Maine - W (46-3)
Florida International - W (42-0)
Iowa State - W (17-5)
Pittsburgh - L (21-20)
Northwestern - L (22-17)
Michigan State - L (16-13)
Indiana - W (45-9)
Wisconsin - W (38-16)
Illinois - L (27-2)
It's hard to get a feel for this Iowa team I felt they were playing their best coming into the Illinois game last week and then they go out and lay and egg against the Fighting Zookers. I still think this is a very good football team that could easily beat Penn State if they don't bring their 'A' game. Iowa has won all their games by double digits and lost all four of their games by a combined 12 points, so the very apparent conclusion is: *drum roll* they can't win close games *cymbal crash*. Yeah I know I'm the master of the obvious.
This offense is much like the offense Penn State faced last game, it all revolves around the running game. Iowa running back Shonn Greene is having a breakout year and is 2nd to only Javon Ringer in the Big Ten averaging just over 139 yards per game, which puts him 3rd nationally by the way. Unlike Ringer though, Greene has done it with far fewer carries averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Illinois was able to bottle Greene up until the fourth quarter last week but they couldn't stop him as he rushed for 103 yards giving him over 100 yards every game this season.
The difference between Iowa and Ohio State though is at quarterback, Ricky Stanzi isn't going to beat anyone with his legs. While Stanzi is a notch above Terrelle Pryor in the throwing department he's had his moments of sporadicism (yeah it's not a word but I'm making it one). Penn State will not be able to go all out against the run and just worry about covering the main receiver like they did against Pryor, Stanzi's a little more seasoned than that. The good news for the Penn State defense is that in the Illinois game, Stanzi was sacked six times and fumbled on one which was scooped up and turned into a touchdown. In fact Iowa gives up 1.56 sacks per game which is 10th in the Big Ten and 83rd in the country. Paging Aaron Maybin, your table is set.
Penn State is not going to rip off 40 points against these guys their defense is close to Ohio State's ranking no worse than 3rd in Conference in every defense category. Illinois was only the 2nd team to score more than three touchdowns against the Hawkeyes.
Linebacker Pat Angerer leads the team in tackles (71 total, 29 solo) and interceptions with 4. D lineman Mitch King is also a force to reckon with leading the team in tackles-for-loss with 11 and sacks with 3. Penn State will need to have one of their best offensive performances if they want to control the game. The chink in the armor appears to be their secondary, the Hawkeyes have given up at least 250 yards passing in the last two games.
Punter Ryan Donahue is solid at 41.38 yards per game if not spectacular and kicker Trent Mossbrucker is 13-15 but has yet to try a kick over 40 yards. Backup kicker Daniel Murray appears to have the better leg as he has handled kickoff duties and done a good job collecting 15 touchbacks. Punt returner Andy Brodell is dangerous ranking 3rd in the Big Ten with an 81 yard touchdown return. The kick return team is meehhhh; the longest return is 40.
A week ago I was really worried about this game but after watching them lose to Illinois I'm feeling a little better. The Fighting Zookers led the entire game until Iowa tied it up late in the 4thand Iowa had great field position in the first half. I don't think Penn State will be able to pound the ball early they will have to take some shots down the field and make the Iowa defense respect the pass. On defense it's Ohio State take two: limit Greene and make Stanzi beat you. With Penn State's defensive line they should be able to get pressure without the need of a blitz so the linebackers can worry about Greene. I think the game will be close early but Iowa wears down in the second half.