Penn State defensive tackle Ollie Ogbu doesn't want to be "that guy," the one who gets bulldozed by big Iowa running back, Shonn Greene.
"When you face a bigger back, you know they'll try to embarass you by running over you or stiff-arming you," Ogbu said Wednesday. "It's a personal testament to you as a person. Do you wanna be the guy that got run over? Do you wanna be the guy that got stiff-armed?"
Greene has been the focal point for the Iowa offense all season. The junior running back has rushed for more than 100 yards every game this season.
On Saturday, the powerful Greene will try to continue his centenial streak against Ogbu and a defensive unit that has stuffed backs with similar running styles in the past. Penn State has held all but one opposing running backs to less than 100 yards this season.
Wisconsin's tough-running, 236-pound P.J. Hill managed just 52 yards against the Lions. Hill's hefty-sized backup, 237-pound John Clay ran for just 43 yards. Michgan's Brandon Minor roughhoused his way for 94 yards in the first quarter against Penn State, but stumbled to just 36 yards the rest of the game after the Lions made defensive adjustments.
Most recently, Ohio State runner, Chris "Beanie" Wells failed to get out of the gate against No. 3 Penn State. Considered a Heisman Trophy candidate at the beginning of the season, Wells carried 22 times and had just 59 yards to show for his work load.
Ogbu attended Milford Academy, alongside Greene and said he recognized Greene's talents then. Ogbu said he was surprised when Greene wasn't starting last season.
Greene's ascension to the starting spot didn't come as easy as the 1,282 rushing yards he's racked up this year.
After sitting behind incumbent starter Albert Young for two seasons, Greene sat out 2007 after being declared academically ineligible. Greene wasn't allowed to work out or practice with the team in the spring, but Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he proved himself on special teams in 2005 and 2006 and by working hard to regain his playing status last season.
"Shonn's a guy that's really improved," Ferentz said Tuesday. "The thing I'm most impressed about is just the determination he runs with. He's really a determined runner out there."
Greene is ranked third in the country in rushing, averaging just over 139 yards per game. Greene has also scored 11 touchdowns.
Penn State will try to break Greene's determination and force the Hawkeye offense to throw the ball. Sophomore quarterback Ricky Stanzi has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 1311 yards. Stanzi has thrown nine touchdowns to six interceptions.
"He's going to have to play well for us," Ferentz said. "But with that being said, everyone is going to have to play their absolute best for us to even have a chance because Penn State is so strong, they're so experienced and they're so well coached."
Ogbu's teammate along the defensive line, co-captain Josh Gaines, said Penn State would have to be prepared to stop Greene, as the tailback has professional abilities.
"He runs mad. I see him playing in the NFL for years," Gaines said Wednesday. "If I was an NFL team, I couldn't wait to pick him up.