It’s Week 4 of the college football season and conference play is upon us. Coming off a 3-0 start, Penn State is looking to keep its streak alive against another undefeated Big Ten opponent, Iowa, on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC (live stream it on BTN2Go.com).
Both teams tout consistent quarterbacks, with Iowa’s Nathan Stanley leading the Big Ten with 10 touchdown passes in three games, and Penn State’s Trace McSorley just one TD pass behind. The difference maker between the two offenses is Saquon Barkley for the Nittany Lions. Barkley already has over 500 total yards of offense this season — not including his snaps on special teams — with 307 of those coming off the rush game.
Iowa may have gotten a win in Week 3, but it wasn’t pretty. If it wasn’t the questionable play calling, it was penalties and injuries keeping the Hawkeyes at bay. The team lost both Akrum Wadley and James Butler during the game, and at one point Stanley even lined up behind the wrong lineman. Still, they got the win and will need to shake off the rust before going against one of the toughest opponents on their schedule this year.
Time, TV channel, and streaming info
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
- TV: ABC
- Streaming: BTN2Go.com
- Odds: Penn State is favored by 13 points
Penn State vs. Iowa news:
- The Nittany Lions released their depth chart and the only change was at linebacker.
- Iowa’s QB ranks fifth nationally in TDs thrown with 10 — Penn State’s QB has thrown nine.
- Up 56-0, Penn State decided to freeze Georgia State’s kicker last week.
Franklin’s pettiness, which I am ALL THE WAY HERE FOR, paid off and gave Penn State its second shutout in three weeks. Penn State has now recorded multiple shutouts in a season for the first time since 2007.
The Hawkeyes’ run game hasn’t been nearly as good as I anticipated — Akrum Wadley and Nevada transfer James Butler have combined to average just 4.3 yards per carry — but they’ve made up for it with a passing game that has been a step ahead of expectation.
Though Penn State’s defense has been mostly dominant against Akron, Pitt, and Georgia State — 13th in passing downs success rate, second in passing downs explosiveness (IsoPPP) — the pass rush has been only average. There’s no immediate reason to expect that to change in Iowa City.
Battle for the Big Ten heats up
Penn State inched closer to the top spot in this week’s AP Poll, snagging the No. 4 spot. Heading into Week 4 of the season, three other Big Ten teams round out the top 10, including Michigan (No. 8), Wisconsin (No. 9), and Ohio State (No. 10). Iowa might not be considered a top-25 team by the AP just yet, but they did receive two votes and are still very much in contention for the Big Ten West title.
Penn State vs. Iowa prediction:
The Nittany Lions have been on a roll the past few weeks, but they’ll face their first conference opponent Saturday and first game of the year on the road. Fortunately for them, they still have Barkley both on offense and special teams. The Hawkeyes likely won’t have many answers for the Lions offensive prowess, but they’ll need to make a solid effort if they want to find themselves back in the mix for conference bragging rights.