Penn State vs. Iowa Game Prediction

Story posted October 8, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by CommRadio Sports Department

The No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions are set to do battle against the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday as they travel to Kinnick Stadium.

Penn State looks to earn back bragging rights after last season’s 41-21 home defeat at the hands of Iowa. Both teams are unbeaten with potential to make noise regarding the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff.

Detailed predictions for the contest from three Commradio Sports contributors follow.

Neil Conley:

This prediction might make absolutely no sense to some, but the reason Penn State will win is because Iowa is ranked No. 3. The unique situation, and Iowa’s ranking, will be the downfall for the Hawkeyes. 

There are several examples of Iowa upsetting top-10 teams while hosting.

Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State have all been victims of Kinnick Stadium.

However, the common denominator in these games is an unranked Iowa. Penn State was ranked No. 3, Michigan No. 3 and Ohio State No. 6 when Iowa beat the odds.

A fourth-ranked Penn State managed to escape with a win, but it required a touchdown on the very last play of the game.

Iowa is not an underdog, nor is it unranked going into this affair. The Hawkeyes are not in their typical situation where they beat a top-ranked team.

Iowa has just as much to lose as Penn State does and there is a good chance that will affect its play.

The Hawkeyes will take less risks in every area, which might limit their ability to make big plays.

Penn State can handle an Iowa that is on its level more than one that is trying to simply screw up its opponents season. Penn State will narrowly win as Iowa is still a talented team all around.

Penn State 26, Iowa 23

Christian Smith:

Both teams have played extremely well on both sides of the ball thus far.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions are averaging 30 points per game, while the Hawkeyes are averaging 33 points per game. Defensively, Penn State has allowed just 12 points per game, while Iowa has allowed 11.6 points per game.

Due to both teams having a stellar defense, this looks to be a low-scoring affair, like it’s been in some of the recent games between the two teams, less 2020.

However, one of the two offenses will need to put up just enough points against its opponent’s strong defense.

Despite Iowa having home-field advantage for this one, the Nittany Lions have slightly more talent, and it all begins on the offensive side of the football.

Quarterback Sean Clifford and wide receiver Jahan Dotson are arguably the best quarterback-wide receiver duo in the Big Ten, and, arguably, the country.

In addition, Penn State’s running game led by Noah Cain is starting to show some signs of improvement.

Though it won’t be easy, Penn State’s offense will be able to score just enough points to outlast Iowa, thanks to another strong performance by its defensive unit.

Penn State 17 Iowa 16

Antonio Fondacaro:

No. 4 Penn State and No. 3 Iowa battle it out for a shot to control their own destiny to a playoff spot, while a loss could squander either team’s hopes for a berth in the College Football Playoffs.
Penn State is coming into this week after an impressive defensive performance in its 24-0 shutout against Indiana.

The Nittany Lions finally showed some promise in the rushing attack with 209 total rushing yards led by a mixture of running backs Keyvone Lee, John Lovett, Noah Cain and quarterback Sean Clifford, although Clifford’s passing stats were less than desirable.

Iowa jumped over Penn State in the AP rankings, becoming the third-ranked team in college football after mauling previously undefeated Maryland in a decisive 51-14 victory.

The Iowa defense forced 5 interceptions, while quarterback Spencer Petras had an impressive performance with 259 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Iowa having home-field advantage will be huge for such a tight matchup.

Unfortunately for Iowa, Petras has not proven he can perform well against an elite defense such as Penn State’s.
Clifford and the offense need to play complementary football and cannot afford to make mistakes like overthrows or bad reads.

This game will be close, but despite Iowa’s home-field advantage, it is Penn State that will barely escape with the win by a last-second Jordan Stout field goal.
Prediction: Penn State 20, Iowa 17

Neil Conley is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email nzc5252@psu.edu.

Christian Smith is a third-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, Email cfs5591@psu.edu.

Antonio Fondacaro is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, Email adf5400@psu.edu