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Iowa vs. Ohio State: How Hawkeyes Can Pull Massive Upset over Buckeyes

Sep 28, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock (15) runs with the ball in the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. The Hawkeyes won 23-7. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2013

Ohio State enters its matchup with Iowa as the No. 3 team in the USA Today football coaches poll, but a victory is not a foregone conclusion.

This college football season has already seen a number of major upsets occur. Just last week, three of the top 10 teams in the country suffered losses, which changed the entire landscape of the season.

The Buckeyes would like to avoid a similar fate in this conference game, although it will not be easy. The Hawkeyes have a chance to pull off the upset if they follow these keys to victory.

 

Continue to Stop the Run

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 05: Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes hands off to Carlos Hyde #34 against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 5, 2013 in Evanston, Illinois. Ohio State defeated Northwestern 40-30. Photo by Jonathan Daniel
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Iowa matches up with Ohio State very well in that the defense does a great job of stopping the run.

Not only does the unit rank eighth in the nation in rushing yards allowed per game, but it is the only team in the nation that has not allowed a rushing touchdown all season.

While Braxton Miller gets most of the headlines for the Buckeyes, running back Carlos Hyde proved against Northwestern that he can carry the team on his own. The senior finished with 168 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries.

This set up the entire offense, since it allowed Miller to have space on read-options and provided plenty of time to throw the ball on play-action passes. 

Still, this entire offense could be slowed down if Iowa's defensive line can handle Hyde early in the game.

 

Reestablish the Rushing Attack

IOWA CITY, IA- SEPTEMBER 22:  Fullback Mark Weisman #45 of the Iowa Hawkeyes breaks away for a touchdown run during the first quarter against the Central Michigan Chippewas on September 22, 2012 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.  Central Michigan def
Matthew Holst/Getty Images

A week after rushing for 246 yards against Minnesota, Iowa's run game was completely shut down by Michigan State.

Mark Weisman was forced to miss much of the loss with an injury, but he still only managed nine yards on seven carries while in the game. As a team, the Hawkeyes finished with 23 yards on 16 carries.

The embarrassing part of this statistic is that Iowa was actually competitive against Michigan State and even led at halftime. Still, the coaching staff decided it would be best to throw the ball 46 times.

Fortunately, things should be better against the Buckeyes, as Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch reports that Weisman is expected to return. Even with the poor performance against the Spartans, the running back ranks 19th in the country and third in the Big Ten in rushing yards.

If the squad can get him going on Saturday, it will have a strong chance to control the game.

 

Win the Turnover Battle

Sep 28, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Christian Kirksey (20) holds up the ball after intercepting a pass in the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sport
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern put up a strong fight against Ohio State, but the Wildcats were helped tremendously by three turnovers by Miller. The quarterback fumbled twiceonce inside the opposing 10-yard line.

Iowa would be quite fortunate if this happens again, although the team has to make its own luck in this one.

While the unit has done a good job of forcing turnovers, the offense has been giving away the ball too often this season. This has cost the team a couple of games this year.

In four wins, the Hawkeyes have a turnover differential of plus-five. In two losses, the differential is minus-three. A positive number in this category will likely lead to a positive result on the scoreboard.

 

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