picked up wins against I-AA Montana, Syracuse, Iowa St. and Illinois. Iowa hasnt been 5-0 since 1995.
Quarterback Drew Tate has been solid for the Hawkeyes, throwing seven touchdowns (in only three games) and averaging 229 yards through the air. Albert Young has been his favorite receiver, coming out of the backfield. Young has 18 catches for 152 yards and one touchdown, not to mention three on the ground. Combined, rushing and receiving, Young has averaged 108 total yards per game.
Defensive lineman Mitch King has been a terror to opposing offenses, as he has picked up 6.5 tackles for a loss, including five sacks. Defensiveback Adam Shada leads the team with two picks.
This will be Ohio States toughest task for quite a while, and if they could get past the Hawkeyes, the road to the Big Ten title looks much clearer. The Buckeyes have won nine of the last ten against Iowa, but all will be forgotten by Hawkeyes fans if they can pick up a win on Saturday.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.
Preview: Ohio State at Iowa
Released by OhioStateBuckeyes.com
Top-ranked Ohio State travels to Iowa City this week to take on the unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes in a prime time
showdown in Kinnick Stadium. A capacity crowd of 70,585 is expected to be on hand for the sixty-first meeting between the two Big Ten rivals. Saturday's kickoff is scheduled for shortly after 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.
Both teams are 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes opened conference action this past weekend with a hard-fought 28-6 win over visiting Penn State. The Hawkeyes, who are ranked 13th in both major polls, are coming off a 24-7 victory at Illinois.
This will be the second road game and the second prime time exposure of the year for Jim Tressel's Buckeyes, who earlier this season defeated then-second ranked Texas at night in Austin. It also will mark the third time this year that OSU has played a ranked team. Penn State entered last week's game ranked at No. 24 in the Associated Press voting.
The win over the Nittany Lions extends Ohio State's current winning streak to 11 games, the second longest streak in college football. The Buckeyes have won four consecutive road games, including three Big Ten tilts.
Iowa is 2-0 at home this year with wins over Montana and Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have a three-game winning streak intact in Kinnick Stadium.
This will be the 61st meeting between Iowa and Ohio State in a series that began in 1922. The Buckeyes have a 43-14-3 lead thus far and have won 16 of the 24 games played in Iowa City (there have been two ties). Ohio State has won nine of the last 10 games dating back to 1992. Iowa's 33-7 win in 2004 in Iowa City, snapped an eight-game OSU winning streak. The Buckeyes won last year's game, 31-6, in Columbus.
Quarterback Troy Smith is the all-time completion percentage leader in Ohio State history. He has connected on 61.7 percent of his passes (285-462) to date. He also is ninth all-time at Ohio State in career passing yardage with 4,061 yards entering the game this week against Iowa (Craig Krenzel with 4,493 career yards from 2000-03 is eighth). Smith's also ranks tenth in career total offense with career 5,030 yards. Smith has thrown for 200 or more yards in nine of his last 11 games.
Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is in 14th place on the all-time OSU receiving list with 92 receptions. He is also 14th in career receiving yardage with a total of 1,430, an average of 15.5 yards per reception.
The speedy Ginn has caught at least one pass in 23-consecutive games (beginning with Iowa in 2004) and has multiple catches in 21-consecutive games.
Ohio State coach, Jim Tressel, said "The Big Ten is a long, hard struggle. Iowa is a good football team with a veteran quarterback. We know it will take a great effort on our part this week."
Iowa quarterback Drew Tate has completed 58 of 93 passes (62.4 percent) for 687 yards. He has thrown seven touchdowns with just two interceptions. His favorite targets include Albert Young, Scott Chandler and Dominique Douglas, each who have at least 14 receptions this year. Young leads the receivers with 18 catches, including one touchdown, while Chandler has caught 16 passes (one touchdown) and Douglas has caught 14 passes (one TD). Young
is the leading ground gainer as well. He has 69 carries for 280 yards and three touchdowns and is averaging 70 yards per game.