There were people who predicted Iowa to be in the national championship game this year. Not an overwhelming amount, but a few experts along the way thought this was the year the Hawkeyes—with a veteran QB, stable of good RB’s and good offensive line— would make it to the promised land. Arizona didn’t get that message two weeks ago as they crushed an Iowa team on a Friday night kickoff. The Hawks did well last week as they trashed a Ball State team by a 45-0 score line. These two big names clash on Saturday and it should be a good game for both, even as Penn State freshman quarterback Ralph Bolden continues to get his feet wet in the Division-1 level.
Bolden may have a 3-5 touchdown-interception ratio but there is no doubting he could be a special, special player in due course. For Penn State, they are still figuring it all out with their freshman quarterback and a nine point win over an underrated Temple team last week served as a good wake-up call as they enter Big 10 play. Joe Paterno is still doing it. He may be of age but he still is finding the right mix in the recruiting game and the defense at Penn State—referred to some as “Linebacker U”— is good per usual. But, there are some warning signs that this game could be low scoring. The Nittany Lions could only muster 22 points on Temple and 24—in a shutout—versus a bad Kent State team. If the Lions are going to go to the ground to try and control the clock then the onus will fall on the Nittany Lion offensive line and running backs Evan Royster, Stephfon Green and Silas Redd. If they can’t get it going against a stout Iowa defense (sans their performance versus Arizona) then it could be a long day for the Lions.
Iowa, coming off their loss to Arizona, didn’t see as if they were reeling last week when they hammered Ball State. If Iowa is truly over the Arizona defeat—a late-night Friday kickoff in the desert— then they are rightful favorites in this game. The Hawkeyes are 6-1 in their last seven games ATS when favored between 3.5 and 10 points. While this game looms as a bit of a low-scoring affair the extra bit of punch the Iowa offense possesses (quarterback Ricky Stanzi notably) should lead them just over the finish line in a throw-back, old-school Big 10 defensive war.
Penn State vs. Iowa Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Penn State +7
@ Iowa -7
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Penn State vs. Iowa Prediction for Week 5:
Game Total Prediction (Top Play) – Both teams have a good defense. That isn’t going to change anytime soon. With Penn State’s inability on offense—and I use that term looking at recent results vs. Temple and Kent State— and Iowa’s ability to score, it only seems like it will be a Hawkeye victory. The Kirk Ferentz days of a balanced offense should still be enough to lead them to victory. The under has been 4-1 in Penn State’s last five games and we’ll guess that will continue.
Spread Prediction – Both teams should end up having very good seasons. If Penn State can get to 8 or 9 wins with a true freshman signal-caller then that is outstanding. But, Iowa still has a lot to play for. A loss to Arizona doesn’t put an “L” in their Big Ten record. Hawkeye fans and coach Kirk Ferentz know that. What would be a problem is losing your conference opener at home to a team that has a rookie taking the snaps and a running game that has yet to truly get it going. For Iowa, the loss of Jewel Hampton certainly won’t help matters. He is due to undergo ACL surgery. But, Adam Robinson is a good between-the-tackles runner and the Hawkeyes should do just enough to cover their seven-point spread in a low-scoring Big 10 affair.
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