Hawkeyes prepare for rarely seen opponent

Iowa and Ohio State play Saturday for just second time in the past 7 years

IOWA CITY, Iowa - If you're thinking Ohio State and Iowa haven't played too many times in recent memory, you'd be correct.

The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will play on Saturday for just the second time in the last seven years. That unfamiliarity makes it a little tougher for the Hawkeyes to prepare for such a talented opponent, as senior receiver Matt VandeBerg is the only player that played against the Buckeyes in 20-13.
"It is a little different that nobody on this current team has played them before," VandeBerg said. "We gotta be tuned in to exactly what they're trying to do to us, just like any defense that we study. We gotta know how they roll and things like that, what kind of blitzes they might bring."

"It seems like every week, you're kind of -- not necessarily in first-game mode -- but you're trying to dig up some information, that type of thing," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "The challenge is really trying to match up against them in any phase. They are really talented and really well-coached in all phases."
Quarterback Nate Stanley says the Hawkeyes not having game experience against Ohio State makes tendencies on film even more important.
"Getting to know what a defender is going to do or what an offensive player is going to do in a certain situation is really all you can do to prepare for a game like this and for a team that you don't play every year," Stanley said. 

The Buckeyes offense is tops in the Big Ten conference. Veteran quarterback J.T. Barrett is the catalyst for the attack, which also ranks second in the NCAA in both points and yards per game. Iowa senior linebacker Josey Jewell admits Barrett's on-field wizardry is tough to simulate in practice.
"Really his elusiveness on the field," Jewell said. "We have some guys on scout team that do a good job, but I mean he's a great player in the backfield." 

"That's part of the Big Ten," Ferentz said. "You play against teams that are really good and you play against guys that are just outstanding players. It's part of the challenge." 

Ferentz has struggled in his tenure at Iowa against the Buckeyes. He's just 1-8 overall, which includes the current five-game losing streak. 

For more Hawkeye football coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter -- and now Facebook -- and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season.


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