Ohio State’s powerful offense might get a stern test from one of the nation’s best defenses on Saturday when the No. 2 Buckeyes host Iowa in a rare matchup of the conference opponents.

The Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0) and Hawkeyes (3-3, 1-2) had last weekend off, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for their first encounter since Iowa’s 55-24 upset in 2017 and only the teams’ second meeting in 11 years.

Iowa has not played at Columbus since a 34-24 loss in 2013, and the most recent Hawkeyes’ victory in Ohio Stadium was 16-9 in 1991.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day is not unlike the fan base that has been waiting five years for another crack at Iowa. He was an assistant coach for Urban Meyer when the No. 6 Buckeyes were knocked from the one-loss ranks in 2017, allowing the program’s fifth-most points ever.

“It’s a scar that doesn’t go away. I’ve felt it this week, for sure,” Day said Tuesday. “It was a tough day for all of us. We’ve talked a lot about it to our staff, we’ve talked a lot about it to our players.”

Now that he’s in charge, Day has the offense humming. Led by quarterback C.J. Stroud (24 touchdown passes), the Buckeyes lead the country in scoring offense (48.8 points per game) and yards per play (8.07). They are second in total offense (543.7 yards).

They’ve done it mostly without injured top receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba while running backs TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams have missed games because of injuries. Day provided no updates Tuesday.

“I think Ohio State has had great players since I was a little kid,” said Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, a Lorain, Ohio, native. “They have athletes that they can get the ball to, a dynamic quarterback that can get the ball to them. They have good running backs. They have a good offensive line. I don’t know what they’re averaging, something maybe around 50 points a game. … I think they’re a really good football team. It’s what we’ve seen on the film.”

Iowa will counter with the nation’s third-ranked scoring defense (9.8 points per game) and No. 7 total defense (265 yards per game). The Hawkeyes are third against the pass (154 yards) and have given up just two rushing TDs.

“They’re very good at what they do,” Day said. “There’s a reason they’re ranked so high, and year in and year out they’re one of the best defenses in the country.

“They feel like they know their defense better than you know your offense.”

The problem for Iowa is its offense. It is last among 131 FBS schools in total offense (238.7 yards) and 127th in scoring (14.7). The Hawkeyes have seven points or less in three games this season.

Still, Day said he is wary of Iowa playing keep-away with the Ohio State offense.

“Their style is similar to some of the teams we’ve played. They want to control the game,” he said.

Ohio State has touchdowns on 30 of its past 38 possessions, and for the season, the Buckeyes are 29 of 29 in the red zone (27 touchdowns, two field goals).

— Field Level Media