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Open Thread: The Big Ten Football Game of the Week

#10 Penn State heads to Kinnick Stadium as road favorites against the #17 Hawkeyes.

NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Iowa Hawkeyes will host a second consecutive ranked Big Ten opponent from the East division. They took a tough loss while being a part of last week’s game of the week against the Michigan Wolverines. Iowa just couldn’t get their offense going. Their trio of running backs only netted 67 yards on 21 carries. This was the least of their worries as the line allowed QB Nate Stanley to be sacked 8 times. Nate Stanley threw three interceptions to compound things for Iowa’s offense. Iowa turned it over four times to Michigan’s one.

The Hawkeyes will need to get a lot cleaned up as things won’t get any easier with Penn State coming to town. It wasn’t all bad for Iowa though. Their elite defensive play continued as they only allowed Michigan 10 points. They will certainly need that level of defense because Penn State has a far better offensive system than Michigan currently.

Game Stats:

  • Where: Iowa City, Iowa
  • When: Saturday, 7:30PM ET
  • Channel: ABC
  • Spread: -3.5 Penn State

Penn State rolls into this game coming off a decisive 35-7 victory over Purdue. Penn State scored a touchdown on their opening four possessions before Purdue’s defense made adjustments. Purdue must be given some credit for this. The depleted Boilermaker defense was able to hold Penn State to one score for the final two and a half quarters of the game. This could be significant from a film perspective for the Hawkeyes defensive scheme and preparation.

Penn State always seems to have a tough, athletic and hard nosed defense. This year is no different. They boast a great secondary and create consistent pressure on the quarterback with their ends and linebackers. They also have a better offense than what many probably expected with up and coming quarterback, Sean Clifford trying to follow up three-year starter and bonafide star Trace McSorely. Clifford is a bit of a dual threat QB, amassing 200 rush yards so far this season. His passing stat line of 1,442 yards, 12 touchdowns and two interceptions while completing 66.9% means he is a legit thrower of the pigskin as well.

If there is any flaw I can point out on the Nittany Lions’ undefeated season it would be this: They haven’t really played an upper tier opponent. This is a bit of a “prove it” game for Penn State. They will be going into a hostile environment where their offense will have to produce against a legitimate top 10 defense.

On the flip side, Iowa needs to recover from an extremely poor offensive performance. They need their quarterback to make the right decisions, the offensive line to protect him and the receivers need to fight harder for 50/50 balls.

This is a huge game for both teams no doubt. Give me the Hawkeyes as home dogs for a bounce back win in front of their home crowd in a high stakes, nationally televised game. My prediction is that Iowa pulls out a 20-17 victory.

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