It wasn’t the prettiest game. However, the Buckeyes made the plays when they needed to and escape Iowa with a 20-17 win.
Here are some notes from the game.
Terrelle Pryor will never be Troy Smith but he doesn’t have to be either.
Overall, Pryor didn’t have a great game. His mechanics were shaky and this led to some poor throws. Of course, it doesn’t help when receivers drop the ball. Still, with the game on the line Pryor made some big plays with his legs including a 14 yard run on fourth down that kept the game winning drive alive. When games are tight, there are very few quarterbacks I would chose over Pryor due to his running ability.
Two adjustments won Ohio State the game.
The first was going to the hurry up offense. You could tell Iowa had trouble adjusting to it. It allowed Ohio State’s offense to gain some momentum it lacked up to this point. Why they don’t run this more is beyond me.
The second was the play of the defensive line. In the first half, Iowa created push up front and this led to big runs. As a result, when Iowa called a pass Ricky Stanzi had ample time to throw the ball. In the second half, the Buckeyes’ defensive line pushed back. They made it hard for Iowa to establish a running game, which in turn put pressure on Stanzi when he tried to throw. This was especially evident on Iowa’s last drive when Cameron Heyward was able to sack Stanzi on third down and force and fourth and 21.
Ohio State’s offense struggles against better defenses.
In their two games against strong defenses, (Iowa and Wisconsin) Ohio State has failed to put more than 20 points on the board. The problem seems to be that Pryor struggles against better teams and they start slow out of the gate. While they were still able to win against Iowa, they will have to play much better if they want to win their bowl game.
Going forward, what does this mean for both teams?
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are a win away from a share of their sixth consecutive Big Ten title. An at-large BCS bid is also available should they beat Michigan.
Iowa: This game was indicative of Iowa’s season; just out of reach. The Hawkeyes are a good football team but for whatever reason they don’t seem to have that ferocious mentality they had last season. They cannot close out big games and this is the reason why they are a four-loss team.
Bowl picture: The Buckeyes may be Sugar Bowl bound. The president of the Sugar Bowl likes Ohio State and they really want an SEC/Big Ten matchup.
How the voters will see it: The Buckeyes had some grit and came out with a good win. It’s impressive but not enough so to leapfrog teams ahead of them.
Breaking down the Big Ten race: Ohio State hosts Michigan; as long as they win, they’ll win a share of the title. Wisconsin hosts Northwestern. The Badgers are playing as good as any team in the country so they should be able to win. Michigan State, on the other hand travels to Happy Valley where they are 0-8. There’s a good chance they could lose. If that is the case, Wisconsin would win the tiebreaker over Ohio State because they beat the Buckeyes. If all three teams win out, the team that has the highest BCS ranking will go to the Rose Bowl. Simply put, if Wisconsin wins, they’ll be Pasadena bound.
What’s next: It’s Michigan week. While the Wolverines are down this should be a fun game. Stay tuned as they’ll be special articles and previews for the game.
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