24. Iowa at 7. Penn State
When: Saturday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Beaver Stadium, State College
Radio: See Penn State Radio Network
Follow Along: Nittany Nation Twitter Feed
Betting Line: Penn State -15
Three Things to Watch…
Iowa has some bumps and bruises that certainly should impact the Hawkeyes Saturday. The team’s top two running backs, Jaziun Patterson and Kaleb Johnson were ruled out for the game, as is leading receiver, tight end Luke Lachey was too. The Hawkeyes middling offense scored just 37 points in the first nine quarters of the season against Utah State, Iowa State and Western Michigan. It was until Iowa trailed 7-0 against the Broncos last week that the offense found life. Facing a defense that forced five turnovers against Illinois should be a tall test for the Hawkeyes.
How will Drew Allar respond is something that all Penn State fans should be eager to see. Facing adversity for the first time after his struggles at Illinois, Allar will play the best defense he’s seen. Will he bounce back and rise to the occasion against an always formidable Iowa defense? Allar has put on a masterclass at taking care of the ball, he, nor Penn State, have turned it over through three games. But has it come at the cost of explosive plays? Penn State has struggled to hit on big plays, and coach Franklin recognized the issue has allowed teams to stacks the box and challenge the team to run.
“It’s been very obvious that over the first three weeks that people are saying, you know, their defensive game plan is going to be based on stopping are our running game,” Franklin said Tuesday. “To me, that’s an exciting thing that that’s an opportunity for us in the passing game. We’ve shown signs of it. We got we got to do it more consistently.”
The White Out is not undefeated but it remains one of the best home field advantages in college football. In 14 official full-stadium White Outs, Penn State is 8-6, but that figure doesn’t consider the strength of opponent in the matchup, which is often reserved for teams like Ohio State and Michigan. Under James Franklin, the Nittany Lions are 5-3. Four of those wins come against top-25 teams and they make up nearly half of Franklin’s nine total wins against ranked opponents (9-23 since 2014 vs. top-25 teams.)