Andy Anders, BSB: A Boring Buckeye Victory
Personally, I’m not of the opinion there’s a path to victory for Iowa in this game. The Hawkeyes are inept offensively in every sense of the word; they’d have to be to rank 131st out of 131 teams in total offense despite belonging to a Power Five conference. Whatever opportunities their stout defense can create, most if not all I see being squandered.
But that defense is legitimate. Linebacker Jack Campbell should hear his name called in the first round or two of the 2023 NFL Draft, and while Iowa has the nation’s worst total offense, its total defense is No. 7. It especially excels against the pass, rated No. 3 allowing 154.0 yards per game.
Ohio State’s offense is the best in college football, though, and I don’t think there’s a defense out there that can stop them. But as a few key skill players return from injury, namely running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams and potentially wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, it could be a slog at points. I see the Buckeyes blowing Iowa out due to their massive advantage when the Hawkeyes have the ball, but a limitation on explosive plays serves to suppress its own offense somewhat.
Ohio State 38, Iowa 6
Jack Emerson, BSB: Ohio State Cruises Past Iowa
After getting a week off, I fully expect Ohio State to kickoff the second half of the season with a bang.
Iowa’s defense boasts the most difficult challenge to date for the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense, ranking seventh in the nation in total defense (264.7) and third in scoring defense while allowing just 9.8 points per game. The Hawkeyes are also adept at keeping the ball in front of them in passing situations, allowing opponents to throw for just 154.0 yards per game — the third-lowest mark in the country. Despite Iowa’s defensive prowess, I still expect C.J. Stroud and company to produce at a high rate.
On offense, the Hawkeyes are among the nation’s worst — ranking dead last in yards per game (238.8) while scoring just 14.7 points per game (126th). In fact, three Buckeyes have accounted for more touchdowns than Iowa’s entire offense — C.J. Stroud (24), Marvin Harrison Jr. (9) and Miyan Williams (8) — which has registered just seven touchdowns this season. Therefore, it should be a relatively easy afternoon for the Ohio State defense.
Ohio State 31, Iowa 3
Braden Moles, BSB: Hawkeyes No Match For Buckeyes
I’m not going to repeat what my colleagues have already written, but in short, the Iowa offense is terrible. To an unbelievable degree, frankly. I could rattle off any number of statistics about how ineffective the Brian Ferentz-coordinated Iowa offense is, but there’s no better indicator than actually watching the Hawkeyes operate with the ball in their hands.
Ohio State shouldn’t have to break a sweat to keep Iowa from scoring, which puts the onus completely on the Buckeyes’ offense to perform against one of the country’s best defenses. There’s been little reason this season to believe, though, that Ohio State can’t figure out a way to overcome the Hawkeye defense. As good as it may be with several playmakers and impressive performances throughout the first half of the season, the Buckeyes have been equally as impressive on offense with Stroud and company leading the charge.
It may take some time for Ohio State to find its footing against Iowa, but at the end of the day, I expect this to finish as almost all of the games have this season for the Buckeyes: with a dominant final score.
Ohio State 42, Iowa 7