First Look: After open week, Ohio State returns to action by hosting Iowa – 247Sports

First Look: After open week, Ohio State returns to action by hosting Iowa – 247Sports

After having an open weekend, Ohio State will return to action by hosting Iowa next Saturday at Ohio Stadium. FOX will broadcast the game with a noon start.
Each week, this will be our first taste of what Ohio State will face the following week. We hope this gives you some riveting reading each week. Here is our First Look as Ohio State hosts Iowa on Oct. 22.
FIRST LOOK: IOWA AT OHIO STATE
* Opponent: Iowa
* Date, Time, TV: Saturday, noon, FOX
* Location: Ohio Stadium
* 2022 Records: Ohio State, 6-0 overall, 3-0 Big Ten; Iowa, 3-3 overall, 1-2 Big Ten.
* Coach: Kirk Ferentz
* Players To Watch: QB Spencer Petras, RB Leshon Williams, RB Kaleb Johnson, TE Sam LaPorta, TE Luke Lachey, WR Nico Ragaini, LB Jack Campbell, LB Seth Benson, DB Cooper DeJean, DB Quinn Schulte, DL Luke Van Ness.
* NCAA Rankings (2022 Rankings): Offense: Total, 238.7 ypg (131st nationally); rushing, 82.2 ypg (127th); passing, 156.5 ypg (120th); scoring, 14.7 ppg (127th). Defense: Total, 265.0 ypg (seventh); rushing, 111.0 ypg (24th); passing, 154.0 ypg (third); scoring, 9.8 ppg (third).
* AP Poll Rankings: Ohio State is second in the AP poll, while Iowa is unranked.
* The Setting: The hope for Iowa is that the open week provided the Hawkeyes a chance to get under the hood offensively and come up with something – anything – that will allow them to generate some points in the second half of the season. Otherwise, it seems like Iowa would be staring at its first losing season since 2012.
The Hawkeyes captured their second-ever Big Ten Western Division championship last year, going 7-2 in Big Ten play. But they were decimated by Michigan 42-3 in the Big Ten championship game and then fell to Kentucky 20-17 in the Citrus Bowl to end up 10-4 on the season.
Those losses illustrated the need to do something with the offense. But now, after six miserably played offensive games, Kirk Ferentz – the dean of Big Ten coaches in his 24th season – stands strongly behind his son and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. During the open week, Kirk Ferentz pointed to the team’s 10-win season from a year ago as evidence their system works – as if that will help them get a few first downs or, dare we say it, a touchdown this week against Ohio State.
Likewise, dad and son Ferentz are united in their support of struggling QB Spencer Petras. Over his last 12 games dating to last year, Petras has thrown for just three touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Iowa is 5-7 in those games.
The Hawkeyes are in the bottom 12 of all 131 FBS teams in every notable offensive category, including total offense, rushing offense, passing offense, passing efficiency and scoring.
Iowa won its opener 7-3 over FCS South Dakota State without a touchdown as the Hawkeyes scored on a field goal and two safeties. They then dropped a 10-7 decision to instate rival Iowa State. A 27-10 win at Rutgers saw Iowa’s defense outscore its offense 14-13. Next was a 27-14 home loss to Michigan where the Hawkeyes did not score until they trailed 20-0 in the fourth quarter.
The most recent result at Illinois, a 9-6 defeat, was a messy affair as neither team was able to put the ball into the end zone. Iowa mustered just 222 yards total offense in the defeat. Illinois kicked the go-ahead field goal with 2:49 left in the game to pull it out.
The one thing that remains a constant with Iowa is its defense. Iowa is seventh nationally in total defense (265.0 ypg) and third in scoring defense (9.8 ppg). The high scoring Ohio State defense figures to be challenged by the Iowa defense, which is led by linebackers Jack Campbell and Seth Benson and cornerback Riley Moss.
This is the teams’ first meeting since 2017, when Iowa stunned then-No. 3 Ohio State 55-24 in Iowa City. But if the Hawkeyes are to pull off another massive upset, they will need to buck a couple of notable trends. Ohio State has won its last 27 home games against Big Ten opponents, dating to a 2015 loss to Michigan State. And OSU has also won its last seven home games against Iowa, dating to a loss at Ohio Stadium in 1991. OSU has won those games by an average of 16.2 points per game.
Also, Ohio State has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with Iowa.
* Steve Says: The oddsmakers have opened Ohio State as a three-touchdown favorite over Iowa. This is an interesting game to try and predict. Can Ohio State’s best-in-class offense move the ball consistently and score touchdowns against Iowa’s similarly regarded defense? The evidence is OSU already played pretty well against four top-50 defenses in Rutgers (10th in total defense), Wisconsin (24th), Notre Dame (39th) and Toledo (49th).
