Ohio State squeaks by Iowa, makes final week of Big Ten season very interesting

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13: Cameron Heyward  of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin  of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Ohio State has yet to be overly impressive in any of its wins this season. But the Buckeyes are simply getting things done when they need to. Their 20-17 win today over Iowa keeps it a three-team jumble atop the Big Ten standings, as they’re tied with Michigan State and Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes play host to rival Michigan in a game they should win. Michigan State goes on the road against Penn State in a game that all of the sudden looks very dangerous for the Spartans. Wisconsin, meanwhile, plays at home against a Northwestern team that has proven to be dangerous at times.

Against Iowa, it was the Ohio State defense that stepped up when it needed to, especially on the last drive of the game. The Buckeyes may have committed a pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive — OK, they did and it was missed — but the next three plays they were able to get good pressure on Ricky Stanzi from their defensive line, and maintain great coverage downfield. The big play was Cameron Heyward’s sack of Stanzi on third down, which forced a fourth-and-21, which Iowa came two yards short on.

Some praise needs to be heaped on the Buckeyes quarterback, as well. Terrelle Pryor may still throw an interception at a bad time. He may still miss an open receiver. But right now, he’s making the plays Ohio State needs him to to win football games.

Pryor had a huge fourth-down scramble late in the fourth quarter to keep Ohio State’s go-ahead drive alive today against Iowa. Perhaps more impressive, he did it one play after Devier Posey dropped a sure touchdown pass — he also evaded the officials when he took his helmet off on the field after the play, which should have made it fourth and 25 instead of fourth and 10, but I digress.

The bottom line is that three teams still have a shot at the Big Ten’s Rose Bowl berth, meaning three games will be very important next week.

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