Unstoppable Force, Meet Immovable Object

By Kyle Rowland on October 16, 2013 at 9:15a
34 Comments
Hyde and Miller provide a deadly one-two punch for Ohio State's rushing attack.

One team in major college football has managed to keep their opponents from running into the end zone. That team is Iowa. The Hawkeyes are limiting opponents to less than 89 yards rushing per game  making Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium a matchup of the immovable object and the irresistible force.

Ohio State is averaging 281 rushing yards per game, and bulldozing running back Carlos Hyde is coming off a career-high 168-yard, three-touchdown performance. Good defense or not, the Buckeye coaches trust their backfield of Hyde, Braxton Miller, Jordan Hall and a handful of others.

“We are a football team that likes to run the football,” said running backs coach Stan Drayton, stating the obvious. “We like to think that we have an offensive line that presents that to us. So to sit there and say that we are going to go into this football game and not run the ball because Iowa is pretty good at it is not real.

“We are going to run the football and we are going to trust our offensive line to get engaged. We are going to trust our running backs to play through contact, and we’ll win some and we’ll lose some. We just have to maintain patience in that phase of the offensive scheme.”

Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat are the Hawkeyes’ interior defensive linemen. Paul Bunyan is rumored to have swung his ax near Iowa City, and Davis and Trinca-Pasat just might be the reincarnation with their hulking size. All that’s missing is Babe the Blue Ox. Instead, they have Floyd of Rosedale.

When the bronze pig was up for grabs in late September, Minnesota entered the game with 1,129 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns – both impressive. But Iowa laid waste to the Golden Gophers, holding them to 30 yards on 27 attempts and zero rushing touchdowns. Also included in the Hawkeye defense’s banner day was three sacks.

“Carl and Louis are some of the toughest guys I’ve been around,” Iowa defensive end Dominic Alvis said. The unit uses a six-man rotation of Davis, Trinca-Pasat, Alvis, Darian Cooper, Drew Ott and Nate Meier.

Iowa has the eighth-best rush defense in the country and ranks 12th in scoring defense. The Hawkeyes are actually allowing fewer points per game than Saturday's 17-point spread. The secret ingredient to their success near the line of scrimmage is no secret at all. It’s simply fundamentals, staying in the appropriate gaps tends to result in short yardage plays for the offense.

After a season of disarray on both sides of the ball, Iowa’s offseason was spent fine-tuning. The defensive linemen poured over film to find out where it all went wrong. 

“It took a lot of film study this off-season to understand the defense,” Davis said. “I want to know as much as the linebackers know. If a center or guard gets up to the linebackers, I feel bad about it. I have to be the frontline guy to make sure they don’t get back there.”

The big guys for Iowa have been so impressive up front that Urban Meyer compared the Hawkeye D with that of two-time defending national champion Alabama. 

“We’ve been in there for two weeks trying to find a way to run the ball against this defense,” he said. 

Hyde will test the Iowa defense with a combination of size and speed that it hasn’t seen this season. He’s played in three games and already has 294 rushing yards, averaging 6.1 yards a carry. With a conference championship game and bowl, Hyde is well on pace to become Meyer's first 1,000-yard running back. 

“If someone wants to question whether we run the ball effectively, I think over 12 years we run the ball really well,” Meyer said. “I think there’s no doubt, I love having big backs. It's finding them and making sure that they are powerful, fast guys. We got one with Carlos.”

He ran for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns a year ago, but Drayton believes a dose of Hyde’s success has come from a month-long stint on the scout team.

“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.”

A three-game suspension didn’t mean Hyde would practice with the first-string four days a week and then reside in his off-campus apartment on Saturday. No, Hyde would take carries with the third- and fourth-string, split time with the scout team and then watch the games on TV from his apartment. 

“I wish I could raise every back that way,” Drayton said with a hint of sarcasm. “I think mentally, it was an unbelievable advantage for him because, No. 1, being a starting tailback a year ago and having to play a backup role and a service role to this football team on the scout team made him hungry.”

When you play on the scout team, there’s contact on nearly every play. So even though Hyde wasn’t getting game time, he was constantly being tackled. At Northwestern, it was evident running through contact was the smallest of issues. Hyde will be tasked with running through tree trunks this week. Iowa will be his stiffest test of the season, unless you count Ohio State’s first-team defense.

“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,” Meyer said. “I can see that they are very good.”

Blue-collar defenses are nothing new for Hyde. Iowa City and Lincoln might not be located in the Rust Belt, but the Midwestern cities are havens for working-class defensive lines.

“We score points. We don’t kick field goals,” Hyde said.

On Saturday, chances are at least one of those touchdowns will be of the rushing variety.

34 Comments

Comments

Earle's picture

Not buying the Iowa defense hype.  I'll be disappointed if the Buckeyes don't run for 150+.

Italics are for emphasis.

jdagrava.1's picture

I'm right there with you on the "Skepticism Train".  Consider the following:
Iowa's 4 victories are against opponents (Missouri State, Iowa State, Western Michigan, and Minnesota) with a combined record of 6-19.  Take out the Gophers and that drops to 2-17.
Also, of those victories, only Minnesota ranks in the top 75 in rushing offense in the country (25th).  The others are 84th, 111th, and some unknown rank from Missouri State... which is fitting because I didn't even know that they were a college before writing this post.
Ohio State boasts the 10th best rushing and 6th best scoring attack in the country.  I'm guessing we will be spending a bit more time in the end zone this Saturday than Iowa's previous combatants.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

GoBucks713's picture

I'm guessing we will be spending a bit more time in the end zone this Saturday than Iowa's previous combatants combined.

Fixed.
 

-The Aristocrats!

jdagrava.1's picture

LOL thanks!