On the flip side, we wonder if Iowa’s worst-in-class offense will generate any kind of production – yards and points – against an emerging Ohio State defense, which is now fifth nationally in yards allowed (253.5 ypg). Granted, Ohio State has not played against an offense ranked in the top 60 nationally. Toledo (ranked 68th) is the best offense OSU has seen, so perhaps those numbers are inflated – or more precisely, deflated – a bit.
But any way you look at it, Iowa will be swimming upstream and just trying to stay afloat as it comes into Ohio Stadium. The Hawkeyes have not shown they can run the ball or sustain drives, so it is unlikely they will be able to keep the ball away from the OSU offense. The Buckeyes could also enjoy some field position advantages for this game as well.
Even worse for Iowa, Ohio State RBs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams and WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba could all be healthy and raring to go for the second half. That’s even more bad news for the Hawkeyes and the rest of the Big Ten.
Last year, Ohio State had an offense good enough to contend for a national championship. But the defense kept the Buckeyes from even a chance to win the Big Ten. They fixed the defense – it appears – and now OSU is regarded as one of the best teams in the country.
This season, Iowa has arguably the best defense in the Big Ten. But its offense is so bad the Hawkeyes may not even get to the six wins they need to qualify for a bowl game. When you are losing games 10-7 and 9-6, you’ve got a real problem.
It would not be right for Kirk Ferentz to publicly dump on his son. And it would be even worse for them to go into interviews and complain about how the players are messing things up. But it’s not too much to ask them to call a spade a spade and do something – anything – to try and generate some offense. No solution should be off the table.
I’m not saying the Iowa program is a listless ship drifting off into the ocean, never to be seen again (you know, kind of like Nebraska has been for the last five or 10 years). But I did joke that – after the big extension Kirk Ferentz got – that Iowa will stick with him through hell or high water. Unless he agrees to join us all here in the real world, though, it may not be until the next coach takes over in 2025 or so before they are truly a factor in the Big Ten again.
Here is my updated top 25:
* National Top 25: 1. Ohio State, 2. Georgia, 3. Tennessee, 4. Michigan, 5. Clemson, 6. TCU, 7. UCLA, 8. Alabama, 9. Ole Miss, 10. Syracuse, 11. Oregon, 12. Utah, 13. USC, 14. Oklahoma, 15. Wake Forest, 16. Penn State, 17. Kansas State, 18. Kentucky, 19. Illinois, 20. Texas, 21. North Carolina, 22. Cincinnati, 23. N.C. State, 24. LSU, 25. Purdue.
* Also Considering: Mississippi State, Tulane, Kansas, Maryland, Texas-San Antonio, Liberty, Toledo, Oregon State, Washington, Coastal Carolina, Oklahoma State.
* Steve Says: What a crazy week in college football! No. 6 Tennessee knocked off then-No. 3 Alabama 52-49 in the Game of the Year so far. The Vols snapped a 15-game losing streak to the hated Crimson Tide and improved to 6-0 on the year. QB Hendon Hooker threw for 385 yards and 5 TDs in the win. Alabama QB Bryce Young threw for 455 yards and two TDs. But this is not Alabama football. The defense gave up 567 yards and Alabama had 17 penalties for 130 yards. The Tide hosts Mississippi State next week and will then get a much-needed open week … The other five games matching ranked teams saw No. 5 Michigan defeat No. 10 Penn State 41-17; No. 20 Utah used a two-point conversion in the final minute to knock off No. 7 USC 43-42; No. 13 TCU rallied from down 17 to defeat No. 8 Oklahoma State 43-40 in double overtime; No. 18 Syracuse downed No. 15 N.C. State 24-9; and No. 22 Kentucky turned back No. 16 Mississippi State 27-17 … Two ranked teams lost to unranked teams with Oklahoma defeating No. 19 Kansas 52-42 and Georgia Southern outlasting No. 25 James Madison 45-38 … The lead in the ACC Atlantic Division will be on the line next Saturday as new No. 14 Syracuse visits No. 5 Clemson … It could be a Pac-12 championship game preview as No. 10 Oregon hosts No. 9 UCLA at Autzen Stadium.
