Game Data: Ohio State at Iowa

We take a look at the pertinent information for each school, the television coverage information, the depth charts and provide a pick for Saturday's Big Ten showdown between No. 1 Ohio State and No. 13 Iowa (8 p.m., ABC). The Hawkeyes are led by senior quarterback Drew Tate. Click this free link for more.

Ohio State at Iowa

* Date, Time: Sat., Sept. 30; 8:13 p.m. (Eastern); 7:13 p.m. (Central in Iowa City)

* Location: Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa

* TV: ABC national coverage. Announcers: Brent Musberger, Bob Davie, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters.

* 2006 Records, Rankings: Ohio State, 4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten; ranked first in Associated Press poll and USA Today coaches poll; Iowa, 4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten; ranked 13th in AP poll and coaches poll.

* Coaches: Ohio State, Jim Tressel (sixth year at OSU, 54-13; 21st year overall, 189-70-2; vs. Iowa, 2-1); Iowa, Kirk Ferentz (eighth year at Iowa, 53-36; 11th year overall, 65-57; vs. Ohio State, 1-4).

* Series History: Ohio State leads the all-time series 43-14-3, including 16-6-2 in Iowa City. OSU won 31-6 in Columbus last year, while Iowa broke an eight-game losing streak to OSU with a 33-7 win in Iowa City in 2004.

* Iowa Schedule: Sept. 2, Montana, W 41-7; Sept. 9, at Syracuse, W 20-13 (2 OT); Sept. 16, Iowa State, W 27-17; Sept. 23, at Illinois, W 24-7; Sept. 30, Ohio State; Oct. 7, Purdue; Oct. 14, at Indiana; Oct. 21, at Michigan; Oct. 28, Northern Illinois; Nov. 4, Northwestern; Nov. 11, Wisconsin; Nov. 18, at Minnesota.

* Iowa Key Players (2006 Stats): QB Drew Tate (58 of 93 passing, 687 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs), RB Albert Young (69 carries, 280 yards, 3 TDs; 18 catches, 152 yards, 1 TD), RB Damian Sims (36 carries, 164 yards, 1 TD), TE Scott Chandler (16 catches, 167 yards, 2 TDs), WR Dominique Douglas (14 catches, 195 yards, 1 TD), MLB Mike Klinkenborg (41 tackles), OLB Edmond Miles (23 tackles, 2 TFLs), DT Mitch King (22 tackles, 7 TFLs, 5-1/2 sacks), CB Adam Shada (18 tackles, 2 INTs), DE Ken Iwebema (19 tackles, 3 sacks).

* Iowa Fast Facts: Location: Iowa City, Iowa; Enrollment, 29,697; Nickname, Hawkeyes; Colors, Old Gold and Black; Stadium, Kinnick Stadium (surface, grass; capacity, 70,585).

Depth Charts

Ohio State Offense

SE 80 Brian Robiskie, 6-3, 195, So.

8 Roy Hall, 6-3, 240, Sr.

LT 75 Alex Boone, 6-8, 325, So.

68 Tim Schafer, 6-5, 290, Sr.

LG 71 Steve Rehring, 6-8, 329, So.

67 Kyle Mitchum, 6-5, 295, So.

C 50 Doug Datish, 6-5, 295, Sr.

54 Tyler Whaley, 6-1, 270, So.

RG 72 T.J. Downing, 6-4, 305, Sr.

63 Ben Person, 6-4, 315, So.

RT 74 Kirk Barton, 6-6, 310, Jr.

79 Jon Skinner, 6-5, 300, So.

TE 88 Rory Nicol, 6-5, 250, So.

87 Brandon Smith, 6-3, 252, So.

FL 7 Ted Ginn Jr., 6-0, 180, Jr.

4 Ray Small, 6-0, 175, Fr.

QB 10 Troy Smith, 6-1, 215, Sr.

12 Justin Zwick, 6-4, 225, Sr.

TB 25 Antonio Pittman, 5-11, 195, Jr.

34 Maurice Wells, 5-10, 190, So.

or 28 Chris Wells, 6-1, 225, Fr.

FB 89 Stan White Jr., 6-2, 242, Sr.

49 Dionte Johnson, 6-0, 234, Jr.

SL 11 Anthony Gonzalez, 6-0, 195, Jr.

9 Brian Hartline, 6-3, 180, R-Fr.

K 20 Aaron Pettrey, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

85 Ryan Pretorius, 5-9, 180, So.

Ohio State Defense

DE 99 Jay Richardson, 6-6, 276, Sr.

87 Lawrence Wilson, 6-6, 270, So.

DT 97 David Patterson, 6-3, 285, Sr.

98 Joel Penton, 6-5, 290, Sr.

DT 90 Quinn Pitcock, 6-3, 295, Sr.

