Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
102,000 fans decked in scarlet and gray who will scream, boo and swear until your head explodes.
Welcome to the 'Shoe, James Vandenburg.
Iowa's freshman backup quarterback might want to bring some extra underwear when the Hawkeyes travel to one of the most hostile environments in college football Saturday. He might also want to bring a Bible, too (along with the rest of the team)—the Hawkeyes need all the help they can get to win at Ohio State.
I mean, really, how does anyone think Iowa stands a chance? They're without their starting QB and their top three RBs (as well as their best offensive lineman) due to injuries, leaving them with an all-freshman offensive backfield. That's generally not a good thing at any time, but this just happens to be Iowa's situation going into a very tough stadium.
It's not just the injuries that aren't on Iowa's side—their perfect season was ruined just a week ago in a 17-10 loss to Northwestern, while Ohio State put themselves right back on top of the Big Ten with a dominating 24-7 win over Penn State on the road that same day. It's pretty obvious who has more momentum coming into this game, which will decide who will win the Big Ten and go to the Rose Bowl.
But before last week's upset loss, Iowa was in very good shape. They were 9-0 and well on their way to a BCS Bowl, most likely the Rose Bowl. They had won thirteen games in a row, dating back to last year, and a lot of it was because of that help from above that I mentioned. They had two blocked field goals in a row in a 17-16 nailbiter over Northern Iowa, they had a late interception in a 30-28 victory versus Michigan after the Wolverines' backup QB missed a wide open man down field that could have put Michigan in field goal range, they threw a TD pass as time expired to stun Michigan State 15-13, and they got a little help from the refs to turn their spirits around and come back in a 42-24 win over Indiana.
Then came that darn Northwestern game. Why do those pesky Wildcats always have to beat Iowa and ruin our season?
If Iowa wants to beat Ohio State and go to the Rose Bowl, they're going to need RB Brandon Wegher to have a good game and open up James Vandenburg's passing opportunities, they need to limit their giveaways (which they haven't done the past two weeks), and they need Terrelle Pryor to return to his old self and throw some INTs, which Iowa has been able to get a lot of this season. They also need to pray as much as possible—they're going to need as much help as they can get.