Iowa Travels for B1G Contest at Ohio State

Oct. 18, 2013

Hawkeyes Arrive at Ohio Stadium | Hawkeyes Arrive at Ohio Stadium

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Following the first open week on the schedule, the University of Iowa football team is in Columbus, Ohio ready to return to action against the No. 3/4 Ohio State Buckeyes. Game time from Ohio State Saturday is 2:36 p.m. CT.

Iowa is playing at Ohio State for the first time since a 27-24 overtime loss in 2009, in a contest that decided the Big Ten title. The teams have not met since 2010, when the Buckeyes took a 20-17 win in Iowa City. The Buckeyes were ranked seventh in 2009 and eighth the following year when the teams met in Iowa City.

The Iowa offense has rushed for over 200 yards in five of six games, but the ground game was slowed down in the recent 26-14 loss to Michigan State.

“It’s been good to get an opportunity to spend two uninterrupted weeks out there,” said Brian Ferentz, Iowa’s offensive line coach. “It was good to be able to spend three days just on us, which has really been a positive, especially with the younger player. With the open weekend we picked up a couple bonus days in preparing for Ohio State.”

The Hawkeye offensive line starts two seniors in tackle Brett Van Sloten and guard Conor Boffeli, along with junior tackle Brandon Scherff, and guard Jordan Walsh and center Austin Blythe, a pair of sophomores. Junior Andrew Donnal also rotates in the line-up each week.

“I feel like we are a better team that when we took the field two weeks ago,” said Ferentz, who is in his second year on the Iowa staff. “I think we’ve improved a little bit every week. The last trip out (vs. Michigan State), some of the tangible numbers were not as recognizable, as far as gaining ground. But, I really feel like the guys are gaining confidence; they are starting to play better.

“We still have to do a better job finishing blocks, running off the ball, moving the line of scrimmage, doing those types of things,” said Ferentz, in discussing the finer points of offensive line play. “We need to really improve in pass protection, especially this week; this will be a tremendous challenge for us. Ohio State has a good defense; they have good pass rushers, but they also have big bodies that play well against the run, and they have active linebackers. We will find out if we are still improving. The key is to get better every week.”

Saturday’s game can be seen throughout the nation on either ABC or ESPN2.

Iowa returns home for its next two games, hosting Northwestern (Oct. 26, 11 a.m., BTN) and Wisconsin (Nov. 2, TBA).