Ohio Stadium packs over 100,000 fans.
The team that plays in that stadium? The Associated Press tabbed them as the second best team in the country.
The point spread? Not one — not two — not three — not fo… wait, yes. The Ohio State Buckeyes are currently 30-point — four score — favorites over the Iowa Hawkeyes. It’s the biggest underdog matchup for the program since 2000.
With that being said, the Hawkeyes and left tackle Mason Richman are embracing the uphill battle.
“It’s completely us against the world,” Richman said. “I’m sure everyone’s gonna pick Ohio State across the board. But the mentality we have is it’s 70 guys getting on a plane going over there against 100,000 plus over in Columbus, Ohio. I think that’s just the coolest thing you can do.”
Defensive lineman Logan Lee echoes Richman’s sentiment: He’s up for the challenge. He thinks the way to leave Columbus with a victory is to simply play their best football.
“Biggest thing is that everybody is beatable,” Lee said. “They are a very good team. We’re just looking at taking that as an opportunity to be able to play a good team and if we do our responsibilities to the best of our ability, we’ve got a good shot at being able to perform well.”
If there’s one thing that works to Iowa’s advantage, it’s that the Hawkeyes have one of the nation’s top 5 defenses to match up with Ohio State’s high powered offense. Quarterback C.J. Stroud leads the nation in passing touchdowns (24) and passer rating (207). He’s also throwing to arguably the best plethora of receivers in the game.
It’s the biggest test yet for the “Dough Boyz,” but they’re ready to step in the octagon.
“They’re big, they’re always athletic, they’re a lot bigger and a lot faster [than Iowa’s previous opponents],” said cornerback Riley Moss. “Our defense, we got a bunch of blue-collar guys who like to hit people in the mouth. I kind of love that.”
As for how the defense can keep pace in what could be a track meet?
“Every single play that you’re sprinting to the ball, getting to the ball, knowing what you’re doing,” Moss said. “If we play sound, we play technical, it’s gonna be — the game’s gonna go in our favor. As a defense, we need to do everything that we can to affect the game.”
Going back to Logan Lee’s point, everybody is indeed beatable. An Ohio State team that paid Kinnick a visit back in 2017 as a 20.5 point favorite. What happened?