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

timhbomb's picture

"12-point spread"
where can I get that action, everything I am seeing is 17

jeremytwoface's picture

I'll just leave this right here....

 
 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

Alice in Aggieland's picture

That shit-eating grin on Urban's face is the best.

villagebuckeye's picture

One of my favorites.  Love Urban's little chuckle at the end

jdagrava.1's picture

El Guapo with a head of steam.... not the freight train that I would want to be standing in front of.

"It takes a little something special to be a great player.  What you got in you, we're going to find out.  And if there's a touch of greatness in there, how cool would that be?"

-Urban F. Meyer

ChazBuckeye's picture

Still have this Tivo'd at home and watch it when I've had a bad day.  Always makes me smile:-)

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

cinserious's picture


William Drayton goes ...WOW!!!

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

buckskin's picture

Um, last I checked, we're not Minnesota.

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

Everyone gives us their best shot because we're Ohio State, so I do expect Iowa to come out ready to play. However, there is NO WAY IN HELL they are better than Wisconsin and NW. If this game is close its because of our mistakes, not what the Hawkeyes can do. Hope we play a great game and curb stomp them.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

GlueFingers Lavelli's picture

I have a lot of respect for the Iowa program and its fans. Weisman is a tank running the ball. I don't doubt they make us earn our keep running the ball on them, but without a solid passing game to keep us balanced I think we should be able to shut their offense down and force a tired defense back on the field. I think it's a close game at the half, then we blow them up in the second half.  

Dustin Fox was our leading tackler as a corner.... because his guy always caught the ball.

81Alum's picture

Like you, I have respect for the Hawkeyes. Agree that it'll be a close game at the half but we'll put them away in the second half.

Scott's picture

Kyle's use of analogies seemed limitless, like a graceful and majestic elk that also used many analogies.

Class of 2008

cinserious's picture

'Cept Lincoln, Nebraska and Iowa City are hardly in the 'Rust Belt'. More like in the 'Bread Basket'.

Life's daily struggle is choosing between saying F--ck-it, or soldiering on with your responsibilities.  

harleymanjax's picture

The proper term is what we truckers call it........the meat patch.
Due to all of the feed lots and slaughterhouses there.

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

BeijingBucks's picture

well maybe if their lineman spent more time 'poring over the film' and not 'pouring' icky foul substances over it they would have a chance in hell.
That video is definitely a 'Roll Hyde".  hill. ary. us.

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

BuckeyeInOrlando's picture

Remember when Wisconsin's defense hadn't given up any passing touchdowns?
 
The Buckeyes will look at this game to show that they can go straight at a teams strength and overpower them.

Ahh Saturday's picture

OSU has repeatedly begun games this season by throwing the ball, and have done it successfully.  I expect to see the same this Saturday.  It seems like every game the Buckeyes have early success throwing the ball and expect the defense to loosen up to defend the pass, but each defense continues to make stopping Braxton on the read option its top priority.  I don't get the idea that we have to beat Iowa at their own game.  If Iowa is determined to stop the run, fine, let Braxton torch them for 400 yards through the air.

pjtobin's picture

I agree completely. Though I don't see them stopping anything we want to do. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Was going to post something along the same lines, would definitely like to see a balanced attack and get some nice yardage in the air as well as a respectable number of yards on the ground against a team that will be focusing on stopping the run.  Miller may have to prove to Iowa that he can hit receivers consistently, which should cause the Iowa defensive line and secondary to back up a bit, allowing for some big run yards in the second half.  Hopefully ha.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Ahh Saturday's picture

 Miller may have to prove to Iowa that he can hit receivers consistently, which should cause the Iowa defensive line and secondary to back up a bit, allowing for some big run yards in the second half.

This has been the game plan each week, and each week the passing game has been consistently successful early.  No one has stopped it but the Buckeyes.  The coaches keep expecting the defenses to loosen up a bit, and the defenses continue not loosening up.  What I'm saying is that if we want to see Braxton the 100-yard runner, other teams are going to first have to see Braxton the 300-yard passer.  I say start this week.

Buckeye_Ryan's picture

I'll be at this game, it's my first in two years and I'm stoked! Look for me in the crowd, I'll be the one wearing Scarlet. 

Born a Buckeye, raised a Buckeye, will die a Buckeye.

Clinger76's picture

.......and I'll be a section over wearing the Grey!! ;)

"If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats, But if you take no risks, you will earn no victories."

RunEddieRun1983's picture

Honestly, Iowa is nothing to laugh at, but c'mon folks, really?  tOSU has their number, it's going to be a massive day for Hyde, 150+ and at least a Td.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

lax20's picture

I agree with all that is being said on this blog, but Kirk Ferentz has a reputation of coming with a game plan.  The only Iowa game that I remember that was a blowout under Ferentz was in 2005 &06 (31-6, 38-17). The likes of Troy Smith, Ted Ginn, Antonio Pittman and a defense that was stoudt made up this Buckeye team.  This team is good, but not 2006 good.  Let's just have a win. 

Dublin68's picture

One The guys on BTNLive gave 1% for Iowa and 1% for Penn State to beat OSU
Also he gave 0% for Purdue, Illinois, and Indiana to beat OSU
the other guy gave 0% for the above team to beat OSU
 

steveoz49's picture

Note to Iowa:  Buckle up boys, it's going to be a long day! 

45has2's picture

This team is The Children Of A Lesser Corn and they can't lick our Nuts.

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

harleymanjax's picture

We can't overlook the vaunted Hawkeyes, whenever you go up against a Hall of Fame Coach like Ferentz you will consider yourself lucky if he lets you live after beating you mercilessly!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

thekornidentity's picture

Northern Illinois beat Iowa. I'm not too worried.

“Nothing that comes easy in this world is worth a damn.” -Woody Hayes