Nittany Lions Continue Big Ten Slate with Iowa
ComRadio's own Madeleine Balestrier, Brian McLaughlin, Jon Gross and Travis Sutton break down this week's matchup between the Nittany Lions and the Iowa Hawkeyes. Coverage begins Saturday at 5:30 p.m. on ComRadio.
The No. 20 Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2, 4-1 Big Ten) hope to continue their winning ways after defeating the Purdue Boilermakers in a 62-24 blowout. Penn State rolls into their James Franklin designated White Out and conference matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) this Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
While the Nittany Lions won the last two clashes between the Hawkeyes, their overall history falls pretty evenly in the record books with the Blue and White claiming the slight advantage of 13 wins and 12 losses.
Fans should expect an enticing primetime showdown with Iowa’s 3-0 success on the road, while Penn State dominates at home with a 5-0 record for the second-straight season under Franklin. Whose streak will prevail?
With the 2016 college football season reaching the home stretch towards playoffs and bowl games, the Nittany Lions look to maintain their surprising perch over second place in the Big Ten’s East Division. While the Nittany Lions look to maintain their positioning, the Hawkeyes are fighting to breakaway from their four-way tie in the West Division for solid control over second place.
With momentum, stats and overall production, Saturday’s game is for Penn State to lose. Iowa faces Joe Moorhead’s hot offense that has no signs of slowing down.
The key to the Nittany Lions’ success and the x-factor to the Hawkeyes’ game plan falls in the way of Penn State’s star running back, Saquon Barkley. Before their four game winning streak, Barkley did not average a 100-yard game since their victory against the Kent State Golden Flashes; he has now averaged 141.5 yards per game after beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers. As Barkley’s receiving, rushing and blocking continue to improve so do his other offensive components.
Last Saturday against Purdue, Trace McSorley marched down the field with five different offensive weapons influencing the scoreboard. Iowa’s 54th ranked rush defense will have a hard time stopping the running back depth of Barkley, Andre Robinson, Mark Allen and Miles Sanders; Sanders and wide receiver Chris Godwin both had receiving touchdowns.
While the Hawkeyes’ defense will take the brunt of Penn State’s force, their two-headed rushing attack will unlikely match the Blue and White’s ground game with their ninth ranked Big Ten rushing offense. Expect the Hawkeyes to make the most damage in red zone opportunities on both sides of the ball.
Although Penn State’s offense holds the spotlight, Penn State’s defense has the potential to make a splash if they get after Iowa’s quarterback, C.J. Beathard. Iowa has accumulated the fourth-most amount of sacks allowed in the Big Ten conference, while Penn State sits atop the conference with the second-highest total of hits on a quarterback. Expect Garret Sickels’ five sacks to increase after Saturday night.
The Penn State Nittany Lions are scheduled to kick-off under the lights against the Iowa Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday in Beaver Stadium.
Madeleine Balestrier is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.