There are five match-ups with ranked teams for Week 8 (marked with an asterisk). Here are some of the key games for Week 8:
* Thursday’s Game: Virginia-Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
* Friday’s Game: Tulsa-Temple (7:30 p.m., ESPN2)
* Saturday’s Games: Iowa-Ohio State (noon, FOX), Syracuse-Clemson* (noon, ABC), Tennessee-Martin/Tennessee (noon, SEC Network), Kansas-Baylor (noon, ESPN2), Cincinnati-SMU (noon, ESPN), Texas-Oklahoma State* (3:30 p.m., ABC), Ole Miss-LSU (3:30 p.m., CBS), UCLA-Oregon* (3:30 p.m., FOX or Fox Sports 1), Boston College-Wake Forest (3:30 p.m., ACC Network), Mississippi State-Alabama* (7 p.m., ESPN), Minnesota-Penn State (7:30 p.m., ABC), Kansas State-TCU* (8 p.m., FOX or Fox Sports 1).
Here were the Big Ten games played in Week 7:
* Michigan 41, Penn State 17 – Michigan improved to 7-0 for the second consecutive season for the first time since 1973-74 with this win at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines trailed 17-16 early in the second half before scoring the game’s last 25 points to win going away. Michigan did it behind a devastating running attack, rushing for 418 yards against a PSU defense that had only been giving up 85 yards per game on the ground.
RBs Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum each ran for two scores with Edwards carrying 16 times for 173 yards and Corum tallying 28 carries for 166 yards. Michigan goes into its open week hitting on all cylinders.
Penn State struggled to establish or sustain much of anything offensively. QB Sean Clifford left the game in the second half due to an apparent injury and freshman Drew Allar finished the game.
* Illinois 26, Minnesota 14 – Illinois improved to 6-1 overall and shares the Big Ten West lead at 3-1 after handing the Golden Gophers their second straight defeat. RB Chase Brown ran for 180 yards and also caught a 40-yard TD pass from Tommy DeVito, who also had a TD run for the Illini.
Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim rushed for 127 yards, his 14th straight 100-yard game. Gophers QB Tanner Morgan left the game due to injury. Illinois outgained Minnesota 472-180 in total yardage.
* Maryland 38, Indiana 33 – The injury bug also hit Maryland with QB Taulia Tagovailoa leaving this game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Backup Billy Edwards Jr. stepped in and led the Terrapins on a late scoring drive to snag the win in Bloomington. Maryland improved to 5-2 overall, while Indiana lost its last four games to fall to 3-4.
* Michigan State 34, Wisconsin 28 (2 OT) – Michigan State snapped a four-game losing streak, winning this one on Payton Thorne’s 27-yard TD pass to Jayden Reed in the second overtime. Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen had fumbled on the Badgers’ possession in the second OT. Thorne threw for 265 yards and two TDs in the win. Both teams are now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play.
* Purdue 43, Nebraska 37 – Purdue survived this shootout to improve to 5-2 overall and share the Big Ten West lead with Illinois at 3-1. QB Aidan O’Connell threw for 391 yards and four touchdowns. Purdue piled up 608 yards total offense with RB Devin Mockobee carrying 30 times for 178 yards and a TD. Nebraska QB Casey Thompson threw for 354 yards and two TDs but he also had a pair of interceptions as the Huskers dropped to 3-4 overall (2-2 Big Ten).
Here is a look at this week’s Big Ten games:
* Indiana at Rutgers (HC), noon (Big Ten Network) – Rutgers cruised to a 38-3 win at Indiana last year. Rutgers will be out to snap a 21-game losing streak to Big Ten teams at home. That dates to a win over Maryland in 2017.
* Iowa at Ohio State, noon (FOX) – See above.
* Northwestern at Maryland (HC), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Northwestern is 2-0 all-time vs. Maryland with a 43-3 home win in the last meeting in 2020. Northwestern, coming off an open week, is 1-5 with five straight losses.
* Purdue at Wisconsin (HC), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Wisconsin boasts a series record 15-game winning streak over Purdue. It reached 15 with last year’s 30-13 triumph over the Boilers last year in West Lafayette. With Illinois idle this week, a win would give Purdue sole possession of the lead in the Big Ten West.
* Minnesota at Penn State (HC), 7:30 p.m. (ABC) – The home team has won five of the last seven games in this series. Minnesota knocked off No. 5 Penn State 31-26 in the teams’ last meeting in 2019 in Minneapolis. The Golden Gophers are banged up and need a win to stay in the Big Ten West race. Penn State must bounce back from being literally trampled by Michigan.
In Week 7, I was 16-8 straight-up and 14-10 against-the-spread. In the Big Ten games, I was 3-2 straight-up and 2-3 ATS.
For the year, I am 166-56 straight-up and 104-108-2 against-the-spread. In Big Ten games, I am 50-16 straight-up and 33-32 ATS.
We will be back Thursday for the picks for Week 8.

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