Rugged Hawkeye Rush Defense a Challenge for OSU Running Game
By Rob Ogden
Before the question could even be finished, Corey Linsley interrupted.
Photo by Jim Davidson
"Oh, we know that," the Ohio State center blurted out.
The question was regarding the fact that Iowa's defense hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown all season. The Hawkeyes are the only team in America that can make that claim.
Linsley made it no secret — the Buckeyes want to end that streak.
"We definitely wanna get that first one. It's definitely a point of pride that we want to get that first rushing touchdown," he said.
"I couldn't believe that when I first heard it. And they've played people. It's kind of amazing that they haven't allowed a rushing touchdown."
Coach Urban Meyer didn't have to be told, either.
"They haven't even been in goal line defense," Meyer said.
Think about that."
Led by a stout defensive line, Iowa ranks eighth in the nation in total rushing defense, allowing 88.5 yards per game.
The Hawkeyes rank 12th in scoring defense, surrendering fewer than 17 points per game.
Linsley referred to the Hawkeyes' defensive line as "definitely, without question, the best d-line we've gone against so far."
Photo by Jim Davidson
But senior running back Carlos Hyde said the Buckeyes have no intentions to shy away from the run just because they're facing what Meyer called "one of the best defenses in America."
"At the end of the day we're gonna do what we do, and that's run the ball," Hyde said. "They haven't allowed a touchdown but we're not gonna change our game plan. We're gonna do what Ohio State does, and that's run the ball."
The Buckeyes rank 11th in the country with 281 rushing yards per game. 17 rushing touchdowns is tied for 12th most in the nation. Hyde had three in Ohio State's win over Northwestern on Oct. 5, and doesn't expect to be slowed on Saturday.
"I run determined, not to be stopped. It's gonna take the whole defense to tackle me," he said. "That's my mindset."
Before Ohio State and Wisconsin met on Sept. 28, the Badgers hadn't allowed a passing touchdown, but the Buckeyes got one on their first offensive series.
Quarterback Braxton Miller said they would like to end Iowa's streak as quickly as they did Wisconsin's.
"Playing a team like that makes you wanna play even harder," he said.
Like the Buckeyes, Iowa is also coming off a bye week, allowing the Hawkeyes plenty of time to improve a defense that already ranks seventh in red zone defense and ninth in third down efficiency.
But those are just more useless stats of which Linsley is probably already aware.
"The coaches don't need to say too much" Linsley said. "They just put a piece of paper on our desk that says they haven't allowed a rushing touchdown. It's definitely an incentive for us."