Penn State-Iowa Preview
Penn State (4-1) is coming off a terrible performance at Indiana last week. Iowa (3-1) comes into Happy Valley boasting a high-powered offence that easily dispatched Louisiana-Monroe, 45-17, two weeks ago. It will be a battle of the Penn State defense against the Iowa offense on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Team: Iowa Hawkeyes
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz (104-62 overall; 92-61 record in 13 seasons at Iowa)
Series History: Iowa leads 12-11
Players to look for: QB James Vandenberg, WR Marvin McNutt, RB Marcus Coker
Prediction: Penn State wins 20-17
Unlike previous years, Iowa is known more for its offense than for its defense. Led by the Vandenberg-to-McNutt tandem, Iowa is gaining over 421 yards of offense per game. McNutt has 25 catches for 413 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. The Hawkeyes are scoring nearly 38 points per game this season, good enough for 20th in the country.
On the other hand, Iowa is giving up plenty of points as well at 23.8 per game. The Hawkeyes one loss on the season was to Iowa State, which scored 44 against them. This is a big difference from the defense-heavy Iowa teams of the past.
Penn State, in comparison, is relying on its defense to stay in games. Another strong showing against Indiana gave the Nittany Lions a 16-10 victory last week. Penn State is giving up just 12 points per game this season and has forced 11 turnovers.
So, with the Penn State defense and the Iowa offense canceling each other out, it will come down to the Penn State offense to win the game against the Hawkeyes. Once again, Joe Paterno said that both quarterbacks would play this weekend. With the majority of the Nittany Lion fan base asking for a one-quarterback system, it will be interesting to see if Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden can make the two-quarterback system work against Iowa.
Despite losing its past three games to the Hawkeyes, Penn State has the means to beat them this season. The defense will play well, and the offense will do just enough to scrape past Iowa 20-17. Anthony Fera will kick the game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter to end Penn State’s bad form against Iowa.