Bad first impressions for Ohio State, Iowa

September, 5, 2009
9/05/09
3:28
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg


In a season where the Big Ten needs its best teams to play like it, Ohio State and Iowa didn't help the collective cause.

The sixth-ranked Buckeyes found a way to survive against Navy, thanks to Brian Rolle's interception return on a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter. Ohio State simply never found a way to shake the Midshipmen, even after taking a 29-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Some will point to Terrelle Pryor's play as a reason for concern, but my biggest issue here is an Ohio State defense that allowed far too many big plays. The Buckeyes have to be much better on D to keep pace with USC next week. This game really resembled last year's poor performance in a USC tune-up against Ohio.

Iowa barely escaped against Northern Iowa, an upper-tier FCS program but one the 22nd-ranked Hawkeyes should handle fairly easily at home. The losses in the running game are obvious, though Adam Robinson did some nice things, and UNI's Pat Grace had far too easy a time throwing the ball against a veteran Hawkeyes secondary. The Panthers had two chances to win at the end, but Iowa came up big on special teams.

From the preseason injuries to today's performance, you can tell this won't be an easy season for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.

Both teams will take a hit in the power rankings Monday, but these performances will continue the Big Ten bashing for at least another week.

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