The Hawkeye football team is usually at its best when their backs are against the wall. The Hawkeyes like being the underdogs and liked being overlooked.
Insert Ohio State.
The Buckeyes come into Saturday’s 2:36 p.m. home game ranked fourth in the nation and have won all 18 games under head coach Urban Meyer.
And with the line on the game sitting at 16 points, there is no doubt Iowa is underdog this week. A big one.
“If you look at it, they've got a win streak that's approaching 20 games right now,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You don't do that by accident. That requires good players, good coaching.”
The Hawkeyes will no doubt have their hands full Saturday. Ohio State is averaging nearly 47 points and 500 yards offensively.
And Iowa’s last win Columbus came in 1991. That victory followed an on campus shooting at Iowa. It was one of just four wins against Ohio State that Iowa has recorded since 1963.
"Obviously they have a great leader in quarterback Braxton Miller," Iowa Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker said Thursday following football practice inside Kinnick Stadium. "They have a lot of skill guys and up front they're well-coached on the offensive line. They're very talented. They have a good scheme and they play within their scheme. They're a very explosive team."
The Hawkeyes are coming off a home loss to Michigan State. Several players went down with injury in that game, including running back Mark Weisman, wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley, linebacker Christian Kirksey, defensive end Dominic Alvis and defensive linemen Carl Davis.
The good news though is that all five are expected to play and all were listed on the two-deep depth chart. No one at Iowa has gone into specifics but it appears that Alvis’ is the most serious.
“We would have been in a little bit of trouble if we played Saturday,” Ferentz said. “Fortunately, we didn't. Based on what we saw over the weekend, looks like everybody's ready to go. We’ve just got to get through the week now.”
To beat Ohio State this weekend, Iowa will need a perfect effort. The defense will have to continue to play well and the offense will likely have to find success in the passing game.
There is a strong chance that Meyer will create a gameplan that will force the Hawkeye offense to beat them through the air. Expect to see seven or eight guys in the box to stop Weisman and Iowa’s host of running backs.
Ohio State leads the all-time series 46-14-3 and has won four straight. Iowa is 8-29-1 all-time in Columbus and the Hawkeyes are 4-6 coming off a bye under Ferentz since he became coach in 1999.
Iowa-Northwestern kick off time set
The Northwestern-Iowa game on Saturday, Oct. 26, will kick off at 11 a.m. and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
Hawkeyes to play in another Homecoming
For the third straight game, Iowa will play in a Homecoming game. The Hawkeyes spoiled Minnesota’s Homecoming in Minneapolis three weeks back before losing their own Homecoming to Michigan State two weeks ago.
Future Iowa Hawkeye schedules
Sept. 22 Wisconsin*
Oct. 6 at Minnesota*
Oct. 13 at Indiana
Oct. 20 Maryland
Oct. 27 at Penn State
Nov. 3 at Purdue*
Nov. 10 Northwestern*
Nov. 17 at Illinois*
Nov. 23 Nebraska*
Sept. 7 Rutgers
Oct. 5 at Michigan
Oct. 12 Penn State
Oct. 19 Purdue*
Oct. 26 at Northwestern*
Nov. 9 at Wisconsin*
Nov. 16 Minnesota*
Nov. 23 Illinois*
Nov. 29 at Nebraska*