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              === Big Ten brawl pits Hawkeyes against Buckeyes ===
 
 Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of well-rested Big Ten Conference
 foes do battle on Saturday afternoon, as the Iowa Hawkeyes challenge the
 fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
 
 Both teams had byes last week, and Iowa brings a 4-2 record into this contest,
 while Ohio State is perfect at 6-0.
 
 The Hawkeyes suffered their first conference loss on Oct. 5, falling at home
 to Michigan State in a 26-14 final. Iowa dropped a 30-27 to visiting Northern
 Illinois in the season opener, but then reeled off four straight victories,
 including a 23-7 verdict at Minnesota in the Big Ten opener the week prior to
 the MSU loss. Iowa has won both of its road games this season.
 
 Ohio State owns the nation's longest winning streak at 18 games, giving
 second-year head coach Urban Meyer a victory in every game he has coached in
 Columbus. The Buckeyes, who have scored less than 40 points only once this
 season, took out Wisconsin and Northwestern in their first two league tilts,
 and this is the first of two straight the team will play at home. After that,
 three of their final four games will take place on the road, including the
 finale at bitter rival Michigan on Nov. 30.
 
 Ohio State has won four straight and 12 of the last 13 meetings with Iowa,
 elevating its lead in the all-time series to 46-14-3.
 
 The Iowa offense is averaging 29.7 ppg, and while that figure is nearly twice
 as much as the Big Ten's-lowest scoring team (Purdue, 15.3 ppg), it still
 ranks the squad 11th in the conference. The Hawkeyes use a balanced attack to
 churn out 416.8 ypg, running for 207.5 ypg and passing for 209.3 ypg. Jake
 Rudock has been effective, if unspectacular under center, completing 60.3
 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards with eight TDs and six interceptions.
 Kevonte Martin-Manley has been his favorite target, logging twice as many
 receptions as his closest teammate with 26 grabs for 225 yards and a score.
 Mark Weisman has been a workhorse out of the backfield, rushing for 624 yards
 (third-best in the Big Ten) and scoring three TDs. Rudock has five rushing
 scores to his credit it tallying 139 yards on 31 carries.
 
 Weisman's exploits aside, the Iowa offense has failed to elicit a whole of
 fear in the hearts of the opposition this season. The defense on the other
 hand, has been more impressive, with foes scoring just 16.8 ppg on a typical
 output of 290.0 ypg. The Hawkeyes give up only 88.5 ypg on the ground, and
 they have yet to surrender a rushing TD, while their effort against the pass
 results in 201.5 ypg, and their yield on third-down conversion attempts stands
 at 26.7 percent. All of the aforementioned defensive figures rank the team
 third in the conference. Their nine INTs rank fourth, but their six sacks has
 them 11th. Anthony Hitchens paces the unit with 59 tackles, while James Morris
 and B.J. Lowery have three picks apiece, and Dominic Alvis has a pair of
 sacks.
 
 Iowa owns the nation's ninth-ranked defense, and while defensive coordinator
 Phil Parker likes what he has seen thus far, he is cognizant of the
 significant challenges that lie ahead.
 
 "We're 4-2, the same situation we were last year, but our defense is much
 improved. The difficult thing is staying focused on the one you have next,"
 Parker said after the Michigan State game. "My biggest focus right now is Ohio
 State."
 
 Under Meyer's watchful eye, the Buckeyes are firing on all cylinders, as they
 lead the Big Ten in scoring (46.8 ppg), averaging just shy of 500 yards per
 contest along the way. The run generates 280.7 ypg, with a league-leading 17
 rushing TDs. The pass, with Braxton Miller (.653, 609 yards, six TDs, two
 INTs) and Kenny Guiton (.684, 664 yards, 13 TDs, two INTs) at the controls,
 accounts for 212.2 ypg with 19 scores. Corey Brown and Devin Smith are OSU's
 top receivers, the two combining for 53 grabs, 743 yards and 10 TDs. Jordan
 Hall has been the most productive running back, amassing 427 yards and eight
 TDs.
 
 The Ohio State defense, while not grabbing as many headlines as the offense,
 has been solid in yielding just 19.2 ppg behind only 326.2 ypg -- both figures
 ranking in the upper half of the conference standings, and the latter ranking
 the team 15th nationally. The Buckeyes have been especially tough against the
 run, permitting a scant 86.2 ypg and only three rushing scores. The unit ranks
 second in the league with 16 sacks, while its 25.3 percent allowance on third-
 down conversion attempts is the best in the Big Ten. Ryan Shazier headlines
 the defense with 47 tackles, which includes a club-best eight TFL and he has
 forced two fumbles as well. Noah Spence has logged three sacks, while Doran
 Grant and Bradley Roby have each picked off a pair of passes.
 
 In his weekly meeting with the media, Meyer spoke with reverence about the
 Iowa defense and the task his team has in this matchup.
 
 "A very good Iowa defense. Just because I don't know a whole lot about Iowa
 other than I did coach against them in a bowl game awhile back and they are
 the same as they have always been on defense, real stout, real firm against
 the run. I believe they have not given up a rushing touchdown, I read that
 somewhere, and I can see that they are very good. So just a big game."
 
 
 
 10/16 10:50:12 ET