Each week, we’ll tell you what to expect, what to keep an eye, and where and when you can catch the Nittany Lions this football season.
Game details: vs. Iowa, 3:30 p.m. kickoff, broadcast on BTN.
Venue: Beaver Stadium, where Penn State boasts an all-time record of 297-76.
Weather forecast (via Accuweather): High of 56 degrees and mostly cloudy.
All-time series: Penn State leads 17-12 and has won the last six games.
Last meeting (2019): Penn State won a slugfest in Iowa City, collecting a 17-12 victory. The Nittany Lions led 17-6 late in the fourth quarter before the Hawkeyes mounted a touchdown drive to close the gap with less than three minutes in the game.
Throwback classic (2007): Penn State ended a five-game losing streak to Iowa with a 27-7 victory at Beaver Stadium. We highlighted that game earlier in the week on the blog, and the article features insight from letterman Rodney Kinlaw.
The lead: Who starts at quarterback for the Nittany Lions is something that all fans are wondering. Will Levis subbed in for Sean Clifford last Saturday at Nebraska, nearly completing a comeback after the Nittany Lions fell behind by 21. Whoever gets the call will lead Penn State against an Iowa team that’s been hard to pin down. The Hawkeyes opened the season with losses to Purdue and Northwestern, but who have responded by upending Michigan State and Minnesota by a combined score of 82-16.
One thing’s for sure: Penn State needs to play better in the first half. Do that, and that should make the game more manageable for either Clifford or Levis, and the entire team.
Penn State wins if: the Nittany Lions create multiple turnovers and avoid giving up big plays. Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras has thrown four picks early on, so if the Nittany Lions’ can disrupt his passing lanes, that should help cut down on Iowa’s explosiveness.
Iowa wins if: the Hawkeyes can push around the Nittany Lions’ offensive line. That area has struggled throughout parts of the season, including allowing a sack last week during Penn State’s potential game-tying play. Iowa is third in the conference with an average of 2.75 sacks per game, so the line’s performance takes on extra importance Saturday.
Count on: a close game, if past results are any indicator. The last three games against Iowa have been decided by a total of 13 points.
Keep an eye on: Jayson Oweh. The star sophomore already has 27 tackles, the most for a Penn State defense end through the first four games of the season since at least 2000.
Trivia tidbit: Pat Freiermuth has caught a pass in 29 straight games, tying him for the nation’s best mark for a tight end.
Clifford has regressed. Time to trysomeone else. The season is shot anyway.
Play-calling needs to be more creative. There are options other than run-it-up-the-middle, especially when it hasn’t worked two times in a row. Go team!