NCAA Football: Iowa at Ohio State

B1G Leaders Week 9 Preview: OSU vs PSU, MSU vs Illinois

Roll Hyde.

He’s been a major reason the Ohio State Buckeyes have won their last three games, see and his performance against Iowa showcased just how good running back Carlos Hyde is.

In a thrilling play in last week’s Buckeye win over the Iowa Hawkeyes, the results of which just happen to be pictured above, the senior took a handoff around the right side in the red zone, bounced off a tackler inside the 10-yard line and actually went backwards for a few yards before regaining his footing and diving for the game-winning touchdown.  Hyde wore down the Hawkeyes and recorded 149 rush yards and two touchdowns and he may become Coach Meyer’s first RB to rush for 1,000 yards.

Other outstanding performance kudos for last weekend go to OSU quarterback Braxton Miller, who completed 17 of his first 19 pass attempts (89%) and finished with 22 completions for 222 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, to go along with 102 rush yards on 18 carries.  Heee’s baaaaaaack.

In a game that was led through the first half by the Hawkeyes, the Bucks managed to not only win, but to win against one of the nation’s toughest rush defenses and to be the team that broke Iowa’s streak of not allowing a rushing touchdown this season.  (Again, see above photo.)  Deal with it, Hawks.

The Indiana Hoosiers may have lost to the Wolverines but they did score 47 points on them with their quick passing attack, made some big plays, and helped expose that Michigan is very vulnerable to the pass.  In a game that appeared to be solely based on offense, they surrendered 572 yards to Indiana.  The Hoosiers will continue their notable improvement into next season….and Ann Arbor will still be a whore.

Much of the Leaders division has a bye this weekend, including Wisconsin, Indiana and Purdue.  But we’ve got a huge division match-up in Penn State’s trip to the Horseshoe that you will not want to miss, and Illinois now takes on Michigan State.  It’s week 9 for the Big Ten.

2:30pm on ESPN2:  Michigan State (6-1) at Illinois (3-3)

Why you should care:   The best line I read about this match-up:One squad with the best defense in the Big Ten versus another that can’t stop a nose bleed.”  Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

Other than the part where one (Illinois) ranks 2nd in the conference in passing with their high-flying air attack, and the other (Michigan State) couldn’t pass a note in class and ranks 11th.  I feel like we talk about this a lot lately – great D, no O vs. great O, no D.  What up, B1G?

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Michigan State’s defense is outstanding and tops in the nation.  They allow only 168.9 yards per game and 13.6 points.  But until their win against Iowa, they couldn’t score points.  (They hung 26 on them.)  Suddenly, the Spartans seemed like a complete team.

And then they played Purdue last weekend.  Last-in-the-Big-Ten Purdue.  The Purdue that’s giving up 34.4 points per game.  And they scored exactly 14 points against them.  And that total included only one offensive touchdown.  Ummmmmm.  Luckily for them, Illinois’ defense looks like a cartoon drawing of Swiss cheese.

The Fighting Illini are averaging 287 yards per game in the air and just over 35 points.  Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has been the heart of the offense and ranks 3rd overall in the Big Ten, 4th in passing yards and 3rd in touchdowns.  Clearly, offensive coordinator Bill Cubit’s new influence is showing.

The outcome of this game may depend on which MSU team shows up.  Can the offense get a rhythm going?  Can they score?  And the talk of a trap game is actually a factor here – the Spartans play their nemesis Michigan next week.

Fighting Illini to watch: Running back Josh Ferguson and linebacker Jonathan Brown, who leads the B1G with 11 tackles per game.


7:00pm on ABC:  Penn State (4-2) at #4 Ohio State (7-0)

Why you should care OSU v. PSU is always great game.  Somehow a fairly passionate rivalry has evolved between the two, and Penn State would love nothing more than to be the first team to defeat Urban Meyer in his tenure.  After joining the Big Ten schedule in 1993, it took the Lions until 2008 to win in Columbus, and you could actually say they still haven’t as that win along with one in 2011 were vacated as part of their sanctions.  So the kids from Bitter Valley have their next shot this Saturday in the ‘Shoe.

Ohio State is coming off a win against Iowa that produced an exciting and impressive second half, and are looking to advance the nation’s longest win streak to 20 games in a row.  Penn State is coming off a last Saturday bye and the high from defeating Michigan in 4 OTs after a loss to Indiana.

The Lions will probably try to imitate what Iowa capitalized on with the Buckeyes in the first half of their game – OSU struggled covering their tight ends, giving up 10 receptions, 167 yards and 2 TDs.  And PSU’s tight ends are possibly some of the best in the country.  (Get on it, OSU cornerback Bradley Roby.)

Penn State is also a better throwing team than Iowa, and the Hawkeyes highlighted OSU’s issues with the secondary.   The Lions are averaging 283 pass yards per game and PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg will try to take advantage of this, especially by utilizing his supertarget, wide receiver Allen Robinson.  I don’t even have to tell you about this dynamic duo anymore.  Remember though, this is the true freshman quarterback’s first time in Ohio Stadium, which can be loud and very intimidating, and Hackenberg can be prone to mistakes.

However, we saw the OSU defense get it together after halftime last weekend, and we know that the Bucks have one of the most dynamic offenses in the nation.  Braxton Miller’s knee seems to be fully recovered and he looked like his old big-play-making self.  He shuffled, he scampered, his sideline-to-sideline, field-reversing, backfield scramble set up Hyde for the winning TD run and he’s at his best when a play breaks down.  He has an uncanny athleticism and what countless pundits have called “something that can’t be taught.”  When you pair him with Hyde, Dontre Wilson, Jordon Hall, Devin Smith and Philly Brown you get a dangerous, exciting, points-scoring offense.

Expect Hyde to play a big part in the Bucks’ success again this Saturday.  Penn State’s defense has been allowing only 117 rush yards per game on average, but Carlos Hyde will be a test unlike any they have seen.  Or maybe imagined.  He’s a nightmare to defend.  He ran for 317 yards and 5 TDs against Northwestern and Iowa, not to mention his performance against Wisconsin, and the Badgers and Hawkeyes have top 20-ranked rush defenses.  But, the Bucks have the 11th best rush attack.

Who else should you watch?  OSU’s defensive ends Joey Bosa and Noah Spence and linebacker Ryan Shazier.  Keep an eye on CB Brad Roby on the Lions’ star WR Allen Robinson much of the night too.  PSU’s defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, who will try to slow down Hyde and is averaging 6.5 tackles per game, and middle linebacker Glenn Carson who’s an anchor for the defense.

Fun fact of the match-up: Ohio State DT Tommy Schutt, LB Cam Williams and CB Armani Reeves were all committed to Penn State in 2010 and DE Noah Spence appeared to be heading to State College too.  But when Paterno was fired, they all became Buckeyes.

This should be a hell of a battle, a slugfest, a get medieval, go postal, drop gloves fight to the end .  If there’s anything Buckeye fans have learned from history, it’s that the Lions will always step it up against Ohio State no matter what the rest of their season has looked like.  They will not let up and neither will Ohio State or Urban Meyer.  This, kids, is why we love B1G football.

About the author: Kristin Conrad is a college football-loving graduate of Ohio State – she bleeds Scarlet & Gray and considers the Varsity Club hallowed ground. A PR pro who just moved back to Columbus from Manhattan Beach, Chicago and NYC, she’s been happy to find that some of her favorite friends ever are from schools she used to hate and that nothing brings people together like sports does.

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