DraftKings Sportsbook odds: Ohio State -28.5
With no Ohio State football to watch this weekend, we got to soak in the rest of the nation’s chaos unfolding while we kicked back stress-free with no fear of a potential upset loss. It was a pretty great week for Ryan Day’s crew to have their off week, as it allowed us to enjoy Tennessee’s 52-49 win over Alabama in an offensive shootout at Neyland Stadium, as well as thrilling comebacks by Utah and TCU as they both took down higher-ranked opponents. With a chance to sit idle and hopefully get most of their guys healthy for the second half, Ohio State now begins the tougher portion of its Big Ten schedule when they host Iowa in Week 8.
Ohio State has owned the all-time series between this two programs 46-15-3, but this is the first time these teams will meet on the field since that 55-24 win by Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in a stunning upset back in 2017. While likely none of the players on either of the current rosters were in attendance that day, it is surely a game that Buckeye Nation remembers not too fondly, and will hope for some revenge when the Hawkeyes come to Columbus. Luckily, Ohio State has a much better quarterback at the helm this time around, and Vegas certainly doesn’t think the Buckeyes are on upset alert as the home team is currently favored by over four touchdowns.
The last time we saw the now No. 2-ranked Buckeyes was over a week ago at Spartan Stadium, when Ohio State was handing Michigan State a 49-20 loss on their home turf. It was more of the same for this year’s Scarlet and Gray, as C.J. Stroud carved up Mel Tucker’s boys through the air to the tune of 361 yards and six touchdowns with one pick. Marvin Harrison Jr. was the flavor of the day at wide receiver, catching seven passes for 131 yards and three TDs. TreVeyon Henderson paced the Buckeyes on the ground with 118 yards and a score of his own. The offense was efficient, and the defense more than did its job, holding Michigan State to 202 total yards, including just seven total rushing yards.
Iowa was also off this weekend, and they likely used that extra time to try and forget their latest game. The Hawkeyes lost a dreadful 9-6 game to Illinois in their last matchup, and it was more of the same for what we’ve seen from Iowa for really the last year and a half now — all defense, no offense. Albeit against a seemingly good Illini squad, Kirk Ferentz’s team managed just two field goals, putting up only 221 yards of total offense with a mere 13 first downs in a game that featured no touchdowns on either side. The defense was fine, and forced a trio of turnovers in the game, but ultimately the inability to put up points cost Iowa the game.
Statistically, Iowa has one of the worst offenses in all of college football. At 14.7 points per game, the Hawkeyes rank 127th out of 131 teams in scoring offense. A big reason for that has been the incredibly lackluster play of quarterback Spencer Petras. Through six games, the 18th-year QB has thrown for under 1,000 yards with just two TD passes with three interceptions. For all their struggles through the air, they aren't much better on the ground. Iowa does not have a single rusher on their team averaging more than 4.6 yards per carry, and they have only five total touchdowns on the ground thus far. If it weren't for some good old fashioned college football nepotism, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz would’ve likely been canned a long time ago.
On the flip side, the Iowa defense is excellent. Allowing just 9.8 points per game, that ranks them 3rd overall in the country. Star linebacker Jack Campbell has already registered a whopping 63 tackles on the year, and the Hawkeyes have racked up six interceptions (led by three by defensive back Cooper DeJean) as well as five forced fumbles (led by Riley Moss’ two). The Hawkeyes dont allow much yardage through the air or on the ground, and as they were last year, have been really good at taking the ball away. They have allowed more than 10 points in a game just one time this season — in a 27-14 loss to Michigan — but haven’t exactly played an offense at the caliber of Ohio State’s just yet.
While I respect the Iowa defense, I dont think any defense in the country right now could hold the Buckeyes to under 40 points. C.J. Stroud and his treasure trove of wide receivers — especially if Jaxon Smith-Njigba is back and healthy — are simply too good, and add to the mix a dynamic ground game between Henderson and Miyan Williams, and it just feels like too much to stop. Even if they hold Ohio State to 35 or so, I dont think Iowa’s offense is capable of scoring 20-plus points in a game, let alone 30-plus. It could be an uglier game than usual, but the Buckeyes should have no trouble moving to 7-0.
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