Four things the football teams from Iowa and Ohio State can do to position themselves for a win in Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium:
Ohio State (7-1, 5-0)
1. Keep on keeping on
Since losing a 31-16 decision at home to Oklahoma in the second game of the season, Ohio State has pretty much been what people expected Ohio State to be this season.
The Buckeyes have answered preseason questions at receivers, have put the ball in the hands of another in a long line of talent freshmen running backs and have used the wizardry of senior quarterback J.T. Barrett to field one of the game's most productive offenses.
Ohio State averages 571.3 yards per game and has topped 500 yards in total offense and 300 yards in passing offense in each of its last six games.
Barrett orchestrates it all. The record-setting senior has thrown 25 touchdown passes and has been intercepted once this year while completing 69.5 percent of his passes.
For the 2,166-yard passer who has completed 171-of-246 passes, that completion percentage has risen to 75 percent over the last six games.
If J.T. Barrett plays like J.T. Barrett against Iowa, the Buckeyes have a good chance of winning. Ohio State is 33-5 when he lines up under center.
2. Play complementary football
J.T. Barrett is far from a one-man show.
He works behind a veteran line which returned four starters from 2016 and his anchored by one of the nation's premier centers in Billy Price.
Ohio State's top rusher is a true freshman, J.K. Dobbins, and in addition to being the second-leading rusher in the Big Ten at 107.9 yards per game, he's nearly been a human chain mover any time he's touched the ball. Dobbins averages 7.6 yards per carry as part of an offense which averages 245.8 yards per game on the ground.
Ohio State's receiving corps is balanced. K.J. Hill leads the team with 40 receptions and Parris Campbell has a team-leading 410 receiving yards to go with 29 receptions. There is depth in Barrett's collection of targets. Six Ohio State players have recorded at least 13 receptions and have scored two touchdowns.
3. Keep the heat on
The Buckeyes' defensive front is a talented and deep collection. Like Iowa, the Buckeyes rotate players across their defensive front and six players have already started at least five games on the OSU defensive line.
Tyquan Lewis, the Big Ten's defensive lineman of the year last season, and Nick Bosa lead a group of disruptive ends that includes Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes.
They've helped the Buckeyes rank second nationally with an average of 8.9 tackles for a loss per game. Bosa leads that effort, tied for second in the Big Ten with 10 TFLs including a team-leading four sacks.
4. Avoid the trap
The Iowa game falls into an awkward spot in the schedule for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes' first visit to Kinnick Stadium comes right after an emotion-filled effort against second-ranked Penn State last week which saw a 21-point fourth quarter lead Ohio State to a come-from-behind 39-38 win over the Nittany Lions.
Up next? The Buckeyes host Michigan State next week in what has been a competitive series in recent years.
Ohio State hasn't overlooked much of anybody this season, but the Iowa game does fit the definition of a trap game. The longer the Hawkeyes hang around, the more interesting things could get at Kinnick.
Iowa (5-3, 2-3)
1. Establish the ... pass
Running the football against the Ohio State defense has been a futile endeavor for most folks this season.
The Hawkeyes do need to sustain drives and control possession time if they hope to be in a position to have a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter.
Getting something, anything, out of the run game will help facilitate that as would an effective short passing attack.
Nate Stanley will need to work efficiently and quickly against the Ohio State defense. Quick, short passes that are completed will facilitate that against a defense which has been dominant this season. Of the 302.5 yards per game the Buckeyes are surrendering on average, 195.3 of those yards are coming through the air.
Iowa found success by using three tight ends against the Buckeyes in the teams' most recent meeting in 2013. That type of an approach, a twist on the norm, would be beneficial.
2. Find room to run
Ohio State's defense has been dominant against the run, an area where Iowa now ranks 10th in the Big Ten with its average of 130.8 yards per game.
The Buckeyes have allowed 107.3 yards per game on the ground this season, numbers that drop to 68.3 yards against Big Ten opponents.
Expect more tough sledding for Iowa's rushing attack, but the Hawkeyes need contributions from Akrum Wadley and James Butler if they hope to be successful against an opponent which has lost to Iowa just three times in the past 30 years.
3. Be special on special teams
Iowa can help itself by making something special happen on special teams.
Whether it's a block, a lengthy return or punts and kicks that go beyond the norm, the Hawkeyes need to find a way to create an edge in this segment of the game.
Miguel Recinos has been consistent in both kickoffs and by converting on 7-of-9 field goal attempts including all four of his tries from beyond 40 yards.
The Hawkeye return game will be tested. Ohio State is the only team in the country which hasn't allowed a punt return this season.
4. Back in black
Three of the four teams ranked in the top five nationally to visit Kinnick Stadium since 2007 have left with a loss.
The crowded quarters at the 88-year-old home of the Hawkeyes have rattled even the best of opponents to play there and Iowa threw a 21-19 scare at fourth-rated Penn State this season, the only loss in a string that includes wins over third-ranked Penn State in 2007, fifth-rated Michigan State in 2010 and second-ranked Michigan last season.
Much like that Penn State game, Iowa will need a resilient effort from its defense, a few breaks along the way and good old-fashioned karma from a crowd at a game that has been designated as a blackout.
The Hawkeyes will participate, wearing alternative uniforms, and Iowa will present Ohio State with a different look in other ways.
The Buckeyes' schedule has presented it with a steady stream of spread offense. Iowa will challenge Ohio State with a pro-style look, a first this season, and how well the Buckeyes handle the inside and outside zone plays that are a staple of the Hawkeye offense will have a say in Iowa's chances of creating an alternative outcome.