92 Todd Denlinger, 6-3, 280, R-Fr.

DE 50 Vernon Gholston, 6-4, 260, So.

78 Alex Barrow, 6-5, 275, So.

SLB 1 Marcus Freeman, 6-2, 242, So.

or 55 Curtis Terry, 6-2, 234, Jr.

MLB 33 James Laurinaitis, 6-3, 244, So.

6 Larry Grant, 6-3, 225, Jr.

WLB 52 John Kerr, 6-1, 233, Sr.

51 Ross Homan, 6-1, 237, Fr.

CB 2 Malcolm Jenkins, 6-1, 202, So.

13 Andre Amos, 6-1, 180, R-Fr.

FS 21 Anderson Russell, 6-0, 190, R-Fr.

23 Nick Patterson, 6-2, 210, So.

SS 32 Brandon Mitchell, 6-3, 205, Sr.

3 Jamario O'Neal, 6-1, 200, So.

CB 14 Antonio Smith, 5-9, 195, Sr.

20 Donald Washington, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

NB 20 Donald Washington, 6-1, 195, R-Fr.

23 Nick Patterson, 6-2, 210, So.

P 15 A.J. Trapasso, 6-1, 220, So.

48 Jon Thoma, 6-1, 190, R-Fr.

LS 58 Drew Norman, 6-0, 230, Sr.

Iowa Offense

LT 78 Dace Richardson, 6-6, 306, So.

60 Kyle Calloway, 6-7, 295, R-Fr.

LG 76 Mike Jones, 6-5, 299, Jr.

61 Travis Meade, 6-0, 280, R-Fr.

C 52 Rafael Eubanks, 6-3, 288, R-Fr.

59 Anton Narinskiy, 6-4, 260, So.

RG 54 Mike Elgin, 6-4, 288, Sr.

71 Seth Olsen, 6-5, 301, So.

RT 73 Marshal Yanda, 6-4, 305, Sr.

75 Wes Aeschliman, 6-8, 315, So.

TE 87 Scott Chandler, 6-7, 257, Sr.

81 Tony Moeaki, 6-4, 250, So.

30 Ryan Majerus, 6-3, 245, Sr.

FL 4 Herb Grigsby, 6-0, 175, Jr.

80 Andy Brodell, 6-3, 193, So.

SE 88 Dominique Douglas, 6-1, 186, Fr.

86 Trey Stross, 6-3, 190, R-Fr.

RB 21 Albert Young, 5-10, 209, Jr.

28 Damian Sims, 5-9, 185, Jr.

or 23 Shonn Greene, 5-11, 225, So.

QB 5 Drew Tate, 6-0, 192, Sr.

16 Jason Manson, 6-1, 195, Sr.

FB 35 Tom Busch, 5-11, 231, Jr.

46 Champ Davis, 6-2, 238, Sr.

K 1 Kyle Schlicher, 5-9, 184, Sr.

Iowa Defense

DE 92 Ken Iwebema, 6-4, 270, Jr.

96 Alex Kanelis, 6-4, 281, So.

DT 53 Matt Kroul, 6-3, 271, So.

93 Ettore Ewen, 6-0, 275, So.

DT 47 Mitch King, 6-3, 264, So.

66 Ryan Bain, 6-2, 282, So.

DE 99 Bryan Mattison,6-3, 272, Jr.

96 Alex Kanelis,6-4, 281, So.

WLB 27 Edmond Miles, 6-1, 228, Sr.

41 Bryon Gattas, 6-1, 233, Jr.

MLB 40 Mike Klinkenborg, 6-2, 240, Jr.

51 Zach Gabelmann, 6-1, 233, Sr.

OLB 44 Mike Humpal, 6-2, 232, Jr.

37 Gavin McGrath, 6-2, 231, So.

CB 19 Adam Shada, 6-1, 185, Jr.

11 Marcus Wilson, 6-3, 198, R-Fr.

SS 15 Miguel Merrick, 6-0, 203, Sr.

14 Devan Moylan, 5-10, 201, Sr.

FS 25 Marcus Paschal, 6-0, 207, Sr.

14 Devan Moylan, 5-10, 201, Sr.

CB 13 Charles Godfrey, 6-1, 208, Jr.

29 Bradley Fletcher, 6-2, 195, So.

P 6 Andy Fenstermaker, 6-3, 225, Sr.

Breaking It Down

* When Ohio State Has The Ball: Once again, it was a good sign to see Antonio Pittman get 110 yards last week against Penn State. The Buckeyes must believe they can run the football because I believed PSU would be stingy against the run. Even after that game, PSU has still only allowed 82 yards per game on the ground.

