Can Iowa’s offense score against an elite Penn State defense? Will Drew Allar get it done against an Iowa defense that’s one of the stingiest in the country? This is a huge game in the Big Ten and should let us know just how good each team is.
Penn State should fare well against Iowa if they can take an early lead.
Illinois may not have Iowa-like traditions, but their approach consists of defense, offensive control, and toughness when necessary – tactics which the Nittany Lions were able to leverage successfully last week in a 30-13 victory.
Although the passing game didn’t quite click other than a few big plays, and the secondary struggled at times, the Wildcats managed to secure a 17-point Big Ten road win.
Penn State should have no problem seizing control of this game if they can get up 13-0 like they did against Illinois and put things on cruise control.
Iowa remains competitive. Cade McNamara provides at least a functional passing offense, though nothing spectacular or dangerous; that should suffice.
Iowa has offensive issues and they cannot afford to fall behind, Iowa must control tempo and convert on third down to have a chance in this game.
Three turnovers haven’t mattered for this team; the fewest penalties in the country – seven! – is another testament to success and defense is still flexible enough not to collapse under pressure.
Penn State may find their style disorientating. Penn State struggled for a half against a West Virginia team that played in a similar style as Iowa. Of course, the Nittany Lions blew the game open late. The Iowa offense will be an extreme test for a Penn State offense that hasn’t really face a big time defense yet. Iowa must cause turnovers to win.
Penn State is clearly the better team and will win this game; covering the spread will be a whole other issue, though, for Penn State. Iowa’s defense should be able to keep the game within reach. Take Iowa and the points, but Penn State wins. Penn State 23 Iowa 13.
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