Fresh off its first bye week of the 2013 season, the Ohio State football team (6-0, 2-0) is preparing for a battle this Saturday against Iowa (4-2, 1-1).
The Hawkeyes are tied with Oklahoma for the nation’s 12th-best defense in terms of points against (16.8 average per game), doing so by thwarting the rushing attacks of their opponents. The team has yet to allow a rushing score.
OSU coach Urban Meyer is well aware of this fact, and was even more impressed by something he learned while scouting his team’s week eight opponent.
“They haven’t (played) goal-line defense (yet),” Meyer said.
But don’t expect the Buckeyes, who are 11th in the nation in rushing, to become pass-happy for a week.
“We’re not going to change our game plan. We’re going to do what Ohio State does, and that’s run the ball,” said senior running back Carlos Hyde.
Hyde is determined to crack Iowa’s highly-touted defensive line for large gains the way he did in OSU’s 40-30 win against Northwestern Oct. 5. Against the Wildcats, Hyde tallied 168 yards and three touchdowns.
“I run determined not to be stopped … It’’s going to take the whole defense to tackle me,” Hyde said. “That’s my mindset.”
Redshirt-senior center Corey Linsley said in a game like Saturday’s, running the ball successfully is essential for the team to come out on top.
“We’re (going to) have to play an extremely good game in terms of rushing the football, and our tempo is definitely going to dictate that,” Linsley said.
Starting junior quarterback Braxton Miller said the Hawkeye defense is probably the best the Buckeye offense has seen so on film so far this year. Miller, who fumbled twice against Northwestern, said ball security will be key, and is something he has been working on in practice.
“Watching film, I really wasn’t holding the ball correctly … I wasn’t holding the ball real tight,” Miller said.
The coaching staff had the quarterback hold onto a ball during team stretches in practice this week, Miller said.
Although the Hawkeyes are OSU’s first unranked opponent since Florida A&M, the team knows every game during Big Ten play poses a stiff test.
“The weeks that we have taken off, those are the weeks that we’ve gotten beat. The weeks that we’ve treated those teams as what the (AP poll) treats them as, what the rest of the country treats them as, as non-ranked, blow-off opponents, those are the weeks that we get beat,” Linsley said. “We’ve kind of learned from history, and we’re not taking this week lightly.”
Iowa is scheduled to visit Ohio Stadium for OSU’s homecoming game Saturday at 3:30 p.m.