IOWA HAWKEYES (4-2)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (6-0)
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -17, Total: 55.5
After surviving its toughest two-game stretch of the season, No. 4 Ohio State looks to win its 19th straight game when it hosts an Iowa team that is playing much better football as of late.
These two teams have not faced each other since 2010, when the Buckeyes were able to pull out a very tough 20-17 victory over the Hawkeyes. There were grumbles in Columbus the past two weeks that maybe there needs to be a change at the quarterback position, but head coach Urban Meyer quickly squashed those thoughts, saying Braxton Miller is his guy. Miller has all of the talent in the world, but he seems to be off his game. His fumble early in the first quarter helped Northwestern score early, and two other turnovers in the game had Ohio State down 10 points midway through the third quarter. However, the Buckeyes went to their workhorse, RB Carlos Hyde, in the fourth quarter. After being suspended for the first three games, Hyde finally showed his talent, rushing for 168 yards and three touchdowns while single-handedly willing his team to the 40-30 victory. However, he will be going up against a defense that ranks 12th in the country by giving up only 16.8 PPG. The problem for the Hawkeyes has been their offense, mainly a passing attack that ranks 85th in the country with 209.3 YPG. Sophomore Jake Rudock has had his positive moments for the Hawkeyes, but his six interceptions have really hurt the team at the worst of times. As good as Ohio State has been this season on offense, its defense has really struggled. The Buckeyes are susceptible to the big play, and Rudock just has to be patient and let his running back Mark Weisman wear down the OSU defense.
Can Ohio State roll to another big win on Saturday? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts continued their hot streak in college football Best Bets with a strong 64% ATS record (14-8-2) this past week, highlighted by StatFox Brian's perfect 6-0 ATS mark. The four experts are now a combined 59% ATS (75-52-5) for the season. StatFox Gary is a sizzling 73% ATS (11-4-1) in college football Best Bets over the past five weeks and 63% ATS (12-7-1) this year. StatFox Brian is also at 63% ATS (17-10-1) for the year in Best Bets, while StatFox Scott is 59% ATS (13-9-2) on Best Bets in the past four weeks and 57% ATS (21-16-2) for the season. StatFox Dave is 71% ATS (12-5-1) on Best Bets in the past three weeks and 57% ATS (22-17) for the season.
Despite tallying just nine rushing yards against the Spartans, Weisman has been huge for the Hawkeyes this season. He currently has 624 rushing yards, and uses his 236-pound frame to physically and mentally wear down his opponents. While he is not likely to take the ball 70 yards, his ability to get five yards consistently sets the Hawkeyes up for a chance to win in the fourth quarter. Not only does he set up the run game, he allows Rudock to take some shots deep, namely to big-play WR Damond Powell. Despite having just six catches on the season, he is averaging 37.5 yards per catch with two touchdowns. His only reception on the road this year was a 74-yard touchdown, but he could be the sleeper player for both teams in this game. The Buckeyes have talent in that secondary, but are prone to staring at the quarterback. If that happens, Powell has the ability to get behind them and put six on the board. The main guy responsible for not letting that happen for the Buckeyes is CB Bradley Roby.
The junior cornerback has the ability to be a star, but inconsistency has really hurt him this season. He has two interceptions on the year, but must start making the simple play rather than going for the game-changer on every single pass. One thing he does do a very good job of is helping out against the run, as he has 27 tackles in five games this season. The Buckeyes have to limit the big play for the opposing team, but their offense is going to make a lot of big plays on their own. Through the first six games, Ohio State ranks sixth in the country in scoring with 46.8 PPG. While QB Kenny Guiton played outstanding in the absence of Miller, one thing is still very clear. If the Buckeyes are going to get where they want to be, Miller is going to be the guy that takes them there. Look for him to have a monster game in front of the Ohio State faithful.