Nov. 20 game could dictate fans’ New Year’s Day plans

Photo by Tim Schoon.

The Iowa Hawkeyes’ 2010 season won’t be coming up Roses, but the team hopes to be a thorn in the side of one particular Big Ten title contender.

The Hawkeyes will host the Buckeyes of Ohio State University at 2:35 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 20. The game at Kinnick Stadium is sold out; fans can watch the game on ABC.

Ohio State enters the game tied for the Big Ten lead, one of three teams with one conference loss (Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin are the other one-loss teams). The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in scoring average (41.6) and scoring defense (13.6 allowed), and boast a balanced offensive attack (222 rushing yards per game, 233 passing yards per game).

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But the Hawkeyes are the biggest stumbling block remaining on any of the leaders’ schedules. Iowa remains among the nation’s top 25 teams, and Saturday’s game marks the final game at Kinnick for the seniors on the squad. Undoubtedly players such as quarterback Ricky Stanzi, receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, linemen Julian Vandervelde and Adrian Clayborn, and defensive back Brett Greenwood will want to leave Kinnick on a high note—what would be better than bumping off the Buckeyes?

And while the Rose Bowl might not be in the cards for the Hawkeyes, a win against Ohio State and a victory next week in Minnesota would give the Hawkeyes and their faithful ample reason to make New Year’s Day plans in Florida. The Capital One Bowl in Orlando and the Outback Bowl in Tampa are the top two non-BCS bowl games that have Big Ten affiliations. The Hawkeyes have fared well in those bowl games: they defeated the Gamecocks of South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl, and they pulled off one of the more thrilling bowl victories in recent memory in the 2005 Capital One Bowl against Louisiana State.

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