While I was hoping more to see an OSU loss more than an Iowa win, I figured I would at least use the opportunity for some scouting of the bad guys. Obviously, you can watch it on TV, but sometimes it seems different live. I also had the good fortune of being mid-field and high enough up to see the entire field pretty well which also helped.
First off, holy crap their defensive line is strong. I have no idea what happened at Wisconsin, but they controlled the Iowa offensive line which does not happen to them at home very often. They rarely brought more than just the front four, but honestly did not need to very often since you really saw a consistent surge from their dline that really disrupted the Iowa offense. Iowa was running for about 3.3 YPC with little going to the outside, with the longest runs up the middle when they could open up a crease. This gives me some hope since we do this pretty well and then I remember I have no idea who will even be running the ball on Saturday.
The back four seemed solid, but were taken advantage of by play action and deep slants. McNutt scored once this way and should have had another with the same play. If we can get anything going on the ground, it might open up the deep ball in a similar fashion. However, I am not talking torched earth or anything. Stanzi was 20/31 for 195 while scrambling a lot more than he likes in the pocket most of the night. My only positive is that these were routes that Denard can throw.
The offensive line was as advertised, they put 158 yards rushing (half from Pryor) on Iowa while being very content to slug it out with the Iowa dline. It was pretty even most of the game, but were able to get it when it counted in the fourth quarter. Iowa’s conditioning seems a bit suspect as they faded late (again) so it might have just been an occurrence of Iowa wearing down more than OSU exerting themselves. We have no such mass in our dline so I guess there is really no comparison for us here.
The OSU passing game was killing the middle of the field. They abused Greenwood (an overrated safety anyway in my opinion) and had their slots running free on many mid-range patterns. I was surprised that Pryor did not have more passing yardage (18/31 for a 5.9 YPC) since it seemed like he could have done a lot of damage. Having seen the mid-range routes left open by our D all year, I felt I was already watching our game. Let’s hope to control the bleeding.
The Pryor factor was the most interesting. He was pretty buttoned down, however, the Vest was happy to kill Iowa with his running. Case in point, 4th and 10 at the end of the game, the entire OSU offense is run to the short side, everything is bottled up, nowhere to pass, my friend is going crazy, I just tell him he is f*cked. I saw the wide side of the field wide open and knew what was going to happen. No spy, no problem for a gain of 14. It sucked to watch and I immediately knew I would see this same damn play this weekend when he breaks contain. I am just stating the obvious that we would need to be up by more than two scores at the end to win.