A year ago, OSU manhandled Iowa's defensive front four and rendered the star LBs Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge as non-factors – other than making tackles 8 and 9 yards downfield. Both Pittman and Troy Smith had 100 yards rushing, marking the first time in nearly three decades that OSU has had a quarterback and a running back reach the century mark in the same game. But Iowa's front has grown up a bit. The Hawkeyes, led by active Mitch King at DT, have added an average of nearly 20 pounds a man across the front coming into this year. They may not be quite as easy to push around. But, in a hostile environment, look for Jim Tressel to lean on Pittman and the running game.

Smith did not have one of his better games against Penn State, but he was due. You have to go almost all the way back to last year's loss at Penn State to find such a performance. That game remains the only loss in nine career starts against ranked teams for Smith. This week will be start No. 10. Iowa is sixth in the Big Ten in pass defense at 172.5 yards per game allowed. With two relatively new starters at corner, look for Smith to test the waters with throws to Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and new go-to guy Brian Robiskie. Iowa has registered 12 sacks in four games, so protection will be a big key here as well.

Smith blistered Iowa for 191 yards and two touchdowns a year ago, so he should be confident in his ability to complete passes against the Hawkeyes.

* When Iowa Has The Ball: Tate showed two years ago just how lethal he can be as he threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns in Iowa's rout of Ohio State in Iowa City. He went on to be named the Big Ten offensive player of the year in 2004. He took a small step back last year, but seems to again be on top of his game. He does not have Ed Hinkel and Clinton Solomon to throw to any more, though.

Iowa quarterbacks have only been sacked five times in the first four games. The Buckeyes in the same number of games have accumulated 16 sacks. OSU got to Tate for five sacks in last year's win in Columbus, where the Buckeyes held Iowa to just 137 yards total offense. My guess is OSU's strong front four will make a few plays and do its best to make sure Tate does not break contain as he did two years ago.

And without his dynamic receiving threats of years gone by, I imagine Tate will try and dink Ohio State down the field with throws to tailback Albert Young (18 catches) and tight end Scott Chandler (16 catches). Getting the ball out of Tate's hands quickly will be OSU's biggest task.

The 209-pound Young is a solid back, although he has split time with the 185-pound scat back Sims. Iowa is eighth in the Big Ten in rushing offense at 151.2 yards per carry and did nothing on the ground against OSU last year in Columbus.

* How It Will Go: The Buckeyes can ill afford another slow start. They trailed Cincinnati 7-3 and 7-6 most of the first half two weeks ago and failed to score in falling behind 3-0 at halftime last week against Penn State. If the OSU offense sputters early and, say, Tate gets hot and the crowd gets loud and the Buckeyes look up and find they're down 10-0 or 14-0, it could be a long night.

I come back to the fact that OSU controlled Tate, pretty much, last year in Columbus and, to date, this defense looks like the genuine article. OSU has allowed a grand total of three touchdowns in four games. I think it's foolish to think they will "shut down" Iowa, especially in their comfort zone of Kinnick Stadium.

My guess is that Smith will not have a second "off" game in a row. I imagine he, Ginn and Gonzalez will get back to work and figure out the formula for how they were able to do so much damage in the first three games. OSU can then use Pittman – and his penchant of plucking off yardage in 5- and 6-yard chunks – to control the tempo and wear Iowa down in the fourth quarter.

Ohio State has to be the best fourth-quarter team in college football, outscoring its first four opponents 52-9 in the final 15 minutes. So a strong start would be helpful and another big finish could be what OSU uses to escape Iowa City with what would be a huge win.

I have covered no fewer than four previous OSU games in Iowa City and I can attest to the fact that it is a hostile environment for a visiting team. With the 7 p.m. local start and being just the second-ever night game at Kinnick Stadium, it will be off the hook for this one. But the Buckeyes proved at Texas that they can win a road night game.

This one may not be pretty – ABC's John Saunders may again be left to wonder at 11:30 p.m. Saturday night whether Ohio State deserves to be No. 1 – and it may take a late score to (finally) put it away.

But I think Ohio State gets it done. I think I had a moment of lunacy when I made my selection on Monday during our Bucknuts Radio Hour taping. But, I've got it: Ohio State 31-17 (And, if I know you like I think I do, you probably think I'm a loon for saying Iowa will score 17 points ... ha ha.)

* For The Record: I am 4-0 straight-up and 3-1 against-the-spread with Ohio State. (As of Tuesday, OSU was listed as a 6-1/2 point favorite.)

* Other Picks: On this week's Bucknuts Radio Hour, all of the panelists picked Ohio State. Mr. Bucknuts picked OSU 24-13. Jerry Rudzinski said OSU 26-20. Dave Biddle said OSU 24-17. Kirk Larrabee said OSU 27-17. And Jon Miller of HawkeyeNation.com picked OSU 27-21.

-- Steve Helwagen


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