Penn State vs. Iowa prediction and game preview. The Nittany Lions seek a fifth straight victory when they host the Hawkeyes on Saturday night.
Penn State vs. Iowa Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Penn.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
It seemed like Penn State was headed toward another average year under coach James Franklin when it got crushed, 49-10, at Michigan on Sept. 24 to fall to 2-2. The Nittany Lions have won four in a row since that defeat, though, and Franklin finally got his signature victory in Happy Valley with a 24-21 win over then-No. 2 Ohio State on Oct. 22. There was no letdown last week as Penn State crushed Purdue, 62-24.
Iowa had some extra time to prepare for the 20th-ranked Nittany Lions after falling at home to Wisconsin, 17-9, two weeks ago. The Hawkeyes will be trying to get their offense back on track after finishing with 236 total yards against the Badgers, marking the third time this season they’ve finished with fewer than 300.
What To Know About Penn State
Saquon Barkley is running with reckless abandon lately. His yardage totals in his last three games: 202, 99, 207. He has three touchdowns and is averaging 8.3 yards per carry in that stretch to take over the Big Ten rushing lead, and his 10 touchdowns are tied with Minnesota’s Rodney Smith for the most in the conference. Barkley needs 112 yards to hit 1,000 for the second straight year, and he’ll be going up against an Iowa defense that allowed 167 on the ground last week.
Penn State’s defense came through last week against Purdue as well, forcing four turnovers. The Boilermakers’ 46 rushing yards is a deceiving total, though, as they had to pass frequently due to their deficit. The Nittany Lions rank 11th in the conference in average yards allowed per carry at 4.5.
What To Know About Iowa
The Hawkeyes might not have as much trouble running the ball this week with their combo of LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley. They had 10 carries apiece and combined for 79 yards against the Badgers one week after both going for at least 150 against Purdue. Penn State has allowed 51 running plays of at least 10 yards, and coach Kirk Ferentz is likely to give the ball his his running backs early and often.
Iowa should expect the same from Penn State. However, if the Nittany Lions do go to the air, the Hawkeyes have the 12th-ranked pass defense in the conference. Trace McSorley has completed only 46.2 percent of his passes over the last four games, though.
Offense: Penn State – Barkley has been on fire.
Defense: Even – Penn State and Iowa rank seventh and eighth in the the conference, respectively, in total defense.
Special Teams: Iowa – Desmond King leads the Big Ten in average yards per kickoff return.
Coaching: Even – Franklin is having his breakout year with the Nittany Lions, while Ferentz is having yet another average season in Iowa City.
Intangibles: Even – This is the first meeting since 2012.
Matchup To Watch
Barkley vs. Iowa’s run defense
If Barkley continues averaging over eight yards per carry, the Hawkeyes won’t stand a chance. Iowa’s best chance for an upset would be stuffing Barkley a couple times early in hopes of rattling him. Otherwise, Penn State will run away with a victory.
Spread: Penn State -7.5
Penn State vs. Iowa Prediction
Barkley won’t have another 200-yard game, but he’ll score twice on the ground and get another through the air to help the Nittany Lions survive.
Penn State vs. Iowa final score prediction: Penn State 30, Iowa 21