Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Undefeated No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes will play yet another home game this weekend after their road trip against Michigan State followed by a bye week. This will be the sixth time in eight weeks that Ohio State will play at home. The Buckeyes have won their home games by an average of 34 points and are the only team in the nation to have won every game by double digits. This Saturday, the Horseshoe will be Scarlet out against the 2021 Big Ten West Champions in the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa comes into this weekend 3-3, losing their last two games to No. 18 Illinois 9-6 and No. 4 Michigan 27-14. The all-time record between these Big Ten powerhouses stands at 46-15-3, with Ohio State holding the lead by a landslide, but Iowa has the most recent win in the series after upsetting the Buckeyes in 2017 55-24, the largest margin of victory for Iowa in the series.
Ohio State will start out a little sluggish as they will attempt to establish a run game on the first drive with both Henderson and Williams back healthy. Iowa has a strong rush defense with three NFL caliber linebackers in Jack Campbell, Jestin Jacobs and Seth Benson. The run game is going to struggle early in the game, but they will break loose at some point likely in the second quarter. Iowa will keep this a close game in the first quarter thanks to their defense. I expect their defense and special teams to give the offense the ball inside the redzone, but Iowa has shown no ability to score even with a short field this season and will likely end the majority of their drives with a field goal. I'd like to see the first quarter end somewhere between the 14-6 margin in favor of the Buckeyes.
By the second quarter, Ryan Day will more than likely forget about playing conservative and start airing it out to his elite wide receivers in Emeka Egbuka, Marvin Harrison Jr., Julian Fleming and now Jaxon Smith-Njigba, as he is set to return from injury. Once the Buckeyes realize they can torch this defense through the air, they will forget about the run game and allow C.J. Stroud to boast his Heisman campaign. However, I predict Stroud will throw an interception in this game, as Iowa has a great defense, and he has thrown one in each of the last few games. This game should hit halftime with Ohio State leading by at least three touchdowns. This is where I think Iowa can get a defensive touchdown and Ohio State's offense will be on the field the majority of the quarter. The score should be around 35-13 OSU.
By the third quarter, the Iowa defense will be so worn down because their offense won't be able to hold the football long against the Buckeye defense, so Ohio State should be able to do anything they want, likely grabbing another three touchdowns in the third quarter and pulling the starters by the start of the fourth quarter.
The second unit will probably not score for Ohio State, and they will likely let up a long drive to Iowa in the fourth quarter. The score will likely be around 56-13 after three quarters, and Iowa can grab another touchdown in the fourth and end the game 56-20.
Score Prediction: OSU wins 56-20
The Buckeyes have been easily the most consistent team in college football this season. They will not come unprepared against Iowa. Ryan Day has never lost coming off of a bye week and has shown he does not have let downs like his predecessor in Urban Meyer. Iowa has been worse than bad this year but have been kept in games by their defense. However, they have yet to play an offense as dynamic as Ohio State this season. With so many weapons all over the field, the Buckeyes will spread the defense to thin and will be able to speed past a much slower Hawkeye team.
With Ohio State coming off the bye week and Iowa falling to back-to-back opponents, the Buckeyes have opened as 29-point favorites against the Hawkeyes with an over-under of 49. The money line for Ohio State is -7,000, and Iowa's is +1,800. Ohio State has had the best offense in America this season, albeit against one of the easiest schedules to this point in the season. However, they alone average 48.8 points per game. The Buckeyes defense allows 15.67 points per game this year, but Iowa's offense pulls in an average of just 14.7 points per game, which is 127th in the nation. There are only 131 teams in college football this year. Iowa's defense has been the backbone of their team this season, so while the offense has struggled, the defense ranks No. 3 in the nation, allowing just 9.83 points per game.
The spread of 29-points will likely be reached because Ohio State has gone up against top ranked defenses in Wisconsin, Toledo, Michigan State and Notre Dame, and none of them have been able to slow down the Buckeyes offense this season. Iowa has no offense to speak of and will not be able to move the ball. The offense of Iowa will not help this game get to the over of 49, but the defense has pulled in multiple touchdowns of their own this season. The over of 49 should hit no problem as well.
Make sure you check out our fine sponsors!
Use promo code BELIEVELAND for $20.00 your first ticket purchase with Seat Geek!