Ohio State smelling roses after win over Iowa

Ohio State edged Iowa 27-24 in overtime to win at least a share of their fifth consecutive Big Ten title and essentially book a trip to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl. It’ll be the Buckeyes first appearance in the Rose Bowl since 1997.

I’ll be honest, I expected more out of the Buckeyes today, who were 17-point favorites over a depleted Hawkeyes team. I figured OSU’s stingy defense would harass freshman quarterback James Vandenberg, who struggled mightily last week when Ricky Stanzi suffered an injury in Iowa’s loss to Northwestern.

But give credit to Vandenberg, who was awfully impressive while completing 20 of his 33 pass attempts for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He found Marvin McNutt for a 10-yard touchdown pass with less than three minutes remaining to tie the game at 24-24 and force overtime.

The problem is that Vandenberg also made a ton of freshman mistakes, which led to three Ohio State interceptions. The Buckeyes actually picked him off a fourth time and returned it for a defensive score midway through the fourth, but OSU was called for offsides and the touchdown came off the board. Vandenberg was also lucky another one of his passes wasn’t intercepted on Iowa’s game-tying touchdown drive, as the ball was deflected into the air around multiple OSU defenders but a Hawkeye receiver caught it for a first down.

Vandeberg’s counterpart, Terrelle Pryor, wasn’t asked to do much in the passing game. He completed 14 of his 17 pass attempts for only 93 yards and no scores. Jim Tressel played things ultra-conservative and allowed Brandon Saine and the running game to take over. Saine finished with 103 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns.

Iowa was the No. 4 team in the country heading into last weekend’s action, had the inside track to win the Big Ten title and at the very least, had a trip to the Rose Bowl almost locked up. After today, they’ll be lucky to be ranked in the top 15 when the new polls are released on Sunday and will likely head to the WhoCares.com Bowl.

On the flip side, everyone was ready to write Ohio State off after they lost to Purdue last month and now it looks like they’ll be crowned Big Ten champs again. It’s amazing how quickly things can change in college football from week to week.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

College Football Week 11 Picks and Predictions

After two strong weeks in which I went 8-0 straight up and 7-1 against the spread, I crapped the bed last week. I went just 2-2 straight up and 1-3 against the spread. My only saving grace was that I predicted Ohio State to beat Penn State outright, but the refs took care of any opportunity LSU had of covering.

No. 25 West Virginia at No. 5 Cincinnati, 8:00PM ET, Friday
The Bearcats received a scare last week from Connecticut, which scored 35 second half points in order to erase a 30-10 halftime deficit. While Cincinnati held on to beat the Huskies 47-45, the narrow win raised some doubts about whether or not the Bearcats should be ranked in the top 5. Tony Pike continues to battle a forearm injury, which means sophomore Zach Collaros will once again be counted on to keep Cincinnati’s BCS hopes alive. The Bearcats might have trouble running against a decent West Virginia front seven, but Collaros should have opportunities to methodically drive the ball down the field on an inconsistent Mountaineer secondary. I see this game being close early, but Cincinnati will pull away and hold on to victory in the second half.
Odds: Cincinnati –9.
Prediction: Cincinnati 34, West Virginia 24.

No. 16 Utah at. No. 4 TCU, 7:30PM ET, Saturday
I’m a little surprised to see that TCU is a whopping 19.5-point favorite in such a marquee matchup. I fully expect the Horned Frogs to take care of business at home, but the Utes have a good enough defense to somewhat contain quarterback Andy Dalton and TCU’s trio of running backs in Joe Turner, Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker. Plus, Utah can grind it out on the ground with running backs Eddie Wide and Sausan Shakerin, so they have the ability to keep TCU’s potent offense on the sidelines and have a chance to win in the fourth quarter. In the end, I think freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn will succumb to the pressure of TCU’s aggressive defense, but this one will be close throughout.
Odds: TCU –19.5.
Prediction: TCU 30, Utah 24.

Read the rest of this entry »

College Football Week 11 Point Spreads

Along with a complete list of point spreads for the top 25 action in college football, here is a quick-hit look at some of the marquee matchups in Week 11.

No. 25 West Virginia at No. 5 Cincinnati, Friday, November 13
This is the first of three important games left on the Bearcats’ schedule. After playing the Mountaineers on Friday night, Brian Kelly’s squad will take on Big Ten foe Illinois on November 27 and then have a marquee Big East showdown with No. 12 PITT on December 5. Kelly won’t have starting quarterback Tony Pike again this week as the senior continues to nurse a forearm injury. That means impressive sophomore Zach Collaros will once again be counted on to keep Cincinnati’s BCS hopes alive. After ratting off four straight wins to get to 6-1 on the season, West Virginia has struggled the past two weeks. They were defeated by South Florida two weeks ago and then struggled generating offense against a below-average Louisville team last Saturday. Will Collaros and the rest of Cincy’s backfield be too much for the Mountaineers to handle?
Odds: Cincinnati –9.

No. 16 Utah at No. 4 TCU, 7:30PM ET, Saturday
Now that the Horned Frogs have leapt into the No. 4 spot in the rankings, they have one more hurdle to overcome on their schedule before they let fate take the wheel for the rest of the season. Utah will do everything in its power to knock off its Mountain West foe and gain the inside edge for a second straight conference title. But the Utes’ task is a daunting one. TCU has the sixth best rushing attack in the nation and are ranked eighth in total offense. They also rank third in total defense and fifth in scoring defense. The Frogs look like a small-school juggernaut right now but if they will be challenged this weekend in Fort Worth.
Odds: TCU –19.5.

No. 10 Iowa at No. 11 Ohio State, 3:30PM ET, Saturday
In the blink of an eye, the Hawkeyes saw their national title hopes and quarterback go down in one fall swoop last Saturday as Northwestern shocked them at home. Now Iowa can only hope for a Big Ten title, but even that looks dim considering it has to go into Columbus this week in attempts to beat a confident Ohio State team. The Buckeyes knocked off Penn State last Saturday in Happy Valley and now has the inside track to winning the Big Ten again this season. The Hawkeyes will start redshirt freshman James Vanderberg, who struggled last week after Ricky Stanzi suffered an injury in the first half. Asking a redshirt freshman to beat the Buckeyes in Columbus is no small order and it appears that Iowa’s magical 2009 season won’t have a fairytale ending.
Odds: Ohio State –17.

Read the rest of this entry »

Iowa’s Stanzi hurt against Northwestern

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi left the Hawkeyes’ game against Northwestern early in the second quarter with an apparent foot injury.

Stanzi was hurt when Wildcats’ defender Corey Wootton sacked him in the end zone. He fumbled and Nwest Marshall Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a Northwestern touchdown to cut Iowa’s lead to 10-7.

Backup quarterback James Vandenberg immediately came in and threw an interception to set up another Wildcats score. Northwestern is currently up 14-10 at halftime and at least for the moment, No. 6 Iowa is once again in trouble.

Although hey, they’re always in trouble at halftime; they’ve trailed at halftime in almost every game this season.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Related Posts