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Ohio State Sees Tough Run Defense From Hawkeyes

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Filed to the "Even Ohio State Needs a Chip on its Shoulder" File is the building up of Iowa's run defense that's been going on Columbus this week. Iowa has a nice run defense. It sits third in the Big Ten with 88.50 yards a game. It's gritty, tough and Iowa sells out to stop the run. Then there's the "no rushing TDs yet this year" stat. Iowa is the only team not to allow a rush TD this season.

If Iowa were undefeated with a truckload of goal-line stands, this stat would carry some weight. Iowa has two losses and has six stops in nine red zone tries by opponents. There is no marquee stand. Iowa has had perhaps one series of goal-line defense. This is a stat more of circumstance than anything else. No one is off making T-shirts.

The one thing you can say about Iowa's rush defense is it hasn't allowed a lot of big runs. Iowa is fifth in the nation with just 13 runs of 10-plus yards allowed.

Still, the "no rush TDs" thingie has been a call to arms for Ohio State, which has a veteran offensive line and a 235-pound back in Carlos Hyde. OSU offensive linemen were simply given a piece of paper with that stat on it. The OL coach didn't have to say much else. Running backs coach Stan Drayton added this: "So, to sit there and say that we're going to go into this football game and not run the ball because Iowa is pretty good at it is not real. We're going to run the football and we're going to trust our offensive line to get engaged. We're going to trust our running backs to play through contact, and, you know, we'll win some and we'll lose some. We just have to maintain patience in that phase of the offensive scheme."

And then, Hyde: "We're not going to change our game plan. We're going to do what Ohio State does, and that's run the ball."

And center Corey Linsley: "It's definitely an incentive for us."

OK, OK, Iowa is suddenly the Steel Curtain. Got it.

As long as there's talking, senior linebacker Anthony Hitchens threw in: "That's good for them," Hitchens said when asked about OSU making a rush TD a priority. "We're taking it as a challenge to keep it like that. That's just the competitive nature of the game."

It is sports and it never hurts to have an Ivan Drago to touch gloves with.

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