Once upon a time, Iowa, like Michigan, seemed like an impossible hurdle every season. Eventually, that changed and Penn State would go on to handle either without much issue. This year, while Michigan may have regained their step, Iowa won’t have the benefit of getting the Nittany Lions on their field or relying on their fourth-string linebackers.
Penn State 38, Iowa 20
The Lions will be down at some point in the third quarter. Late in the third we'll get a defensive turnover, and score twice in the fourth to ice the game. Final score?
Penn State 24, Iowa 17
Penn State has trouble getting the running game going against Iowa's defense, but the Nittany Lions get enough stops on defense and big plays from the passing game to pull ahead in the end.
Penn State 21, Iowa 20
The Hawkeyes start the game stingy, but so does the Penn State defense, holding Iowa under 10 points in the first half. The offense eventually responds in kind and a big play from Saquon Barkley helps PSU pull away and win somewhat comfortably.
Penn State. 31, Iowa 20
"There is only one God, and his name is death. And there is only one thing we say to death: Not today."
Penn State 42, Iowa 17
Iowa coming in with fresher legs is certainly concerning. However, it's not like Penn State is coming off a hard-fought, physically demanding overtime game, nor do the Hawkeyes run a type of offensive system that stretches the field and tries to short/screen-pass opponents to death. If PSU's defense was able to keep Ohio State's ground game in check (for the most part), they should be able to handle whatever Iowa throws at them. I also have full faith in Joe Moorhead's ability to pay complementary football against Iowa's stingy defensive unit, led by Desmond King in the secondary. That being said, I still see this being a dogfight, with PSU coming up with a couple of clutch plays to seal the deal in the fourth quarter.
Penn State 31, Iowa 17
First off, shoutout to Pat for the great use of one of the great quotes in the human language. That being said:
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take-Wayne Gretzky"-Michael Scott
Penn State 45, Iowa 10
Theoretically, this game should be close. Iowa, with the rare exception, has always found a way to play Penn State close. Franklin, up until this season, has shown that he will play conservatively if push comes to shove. That is Ferentz’s preferred method of assassination. Lull you to sleep, force you to make mistakes, block a punt and force 30 fumbles, win 21-10.
However, this year is a little different. This Iowa team was supposed to be just as good, if not better, than last season’s. They have certainly not been as fortunate. Whereas the Hawkeyes won every one-score game last [regular] season, they have now lost three already. And, as mentioned earlier, Franklin seems more willing to take chances than previous seasons, probably because he knows he has a better team. Conventional wisdom should dictate another one-score game, but I rarely go with conventional wisdom.
Penn State 56, Iowa 17
Will the real PSU defense please stand up? The first 4.5 games were an abomination. The last 3.5 games have been a revelation. This has been the craziest season I can remember since, I dunno - 2004, maybe (though that went in the opposite direction of this one, after we farted away the game at Boston College on a roughing the punter).
Anyone who claims to know what's going on with this team probably is full of crap. But, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man. It's been a lot of fun the last few weeks, though - can't deny that. So keep doing...whatever the heck it is that you've been doing, PSU. I'll just sit here clapping with stupid look on my face.
PSU Something, Iowa Something Less
(originally appearing on PennLive)
Iowa's had Penn State's number in the past when the Lions were ranked, but that was under Paterno--and the last two times the teams have played have ended up pretty well for the blue and white (that 2012 game, especially). Since Iowa's inexplicably not very good at protecting quarterback CJ Beathard this year, Sean Spencer's group is understandably licking their chops headed into this matchup. The Hawkeye secondary is not as good as a unit that has Desmond King on it, and the offense under Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley has it its stride. This one isn't as close as the final score. Penn State 34, Iowa 21.
PLAYERS ON THE SPOT: The entire wide receiving corps. Highly touted as one of the best in the conference if not the nation headed into the year, they've fallen by the wayside more recently in favor of Mike Gesicki and short passes to Barkley and fellow RB Miles Sanders. Drops at key moments haven't helped, but Chris Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton, Saeed Blacknall, and DeAndre Thompkins (if he's back and healthy) need to prove what everyone is saying - that they are the cream of the crop at this position.
DON’T BE SURPRISED IF: The Lions are again down at the half. This has been a second half team all year - and no game proved that more than last week's blowout of Purdue, which didn't seem so one-sided when the teams hit the locker room. But, lo and behold, adjustments were made, and Penn State set records for Ross-Ade Stadium in the second half.
For some reason, I’ve had more difficulty coming up with a prediction for this game than any other throughout the season. Maybe I’ve been burned too many times by unexpected losses to Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes. Maybe it’s the recent euphoria surrounding the program the last few weeks that has now culminated in an unexpected number-12 ranking, and the cosmic realization that the law of averages could soon even things out- like eating an otherworldly fantastic Italian meal, only to have it wreak havoc on your digestive system later in the evening. Maybe it’s the concern Iowa had an extra week to prepare, much like Penn State did before facing off against Ohio State, while the Buckeyes were playing in an emotional overtime victory against an extremely physical Wisconsin team.
Outside of my jitters, I do have to say I love Penn State’s chances on paper. While Iowa has a tough defense, they don’t do anything particularly outstanding which should be beneficial to Moorhead’s balanced attack. The night atmosphere should give the Nittany Lions a huge boost as always, and the Nittany Lions are a young and improving team with momentum on its side. While I expect the Nittany Lions to win, I could see it coming down to a big play or two down the stretch.
McSorley has himself a big day with a 260 yard passing effort and two touchdowns, going to Blacknall and Hamilton. Barkley picks up 140 yards on the ground and hits paydirt twice. On defense, Brandon Bell picks up 14 tackles and a sack, Garrett Sickels comes up big with three TFLs, while Kevin Givens gets a big-time sack late in the game and Malik Golden provides a clutch fourth quarter interception.
Penn State 31, Iowa 23