Penn State vs. Iowa
Nittany Lions -7 1/2 vs. Hawkeyes
While Penn State enjoyed a well earned week off after a 13-6 thrilling come from behind road victory in Columbus, they saw a change happen above them. They watched from their living rooms as Texas fell from number one, but their opponents, Texas Tech, jumped up above Penn State in the BCS rankings. The Nittany Lions can relish at being number two in the AP Poll, but they can also be concerned that if they do not get help, they may be on the outside looking in of the BCS Championship Game. On Tuesday President-Elect Barack Obama won the state of Pennsylvania. One can only wonder if this because Obama told Chris Berman he wanted to see playoffs in college. Sadly for Lions’ fans, he does not take office until January 20, a few weeks after the BCS title game.
Penn State (9-0, 5-0) will have to take care of its own business before they can hope they get help from above. This week they will travel to Iowa to take on an inconsistent Hawkeye team in their last road game of the season. They will finish their season at Happy Valley with games against Indiana and second-place Michigan State, who has only one conference loss.
Iowa (5-4, 2-3) has had a see-saw season full of extended winning and losing streaks. The Hawkeyes started the season 3-0, only to loss three straight. They then won two straight before a heartbreaking loss last week in Champaign against Illinois 27-24 on a last second game-winning field goal. In the loss tailback Shonn Greene ran for his ninth straight 100 yard game. Greene, who is the fifth best back in the country, ran for just over 100 yards on 21 carries, which amounted to his poorest performance of the year. Greene should expect more of the same this week with the stingy Penn State defense which allows only 2.9 yards per carry. If the Nittany Lions can bottle up Iowa’s run game, they should be in store of an easy victory. Iowa has struggled throwing the ball around, ranking only 85th in the nation. They have not thrown for 200 yards or better in four games.
Penn State will also rely on their talented back, Evan Royster, who is gaining an astonishing 7.2 yards per game. Meanwhile Daryll Clark has used the bye week as a time to heal. The junior was removed on the game winning drive against Ohio State due to a concussion.
The Lions took last years’ contest, but the recent series has been dominated by Iowa who have won six of the last eight in the series. The last time Penn State won at Kinnick Stadium was 1999.