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Penn St. Nittany Lions @ Iowa Hawkeyes (-2.5, 41)
October 9, 2021
4:00pm EST on Fox
The Iowa Hawkeyes host the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 9 and 4:00 PM Eastern Time. The 5-0 Hawkeyes are coming off a 51-14 win at Maryland and are ranked 3rd in the country. Penn State heads to Iowa 4th in the country and off a 24-0 win over Indiana. Iowa is a 2-point favorite with an over/under or 41 ½.
This week is a rare matchup of two top five teams and an opportunity for Penn State to do what they haven’t done since 1994, which is to beat a top five team on the road. Penn State has not performed well against top five picks over the last two decades. Since defeating Arizona in 1999, they are just 1-15, that win coming against Ohio State in 2016.
Penn State has entered the game on a nine-game winning streak. They are led by quarterback Sean Clifford, who has thrown for 1336 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s added 137 yards on the ground. Clifford’s top target is Jahan Dotson, who is one of the top receivers in the country with 35 catches for 446 yards and six touchdowns. Parker Washington has been a solid complimentary receiver with 25 catches for 331 yards. On the ground, Penn State is averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, led by Noah Kane and Keyvone Lee. Defensively, the Nittany Lions have eight sacks, seven interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras has thrown for 943 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s managed the offensive successfully, finding four receivers for at least 10 receptions, led by tight end Sam LaPorta’s 22 for 263 yards. Running back Tyler Goodson has seen the bulk of the work, carrying 99 times for 430 yards and five touchdowns. The defense has been sensational, holding opponents to under 12 points per game. In addition, Iowa has 13 sacks, 12 interceptions and three forced fumbles.
For the Lions, a loss in a tightly contested game doesn’t hurt their chances at the CFP bid, should they win out, including games against Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State. The road certainly isn’t easy, since the Lions’ schedule is the 4th hardest in the country. However, if the Lions can somehow get to 11-1 with that schedule, they are very likely to see a playoff game come season’s end.
The Hawkeyes haven’t lost in nearly a year, winning 11 consecutive games. They have had the best scoring defense over the last four years. A key to Iowa’s success has been winning the turnover battle, currently +12 on the season. Turnovers have led to over 40 percent of Iowa’s points this season. Penn State has also been very good in turnover margin at +9.
The key to this game is which team turns the ball over the least. It is a top-five battle that should live up to its hype.