Needs a big time road performance today
Two hours to kickoff against Iowa. When the schedule came out this was the second game that was circled as keys to a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The first outing didn’t go as planned. This time around the Buckeyes cannot come out flat and tight like they did against the Badgers and Nittanys – because the Hawkeyes are coming off a loss and want nothing more than to get a win at home against Ohio State on senior day. It doesn’t happen that often for them after all (we have won 11 of last 12). The Buckeyes need to come out and set the tone and play like they are capable of right out of the gate. We need this one and the players have to come out and play just like Tressel has told the players they should – pissed and proud – when I first heard that was a Tressel term I wasn’t sure I believed it but after his halftime speech last week I kinda do. Let’s hope he can summon evil Tressel today.
– The super American #12 Stanzi will start this game after being injured for last year’s epic battle. The senior from Mentor, Ohio strangely gets his first ever start against the Buckeyes. The Buckeye secondary needs to be spot on ready because Stanzi has nice weapons in #15 Johnson-Koulianos and #7 McNutt at wide receiver and #82 Reisner at TE.
– Iowa also has an experienced offensive line led by RG #63 Vandervelde and son of coach #53 Ferentz at center. They will be opening holes for steady #32 Robinson who will get a lot of touches.
– On defense the story is up front with #95 Klug (great name) in the middle and stud #94 Clayborn. They are both really great players but the unit overall is not very deep and tends to wear down over the course of the game. Good news for a Buckeye team that has taken a liking to the power running game of late. The Iowa linebackers are led senior #42 Hunter, the other two are freshman – more good news for the running game and underneath stuff (can we get a wheel route with Saine maybe?). The playmaker in the secondary is strong safety #9 Sash. At free safety is team interception leader #30 Greenwood with 4 on the season. The cornerbacks are really not having exceptional years – very nice news for seasoned wide receivers like Posey and Sanzenbacher.
For the Buckeyes the running game will be very important to eat up time and wear down the Hawkeye defense. But it will be interesting to see how prepared Iowa is for Boom after a couple big weeks. This is a game where Pryor has to step up. Whether that means through the air or on the ground doesn’t really matter. Regardless he will have to step up and deliver today – which he has struggled with on the road this year. A rowdy Kinnick stadium and a veteran Iowa team with nothing to lose is definitely what the atmosphere will be like so the stage is set for him to be a star. He already said this week’s game plan was his favorite since the Rose Bowl – a repeat performance would be awesome. On defense after last week I would say the main focus should be on adjusting quickly. Stanzi is better than McGloin and this team has the skill players that can really do damage if we end up on our heels. The quicker we can shut them down and flex the defensive might the more frustrated and mistake prone Stanzi becomes. And the main thing ….. no kickoff or punt coverage mistakes.
Ohio State – 28
Iowa – 17