Iowa defense will try to contain Stroud, No. 2 Ohio State

Iowa (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) at No. 2 Ohio State (6-0, 3-0), Saturday, noon ET (FOX)

Line: Ohio State by 28 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Ohio State leads 46-15-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Both teams are coming off a bye week. Ohio State steamrolled its first three Big Ten opponents and seems to be on the march to another College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes are heavy favorites and over the Hawkeyes, who have had trouble generating much offense. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud is among the most prolific passers in the nation. Star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba could be back after missing most of the season with a hamstring injury and running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams could both be ready to go also.

KEY MATCHUP

Iowa RG Beau Stephens vs. Ohio State DT Michael Hall. The Hawkeyes’ offense is struggling mightily and it’s doubtful things will get better this week. But for the Hawkeyes to have any chance, Stephens must elevate his game. He’s allowed four sacks. Hall has been dominant, recording 2 ½ sacks against Michigan State and 4 ½ for the season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Iowa: LB Jack Campbell. Iowa needs its best defensive player to be at his very best. The 2021 national tackles leader and AP preseason All-American is averaging double-digit stops again and will be kept busy against the Buckeyes.

Ohio State: WR Marvin Harrison Jr. has stepped up with Smith-Njigba sidelined. Harrison has 31 receptions for 536 yards and a team-leading nine touchdown grabs.

FACTS & FIGURES

Iowa ruined Ohio State’s march to the postseason with a 55-24 upset on Nov. 4, 2017. … The Hawkeyes play a No. 2-ranked opponent for the second straight season (Michigan, 2021 Big Ten Championship). … The Iowa defense has allowed 10 points or fewer in five of the team’s first six games – a first for the program since 1933. … The Hawkeyes have two senior linebackers that each have more than 200 career tackles, Jack Campbell (239) and Seth Benson (214). … Iowa is one of the least penalized teams in the nation, ranking ninth in fewest penalty yards (241) and 15th in fewest penalties (30). … Ohio State is second in the nation in total yards, averaging 543.7 per game, behind Tennessee (551). … The Buckeyes are first in the nation with 25 passing touchdowns, 41 total TDs and an average of 48.8 points per game.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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