After driving to Iowa in 2021 and having a less than ideal experience with Hawkeye fans, I would love it if Penn State could absolutely embarrass Kirk Ferentz’s squad in front of a packed Beaver Stadium. I don’t see that happening, however. In fact, the Nittany Lions won’t cover the spread for the first time this season in what will likely be a good ol’ fashioned Big Ten fight.
It won’t be pretty, but Penn State will win thanks to a refreshingly dominant night from the running backs.
Penn State 30, Iowa 17
For the first time in two years, the Nittany Lions take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Unlike last time, this game will be played in the friendly confines of Beaver Stadium, at night, in a White Out. Could Iowa make this a tough game? Absolutely. Kirk Ferentz loves to drag teams down into the mud and beat them at his own game.
Iowa is playing decent defense, but putrid offense. On the other hand, Penn State is playing well on both sides of the ball, and last week’s test against Illinois should provide some much-needed learning opportunities.With Coziah Izzard, Daequan Hardy, and Amin Vanover back, the Lions defense bottles up what has been a mostly ineffective Hawkeye offense. Allar and Co. continue to iron out the wrinkles offensively, and put together another solid performance in a big B1G win.
Penn State 27, Iowa 10
We’re all well versed in the 1-0 mentality. But let’s acknowledge there’s more at play this week even if Franklin and Co. won’t admit it. For starters, there’s clearly still resentment for what happened in Iowa City in 2021 and Penn State will be seeking revenge. Beyond that, this is the last hurdle between Penn State and a 6-0 record heading into Ohio Stadium. The White Out will clearly draw juiced a crowd and the Lions will be working hard to validate their current ranking and build buzz for the latter half of the season. With that in mind, my heart wants to believe that Penn State puts it all together and rolls to a 3+ score win. However, I think it’s more likely that Penn State grinds out a win where they show they’re clearly the better team, but they still leave a bit on the board.
Penn State 24, Iowa 13
Coming into the season, I was concerned about the Hawkeyes’ improved offense. Iowa’s defense always makes things more stressful than it should be, but without their top two running backs and their starting tight end, the offense will be severely handicapped. With that said, Penn State’s defense will see more of Michigan transfer Erick All at tight end, which is...not great.
Offensively, the line has a lot to prove after a lackluster start to the season (despite considerable preseason hype). Penn State will need to be balanced offensively if they hope to dominate the way they should. The Nittany Lions win, but not by as much as they should.
Penn State 31, Iowa 17
Penn State’s offense struggled against Illinois, but by the time the starters were pulled, they had solved the Illinois man defensive scheme. If Allar can pick apart Iowa’s zone defense, I think we’re in for an easy night. If he struggles or the offense turns the ball over, it could be uncomfortably close for long stretches of the game. The offensive line will need to step up as well.
I really don’t see Iowa’s offense scoring more than once without getting help from their defense or special teams. McNamara has looked suspect the first 3 games, and he will be without tight end Luke Lachey. Iowa’s best bet to move the ball is with its running game, but I doubt that will work consistently enough. This is the best defense Iowa will have seen so far this season.
Penn State 27, Iowa 7
Unlike the Illinois game last week, there’s a part of me that thinks that this could be a neck crack game of sorts for Penn State. With it being a White Out, the drama from 2021, and the fact that Penn State essentially has three bye weeks after this, I think this is a game that the Nittany Lions coaching staff has had circled for a while. It’d be a real nice time to make a statement.
Here’s the thing though: outside of that 2016 game, Penn State/Iowa is always competitive. 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2021 were all one score games. Although I don’t expect that close of a game this go around, the smart money is on the Hawkeyes staying in this one.
Penn State 21, Iowa 9
Regardless of how much/whether there’s any rain in this one, expect it to be a slugfest. Iowa always plays fundamentally sound defensively and you can expect they will do a heavy dose of running the ball with some timely play action passes to the tight ends. That being said, this is a game the PSU squad has had circled on the calendar as a revenge game ever since Flop-Gate and you can bet your ass they are ready to dish it out.
Look for an opportunistic defense to come up with multiple turnovers against an offense that’s missing their top pass-catcher, top two running backs, and features a quarterback who while having played at and won in Happy Valley before, is somewhat hobbled and won’t be surrounded by 4-5 star talent to bail him out. Also, look for Drew Allar to have a better overall performance than last week, as he surgically picks apart the Iowa zone, and look for Nick Singleton to finally rip off a long touchdown run.
Iowa is too good to allow themselves to get completely blown out of the water, so I don’t anticipate a comfortable game, but I do think it’s one where PSU is seemingly in control the entire time. Although I think the ten-game streak of scoring at least 30 points comes to an end, I still like PSU to cover the 14.5-point spread (if just barely). Oh, and since final scores in this series tend to get weird, let’s go with a scorigami-type prediction...
Penn State 26, Iowa 11
(Originally appearing in the Big Ten Preview)
We have been waiting patiently for two years. For two years, we’ve had to seethe in the anger of knowing how this game could have gone. We’ve had to listen to their fans pretend that the injury to Sean Clifford was immaterial to the result, and all other sorts of excuses. But, more importantly, we had to live with their [redacted] coach doubling down on abhorrent behavior. Well, that ends on Saturday.
All I ask, Penn State fans attending this game, don’t do to them what they did to us. Don’t boo injured players.
Penn State 56, Iowa 17
(Originally appearing in the Game Preview)
The match-up with Iowa will always make me nervous. I’ve had too many experiences where I was confident about the Nittany Lions chances only to see the Hawkeyes find ways to keep things close before making a play or two at the end to come out on top. Perhaps I’ll be fooled again, but I don’t see Iowa being able to keep up much in this one.
I don’t see the Iowa offense being able to produce much without a big day from McNamara. There are no signs pointing to that happening on Saturday, and even if he finds some early success, I’d like the eventual outcome of him regularly dropping back against this Penn State defense.
Iowa will do a good job of getting the Nittany Lion offense frustrated at times and take away big plays, but Penn State’s balanced attack will produce enough methodical drives to keep control of the game for four quarters.
Penn State 28, Iowa 10