The undefeated No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will look to remain perfect this weekend when they host the upset-minded Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) in Columbus.
Although Urban Meyer's Buckeyes will be heavy favorites when they run onto the field Saturday afternoon, expect a competitive showdown between these two teams. After all, they haven't met since 2010, when Ohio State rallied to score the game-winning touchdown with under two minutes to play at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.
Nearly three years have passed since that thrilling top-25 clash, but Iowa's seniors haven't forgotten.
While surging Ohio State has legitimate national championship aspirations this fall, Kirk Ferentz's squad is a genuine threat in the wide-open Big Ten Legends Division. And with the Buckeyes putting their unblemished record on the line for the seventh time this season, the stakes can't get much higher.
Here, we'll get you ready with everything you need to know before kickoff.
When: Saturday, October 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Spread: Ohio State (-17), according to Covers.com
Iowa Injuries (via USA Today):
RB Mark Weisman (Foot), Probable
WR Kevonte Martin-Manley (Leg), Questionable
RB Michael Malloy (Illness), Out
DL Riley McMinn (Undisclosed), Out
Ohio State Injuries (via USA Today):
RB Jordan Hall (Knee), Questionable
TE Marcus Baugh (Disciplinary), Questionable
CB Adam Griffin (Shoulder), Out
S Christian Bryant (Ankle), Out
S Jamie Wood (Shoulder), Out
WR James Clark (Ankle), Out
TE Blake Thomas (Neck), Out
DT Tommy Schutt (Foot), Out
Top Storyline: Will Ohio State Keep its Winning Streak Alive?
Until Ohio State loses its first game under Urban Meyer, the talk heading into each and every game will center on the epic streak the Buckeyes have been on since the two-time national champion coach took over at his alma mater in 2012.
Ohio State is a flawless 18-0 a year and a half into the Meyer era and has won 10 games in the Big Ten. That's the same amount the team won in 2010 and 2011 combined.
Though the Buckeyes had some close calls back in 2012, surviving Purdue in overtime and edging Wisconsin on the road in overtime, this season has been smooth sailing for the most part. What's more, the Buckeyes don't have a single ranked opponent on their schedule the rest of the way.
Meyer's squad has been favored in every game thus far this season and will be in every game the rest of the way, including the Big Ten Conference Championship Game, assuming the Buckeyes win the Leaders Division.
Given the ridiculous amount of pressure on them to keep winning, the question on Saturday and moving forward will be how do the Buckeyes handle the lofty expectations of college football experts and those on the outside looking in?
Who wins this Big Ten showdown?
Though the Hawkeyes have yet to face a team as dangerous as the Buckeyes this season, they are certainly capable of pulling off a major upset in Columbus. Iowa is 2-0 on the road in 2013 and boasts one of the top defenses in all of college football (16.8 points allowed).
But despite all of that, you've got to love Ohio State's chances of improving to 7-0 on Saturday.
The Buckeyes have won 18 straight games overall since Meyer took over and are lighting up opposing defenses. Led by Braxton Miller and Carlos Hyde, Ohio State's offense ranks 10th in the country in rushing yards (280.7 per game) and sixth in the nation in points per game (46.8 points per game).
In addition to having had a week off to rest up, the Buckeyes survived close calls in their most-recent wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin, which means Meyer will have the full attention of his players Saturday afternoon.
Ohio State 35, Iowa, 17
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